Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has appealed to Nigerians beating the drum of war to consider children, who he says are always the victims of war who suffer the most at such venture.
The Minister stated this at an event tagged ‘An Evening with Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’ organised to mark the 2021 International Children’s Day by his mentees codenamed ‘Omo Ogbeni’ whose lives have been impacted positively by the former Governor, in Abuja, on Thursday, 27 May, 2021.
“I am appealing to parents, beyond whatever government can do, that they should strive to provide good education to their children. Older parents who ‘suffered’ to send their children to school reaped a bountiful harvest from their labour.
“I am also appealing to those beating the drums of war to note that children are always in the frontline of the victims of war. They carry the scars, less in the body than in their minds, of untold sufferings, the loss, dehumanisation and maiming of parents and loved ones, a childhood destroyed and worse still, many of them ending as child soldiers.
“The heart-rending story was told of the conflicts in West Africa of not too recent past when the warlords forced children to kill their parents and rape their mothers, in their macabre and satanic ritual of recruitment.“
As part of activities marking this year’s International Children’s Day celebration, a number of children from the State of Osun and other important personalities who attended the event extolled the virtues of humility, fairness, philantrophic and courage of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, saying they were inspired by his style of leadership when he was the Governor of the State.
According to them, the then Governor as a lover of children, especially those of the less privileged homes gave them courage to aim high in their education and life careers.
In his response, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, in a speech titled, “Children, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” said he decided to celebrate this year’s Children’s Day with extraordinary children with their wonderful mothers, especially those he had encounter with when he was Governor due to his passion for the Nigerian children.
“Children must be celebrated not just one day but everyday of the year,” Aregbesola said.
The Minister called on all Nigerians to lay a good foundation for children, noting that “the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow and the foundation we lay for them today will determine the future of our race.”
He added that he made education the pivotal focus of his administration when he was privileged to be Governor of the State of Osun in view of his desire for strong foundation for children.
Aregbesola said his Ministry was committed to the protection of school children from kidnappings across the country, through the efforts of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
“Worse still, access to good education is still a challenge for many children. As we speak, 10.1 million children are out of school in Nigeria. The prospect is there for some of them to end in the hands of bandits, terrorists and insurgents,” he stressed.
High point of the event was the pronouncements of OmoOgbeni Educational Foundation by the the Minister which he kick-off with a donation of N5 million for the less privileged children in Nigeria.
He also used the occasion to announce a scholarship for one of the children, to any level.
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Interior, Dr. Shuaib Belgore described the Minister as one with a strong sense of compassion and fairness, as well as an ‘Exceptional and fantastic personality.’
Belgore added that he had enjoyed a seamless working relationship with the Aregbesola, which he said had culminated in the numerous achievements so far recorded by the Ministry and its Services under his watch.
Other notable dignitaries at the event included the Senators representing the State of Osun, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Mohammad Babandede, Senator Shehu Sani, among others.