From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, assured Nigerian children that his administration’s greatest legacy will be to give them a better country.
He made the promise during the Children’s Day celebration at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari hosted a group of Nigerian children as part of the activities to commemorate Children’s Day, observed on May 27.
The short ceremony witnessed the cutting of a ‘national cake’, a guided tour of the President’s office, meeting rooms, banquet hall and the zoo at the Presidential Villa.
Describing children as precious blessings who should be nurtured to carry the burden of the society in the future, President Buhari, after spending a memorable time with his august visitors, bid them farewell, saying: “Bye-bye, see you next year.”
Meanwhile, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, has called on stakeholders to work together to make education more inclusive as a way of mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on education of children from disadvantaged homes.
The presidential aide, who said this in a statement to mark the Children’s Day, noted that various reports all over the world had indicated that the closures during the lockdown implemented to control the pandemic worsen the plight of children from disadvantaged background in term of access to quality education.
The Federal Government has declared the theme for the years’ Children’s Day celebration as “Unite to reverse the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Children.”
Speaking against the background of the theme, Orelope-Adefulire said children from privileged homes were generally able to continue their education because their schools are well-equipped with ICT infrastructure and their parents could provide similar resources for them to link up at home while the pandemic was at its peak in the country. But she noted that this was not the case with majority of students from disadvantaged background whose parents were not able to afford internet connectivity or whose homes may lack reliable power supply.
While noting that the digital divide has worsened disparities in terms of access to quality education among children, the presidential aide noted that it is also sad that some pupils will not return to school because they have either been married off or because the businesses of their parents have collapsed during the pandemic among other reasons.
“As the world gradually recovers from the heavy impacts of the COVID-19 and further surges into the decade of action for the actualisation of the SDGs, this year’s Children’s Day should be a wake-up call to stakeholders on the importance of education as the bedrock of the global goals of leaving no one behind.