- The Senate at the plenary has urged government to ensure prompt rescue of Leah Sharibu and other Chibok girls still in the captivity of Boko Haram sect.
- Senate noted that the 27th of May each year is observed as Children’s Day in Nigeria
- The lawmakers said they are aware of the significant role of the Nigerian Child in the nation’s development and the need to lay a good foundation for them and secure their future
There is still hope for the last Dapchi girl, Leah Sharibu, and the remaining Chibok schoolgirls still in the captivity of the Boko Haram insurgents as the Senate at the plenary on Thursday, May 24, urged the federal government not to take the release of the victims for granted.
The Punch reports that the motion was moved by Senator Binta Masi Garba and co-sponsored by 108 senators to mark the 2018 Children’s Day holding on Sunday, May 27.
In the motion, Garba said, “The Senate notes that the 27th of May each year is observed as Children’s Day in Nigeria. It is aware of the significant role of the Nigerian Child in the nation’s development and the need to lay a good foundation for them and secure their future.
“The Senate knows that a proper system of education and good health care are indispensable towards making the Nigerian child relevant in the global scheme of things. It is worried that the infant mortality rate in Nigeria has risen to one million deaths per annum as a result of poor nutrition and poor medical facility.”
Garba stressed that over 70% of the people in Internally Displaced Persons’ camps were women and children who had been rendered orphans and widows.
Prayers of the motion, as unanimously adopted by the Senate, are to “congratulate Nigerian children on the celebration of the 2018 Children’s Day” and “felicitate with the government and the families of the Dapchi schoolgirls that have been released.”
The Senate “urges the government to intensify efforts to secure the release of Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi schoolgirl that has yet to be released and the remaining Chibok schoolgirls that are still in the custody of the Boko Haram insurgents.”
The lawmakers also adopted an additional prayer made by the deputy majority leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, urging the federal government to “come up with a dedicated fund to assist the various ministries of social welfare in the states affected, with a view to setting up a platform to educate and care for these orphans.”
Senator Oluremi Tinubu also made an additional prayer to “urge all senators to pledge support in cash or kind for the vulnerable children and orphans in Zamfara State.”
Tinubu noted that the Senate recognised the importance of developing the Nigerian child through the passage of legislation such as the Child Rights Act, 2003, which had been adopted and was being implemented in 23 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.
She said the recognition was also expressed through the Universal Basic Education Act, 2004, which made the education of the Nigerian Child compulsory, and enforceable rights with penalties for parents, and guardians who fail or neglect these obligations.
In his contribution, Senator Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara-Central), urged women, particularly female senators, to come to the aid of women and children in Zamfara state.
He alleged that while women raised their voice against a lawmaker who married a girlchild younger than 18, they were not speaking out in defence of the women and children affected by the security crisis in Zamfara.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks, stated, “We will continue to hold our responsibility of ensuring that we show love, care and more importantly lay a foundation for a bright future for our children. As we celebrate, let us take up the responsibility of improving the health of our children.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that the Senate during its plenary session called on the government to intensify its effort in negotiating the release of Leah Sharibu, the only girl left in Boko Haram custody out of the 110 school girls abducted from Dapchi. Yobe state.
Leah was reportedly not released with her school mates because she was the only Christian abducted from the school and has refused to denounce her religion.
Out of the 110 girls kidnapped from their school on February 19, 104 were returned to Dapchi on March 21 by their abductors. Five of the abducted girls were reportedly dead while one, Leah Sharibu, is still in captivity.
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