Wednesday, May 30, 2012
YHN/CRARN Stigmatized Children Transit Center organises 2012 Children Day Party
Today 27th May 2012, a party tag ‘WE ARE FREED FROM WITCH – STIGMATIZATION PARTY ‘ was organized to commemorate this year children day . Children played together with other street children from adjoining communities and they share their experiences. They plead for full implementation of the state child right law . The newly released 2012 UNICEF NIGERIA CHILD WITCH REPORT summarizes the findings of a research carried out in Akwa Ibom State, and in Eket Senatorial zone in particular, to investigate reports of prevalence of children being accused of witchcraft ). It was also claimed by UNICEF a year ago that about 10 million Nigerian children of school age were out of school. This is in spite of federal and some state governments’ free education programme under the framework of Universal Basic Education programme, and the almajiri education that has just been launched by the Federal Government. But against the backdrop of cultivating culture of peace and security of the Nigerian child, what do the Nigerian children actually need to be, apart from being assets to themselves and to the society? Yet, there is really nothing that we cannot afford for the Nigerian child, such as adequate meals, shelter, good primary health care, committed parental upbringing, good education and guaranteed future of opportunities. Thus, it is not for want of money that most of our children suffer comprehensive deprivation, especially in the context of peace and security. Nor is it for lack of local expertise and foreign assistance to lift our children out of fate that, if care is not taken, could be worse than what their parents experienced in childhood. Rather, it is for want of a broad vision of a greater tomorrow, concerned leadership, focused direction and competent management of the country’s abundant resources. In this regard, at least four of the eight Millennium Development Goals that Nigeria, like the rest of the world, must meet by 2015 focus one way or the other on the conditions of children. But the reports so far indicate that the country may not meet these goals. Why? Because the Nigerian child has continued to be a victim of “adult delinquency” — that is the failure of the older generation to genuinely plan for the child’s future in a most pragmatic manner, backed by political will. Indeed, most adults in high and low positions of authority unwillingly ruin the lives of millions of Nigerian kids through disastrous choices, thus undermining their peace and security. Many of such adults in the political class have not helped matters, as they tend to engage in attitude of profligacy towards politics and governance, which often threatens the peace and security of the children. As a consequence, most Nigerian children become victims of moral dislocation and value-disorientation fostered on them by adults. To that extent, the hardest task or challenge our children face today is that they live in a society where there are very few examples or models to look up to in spite of the long speeches and fanfare that invariably mark the celebration every year. Yet, Nigeria is a unique nation whose predominantly young population holds so much tremendous promise in terms of energy and talent. No serious nation jokes with the future of its children. This implies that Nigeria’s capacity to compete in a world that is focusing on knowledge, skills and ability would depend on the quality of its investment in its young population. Therefore, as Nigeria celebrates another Children’s Day today, I call on our leaders to really look beyond the rituals of speech making and engage in serious, thought-provoking policies, with a view to making more time, energy and resources available for the full-scale development of the Nigerian child. I also call on other state Houses of Assembly that have not passed the 2003 Child Rights Act to do so without further delay. That is the most reliable and sustainable way to ensure peace and security for the Nigerian child, since any country that fails to secure the future of its young generation places its own future in je pardy. Thank you.