He insisted that no Nigerian child should go to bed hungry just as due attention must be paid to their health as part of the vision to make the country stronger.
Saraki said: “This is also a day to rededicate ourselves to the cause of children. It is a day to recommit ourselves to doing all in our power to ensure that children are protected and empowered to aspire to be great in life, and to remove all impediments in their way.
“Children are the leaders of tomorrow, our hope for the future. They are the ones we are depending on to take Nigeria to greater heights in the future. We must therefore ensure their health and well-being through the laws we make and the policies we set.
“I therefore call on us all to do our best to ensure that our children can live in liberty and in truth. No Nigerian child should go to bed hungry. Due attention must be paid to the health of the Nigerian child. This should be part of our vision to ‘Make Nigeria Stronger’. We must invest in the people by first investing in the Nigerian child.
“The 1 percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for the Basic Health Fund, whose inclusion we as the National Assembly ensured in the 2018 Budget that we have just passed, will ultimately make for healthier Nigerian children, through a massive boost in increased funding for the sector. We are very excited about this.
“Furthermore, the safety of the Nigerian child is non-negotiable. We, therefore, today, make an unequivocal call for the release of all Nigerian children in captivity. We remember Leah Sharibu and the other Dapchi Girls – as well as those Chibok Girls still in captivity, on this symbolic day. We affirm their right to freedom, to live carefree with their loved ones, to go to school, and for their dreams to remain intact.
“We urge all relevant authorities not to relent in the efforts to see that Leah Sharibu and all who are held captive are returned safe and unharmed. We must intensify efforts for the release of our Children, even as we felicitate with the families of all who have been released,” he said.
He noted that the issues of violence against children, child molestation, child labour and other evils committed against children – remain a grave concern.
“Last year, we held a consultative session in the Senate with the Speakers of State Houses of Assembly that had not domesticated the Child Rights Act; and I am encouraged to see that there has been some significant progress with reviewing the law to suit the local context in those states.
“And so, on this 2018 Children’s Day, I congratulate all Nigerian children. I join the entire members of the Legislature, Executive, Judiciary and All Nigerians in wishing the Nigerian Child a Happy Children’s Day. We pledge that we shall always work for a Safe and Nourishing environment for our Children to grow and prosper,” he stated.