The HAWK Project

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 speech of party was as follows ; The preceding philosophical assertion by Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean Poet and Nobel laureate, is certainly expected to engage the minds of the Nigerian political class, parents, privileged business class, traditional rulers, the academic community and other stakeholders as Nigeria joins other countries the world over to celebrate this year’s Children’s Day today with the theme, Let’s build a culture of peace and security for the Nigerian child. This theme cannot be more relevant and imperative than now and forever as the Nigerian child, empirically speaking, has become most endangered in the midst of many abnormal events which have daily continued to shake the foundation and growth pattern of his life. Accordingly, information and data rolled out periodically by credible and reputable organisations have consistently, over the years, portrayed the Nigerian child as having a bleak future, as one almost permanently ruined in inter-religious and ethnic conflicts that stunt his socio-economic growth, and as one bred in a million of endless social strife and instability generated by the greed, selfishness, corruption and incompetence of most of the country’s political, economic, business, religious, traditional and academic leaders. Apart from that, many Nigerian children are still subjected to physical and mental violence, sexual abuse, stigmatized as witches and wizards , neglect and maltreatment, even while with parents or guardians, especially as most parents these days hardly devote quality time to their children, under the excuse of making a living for them. And apart from child labour, many Nigerian children are victims of human trafficking, kidnapping and ritual killing. Thus, a recent study by the International Labour Organisation showed that Nigeria lost 4,000 children to traffickers. 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.
During the party food and drinks were given to the children and the party closed at 4pm. Emmanuel Okon YHN/CRARN Stigmatized Children Transit Center Coordinator

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