Have you ever imagined that there is a distinction between the act of celebrating Children’s Day and celebrating Children themselves? Children are gifts from God. For most persons, it is a sign of a fruitful marriage. This is why it is very important for every society to take good care of children.
It`s sad that we come on (May, 27) every year in Nigeria to celebrate the gift of Children. But day after day, Children in our dear country Nigeria suffer in our hands. It is on this note that I have decided to make a review of our daily attitude towards Children in our society.
THE IDEA OF CHILDREN’S DAY
The earliest celebration of Children`s Day can be traced back to the United States of America in 1857, where a specific Pastor Charles Leonard held a help for kids at his congregation. Locally, the help got known as Children`s Day.
After that point, comparative festivals to commend youngsters started to happen in various pieces of the world. The International Children`s Day was first set apart in Turkey on April 23, 1920. Afterward, on June 1, 1925, during the World Conference on the Welfare of Children, the International Children`s Day was proclaimed.
The prospect of a Universal Children`s Day was embraced by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1954. In the year 1959, the UN General Assembly embraced the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on that very day while the authority order on the insurance of kids` privileges was set up on November 20, 1989. Nevertheless, the day for children’s day celebration varies from country to country. The idea behind children’s Day celebration is alien to African history and tradition.
Not that African child is not valued and regarded as a precious gift from the almighty God. Rather it is believed there are limitations to their liberty and affection so as not to spoil them.
For example, only the twins are revered as special strain and blessing to the society and so they are sometimes celebrated through public funfair of drumming, dancing which also involves a parental display.
Today, the World concept ‘Universal Children’s Day‘ has ensured unification and togetherness in celebrating values intrinsic in children as a core asset of nation-building.
CHILDREN’S DAY CELEBRATION IN NIGERIA
May 27 is traditionally the day that Children’s Day is celebrated in Nigeria. Despite the fact that it`s anything but an overall population occasion in Nigeria, the day is saved to respect the more youthful age.
In this manner, essential and auxiliary youngsters are given a vacation day from school. Notwithstanding the merriments and festivities of Children`s Day, this date likewise serves to perceive that all minors and kids reserve the option to wellbeing, schooling and security.
Several social activities are carried out on Children’s Day, varying from excursions, parties, funfairs, parades, etc. Most of these activities are held at special centers like stadiums, amusement parks, and other notable places. Many also take the day out to reach out to children and help them in several ways. Parents celebrate their children too on this day, by getting them presents, taking them out on excursions, and giving them a treat. Children’s Day is one dedicated to celebrate childhood’, it is on this day that tribute is paid to all children in the world.
Children are loved by one and all and they win over our hearts with their angelic eyes and innocent smiles. THE BIG QUESTION ABOUT THIS CELEBRATION At this time in Nigerian, the big question we have to answer orbits around our disposition to children. How well have we defended the rights of children in Nigeria? How much have we achieved in favor of children for which we have to celebrate? Below are some of the issues we would have to address before we can meaningfully celebrate Children`s Day in Nigeria.
1. CHILDREN’S DAY-Child Education
Even though primary education is officially free and compulsory, about 10.5 million of the country’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school. Only 61 percent of 6 – 11 year-olds regularly attend primary school and only 35.6 percent of children aged 36-59 months receive early childhood education.
In the north of the country, the picture is even bleaker, with a net attendance rate of 53 percent. Getting out-of-school children back into education poses a massive challenge. Gender, like geography and poverty, is an important factor in the pattern of educational marginalization.
States in the northeast and northwest have female primary net attendance rates of 47.7 percent and 47.3 percent, respectively. Meaning that more than half of the girls are not in school.
The education deprivation in northern Nigeria is driven by various factors, including economic barriers and socio-cultural norms and practices that discourage attendance informal education, especially for girls.
The aim of UNICEF’s education program is to support the government in achieving SDG 4 by 2030 through improved planning and by addressing some of the systemic barriers that hinder the implementation of an effective education strategy.
2. Child trafficking/Adoption:
Trafficking in human beings and more especially, trafficking in Children has been on a rise across the globe.
Trafficking on the other hand is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receiving of persons, by means of threat.
Other forms include the use of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power. Or giving or receiving payments and benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation.
Poverty is a major factor responsible for child trafficking in Nigeria. Impoverished families have limited choices than to abandon their children.
For example, where a poor family consists of nine children, the parents will have no option other than to entrust some of their children to a trafficker who promises to take their children abroad to make money and live a better life.
The first solution to this problem is to create awareness. Poverty is a major factor responsible for child trafficking in Nigeria. Impoverished families have limited choices than to abandon their children.
3. Children hawking on the street:
Most of the Nigerian guardians accept that youngsters are their God-sent assistants both for monetary reasons and other shrewd.
This is the reason numerous Nigerians need to have kids until advanced age. Most normal Nigerians don`t consider road selling by kids and some other youngster work rehearses are viewed as a feature of the socialization interaction in the general public. In Nigeria today, hawking by children of school age is not entirely new in society. But we know that street hawking creates room for lack of seriousness and interest in school work, poor memory, learning difficulty and underachievement.
4. Child (sexual) Abuse:
Child sexual abuse in Nigeria is an offense under several sections of chapter 21 of the country`s criminal code. The religious and communal stigma associated with surrogacy and adoption has created a rise in baby factories in Nigeria.
A large number of female victims in the baby factories are young adolescents. Operators of the baby factories mostly prey on pregnant young girls who are from lower-income households, unmarried and are afraid of the public stigma associated with teenage pregnancy.
Though, majority of the girls who enter the factory are pregnant some of the girls in the factories were kidnapped or bartered to the operators.
These girls are then raped solely for the purpose of procreation. One of the traditional means of socialization of children is through trading.
However, the introduction of young girls into street trading increases the vulnerabilities of the girls to sexual harassment. Sexual abuse of young girls in Nigeria is linked to child labor. It is a very pitiable situation.
We can conclude at this point that Nigeria as a nation still has a lot to achieve. We must learn to value the lives of the children that God in His benevolence has given us.
Children are the leaders of tomorrow, the future of every family and the hope of continuity for any nation. There are many good things that we can do for children. Let us, therefore, think of how to give our children hope of a brighter future.
At this point, I dare to say that, until the above issues raise and some others not mentioned are addressed properly in Nigeria, our celebration of Children’s Day remains hypocritical. Let us protect children’s right to life and put an end to abortion, adoption, kidnapping and trafficking. Let us give them sound education.
My proposed exercise to everyone, to mark this year’s Children’s Day celebration is to go out and try to wipe the tears of that child crying for help.
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