In our nation today, we frequently sit to talk over the Nigeria of our dreams. One would ask, “ Are we not living in the Nigeria of our dreams? ” Others may ask, “What are the criteria for Nigeria to be a dream- comes-true for every child? ”As one of the concerned children, who pictures the Nigeria of our dream, I feel obliged to write.
According to the bill of rights and children’s act, “A child is defined as a person under the age of 18 years. ”hence, it’s unarguable that, children are the future of every country, including Nigeria and if tampered with, there would be no future for a great and promising country like Nigeria.
The Nigeria we want is a country where every child should desire to live and grow in.
The Nigerian child desires a country where they can walk freely to academy, market places, centres of hero worship, visit mates and loved ones without any fear of insecurity and disturbance, which is the irony of today’s Nigeria. We live in a Nigeria where fortified bandits insurgents can walk into any academy of their choice, kidnap and kill vulnerable children without fear.
The Nigeria every child desires is a nation where the government can organise local and international education for children; a country where there’s free education for the poor and less privileged in the society. We seek a nation where people would have promising jobs better future awaiting them after graduation.
The Nigeria every child desires is a medium where the voices of children are heard; their opinions and views are put into consideration; a nation where the rights of children are appreciated and not violated. We need a country where the future of children are guaranteed.
We want a Nigeria where children will also have a voice in the political affairs of the country.
The government can achieve this by creating platforms like the children congress all over the country.
The Nigerian child desires a country where the welfare of children will be a major precedence of the government; a Nigeria free from hawking by children during academy hours to make ends meet.
We need a nation where children will be sure of their next feed; a country where our parents are paid their salaries on time to ensure a good standard of living for their children.
The Nigerian child desires a country where we can get free healthcare services in standard and well-equipped government hospitals as opposed to the Nigeria of today where government hospitals are the most times the abandoned and unequipped places to get treated in. More worrisome is the fact that sometimes, bills issued in government hospitals are more expensive than that of the private hospitals.
The Nigeria every child dreams of is a nation where violators of rights of children are brought to book; a country where girls and boys can walk freely on the road, live with relations and strangers, without any fear of harassment or intimidation; a nation where violence against children isn’t permitted.
One of the major factors precluding Nigeria from being a child-friendly nation is corruption.
Corruption is one of the problems that have negatively eaten deep into the bedrock of our country.
Government officials here and there embezzle finances allocated for nation building/development and hide them in other countries, thereby, denying the Nigerian child of their essential needs enhanced standard of living.
Corruption which can be seen as the mother of poverty has made numerous parents give their children to strangers, with the pledge of a good and bright future but in reality, the children oftentimes face ordeals similar as early/pre-mature marriage, rape, forced labour, child trafficking and so on. Corruption, which is a threat to our society, must be curbed to ensure a safe/ promising future for every Nigerian child.
In as important as corruption isn’t the only factor precluding Nigeria from being a child-friendly country, it’s the most discussed because all other factors similar as joblessness, insecurity and violation of child rights, revolves around it.
It doesn’t cost important to give children the Nigeria of our dreams; a nation free from corruption, banditry, a country with free education and healthcare services. Creating the Nigeria of our dreams begins with a step.
The big question is, who’s ready to take that step?
The government should hence explore every necessary medium to prevent corruption in order to create a better society for the Nigerian child.
Let us kill corruption before it kills everyone.
– JAM is a member, Benue State Children Parliamen