The current state of Nigeria is traumatizing to the children. The situation they go through is becoming alarming. The children’s interest needs to be prioritised and given attention. Government should eradicate the problems that children face. The chaos that befalls the children of Nigeria has made us become shadows of ourselves. With the current happenings that affect children; the future of thousands of school children in NorthernNigeria remains bleak as hundreds of schools in some states have been close indefinitely due to rising insecurity.
Many children have abandoned education due to the psychological trauma of witnessing violent attacks or living in captivity. We also have children of the poor whose parents cannot afford to feed, let alone educate them. The gap in the quality of education and care given to the children continues to widen as a result of poor quality of governance. The rate of Nigeria’s out-of-school children has leaped from 13 million to 18.5million, most of them females.
The problems that the Nigerian children face are numerous and these myriads of problems hinder the qualitative growth of the children. Major issues like insecurity, abuses, hunger, starvation, poor health facilities, lack of proper and qualitative education, child trafficking, child labour, and poverty are posing threats to our lives.
The children of Nigeria are making passionate appeal to the government at all levels to create enabling environment to aid their growth, facilitate their wellbeing and prepare them for nation building. We are, however, deeply worried by the brazen corruption, gross absence of role models, unabated killings of innocent Nigerians, soaring unemployment, very poor application of scarce resources, which have made the country laughing stock among comity of nations.
The Nigeria we want is a country that is concerned about citizens welfare. We need visionary leaders to improve our standard of living. We need a country that is concerned about our protection, participation, survival and development. A country that is responsible for the provision of basic amenities for the benefit and comfort of the masses. A country where children are offered compulsory basic education and scholarships to enable them further their education.
We need a country that critically looks into the high cost of living despite the nation’s enormous economic prospects. We need intelligent and broad-minded leaders who will see the whole nation as one united entity. We need a country that has leaders that are not self-centered but have placed humanity in their hearts as part of their responsibility. A country that has stable and qualitative education in tertiary institutions void of strikes. A country that has respect for different ethnic groups and religions.
A country that has an avenue for children to interface freely with leaders and express themselves on issues that bother them. We need a country where the Childs’ Right Act is fully implemented. A country that offers free and quality healthcare services to children and other citizens. We want honest leaders to inspire our generation. Let us seize the opportunity provided by 2023 elections to get leaders who will put smiles on the faces of Nigerians, especially children.
Melvin Nicholas is Speaker Cross River State Children’s Parliament