By OBILOR GRACECLIFFS EBUBECHUKWU
In the African Communities, the African Child have been deprived of so many things, their Rights to Free and Compulsory Education, A child friendly environment and most importantly Parental guidance.
The African Child’s Day has been existing since 1991 on every 16th June. It was first initiated by the OAU (Organization of African Unity). On the African Child’s Day, we raise awareness for the situation of the African Child and their needs.
Let me bring it down to our Country Nigeria: WHAT IS THE SITUATION OF A NIGERIAN CHILD?
DO THE CHILDREN HAVE ACCESS TO A CHILD FREINDLY JUSTICE SYSTEM?
In our country Nigeria, Children are experiencing so many ugly situations, most of the children nationwide do not have access to free and compulsory education and a quality justice system. Imagine a child who should either be at home or in school hawking wares on the streets under the hot sun just to put food on the family table, and they are exposed to so many harsh situations while hawking. The Nigerian Child have been deprived of their Childhood.
In Nigeria, Child Molestation is the order of the day and we are doing little or nothing about it, our Girl Children get Raped at their tender age and the boy children get abused at their tender age, they have no one to speak to because of lack of proper Parental Guidance, there is no child friendly justice system to even bring the Culprits to book.
As a Country, what have we offered to the Nigerian Child? Have we failed them? Are they disappointed in Us?. On the streets of every city, we see upto 10 or 20 children moving about, most of them are just beggars, looking so malnourished and sick, these kids are the bread winners of their families, they work tirelessly to make ends meet. If you move to construction sites, you will see children there working as aides to the bricklayers just to make little money for food and probably for their education.
These Children should have access to free and compulsory education in Nigeria but not any more, the government is not helping matters either, they always talk about their efforts towards the provision of stable Education for the Nigerian Children but when you speak to these children, you will find out that there are still payments which they will make to the school authorities and I ask “Can’t this Education be made Totally Free?”
Today is the International African Child’s Day and I urge every adult to make sure that the African child gets proper attention. I urge the government to provide a Child-friendly justice system. I urge the parents and guardians to allow these children to be children, allow them to have their childhood.
Finally, all hands should be on deck to protect the African Child.