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Nigerians should stop using kids for rituals’

Posted by By CHIKAS OHADOMA on 2005/01/09 | Views: 251 |

Nigerians should stop using kids for rituals’


At the completion of his tenure in Nigeria as the United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative, Dr. Ezio Murzi who two weeks ago left the country to assume a new responsibility as Regional Director for West and Central Africa in Dakar, Senegal has cautioned Nigeria against the use of children for rituals.

At the completion of his tenure in Nigeria as the United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative, Dr. Ezio Murzi who two weeks ago left the country to assume a new responsibility as Regional Director for West and Central Africa in Dakar, Senegal has cautioned Nigeria against the use of children for rituals.

Dr. Murzi who advised strict adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the child regretted the use of children for rituals, which he noted, unfortunately, takes place in many countries of the world. He, however, enjoined "all Nigerians to see themselves as advocates of protecting the right of the child. He stressed that "we need to go back to the convention on the Rights of the child, we need to go back to the child's rights Act and make sure that the life of the child is something extremely crucial that no one will waste ever."

Murzi, speaking to Sunday Sun after a media luncheon in his office in Abuja, stressed that child traffickers should in accordance with the Nigerian law be prosecuted. UNICEF, he said is about children and has a duty to ensure that "we have certain issues like the child survival, including polio be addressed in an accelerated way. The
stability of Nigeria is crucial because if we want to achieve the millennium goal to reduce infant and child mortality by 2015, then the world is required to ensure the development in Nigeria is sustainable overtime."

He added that to achieve this, Nigeria requires a lot of support from the International community as well as United Nations’ involvement. He urged the citizenry to work closely with the government in addressing issues related to the achievement of millennium declaration and the millennium development goal. "Beacause it is only the declaration that seeks emphasise that children would be protected from violence of any type and the protection is the core of UNICEF."

In what was akin to a clarion call, Murzi who said that Africa needs stability, reminded that "Nigeria is on the road to political and economic development and needs st bility which she requires to sustainable overtime. And Africa needs Nigeria, without Nigeria we won't make it. So Nigeria is crucial, the stability of Nigeria is crucial to many countries in Africa."

Recognizing the major political role Nigeria plays as the chairman of the African Union, Murzi advised that Nigeria should play an important role in making sure that the continent remains relevant.
He reiterated that Nigeria needs to make sure that The goal of child survival takes a front seat at all times. "Nigeria needs to focus on what has to be done for the children so as to reduce the rate of infant mortality by 2015.

Lamenting the scourge of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, Murzi also cautioned: "We should not forget HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS kills and we need to fight it. There are too many orphans in Nigeria today, too many mothers infected and too many young people infected. So protection of young people from HIV/AIDS is crucial because tomorrow’s generation is in grave danger. As the government has decided to produce the anti-retroviral drugs in the country, UNICEF is available to look at any request coming from the government and to support them in their programme."

UNICEF under his two year tenure in Nigeria, Murzi noted has done a lot to protect the children in Nigeria- the polio eradication, the controversy as well as the fact that President Obasanjo accented to two key bills, the enacment of the Child's right Act and the Anti-trafficking law.
"These are legislations but when enacted will change many issues facing Nigeria up to date. Guinea worm eradication is another area UNICEF is battling in order to protect the well-being of not only children but all Nigerians. Murzi commended the effort of former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, who he said has contributed in the fight against the Guinea worm disease in Nigeria.
Towards the eradication of guinea worm disease, UNICEF on December 11, organised a walk through Lagos to raise funds locally for use in the fight against guinea worm.

According to Murzi, the total number of Guinea worm
cases in Nigeria has dropped from 654,000 in 1988 to less than 500 cases by Novemeber 2004. His words: "We are close to eradicating Guine worm in 2005. When I arrived in the country in January 2003, the statistics of Guinea worm was more than 3000 cases in Nigeria. And then the
following, year it was 1400. Now we have about 400 cases.
The challenge ahead of us is to finish the job in 2005, " he assured, hinting that "there are still 16 endemic states, with eleven reported cases this year. And if we do not accelerate our efforts, there is the likelihood that infection and reinfection of communities will occur rapidly."





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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.