By: ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
The Nigerian Government on Monday, pledged it’s commitment to an all inclusive governance where everyone irrespective of age, creed and geographical location is given opportunity to live a life of dignity.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, stated this in Kano at a high level interactive Social Policy Workshop on strengthening capacity that will ensure sustainability for Child targeted programmes in Northern Nigeria.
UNICEF Nigeria in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, organised the Workshop for 19 Northern states commissioners of Planning and Women Affairs.
The workshop was organised under the UNICEF New Country Programme (2018-2022), which was designed to expand the scope of interventions in social policy activities in northern Nigeria.
She explained that the Federal government Social Investment Programme (SIP), being coordinated by the Special Assistant to President, Mrs Maryam Uwais, is strategic to achieving inclusive economic growth.
The minister also said that the UNICEF Social Policy workshop was the first high level workshop dedicated to issues around the Nigerian Child with particular emphasis on the Northern Nigerian Children, where child poverty and disparity is high.
She further explained that, the meeting was part of efforts towards ensuring that the future investment in our children is not excluded in the rebuilding processes by the government agencies where child related issues are dominant.
“Our children, who are often voiceless, have equal right to life of dignity; and they expect us to give them the platform to excel in life.
“Evidence has shown that there is the need for increase investment in the life of our children in Nigeria both at the Federal and states levels and also in partnership with the Privates Sector and Civil Society Organisations, ” she said.
She emphasised the need for the Federal Government and donors to know what is on ground, what is ongoing, what needs to be scaled up and what are the lessons to be learnt, which will form the pivotal for Nigeria to achieve sustainable investment for the future generation.
Ahmed said the workshop was also aimed at strengthening capacity that will ensure sustainability for child targeted programmes in northern Nigeria to achieve the desired outcomes.
“The wellbeing of the Nigerian child is central to the country’s economic development, which is well encapsulated in the Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), as the First Pillar ‘Investing in our people’, “she said.
“The issue of child wellbeing and development is central to our country’s economic development and as such, we must give priority to children in our planning and execution as failure to do so will have adverse consequences on them” the minister said.
Ahmed told the participants that, the Federal Government was championing the process of aligning donor sponsored programmes with that of Federal Government so as to achieve continuity and inclusive delivery of Implementation.
The Minister then commended the UNICEF Country Representative Mr. Mohammed Malick Fall and his team for the immeasurable support to Nigeria over the years.
She described the UNICEF 2018-2022 Country Programme as robust and inclusive in design and approach, which she said has rightly aligned with the strategic objectives of the country.
In his remarks, the UNICEF Country Representative Mr. Mohammed Malick Fall, stated that the Investment in Children’s rights is an investments in their future and collective future of the country.
“Children are the Future leaders and engines of the National economy. They are the future mothers and fathers and the guardians of the nation,” he said.
The theme of the workshop is ‘”The Situation of Children in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects – focusing on the Northern Nigeria”.