We must invest in every child to ensure security and prosperity – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo launches program for children at risk

  • Program for children at risk currently underway, launched in five pilot states, Borno, Sokoto, Gombe, Kaduna, Ekiti

The only way to ensure the long-term peace and prosperity of our communities is to invest in our children by providing them with opportunities to thrive and be productive in the ways they choose, thereby giving them the hope for a better future.

These were the words of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday during the Children at Risk Program ARC-P Stakeholder Summit at the Statehouse Banquet Hall, Abuja.

Professor Osinbajo noted that the federal government has taken a multidimensional approach to address the challenges facing vulnerable people in society, especially children and youth, nationwide, with various intervention programs.

These include the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy Committee, which was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari with the goal of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. The Children at Risk Program (ARC-P), housed in the Office of the Vice President, is one of the Committee’s initiatives.

Speaking at the event themed “Last mile interventions for vulnerable people”, Professor Osinbajo noted that the program “is the start of a journey to bring relief and hope to millions of vulnerable young people”. .

“The ARC-P is an important part of the variety of government interventions designed to complement and support the existing initiatives of the Buhari administration to address the issues of vulnerable children and youth,” the vice president said.

Professor Osinbajo noted that the central aim of the children at risk program is the idea that every Nigerian child matters, noting that the ARC-P “aims to give a new life to millions of children who, without for lack of their own, found themselves without hope or support.

“A nation will ultimately be measured by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. We recognize that we cannot progress as a people, while a significant portion of our children – those to whom the future belongs – are left on the margins of society, deprived of the opportunity to discover and fulfill their potential. “, did he declare.

The vice president added that the program “will provide a safe space for the mentoring and training of these children, with particular emphasis on basic literacy and numeracy, health and nutrition, entrepreneurial skills, digital, sports and life skills, among other skills.”

Highlighting other intervention programs of the Buhari administration, the Vice President said, “In 2019, the President made two crucial policy statements. The first was the government’s plan to lift one hundred million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade. The second was the strict enforcement of laws on free and compulsory education for all children at the primary level. The President pointed out that it is a criminal offense in Nigeria to fail or refuse to enforce the law.

“In the same year, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development was established to implement the government’s highly successful social investment programs, in addition to humanitarian assistance responsibilities, security and disaster management.

“In 2016, the Rule of Law Advisory Team was established within the Presidency. One of the main tasks of the team was to ensure that, in accordance with the Prohibition of Violence Against Persons Act, there was effective coordination of responses to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) cases. . Since then, the team has supported the establishment of SGBV response teams across the country.

In addition to the federal government’s multifaceted approach to addressing these concerns, Professor Osinbajo called for holistic government collaboration at all levels, federal, state and local, to deliver greater impact; especially since primary and secondary education and health are constitutionally functions of the state.

The ARC-P, which started in five pilot states, Borno, Sokoto, Gombe, Kaduna and Ekiti, also focuses on training young educated but unemployed youth from each of the local government areas (LGAs) on skills basic.

These various skills, including basic literacy and numeracy, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, trades, agriculture, sports, life skills, digital skills, should either prepare the target beneficiaries (children of primary age) at school, or enroll older children in school. cooperatives, in order to pursue their favorite vocations.

Congratulating the President’s Special Advisor for Social Investment Programs and ARC Program Coordinator, Hajiya Maryam Uwais, and her team for their passion, hard work and commitment to the project, the Vice President also acknowledged and thanked the state governors. pilot states.

He also recognized development partners, the private sector, civil society, who have identified with ARC-P in what he described as a “renewed effort to positively change the fortunes of young people and children in risk across the country.

The Vice President further stated that “local government authorities, as well as our religious and traditional institutions, have also been instrumental in the successful start of the program for children at risk.”

“We especially commend the Governors of the pilot states, Borno, Sokoto, Gombe, Kaduna and Ekiti, and other state leaders who have expressed interest in joining this multi-stakeholder effort to bring hope to millions of young people. marginalized Nigerian citizens on the country.”

Professor Osinbajo insisted that all the efforts of stakeholders at different levels of government and society “must be aligned to work in tandem, particularly because they must be approached in a way that engages also with other health and empowerment deprivations”.

Attending the event were state governors: Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti; Engineer Abdullahi Sule, Nasarawa; and Muhammadu Yahaya, Gombe. There were also members of the Federal Executive Council, federal legislators, heads of MDAs, members of the diplomatic corps, development partners, among others.

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