The Lagos State Government at the weekend advocated for the prioritisation of children’s rights in national policies and programmes for sustainable socio-economic development of the country.
Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Agboola Dabiri, made the request at this year’s Day of the African Child at Ikeja with the theme: Leave No Child Behind For Africa’s Development.
He said it was time children’s interests were prioritised above other issues in national policies and programmes, as many still lacked access to good education, adequate nutrition and quality healthcare.
He noted that failure to equip children with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would isolate them from economic and educational opportunities, as well as increase their poverty.
Dabiri stated that irrespective of where children live or what their circumstance are, they deserve to be treated well as children and should not be left out in whatever form.
“They deserve to be integrated into the plans, programmes and policies of government at all levels. I believe children in these conditions may not achieve their potential if left behind in developmental plans,” he said.
He disclosed that the state government had commenced the review of the Child Rights Laws in alignment with regional and international protocols to promote children’s rights.
He said the review, aimed at strengthening the prioritise interest of children and prohibit their exclusion in National and Regional Polices were part of Governor Akinwumi Ambode’s all-inclusive policy thrust.
Dabiri appealled to children not to engage in drug abuse, saying: “You play a major role in Lagos. You are our future.”
State Coordinator of the National Council for Child Rights Advocates, Olaitan Oshodi, said children’s rights should be prioritised as, “children deserve the best education and health care, irrespective of their economic status in society.
“The children that were killed in Soweto many years ago, is a proof that children can fight for their rights to be catered for and have a good life. The government and the society owe them that and lots more.”