By Victor Osae IHIDERO, Kano
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged the 19 northern states government to take joint approach in the planning, designing and implementation of strategies to advance Children’s rights across Northern Nigeria.
UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Malick-Fall disclosed this in Kano at a high level interactive Social Policy Workshop on strengthening capacity that will ensure sustainability for Child targeted programmes in the region.
According to him, the agency is taking significant steps toward achieving equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth in Northern Nigeria and this, he said, could be achieved by promoting a common understanding on social inclusion and developing a joint approach for programs.
He said the Fund would continue to partner all the states and provide continued support in the field of social inclusion including social policy, gender and adolescent participation so as to achieve the desired objective.
The meeting which was organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, was aimed at strengthening states capacity in ensuring sustainability of results for Children via social policy.
“We can make a positive change and when Nigeria succeeds, the region and entire continent has the potential to succeed and ensure no child is left behind.
“Reversing the current trend in Nigeria requires child-centred social policies, budget and laws. Every child has the right to survive, grow, develop and participate, “he said.
He said developing social policies toward providing equitable and comprehensive services to vulnerable children were necessary for exercising those rights
“I am delighted to see representation from the 19 Northern states in this venue committed to taking this critical step,”Malick-Fall said.
The country Representative commended Bauchi State Government for appropriating 15.23 per cent of its total 2018 budget toward health, thus meeting the African Union 2001 health financing agreement.
Malick-Fall further lauded Sokoto State Government for implementing the cash transfer programme which focused on girl-child education to close gender gaps in public primary school enrolment and attendance in the state.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje represented by the Commissioner of Budget and Planning, Hajiya Aisha Jafar-Yusuf said the state government had initiated various policies and programmes aimed at empowering and improving the socio-economic status of the citizens.
He commended the UNICEF and Federal Government for initiating the meeting and allowing Kano state to host it.