By Raph Christopher
Federal Capital Territory Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has stated that the costs of COVID-19 pandemic for children are immediate, but warned that if unaddressed, it may last a lifetime.
The Minister who stated this at the grand finale of the 2021 FCT Children’s Day celebration held at the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Arts and Culture, also called for generations to come together to reimagine the type of world the global community want to create for children.
Aliyu noted that the Children’s Day celebration offers an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that would build a better world for the children, she however, regretted that the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a child rights crisis.
While commending the theme: “Effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the total well-being of Nigerian Child: The way forward”, she however noted that the COVID-19 has affected lives and homes in so many ways; some children have lost their parents, just as the nation’s economy has been drastically affected.
The Minister who described children as the torchbearer of the future, also called on government leaders and civil society activists, religious and community leaders, corporate bodies and media professionals to play an important part in making the day relevant for their societies, communities and nations.
In his welcome remarks, the Ag. Secretary FCT Social Development Secretariat, Dr. Kelvin Ike, commended the FCT Minister of State for reviving the FCT Children’s Day celebration despite the challenges.
He revealed that as part of activities to celebrate this year’s Children’s Day, the secretariat had a day-out with orphans and vulnerable children where a sizeable number of them selected from the registered Children’s Homes in FCT were gathered for fun-fare activities, while special prayers were also offered for children in churches and mosques.
Other activities according to him include FCT Children’s parliament election, inauguration and summit, essay writing and poem recitation competitions among selected Primary, Junior and Senior Secondary school levels and cultural dance competition.