Chinedu Ndulue, email@example.com
A Minister and Sociologist, Writes from Abia State
May 27th every year is dubbed Children’s Day. This occasion is celebrated with much fanfare, mostly children-oriented. How Ironical children’s day sounds. A critical look into the world of children globally will actually prompt one to ask, Is it Children’s day or night. Is there much to celebrate with the nightmarish picture observed in the world of children today.
Global statistics on children related problems prove that it is not yet dawn in the children’s world. Some of those issues that present a gory picture of the children’s world include Abysmal number of children, infant mortality-death at birth, through communicable disease, malaria etc. child abuse, child battering, child trafficking, child rape, sexual slavery and other molestation, early marriage, child labor, child soldiers, child abduction and kidnapping, female genital mutilation, children with HIV and AIDS, child malnutrition, abortion etc.
The list of adverse problems that the world’s children pass through is endless. A sample statistics of the global children’s problems will suffice as evidence that it is not yet Uhuru in children’s world. According to world meters world statistics, approximately 125,000 abortions are performed every day, that is more than 42 million abortions every year. What a bloody world!. Man’s hands grossly polluted with children’s blood. That is more than the population of twenty small nations but together. What genocide!
Summarily, 42% of all yearly deaths in the world are from abortion. What a murderous generation. The global infant mortality rate of children one-month-old, according to WHO, stands at 2.7 million; a similar number is stillborn. In 2016 alone, 5.6 million under the age of 5 died, equivalent to 11 children every minute (UNICEF). The effect of global poverty on children is equally massive. According to UNICEF, children represent almost half of all the people living in extreme poverty. Africa, Asia and South America are worst hit by abject poverty among global children. Of all the 65.6 million refugees in 2016 half of them were children according to UNHCR.
Europol further noted that 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children are missing in Europe. From the UNICEF it is revealed that 250 million children are living in countries affected by conflict, you guess how many millions are being liquidated through war-related issues. According to UNESCO 233 million children and youths are out of school. An estimated 61 million children of primary school age are out of school, 53% of the girls according to 30 UNICEF. BBC recorded that Nigeria has the largest number of children in the world who are not being educated, about 10.5 million of them. On health-related issues world bank estimated that 69 million children worldwide suffer from malnutrition.
UNICEF further recorded that nearly half of all the deaths in children under 5 are attributable to undernutrition; which translates into a pitiable loss of about 3 million young lives a year. 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone. Why then do we wonder how the low rate of children’s performance in education in such enclaves? A starving stomach is a great distraction to mental work. It equally has been proved that there is a correlation between intelligence quotient and adequate nutrition. Little wonder global health agencies are championing the distribution of vitamin A, which improves mental development among children in developing nations. According to UNICEF, it is estimated that 153 million children worldwide are orphans. Most developing nations have no problem made for such children both in legislation, policies, or institutional activities, hence most orphans are left to their fate. From ILO record 168 million children worldwide are subjected to child labour.
The list of severe situations the children of the world are subjected to are endless. What rather made the matter worst is that there is no hope in sight of alleviating most of these problems. This deducible by low inclusion of children matters in the legislative agenda, most developing nations equally lack formidable pro children. Budgetary allocations to most sectors that deal directly with children’s affairs are at a very low ebb. In most African nations education, health and similar sectors that are linked to children’s welfare still receive meager attention. In summary, governance in developing nations shows little child-friendly disposition in vision, goal articulations, and governmental activities.
An overview of children’s world today portrays precarious situations that demand emergency actions. The case of child rape is at the front burner in developing and developed nations alike. Litany of cases of the abominable acts ritually strains our dallies today. Unimaginably, children as low as a year old are also being molested. What makes the matter worst is that most predators of the innocent children are close relations, unbelievably parents most of the time are guilty. Home is not even safe for children today, what a world. The frequency of this incidence is bewildering. The question that begs for an answer, is what have the government in most of these nations where children are sexually molested put in place to checkmate the perianal evil. How many of these offenders have been convicted? Little is known of this apart from the initial flashing of the case of the dallies. Lope holes in legal stipulations and poor law enforcement structure ensures that most cases die sooner then than they are heard of.
