A report on the future of the World’s Children by the WHO and UNICEF rated Nigeria 174 out of 180 countries, lagging behind Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.
However, Nigeria may not be alone in the negligence of its children as the report reveals that no single country in the world adequately protects the health, environment and the future of its young.
According to experts, these revelations indicate that the health and future of children worldwide is under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing as well as violence emanating from insurgency.
UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Claes Johansson in a statement to newsmen said the solution to ensuring that Nigerian children have a future is to invest in them.
“This report demonstrates how far we still need to go in Nigeria to ensure children can live healthy lives in an environment where they can thrive. We know that investing in the future of our children, giving them an education and making sure they are healthy and receive the right nutrition, works to provide a better future for everyone.’’ He said.
But while the survey suggests that poorer countries need to do more to support their children’s ability to live healthier lives, it has blamed wealthier countries for burdening the poor with excessive carbon emissions, a situation, it reports can lead to devastating health consequences for children, and increase the risk of diseases like malaria and dengue, and malnutrition.
“More than 2 billion people live in countries where development is hampered by humanitarian crises, conflicts, and natural disasters, problems increasingly linked with climate change,”
Expectedly, Nigeria is among this 2 billion under threat as more than half of its children bear the brunt of insurgency, terrorism and crime.
To ensure children are at the centre of efforts to achieve sustainable development, World bodies like the WHO and UNICEF say decision-makers must invest in protecting the rights of children.