Becky Uba umenyili
Children are indisputably the hope of the future of every nation. Thus, there is a need to train them on paths of good morals and a well-cultured lifestyle.
Globally, the call for proper upbringing of children (and youths) has assumed a clarion dimension such that any nation still in dearth of all the necessary steps to be taken to grant them a dignified nurturing must have its governance re-assessed.
In recent times, there have been numerous cases of abuse of all sorts on children worldwide, but particularly in Nigeria. Suffice it to say that the campaigns by some activists seem to have yielded little or no meaningful result in addressing the plethora of ill reports on the physical, social and psychic assaults rained on children.
To address these abuses, the Child Rights Act of 2003 stipulates several privileges to be accorded children in the country, ranging from the birth-to-kindergarten stage, nursery and primary school, and secondary level of education. A thumb rule of training shows very clearly with convictions that early grooming contributes to good formation. Therefore, it is expected that any child properly trained would become an asset to the family and nation at large.
Since the enactment of the Child Act 2003, most states have adopted the act (except Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Yobe, Kano and Zamfara states).
This means that 28 states out of the 36 states in the country have adopted the act; well, what can we show for it?
If the stipulations in the act are observed and duly implemented by the greater number of states that have adopted the act, it would ordinarily have created a form of endearment to others that are yet to adopt it. However, incidents prove that the rate of abuse of children even in these states that have adopted the act is so alarming that one wonders whether the act is in force or not.
Presently, we live in a generation where abuses seem to have assumed normalcy that would beat the imagination of any orthodox person or body to wonder if we still live in the same world where morale discipline was upheld in a deified manner by parents. It’s no longer news that physical molestation of children, sexual harassment/assault even in homes by the same family members, and unwholesome exposure to economic and social dangers constitute the day-to-day story of a higher percentage of the average Nigerian child.
One would ordinarily tend to assume that such abuses would be found only in low-income homes and setting but alas, that is not so as recent developments point out the hidden ugly sides of some high and mighty in the society (influential homes, posh schools and even religious circles).
As children marked their special day on May 27, it’s important all hands must be on deck to objectively address the many issues of abuses and security lapses that confront these innocent ones and propel them to a dangerous future devoid of sheer goodness, which naturally ought to flow from right tutelage.
A more dangerous situation where children do whatever catches their fancy. No thanks to the pollution of the atmosphere caused by social media and its ‘juicy-toxic’ effects. Entertainments (games, movies, music, publications) have promoted and glamorised social ills. Regulations have not prevented an avalanche of detrimental materials from reaching youths. The Internet has worsened the situation. While enforcement of the set rules must be encouraged at all levels, it is equally important that the government (at all levels) should encourage good publications and educative programmes through research and sponsorship.
The corporate bodies and organised private groups must also include this task in their social responsibility departments. Schools and religious bodies must also play their part in this character formation scheme. Of course, parents are and remain the first tutors of basic morals, especially at an age when it’s easier to develop disciplinary tenets in the children.
Experts think the best way to celebrate the children is to eliminate all sorts of dangers (both present and potential) that line up their paths and engage them meaningfully for a better tomorrow.