Children in their thousands are brutalized in most homes today. Often children sent to such homes as house help end up being turned to slaves. While a good number of them living with their parents are equally abused. Instances abound of children inflicted with deadly injuries. On one occasion one was branded with a hot iron by the mistress. Some often tied or chained them like animals and starved them of food. Some beaten to pulp and most cases ostracized under the suspicion of witchcraft. These children are meted with despicable treatments and abandoned to wander like lost puppies even sometimes by their biological parents.
Children today are traded like commodities, sold sometimes by parents who blame poverty for the abominable act. Houses of horror exist in some African Countries where often under-aged children are lured to get pregnant and are paid a pittance for the children they are delivered off by such illegal institutions. Such children are in turn marketed to any other buyer ready to pay a huge amount of money under the pretense of giving them out for adoption. Certainly, most of the children fall into wrong hands who need them for other nefarious activities, some of them are ritualists. Some of these illegal institutions often operate under the feigned cover of running orphanage homes. Recently in Nigeria, a man and his wife sold their child for N300,000.00, and the child was further resold by the buyer for N350,000.00, thank God they were apprehended, how many of such cases happened today unnoticed, is it actually Children’s Day? I doubt. Instances abound of children snatched or stolen from their owners, often by the nannies, maids, or outright strangers.
Child trafficking is a billion-dollar business and equally a global phenomenon. Children in their thousands are now under every guise exported like goods to many countries, particularly developed nations of the world. The agencies undertaking this evil trade run a mafia kind of network that beat all security surveillances and apparatus. Most of these children land in a brothel as sex slaves, others are found in forced labor camps and factories. It beats one’s imagination that the Civilized worlds are mostly guilty of this. Children’s innocence due to these ill actions nipped in the bud by a wild and lustful generation who ought to know better. Most of the children pass through heartless and nightly circumstances in that evil captivity, out of the scour of relations and help of nations where they are taken. The world bodies have not done much to break the network of these hellish syndicates and save children from the nightmarish situation they are subjected to.
Children pornographic agencies abound, this is equally a multibillion-dollar business: the young souls by this satanic merchants are subjected to gruesome ordeal to satisfy lost pedophiles hellish cravings. Adults who ought to play a fatherly role and protect the young are the ones who sent them to the immoral slaughter slab. The agencies exploit the gore situations bedeviling children’s world, poor parenting, to absentee parents, homelessness; runaway children fall easily into their web.
In some of the communities in developing nations, children are still subjected to the barbaric custom of genital mutilation. Die-hard culture enthusiasts maintain this crude early man custom in the name of cultural revival. Not only are such victims denied future conjugal pleasure, but most are also exposed to irreparable damages and diseases such as viscous vaginal fistula (VVF) and HIV/AIDS, due to crude and unhealthy way such practices are carried out. In some enclaves, also children’s faces are disfigured in the name of giving them tribal marks. Other unhealthy practices abound especially in the developing nations of the world.
Child marriage is still a big problem mostly in Asian and African countries. Odd sentiments have hindered such nations to the key to globally accepted age of marriage. In these nations, children who barely understand who they are, are sold out in marriage, at times to some who are old enough to be their grandfather. Such children go through great physical and emotional torture, performing roles that they are not yet prepared emotionally and biologically to perform. Some of these children further have their cases complicated for preventable diseases like VVF they are inflicted with for being too young to give birth. Good numbers of the so-called husband often abandon the children who fall victim of VVF. They look out for other preys and the evil circle continues, what a day for the global children.
Africa and some other developing continents are guilty of conscripting children into the Army. These young ones barely close to puberty are forcefully snatched by these warlords to become their foot soldiers. They are drugged and turned beast of war. These infant soldiers often turn monsters, they savagely commit atrocities; visiting most of their victims with gross despicable hurt, they maim, rape, and even cannibalize their victim, who are mostly the opponents of the warlords. At the heat of the battle, the warlords turn these children to human shields. These children at the end of the war are left with different psychological complexes that seem very difficult to heal. They may become too dangerous to their communities due to the hand over of evil they have been impacted with.
Infant mortality is still on the rise in most developing nations of the world. Apart from those who die at birth, millions are now down by childhood related diseases. Communicable diseases are still ravaging children’s world un-assuaged; polio is still a major issue in most developing nations.
Regrettably, malaria kills 1000s if not million of children around the globe. HIV/AIDS ravages the world of children unmitigated. Thousands of AIDS orphans live around the world. Some even playing adult roles in circumstances where there are no close relatives to cater for their younger ones. Little or no help in the most case come from the government.
