In our nation today, we often sit to discuss 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.” Therefore, it is 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 school, market places, centres of worship, visit friends and loved ones without any fear of insecurity and molestation, which is the irony of today’s Nigeria. We live in a Nigeria where armed bandits/insurgents can walk into any school 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 scholarships for children; a country where there is 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 clime where the voices of children are heard; their opinions and views are put into consideration; a nation where the rights of children are respected and not violated. We need a country where the future of children are guaranteed.
We want a Nigeria where children will also have a say in the political affairs of the country. The government can achieve this by creating platforms like the children parliament all over the country.
The Nigerian child desires a country where the welfare of children will be a major priority of the government; a Nigeria free from hawking by children during school hours to make ends meet.
We need a nation where children will be sure of their next meal; 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 deserted 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 street, live with relatives and strangers, without any fear of harassment or intimidation; a nation where violence against children is not tolerated.
One of the major factors preventing 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 sometimes embezzle funds allocated for nation building/development and hide them in other countries, thereby, denying the Nigerian child of their basic needs/improved standard of living.
Corruption which can be seen as the mother of poverty has made many parents give their children to strangers, with the promise of a good and bright future but in reality, the children often face ordeals such as early/pre-mature marriage, rape, forced labour, child trafficking and so on. Corruption, which is a menace to our society, must be curbed to ensure a safe/promising future for every Nigerian child.
Inasmuchas corruption is not the only factor preventing Nigeria from being a child-friendly country, it is the most discussed because all other factors such as unemployment, insecurity and violation of child rights, revolves around it.
It doesn’t cost much to give children the Nigeria of our dreams; a nation free from corruption, banditry, a country with free scholarship and healthcare services. Creating the Nigeria of our dreams begins with a step. The big question is, who is ready to take that step?
The government should therefore explore every necessary mechanism to prevent corruption in order to create a better society for the Nigerian child.
Let’s kill corruption before it kills everyone.
– JAM is a member, Benue State Children Parliament
Last modified: February 15, 2023