Alex Enumah in Abuja
South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Louis-Mnguni has called on the private sector to join in alleviating the plight of internally displaced children.
He made the clarion call while commending the First Lady, Aisha Buhari for her exemplary leadership in handling the issue of the vulnerable, particularly the Internally Displaced Persons from the Northeast of Nigeria, at a recent event held in Abuja to commemorate the 2017 Day of the African Child.
According to him, the fate of the IDPs reminded him of the struggle against apartheid and how notable South African women made notable contributions to the victims. This, he said, lured them to identify with the plight of IDPs in Nigeria.
“When we saw the exemplary leadership portrayed by the First Lady, we were encouraged to join the fight to protect our children from violence. We were motivated to come up with our humble contributions: opened centres for these displaced children, created identities for them, started skills centre and also contributing class rooms, health support and many other things.”
He commended Aisha Buhari for her great concern for the vulnerable children, drawing similarities between her and Winnie Mandela. “The First Lady has taken a stand by identifying with the children displaced by conflict in the Northeastern part of the country. She came up with all the initiative to alleviate all the things that were faced by these children and their parents. We are also convinced that this battle, the case of violence and poverty faced by the children will finally end.
We are grateful to those who have come to support us from different formations and we say victory is certain.”
The event, which is held annually in commemoration of the students who were massacred in Soweto, South Africa in 1976 for protesting against educational inequality and injustice, was organised by the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM).
The Coordinator in her welcome address said the organisation would continue to advocate for the rights and welfare of the African child as contained in African charter on rights and welfare of the child. She urged Nigerians to partner the forum to assist and create a platform for internally displaced children to express themselves, develop their talents and creativity in the various countries in Africa.
“This partnership will create opportunities to replace vicious circles in which today’s children if given a fair chance at health, education and protection from harm can as adults, compete on a more level field with children from wealthier backgrounds, thus not only making their own lives better but also their country richer. When we provide education, shelter and protection for children caught in conflict we help them mend their hearts and minds so that someday they will have the ability and desire to help rebuild their countries”, she said.