Children in their millions are still suffering from gross undernourishment. The required global accepted ratio in feeding are hardly met in most developing nations. In most cases, children starve to death, even this 21st Century that most developed nations don’t know what to do with the surplus of annual food production.
All over the world, millions of children are homeless. In America, Brazil, or Nigeria the story is not different. The children are left to roam the street like a wild kitten. Expose harsh treatments of criminals equally exposed to criminal activities. Most of them turn to crime for daily sustenance, a good number of young girls become prostitutes. These young ones easily succumb to drug culture, cultic activities, and gangsterism. Having been denied home nurture and love, they turn daredevil visiting mayhem on the citizenry. A case report recently on NTA buttresses the fact of great evil homelessness. In that case, criminals adopted the children whom they employed for their nefarious activities; one was even exposed to cannibalism. The homeless children are often preyed by ritualist, cases abound of homeless children killed for rituals.
Educationally, children are not having it rosy either. From the statistics showed earlier in this write-up, millions of children of school age are out of school. Even those in school are not having it better. The quality of education provided in most developing nations is at its lowest ebb. High inadequacy of educational infrastructure and instructional materials help in compounding the matter. The cost of education is so high that most average families find it difficult to foot the bill of school fees. The harsh economic condition and failure in governance all help to aggravate the problems. You can imagine in some of the nation’s parents are owed several months of salaries. Under such conditions, it becomes an uphill task to finance their children’s education. This in turn fuels the high rate of school traders to argument whatever little their parents eke out of from other sources. What terrible way to treat world children.
Apart from societal failure on proper children’s welfare, families are grossly failing on their roles towards the children. The family is the first institution children interact with. The family when in its right elements are the child refuge of rest, and fortress from the world’s hurts. Most, unfortunately, the family today is falling in their basic divine assignments of nurturing, training and protecting the children. Some families have even turned hell for the children or what do you have to say of fathers who like a wild beast “devour” their own children. These fathers threw caution and morals to the wind by having carnal knowledge of their daughters. A dog eating the bone hung on its neck, you may say. Children apart from maltreatments from some unscrupulous parents suffer great negligence at home. Some parents have abnegated their roles to nannies, maid, or television. These further expose the children to different forms of abuse. Money, career advancement, academic accomplishments have stolen most parents’ attention. These children are left to the whims and caprices of neighbors, media mentors and models, who are today actors and actresses. The hick in violence and under forms of criminally among world children conforms they are good pupils of the media schools however in a most despicable sense.
Negligence of Children by parents further exposes them to other forms of abuse by adult projectors. Children are further denied needful emotional support which they ought to get from adequate normal parent kids relationships. Children’s personality complexes are then skilled, most of them suffering from emotional imbalance, plagued by dangerous ill of low self-esteem. These further open them up or make them prone to promiscuous living, cultism, rancorous outlandish lifestyle, which are symptomatic of unmet parental love and denied parental attention and care. Hence the weird lifestyle o most of the children today have at its root parental and home failure to generously lavish love and attention on the children. The out-of-the-world dressing and behavior are craved for the attention they miss at home. Some of these children are predisposed to drugs, cultism, brazier fashion, weird music, and dance steps. Provided anyone is generous enough to have a glance at them.
Far from children’s day, the world of children is on a terrible night. Drug addiction, street gangsterism, etc are other great captivities children languish in. the question is when will it be a real day for the world children?.
Our governments have much to do with the issue at hand. The need for visionary child-friendly governance is long overdue. It is high time the UNO understood the high risk and ill-treatment children all over the world face. There is a need for a special forum to address global children’s problems. If necessary similar forum held on women related issues at Benjin. Such conference should come out with visionary resolutions to counter the gross global children’s predicaments. Further practical Programme meant to address the problem with a targeted timeline similar SDGs should be created. All nations of the world should be persuaded to be a signatory to such resolutions and key into implement the adopted frameworks. The Programme should be all-embracing and should address all areas of the challenges the world children face. Nationally, our legislation and policies should be children friendly. Budget allocations should be made to reflect government understanding of the urgent need of ameliorating such problems the children wallows in.
