As the world continues to combat the impact of Covid-19, Save the Children Nigeria (SCN), a non-governmental organisation that works to improve the lives of children through better education, healthcare and economic opportunities, has raised concerns over the possibility of the current pandemic leading to a child rights crisis in the country, as thousands of vulnerable children could be exposed to extreme poverty, malnutrition and hunger.

The organisation said many vulnerable households will be pushed by the socio-economic impact of the pandemic to turn to desperate measures in their quest for survival, noting that such desperate measures could range from child labour to sexual exploitation or child marriage. The Acting Country Director of SCN, Mercy Gichuchi, said, ‘As the numbers of Covid-19 cases rise in Nigeria, and the virus continues to spread across different states, we are working hard to mitigate the negative impact this will have on the most vulnerable children, especially in fragile communities’.

‘Children are seriously affected when parents and caregivers are infected by the virus and taken away for care. We are working closely with the government to support efforts to contain the virus and keep children safe and protected amid the pandemic’, Gichuchi continued. She further urged the government to scale up its social protection measures for vulnerable children and families, to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

Addressing the same set of issues, the Speaker of the Katsina State Children’s Parliament, Ibrahim Maharazu, said that Covid-19 threatens child protection, education and health. He said, ‘I can see a possible increase in child abuse as children from poor households might go to rich people in the community for food. They may be emotionally, physically or sexually exploited in exchange for food and financial support’.

Source: Premium Times

Photo source: Hendrik Dacquin

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