It cannot be debated that children are the future of every country. They are the future of a great nation only if given a solid foundation on which a better society can be built. The direction of a nation therefore can be gauged by the importance that nation places on its children and youths.
The standard practice is to select children from each school to participate in a match-past to salute the state leader in the stadium in competition with other schools. The federal government of Nigeria also organizes an annual parade and selects schools or any other organization that can participate in this event. Sometimes primary and secondary schools participate in military parades and children have an opportunity to do jobs that adults would normally do.
Statistics has shown that about 42% of the Nigerian population are children and 1/3 of children aged from 6 to 14 don’t go to schools. Many children leave schools for different purposes and children’s rights are often violated on daily basis. Unfortunately, the government of Nigeria don’t make much to solve the problems connected with children’s right violation and imperfect system of education.
More also, 70℅ of children live below the poverty line with Nigeria also having a very high infant mortality rate of 93.93 per 1000 births. (This compares to 6.3/1000 in the US).
The children are also exposed to kidnapping, street trading, lack of qualitative education, malnutrition and a host of others. Meanwhile, the idea of dedicating a day for children’s day in Nigeria started in 1964 through the endorsement of the United Nations children’s effort.
This initiative was introduced as a way of protecting the children’s rights against violation of any kind within the member states of United Nation.
Going forward, the deadly coronavirus ravaging the world should sincerely propel us to inquire about the rationale behind this year’s observance of the Children’s Day celebration where millions of people, including young adults have lost their lives to the pandemic.
It is therefore, the opinion of the writer that this year celebration should be focused on solidarity with the adverse prevailing circumstances weighing heavily against Nigerian kids. This would not have diminished whatever achievements the government is making against ensuring the maximum security of the citizenry, but rather portray the government as sensitive and caring for citizens it swore an oath to protect.
Nigeria has in the past made many mistakes where it concerns her citizens, it might not be too late for government to start showing empathy and commitment to things that will make the ordinary Nigerian have a sense of belonging and regale in the thought of being a Nigerian. We are indeed waiting for the end to this whole pandemic.
In addition, this year celebration should be channeled towards protecting the children’s rights that are being violated by the rather seem unruly evil men covered in human skin. The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow and we can’t avoid ruining their future on the altar of Almajiri system, killings, kidnapping, and child trafficking, among other anomalies in our society.
In summary, as we celebrate this year children’s day, we should have this in the back of mind that the greatest asset we can ever invest for our future is to make a champ out of our children by giving them the best gift they would ever imagine. Remember that our kids are our future and they must be cared for if we must achieve our dream as parents or guardians.
– Arogbonlo Israel