When necessary Adhoc agencies could be created by the government to address urgently the need of children to ensure quick actions and elimination of all bottlenecks, such agencies could be under the supervision of any designated ministry. All the ministries designated to take care of children related problems should up their games. Government at all levels should increase funding of ministries and agencies whose duties are to ensure that those problems children pass through are sufficiently tackled. Home programs have grown to ensure adherence to the peculiarities of our cultural milieu should be created to tackle children’s problems. The three tiers of government showed adequately key into such programs.
Our legislations on issue boarding on child victimization, exploitation, and molestation, etc. should be reviewed and strengthened. This will close up legal loopholes that enable child offenders to wriggle out of cases unconvicted. There should equally be proper legal education for the populace to be adequately enlightened on how and where to seek redress if need be.
Designated organizational platforms should be created where people easily lodge complaints. Such agencies should be devoid of all bottlenecks witnessed in our law enforcement organization. They may have hotlines that will be available for quick and easy to reach by complaints. This organization should possibly be empowered by law to take quick preliminary actions, to safeguard children’s life or apprehend child offenders for prosecution. This will make for quick dispensation of necessary actions lacking in most government institutions taking care of children cases. Most of them are equally weighed down by compromise.
Massive pro-children reorientation should be orchestrated. African people’s nay Nigerian mentally need reengineering to cure our inherited negative world view of seeing children as property. This enlightenment is to create a child-friendly society, where children are loved and cared for. Our essential philosophy or communal child ownership and training should by the sensitization be restored. Children should be seen as individuals who equally have rights, yet not in the sense of the civilized world that entrenches and encourages prodigality. NOA and other related agencies like NYSC can champion the enlightenment campaign. Such campaigns could be funded by the government and other cooperate entities.
We equally need more private advocacy groups to come to the front line of this to rescue children from the dragons of today’s world. NGOs, FBOs, corporate agencies should of necessity answer this urgent clarion call to rescue our beloved children. They should come up with visionary programs that will address all aspects of the problems confronting children. Corporate organizations should see the children challenge as fertile ground for the seeds of their corporate social responsibilities to be sown.
Wealthy individuals should toe the steps of Bill Gates, Aliko Dangote, and other world-renowned philanthropists. Many areas of needs abound that their foundations could cater for to solve the world children’s problem. Homes to keep and care for the homeless children will not be a bad idea. Endowments for ensuring adequate education of orphans could be created. This could be similar to the school Opera Winifred built for indigent South African girls.
Rehabilitation homes for drug addicts could sprout up with the help of our philanthropists in different states of the nation. Children and youth development centers for healthy training and positive engagements of children and youths will keep a lot of John and Mary out of gangsterism and cultism. For idle hands and minds will remain the devil’s tools. Children’s hospitals with little or no fee could address a whole lot of child-related diseases. Enforcement could as well be donated to our institutions for researches on children related issues; e.g health, crime, education, abuses etc.
To your homes oh parents, let us make it children’s day indeed. The rules should be God first, children next. According to a writer, the greatest gift we can give to our children is not a cell phones, laptops, or even cars. The craze of some parents today who lack adequate knowledge of children’s upbringing is to give a child below ten years a gift of a car worth millions for a birthday gift. The greatest gift your children need is you. Be available, enter their world, explore it with them, discover their fear, dry their tears, show, and tell them you care. Shower them, love, you don’t need to be a billionaire to have love aplenty but you must have Jesus the fountain of pure love to have love enough for your children. Let the love of God be shed abroad in your heart through His salvation money, shoe, ice cream and cake can’t make up for the gift of your tangible presence. Remember, you have great work at home and that is your children up bring. Remote parenting will not do either. Daddy at New York children at Lagos, meeting on GSM platform or even teleconference will not do. Far from that, children need the smell, the touch, laughter, frown, and kisses of mum and dad. These are great icing that gives child upbringing its toast. The tangible part of relationship is often the miracle wand in a healthy child upbringing.
For other adults in our society, we all were once children, we all passed through the world. We wouldn’t have become what we are today if the adults we met when we were children made the world unbearable for us. It took their care, love, and training to get us to where we are today. Let us reciprocate that gesture to children today. Show children love, let the communal parenting and care we enjoyed being given to today’s children. The predators among us should visit Calvary for removal of the fangs of unbridled lust and cruelty that have made children’s lives unbearable, God’s salvation ensures that. Let Jesus the lover of children have a place in their hearts. He promises a change (1 Corinthians 5:17) with the new nature of Christ-likeness children will be saved in such hands.