Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the Children of Africa Leadership and Values Development Initiative (CALDEV) a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), have pledged to raise awareness to find solutions to the plight of the Nigerian child.
In a statement by Rep. Bamidele Salam, President/Founder CALDEV, on Wednesday, the duo will organise a National Children’s Dialogue in Abuja on Nov. 20.
Salam said the theme of the dialogue is: “Nigerian Child and the National Unity Project” and that the dialogue would feature children between the ages of 12 and 17 from all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said other sub-themes would include: Impact of Social Unrest on children; Impacts of COVID 19 on children; Safe Schools Initiatives; State of the Nigerian Child; Reactivating the Reading Culture among Children; Children and Participatory Governance in Homes, Schools and Organisations.
“This event is particularly important at this critical point in our national existence because of the divisive rhetoric currently deepening ethnic, political and religious divides in the country.
“We have identified the fact that, peaceful co-existence can only be assured and development ultimately achieved, if we close ranks and speak with one voice irrespective of what part of the country we come from or our religious adherence.
“This year’s edition is aimed at drawing the needed attention of leaders, policy makers and other stakeholders in Nigeria as part of efforts to ensure that the Nigerian child begins to have conversations around issues that create an enabling environment for a peaceful co-existence,” he said.
Salam explained that the event would also feature children panel sessions, launch of two books namely ‘Leaders of our Dream 2 ” and ”160 Things Every child Should Know About the Nigerian Constitution, Child Rights Act and other Laws”.
He said that Emmanuella Samuel would be awarded in the category of ”Early Achievers Award in Entertainment” as a mark of recognition for creativity and excellence as the most popular child celebrity.
Salam said that Dooshima Avar would be awarded in the ”Early Achievers Award in Education” category in recognition of excellence at Intercontinental Spelling Bee Competition.
Also to be awarded is Faith Odunsi will be awarded in the ”Early Achievers Award in Mathematics” for her distinction at the Global Open Mathematics Competition.
Salam said that the aim was to build a culture of togetherness amongst the children to foster tolerance, understanding and nurture a better sense of national unity.
He said it would also create opportunities for dialogues, friendships and networking for children, create a platform for leaders, and policy makers to listen to children perspectives on local, national and international issues.
Salam said that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege amongst other notable Nigerians would be in attendance.
Other dignitaries to be awarded include: Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos as ”Child Friendly State Governor”, Gov. Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno as ”Education & Child-Friendly State Governor” and Sen. Rochas Okorocha as
”Outstanding Education Philanthropist” among others.