As part of activities to mark the 2023 World Children’s Day, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday revealed that the lives of over 110 million Nigerian children are endangered by climate change.
Events across the country saw children from various regions, including Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Enugu, Sokoto, and Maiduguri, leading discussions on the significant impact of climate change on their lives and futures.
Speaking at the event, themed: “For Every Child, Every Right”, the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, noted that Nigerian children are confronted with flooding, drought and severe storms, adding that no fewer than 650,000 children have been displaced in the country from 2016 to 2021 due to floods.
“This celebration is a crucial platform for our children, the most affected by climate change, to voice their concerns and experiences. Their input is essential in shaping our collective path towards a sustainable and resilient future,” Munduate said.
Also speaking, the Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mobolaji Ogunlende, described children as the architect of “our future and it is our collective responsibility to create an enabling environment where they feel safe, loved and empowered.”
Ogunlende urged the society to embrace children’s diversity and protect their rights.
He pledged his ministry’s support for initiatives that promote the well-being of children through result-driven social workers in areas like: Child protection services, family social services, school social services, medical social services and many more.
The commissioner also used the opportunity to call for aid for children in Gaza.
On her part, the Director General – National Council on Climate Change, Dr Salisu Dahiru, said, “As one of the countries that suffers the greatest exposure to adverse climate impacts, Nigeria’s response to climate change must be swift and holistic, accounting for the needs of vulnerable people, including children and women, at the decision-making level, as well as in the implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan.”
The celebration also highlighted collaboration efforts between the Government, development partners, civil society organizations, and the private sector, focusing on advocacy, partnerships, and climate education.