Children’s Day: investing in their future

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Students at Ungogo Special Primary School, Ungogo, Kano State. Photo: Daniel Adejo

The celebration of Children’s Day is undoubtedly one of the most recognized days on the calendar. Not just because of its popularity, but because it reiterates the already established point that children are the leaders of tomorrow.

The main objective of the UN in establishing a day to celebrate children is “to promote awareness among children, solidarity and the improvement of the well-being of children as well as to defend the rights of the ‘child”.

The rights of the child in Nigeria have been fully recognized in law. But some parents and society have not yet understood this, thus putting the child in constant danger with activities such as peddling, exposure to vices, communities filled with violence, exploitation and even insecurity. in the learning environment.

In recent times, banditry, kidnappings and rapes have been increasing in society, and the children of school age are the most affected.

The case of five-year-old Hanifa Abubakar, who was abducted by her teacher Abdulmalik Muhammed in Kano State comes readily to mind.

As investigations continue into the inconclusive murder of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni, who also died from severe torture, another report comes in on the case of a 10-year-old student involved in a sex scandal.

The director, GI Azike, said: “With a few of her counterparts, she deliberately participated in a game which they called ‘truth or dare’, a game which brought her and a few other co- learners, to do the immoral act after the lights our instructions were given it is worrying because the parents wonder why the carers were absent and left the children without guidance after the lights went out after paying a certain amount for their trip, which included welfare and security.

A 5-year-old schoolgirl was also raped by a school bus driver. Several children were also affected by a gas explosion that occurred in the Sabon Gari area of ​​Kano, not to mention the seizure by Kaduna bandits of about 120 schoolchildren.

These recurring incidents leave worries in the minds of Nigerians who wonder what the school authorities and the government are doing to secure its future.

A few days ago, 12-year-old Emmanuel Amidu died at Lagos University Teaching Hospital after being whipped by a teacher for incomplete maths homework.

This is worrying as guardians and parents are afraid to send their wards to school to learn due to the constant fear of who is next on the attack list. It is also alarming that our school system is in disrepair, caregivers are negligent in carrying out their duty, making them oblivious to when their wards are in danger, or need guidance or attention. particular.

A mother of 3, Ms Gail ikelle said: ‘As a parent in these times we send our children to school, we are the ones taking a leap of faith and keeping our fingers crossed, most of parents send their children overseas just to keep their children alive for them. My child’s classmate is an example of this, he was removed and taken overseas on the return to school. From the school bus to the man on the bike to the teachers attacking them with words, my child has complained that his teacher is scolding him for everything and nothing seems to be enough. It’s a shame, if my children were up north, they wouldn’t be in school. This celebration is just another day because there’s nothing to celebrate; I can’t even take them out because taking them out with public transport isn’t even not sure because of recorded abduction cases so I prefer to go out alone These children indirectly suffer the effects of these insecurities because they are not comfortable but they have no choice”.

From the school point of view, the authorities cannot be everywhere and most of the time they don’t know the school drivers at their root and the teachers are going through psychological problems. It also affects children who get the wrong orientation at home, due to previous experiences, and could possibly harm their peers. Truth be told, I am constantly in panic mode and all I can do is pray for them.

Primary school teacher Amarachi Ezeigwe said that she dutifully carries out her job as a fully-fledged carer and treats each child individually: “I understand that each child is an individual and I try to create balance between child, parent and child. school and treat their needs differently both academically, socially and as a group, do not spank or avoid any child and create a welcoming discussion in front of my class. It puts them in the right mode for the day and I also create privacy and don’t allow kids of the opposite sex or even the same sex to be in the bathroom at the same time. On children’s day, I also planned for them to talk about children’s rights and theater to drive the point home”.

A school owner, Ms Yetunde Babatunde Olarewaju, spoke on the matter: “I am aware of the insecurity in the country and as a school I have put in place a policy that only parents are permitted to drop off and pick up pupils, and in cases where parents are not present, the parent must give the school adequate notice and details of the person to pick up their wards. to scold or run away Any misbehavior in the classroom is brought to me for assessment and I in turn make the judgment In serious cases we call the parents and we discuss the issue and come to a conclusion on how best to deal with it. treat the child. In the case of a child showing traits of moral harassment, the child is isolated after discussion with the parents and brought to the listening cell”.

A secondary school teacher, Ms Adaeze Ukoh, explained that children should be celebrated no matter what. “Kids should not be denied their day at all. The school continues to challenge itself by ensuring secure entry points into school premises. Also, any abduction case would be at home and not at school. Either way, these children should be celebrated in every way possible, regardless of the situation.”

Child protection

The Safe School Initiative program unveiled in 2014 following the abduction of Chibok girls from the Borno State school should be reviewed and equipped to continue.

Security personnel should be deployed to protect schools from possible damage.

Now is not the time for blame, as everyone should be involved in the fight against this relentless threat.

If these children are not fed, cared for and secured into adulthood, there is no future for the country. Our children are our future and they have the right to be protected.

Written by Nkiruka Nwachukwu, edited by Daniel Adejo

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