By; BAYO AKAMO , Ibadan
The Association of Orphans and Vulnerable Children Non-Governmental Organisations in Nigeria, (AONN) has hinted that no fewer than 50 per cent of refugees in Africa are children with not less than three million children forced out of their origins due to various humanitarian crises.
Chairman of Association in Oyo State, Pastor Marcus Williams stated this while addressing a Press Conference on the International Day of African Child in Ibadan.
According to the. AONN Chairman, it is glaring that children all over the world are facing a lot of challenges as their rights and privileges are been trampled upon by people who ought to be protecting them.
” In Africa, 50 per cent of refugees are children, with about three million children forced out of their origins due to various humanitarian crises. Among migrants, nearly 1 in 3 is a child, which is more than twice the global average.” he said.
Pastor Williams added. “Children constitute a significant proportion of populations on the move across international and national borders globally, with a large number of those children moving from and across Africa, Nigeria especially children in South West and Oyo in particular. “
He maintained that “the requirement to place children’s rights first is an indication that where there is an obligation, the requisite body or individual must fulfil such an obligation in the interests of the child or children concerned. This is a restatement of the need to uphold the best interests of the child at all times.”
The AONN Chairman stressed that stakeholders are under obligation to evaluate the viability of their policies to cater for children in vulnerable situations, including children with disabilities, to ensure that their rights are upheld, adding that humanitarian crises have far-reaching implications and affect all strata of society.
Commenting on the roles of AONN, Pastor Williams said the association “is working on children wellbeing in Nigeria and “seek to commemorate the day of the African Child via this press conference to draw attention to the rights of children and access to humanitarian response.”
While stressing that the day marked the Day African Child is celebrating in memory of students in Soweto, South Africa that were killed and wounded in 1976 during protest against poor quality education and demand that they should be taught in their own languages, Pastor Williams highlighted some of the expectations of the organization from the Oyo state government and other stakeholders to include using preventive measures to avoid humanitarian situations which lead to the violation of the rights of the children, protection and promotion of children’s rights during humanitarian emergencies as a key to achieving the desired outcome of Aspirations, develop strategies that indicate the steps taken to ensure that the best interests of the child, especially children with disabilities are upheld in humanitarian crises.
“We also want to appeal to the government to do more in ensuring that laws that protects the rights of children are enforced and the populace sensitized on existing laws with emphasis on penalties when the Rights of children are trampled upon, because It is the duty of the government to protect and fulfil the Rights of children but the roles of the private sector cannot also be overemphasized. The Private Sector should also invest more in education, health, clean environment and shun all forms of child labour and protect children affected by emergencies. Attention should be placed on supporting children in the State through organisations Corporate Social Responsibility”.