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Children pawn for begging: Our future woes

 In all states of the federation, it is not surprising to see children attached to beggars asking for aid. It bleeds my heart because I…

 In all states of the federation, it is not surprising to see children attached to beggars asking for aid. It bleeds my heart because I see the future of Nigeria that is hopeless though that child. It is a familiar sense to see children begging alongside their parents especially when such a parent is handicap or physically unstable. It is also not surprising that mothers of multiple babies hang at the roadside begging for arms with the babies either sleeping or feeding from a hungry breast. The most annoying of it all is when parent who are not in any way handicap but also engage in begging alongside with their children. 

This is disheartening and the height of child abuse owing to the fact that Nigeria has a child Right Act which supposed to protect the right, dignity and vulnerability of a child. These children are made to walk a long distance in hunger, wearing unpleasant clothes and most of all in all weather conditions. They are exposed to all sorts of risk which include but limited to accidents, kidnapping, sexual exploitation especially for the female child, health challenges as well as learning dubious behaviors which may likely metamorphose into criminal activities and consequently may put the society into jeopardy.

A close interaction with some of the kids whom I had to give money and beverages to get their attention, I observed that they are being feed with an ideology that begging is the only way to have food to eat as well as the only way out of penury. I also observed that these children are used to attract sympathy from people who would want to help because of their condition. Furthermore, it is on record that most of these beggars made close to N 2000 and above on daily basis. These children serve as a gate-way or a means of distorting money from people. 

These children yearn for a better life like what their mates have. They yearn for a family that guarantee their protection, they yearn for good and quality education, access to quality health care and above all they yearn for the restoration of their childhood when their parents and the society have to bed them off. It is time for child right activist, social and child welfare workers and the society as a whole to stand up against the use of children pawn for begging on the street. There is a need for a wakeup call to all parents and beyond to avert children pawn for begging as it is a future woe to our dear nation. 

Ekpe Madonna Uchechi, Bayero University, Kano

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