UNICEF Advocates Increased Budgetary Allocation for Children Focused Interventions

Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has stressed on the need for governments at all levels to increase budgetary allocation for children-focused interventions.

The UNICEF Social Policy Specialist, Bauchi Field Office, Yusuf Auta, who stated this yesterday during a media dialogue on Child Poverty with the  theme, “ Addressing child Poverty in Bauchi, Gombe and Adamawa States” held in Gombe, said that children are the majority population in most states of the federation, hence their needs should be prioritised.

According to him,  child poverty is when a child lacks access to basic consumption needs such as Nutrition, Shelter, education, healthcare, sanitation amongst others,.

He stated the 2022 Population Projection states that Adamawa state has a population of 4.9 million, Bauchi has 8.3 million while Gombe State has a population of 3.9 million, adding that the population of children between 0-17 years in Adamawa is 2.4 million, Bauchi is 4.7 million while Gombe State has 2.1 million.

“You can now see that children are the bedrock of any sustainable society, but if this segment of the population are deprived of their rights to education, water, sanitation, nutrition, health and protection, then there is a problem as this in turn as a negative impact on the development of the nation,” he said.

“The 2022 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) states that 73 million children in Nigeria representing 71.9 percent were multi-dimensionally poor in 2016/2017 while 64 million children representing 60.6 percent were multi-dimensionally poor in 2021. 47.7 percent children in Nigeria experienced monetary poverty, that is, those who live in households surviving on N376.5 per day in 2019,” he said.

He said from the report, extreme poverty rate is expected to have increased in 2023 with an estimated 84 million Nigerians living below $1.9, the world largest poorest population after Indi=a.

Speaking on the effects of child poverty on socio-economic development in Nigeria, a lecturer with Department of Economic and Development Studies, Federal University of Kashere, Dr Ali Madina Dankumo, stated that child poverty contributes to social unrest and crime rates as individuals may turn to illegal activities as a means of survival, which in turn undermine social cohesion and stability that impedes socio-economic development.

“Since children are the future workforce and leaders of a nation, failing to address child poverty deprives the country of the potential contributions of its youths, limiting overall capital development and innovation,” he said

=He called on media organisations to hold governments and policy makers accountable for their commitments to addressing child poverty by exposing corruption, inefficiency and lack of transparency in the implementation of poverty reduction policies, putting pressure on authorities to take action.

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