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The parish priest of St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, Agric-Ojo, Lagos, Rev. Father James Arebiyi, has urged the Federal Government to invest more in Nigerian children to elicit the right values in them.

While making the remarks, Arebiyi highlighted the significance of investing in children, stating that every child deserved the best. This came on the sidelines of the 2019 Children’s Day funfair for kids in the church.

The cleric said there was an urgent need for Nigeria to invest more in children, as it was the only way to guarantee a brighter future.

Arebiyi said the focus ought to be on raising awareness on issues that border children.

“The society needs to invest in children, and their future as well as their lives,” he said. “That is why the church is marking this day in a special way so that the children can feel loved. I hope that they will recognise that they are loved by everyone.”

He added that the purpose of engaging children in activities to discover their talent was to help them raise their voice and stand in solidarity together.

Arebiyi expressed joy that the church joined in setting aside the day to celebrate and encourage young people across the nation. He encouraged the kids to support the less privileged who might not have the opportunity to experience what they were enjoying on the day.

The chairperson of the event, Mrs. Maria Arawhoriah, explained that beyond the celebration, there was a need for society to pay attention to the multiplicity of challenges facing children.

Ariaworiah stressed that children were the future of the nation and ought to be taught moral values; she said, aside from their academics, they should also be spiritually guided. She encouraged the children to develop their skills and not relent in achieving their goals.

A parent, Mrs. Obianuju Ezesionwu, expressed gratitude to the church for organising such a fun-filled day for the children.

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Ezesionwu charged parents not to allow their kids to be raised by domestic servants.

“I understand that parents need to work because of the economic situation in the country, but I plead with them to create time for their children too.

“Parents should not leave their children at the mercy of domestic helps; if you want your children to lead good moral lives, you should be ready to raise them and represent them with values that would make you a proud parent,” she said.

She also emphasised that children need to be guarded so that they do not go astray: “Parents should constantly supervise and inquire about the activities of their children so that they don’t get embarrassed when things begin to play out wrongly.”

Another parent, Mrs. Francisca Ezenwa, stated that, no matter how tough and trying the situation in the country might seem, Nigerian children must believe in themselves and their abilities.

Ezenwa counselled that kids should be encouraged to acquire vocational skills, especially now that technology is increasingly taking over the global space.

She urged parents to train their children properly and not allow peer pressure to make them deviate from the moral values already inculcated in them.

One of the children, Emmanuel Okoro, who spoke on behalf of the others, said he was happy because the day made the children’s voices to resonate and become one.

Okoro, who was part of the recent mathematics and spelling bee competition, said that the event opened another vista in his life because of the huge lessons he learnt.

“I was part of the mathematics competition but I was beaten to the second position. However, I was able to clinch the star prize of the spelling bee competition because I encouraged myself not to give up,” he said.