The Senate at the plenary on Thursday urged the Federal Government to ensure the rescue of the last Dapchi girl, Leah Sharibu, and the remaining Chibok schoolgirls still in the captivity of the Boko Haram insurgents.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly also called for a special fund from the Federal Government to the states to cater to children orphaned by security crisis.
Adopting a motion moved by Senator Binta Masi Garba and co-sponsored by the other 108 senators to mark the 2018 Children’s Day holding on Sunday, the lawmakers also resolved to intervene in the humanitarian crisis caused by the security crisis in Zamfara State.
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 Federal Government and the families of the Dapchi schoolgirls that have been released.”
The Senate “urges the Federal 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.”
It was unanimously approved.
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.”
She 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.
Garba added, “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 per cent of the people in Internally Displaced Persons’ camps were women and children who had been rendered orphans and widows.
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.”