By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged parents to treat their children with dignity, while staying focused on discipline.
The president gave the challenge in a statement by his media aide, Mr Femi Adesina, on Saturday in Abuja to mark 2023 Children’s Day.
He said: “Every child is special and should be specially treated with dignity.
“At the twilight of this administration, we are thankful for all the support we have received from parents, government officials, development partners, professionals, and religious leaders in realising some of our targets.”
He said the targets included the school feeding programme, resuscitation of the primary health care system, and protecting our schools by the security agencies.
He noted that raising healthy and promising children was a collective responsibility, saying in Nigeria, like in most of Africa, the community had a stake in the upbringing of the child.
”Truly, it takes a village to raise a child. And as the world continues to become smaller with new technology, and the borders on culture and cultural values are steadily getting blurred, we must retain our identity and values.
”Our core values of integrity, honesty, hard work, and love for learning should not be negotiated.
”Our children should know, and stay with the ancient landmarks of what is true, and right at home, and abroad,’’ he added.
Buhari urged parents and children to hold onto the ancient truths of integrity, honesty, knowledge and hard work in spite of the changing times, as those landmarks remained the pillars of destiny.
He said: “On this special day, we are immensely grateful to God for another opportunity to celebrate our children on May 27, 2023.
”Every Children’s Day reminds us of the future, and the necessary sacrifices and building blocks by parents, guardians, teachers, leaders, and government to secure our greatest assets on earth, the younger ones.
”As a father and grandfather, I share in the joy that children bring into our lives, and the fulfillment of seeing them grow.
”And I also feel the pain of loss, anxiety, and frustration that comes with uncertain times, like the disruptions to families due to insecurity, which we have worked hard to contain in the last eight years.
“We must not lose hope, and our faith should be rekindled in the ability of government to safeguard the future of our lives and children.
”In eight years, we have focused on children, negotiating and fighting for the release of many that were taken captive, and painstakingly building intelligence on the whereabouts of others.
”Some have been released; more will come, by God’s grace, as the next administration continues on the same noble path.”
The president noted that efforts should be geared towards putting building blocks that will sustain unity, peace and prosperity for the sake of the children.
“At over eighty years of age, and having served the country all my working life, I still believe our children hold the keys to a brighter future for Nigeria, with these three undeniable and unchangeable truths; fear of God is supreme, love for knowledge is elevating and hard work will always pay off.
“Happy Children’s Day, and God bless our children,’’ he concluded. (NAN)