The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has raised concerns over the future of Nigerian children and young people, stating that they feel under the most pressure to succeed globally.
UNICEF in the report of its new survey conducted in conjunction with Gallup, and released ahead of World Children’s Day, marked annually on 20 November.
According to the survey, young people in Nigeria face mental health challenges, with 1 in 6 young Nigerians aged 15-24 saying they often feel depressed, have little interest in doing things, or are worried, nervous or anxious.
Also, as much as 85 per cent of those surveyed said they feel a greater pressure to succeed than their elders, making Nigeria the highest of all 21 countries surveyed. The survey examined young people’s opinions about their mental health, worldview, trust in institutions, the importance of equality, climate change, and digital benefits and risks, among others.
The findings from the survey showed that young Nigerians show 72 % more concern than youths from other countries. In the area of finances, young Nigerians show a high level of concern, with 74 percent of females and 66 percent of males worried they don’t have enough money for food.
According to UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Peter Hawkins, “Children and young people in Nigeria clearly have a high level of concern about many and varied issues, compared to their peers in other countries.
We cannot bury our heads in the sand and hope these concerns will go away, we need to take action. And the first step is to solicit their views, really listen closely and allow their concerns and ideas to influence our policy decisions.
The future of Nigeria belongs to its children and young people they have the right to be heard, have their needs addressed and their solutions explored. It is only through commitment to understanding and investing more in our children and young people’s presents and futures that we can maximize every child’s potential and ensure they have a full and happy life.”