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EDITORIAL

Sparing A Thought For The Nigerian Child

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Today, as on every May 27, we join all well meaning Nigerians the world over to celebrate the child. Our children, who are seen, and rightly so, as the hope of the country, are our cherished possessions-they are the realities of our future. Without them, our hope of building a youthful and productive workforce diminishes greatly and the basic family structure will not be balanced.
It is a day set aside to encourage the welfare of children all over the country.
Children’s Day began on the second Sunday of June in 1856 by Reverend Dr.Charles Leonard, pastor of the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea, Massachusetts: Dr. Leonard held a special service dedicated children. He named the day Rose Day, though it was later named Flower Sunday, and then Children’s Day.

Children’s Day was first officially declared a national holiday by the Republic of Turkey in 1929 with the set date of 23 April. Children’s Day has been celebrated nationally since 1923 with the government and the newspapers of the time declaring it a day for the child.However, it was decided that an official declaration was needed to clarify and justify this celebration and that declaration was made nationally in 1931 by the founder and the President of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
The International Day for the Protection of Children is observed in many countries as Children’s Day on 1 June since 1950. It was established by the Women’s International Democratic Federation on its congress in Moscow (4 November 1949).Major global variants include a Universal Children’s Holiday on 20 November by United Nations recommendation.
Universal Children’s Day takes place annually on 20 November.First proclaimed by the United Kingdom in 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world’s children.
May 27 is traditionally the children’s holiday in Nigeria. First established by the United Nations in 1964, the day remains important in the lives of many Nigerian kids.

The stage is unique because it is marked with moral instructions, home training and fundamental education. It is at this phase that our learning ability develops. If guided in the right path, children can perform marvellously. And if not, they can develop into individuals that are capable of terrorising whole nations.
The welfare of the Nigerian child defines the place of the nation among the comity of nations. Their welfare should, therefore, exceedingly matter to the Nigerian government. The overused Nigerian slogan that “children are the leaders of tomorrow” still exists but many of these so-called leaders of tomorrow are not receiving as much support from their parents and the government. Though the government has so many responsibilities and may give diverse excuses, parents remain the major custodians of their own children.
According to data provided by the CIA World Fact Book, 40.9 per cent of the Nigerian populace is below age 14. Furthermore, information from UNICEF as at 2010 states that 6,332,000 childbirths occur in Nigeria annually. This shows how important they are in Nigeria’s national statistics.

Parents should strive to ensure good parenting instead of pretending to be seriously busy to make ends meet. It is unfortunately true that children often spend more time with unpredictable maids, unrated media content and their peers than with their parents. This often instills bad influences into their lives and is the cause of misconduct.
As we celebrate another children’s day, parents should sincerely evaluate their parent-child relationships. If in doubt that their efforts are adequate or that the children are heading in the wrong direction, they should make proper amendments. They should do these things knowing that vagabonds do not grow from the soil and neither do terrorists fall from the sky.
More often than not, our adulthood is informed by our complex childhood and teenage experiences.
The Nigerian child has everything to celebrate, and the Nigerian state, like a good parent, should provide the basics. Children of today’s political and economic elite should utilise the privilege of their birth to bring some progress and honour to the nation and children of the common man should dedicate themselves to nation building and, together, we will enjoy the benefits of our contributions. Parents, teachers, the government and every stakeholder should, as a matter of national interest, educate the heart of the child.
The federal government should dutifully give proper attention to education-provide books, recruit more teachers, improve welfare of teachers, train teachers, repair infrastructure and so on.

There is a reason so many government school teachers send their children to private schools: they’re in these schools every day. They know how bad they are, and they’re willing to sacrifice to safeguard their children’s future.
The federal government, like UNICEF, should be dedicated to meeting the six of eight goals that apply to the needs of children so that they are all entitled to basic rights written in the 1989 international human rights treaty. UNICEF delivers vaccines, works with policymakers for good health care and education and works exclusively to help children and protect their rights.
The federal government should intensify its effort to ensure that every child is able to attend school and improve their skills set in these schools. The federal government should also ensure strict adherence to implementing policies regarding education to promote peace, respect and environmental concerns.

Universal Children’s Day is not just a day to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring awareness to children around the globe that have experienced violence in the forms of abuse, exploitation and discrimination. Children should not be used as labourers or in armed conflicts or as sexual objects.
As we mark this day for children, it is our considered opinion that the govvernment around the world should do everything within their power to project children from all forms of deprivation and exploitation in order to adequately prepare them for future leadership.



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