Children’s Day: Tribute and Plight of the Nigerian Child; By Owoicho Michael Alleh

0
67

THE United Nations (UN) has chosen the theme of this year’s International Children’s Day which will hold on 20th November, 2022 to be “A Better Future for Every Child.” This year’s theme urges the public to advocate, celebrate and promote children’s rights to secure the future of every child. The theme is also to promote awareness among children, togetherness and improving children’s welfare.

Hundreds of Nigerian children are today in captivity due to the activities of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists such as Boko Haram. This is enough evidence to prove that the Nigerian child has no adequate security. Most of these children were kidnapped from their schools or on their way to and from school, thereby making education uninteresting to most children for fear of being kidnapped. A great number of children have been made orphans because of the activities of this dreaded and fierce terrorist groups, thereby making some children victims of circumstances.

On the other hand, all the UN member countries celebrate Children’s Day according to their specified date. In Nigeria, for instance, Children’s Day holds on May 27 every year, and it was first established in Nigeria in1964. This year’s Children’s Day in Nigeria is today, Friday, May 27, 2022.

While it is not a public holiday in Nigeria and businesses stay open, children are, in many cases, given a day off school to celebrate Children’s Day with their families. It is an event celebrated by people and organisations across Nigeria.

Usually, Children’s Day in Nigeria is celebrated with lots of parades and parties. Schools can organise the parades themselves and give children the opportunity to get involved in the celebrations. The Nigerian government organises an annual parade to celebrate the children.  Most of these celebrations are held at local government headquarters, stadia and squares. Television and radio stations give children the opportunity to perform some tasks such as programme presentation and news cast on Children’s Day too. State Governors do make some children have a feel of their seat as a mark of respect for children and to show that they are future leaders. The day is full of events for the children. All these are amazing opportunities given to the children to prepare them for the future task of leadership in every sphere of life.

Having mentioned the relevance of Children’s Day, the glamorous events that underlie the day are gradually disappearing in Nigeria due to observable factors such as insecurity, kidnapping and activities of unknown gunmen all over the nation. The adults who are supposed to lead the children and make this day a memorable one for them have made the day rather bitter for the children.

Today, various issues affecting the Nigerian child have been given little or no attention by the various authorities concerned. These issues include, among others, education, healthcare, security, child abuse and molestation, child labour, child traffic, rape and kidnapping, malnutrition and food insecurity, street hawking, severe hunger, and parental responsibilities. The worst of all is the fact that children also disappear in some ‘houses’ of God that are supposed to be a haven for them.

It is quite shocking that those inflicting these pains on the children are their caregivers whom the children look up to and hold in high esteem. That these prevalent issues are facing the Nigerian child make a mockery of this year’s theme of the International Children’s Day coming up on November 20, 2022.

A great deal of children is facing one kind of abuse or the other at homes, schools and the society generally. Some cannot speak out of fear of being molested the more by their tormentors. Some confide in their parents, but unfortunately, some parents refuse to speak out for fear of victimisation of the child. Many cases of abuse against children brought before the competent court of jurisdiction have been swept under the carpet because the perpetrators do manipulate their way out and go scot free. Issues of child traffic within and outside the shores of Nigeria, street hawking, and child molestations are other pains being inflicted on children by their close relations or guardians.

Education of the Nigerian child has come under serious threat in recent times due to strike actions by teachers, government insensitivity to the welfare of children, including non-provision of instructional materials and dilapidated school facilities all over the nation. Similarly, there is nothing to write home about the health care of the children because of lack of school clinics, and if at all there are school clinics, you could hardly find medical personnel and drugs to cater for the health needs of the children.

Hundreds of Nigerian children are today in captivity due to the activities of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists such as Boko Haram. This is enough evidence to prove that the Nigerian child has no adequate security. Most of these children were kidnapped from their schools or on their way to and from school, thereby making education uninteresting to most children for fear of being kidnapped. A great number of children have been made orphans because of the activities of this dreaded and fierce terrorist groups, thereby making some children victims of circumstances.

The activities of these criminals have displaced most children and their parents today (particularly their mothers) from their original settlements and they are made to become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) spread across different turbulent zones in the northern part of Nigeria. At the IDP Camps, children are exposed to cold, malaria, malnutrition, lack of space and comfort, thereby affecting their social, health and psychological wellbeing.

A great deal of children is facing one kind of abuse or the other at homes, schools and the society generally. Some cannot speak out of fear of being molested the more by their tormentors. Some confide in their parents, but unfortunately, some parents refuse to speak out for fear of victimisation of the child.

Children are great assets to any nation across the world. Any country that plays down the rights of children is doing so to the detriment of its future. The government of the day, parents and guardians, teachers and caregivers are encouraged to help children to safeguard their future as reflected in this year’s United Nations theme: “A Better Future for Every Child.”

Many cases of abuse against children brought before the competent court of jurisdiction have been swept under the carpet because the perpetrators do manipulate their way out and go scot free. Issues of child traffic within and outside the shores of Nigeria, street hawking, and child molestations are other pains being inflicted on children by their close relations or guardians.

The government, on its part, has initiated programmes for the welfare of children among which is the school feeding programme being spearheaded by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Human Disasters Management. However, the programme is not implemented to the fullest due to the activities of some government agents who manipulate the programme for their selfish gains.

Children are great assets to any nation across the world. Any country that plays down the rights of children is doing so to the detriment of its future. The government of the day, parents and guardians, teachers and caregivers are encouraged to help children to safeguard their future as reflected in this year’s United Nations theme: “A Better Future for Every Child.”

The adults have the responsibility of inculcating good morals into the children and make them better than their present in the nearest future. We owe our children a duty to teach them good values that can purge the country of corruption, examination malpractice, rubbery, rape, kidnapping and other social vices prevalent in the country.

As Nigeria celebrate her children on today, it is imperative to reflect on the challenges facing the children and proffer solution to them right from the home front to the entire society. All hands must be on deck to teach children the essence of life and guarantee them a better future.

Happy Children’s Day!

Alleh is an educationist, a writer and language consultant and writes from Jos, Plateau State. He can be reached on Whatsapp: 08073524939 or Email: [email protected]

close
newsletter

Let's Keep you updated

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER AND STAY UP TO DATE

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here