CHILDREN’S DAY:THE REALITY THAT STARES US IN THE FACE.
Children are the future of every country, they are the bedrock on which the foundation is built.The future lies in their hands and therefore they deserve to be treated well, provided for and protected.A nation that values and protects the rights of its children understands that its success or failure lies in the importance placed on children.
Children’s day, a special day for the children set aside to celebrate the children, understand and protect the children’s rights and needs.
Usually observed every May 27th of each year in Nigeria, the day brings to the fore-front the need to promote and establish actions that will benefit children’s welfare.
The rights of children is of paramount importance when it comes to providing a safe haven for the young ones; the right to quality and affordable education because every child should be given the chance to attend school.
Other aims of the children’s day is to remember the right to protection against violence and sexual abuse, child labour and early marriage of the girl child
Kudos to the Nigerian government on their effort towards education; so far so good, introducing free meal, free books to entice parents to register their wards in school is a nice initiative but children are still seen roaming the streets, hawking wares for their parents.These are children who will in most cases love to be in school but are denied their rights only because their parents/guardians keep singing it into their ears that the only condition for availability of food is only if they hawk.These set of parents/guardians are the ones frustrating the effort of the government and preventing their wards from enjoying one of their basic rights.
What should be done?The government needs to enact a law stating punishment for the parents/guardians of any child found roaming the streets during school hours.As a point of note,this law will only be effective if it is enforced.lf there is no maximum enforcement of this law, the risks such as kidnapping, rape, juvenile delinquency associated with street hawking will be on the increase.
Another issue close to my heart is sexual abuse against children; even though there is a law against rape with a jail term punishment, a lot more still needs to be done.The government should come up with a stiffer punishment to be meted out to an individual who commits the rape offence; I feel life imprisonment is a more deserving punishment.Victims should be rehabilitated so as to make recovery from the trauma associated with rape bearable.
Furthermore,child marriage should be totally eradicated; it is a menace.Why an adult will subject a child to a life of punishment, travail and total injustice beats my imagination.There should be an end to the madness of marrying young girls between the ages of 0-17 years off all in the name of culture and traditional practices.These children are still young, they are not matured enough psychologically or emotionally to deal with marital life; allow them live their age.
As a nation, do we have anything to celebrate? Is our celebration of children’s day complete without over a hundred school girls abducted from a secondary school in Chibok community in Borno State complete?Girls who have become sex slaves in the hands of the extremist group known as the Boko Haram; girls whose innocence have been snatched and made to become an object of sexual satisfaction.This alone is an eye opener to the way the government have failed and deprived these young ones their right to protection against sexual abuse and slavery.
It is high time, our government stopped dragging their foot and solved this never ending mystery surrounding the disappearance of the chibok girls, they’ve only succeeded in failing these youths who were striving towards getting education to become better citizens.I am certain each of them had dreams; dreams that have been destroyed by no fault of theirs, dreams that have been shattered because their government couldn’t guarantee their security.
Nigeria has often come across as a nation known for its complacent way of dealing with issues that affects its citizens, no thanks to government officials siphoning funds meant for human and national development, officials who seem to forget all the promises made to the electorate as soon as they assume office.
The time to make a change is now; we need a ‘re-orientation of our minds.Here is calling on all concerned; parents/guardian, government and indeed every Nigerian to protect the rights of the children,it is high time we rose up to the challenge as a nation and secure the future that is our children.The government should prioritize everything that concerns children,it should show its citizens concern, commitment and empathy and most importantly protect beyond words the rights of the children.
A Stitch In Time Saves Nine.
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