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Give children education not a tray to hawk

Children are a heritage from God, the fruit of the womb and a reward of marriage. Before or after a year after marriage, a couple…

Children are a heritage from God, the fruit of the womb and a reward of marriage. Before or after a year after marriage, a couple starts expecting a child! 

And when blessed with children, they are overwhelmed with joy. Children are a blessing and not a burden. They serve as a great support and defense to the family.

 The dream of every couple is to bring up their children the right way; trained to obey and respect their elders, obey civil and religious laws as well as be good citizens of their country. 

 These can only be achieved when their actions and thoughts, are free from vanity.

The future of a country depends on the young ones which is why they are referred to as the leaders of tomorrow.

 However, this statement is contestable as children are also the leaders of today and not tomorrow because the future starts today and now!

Therefore, something needs to be done, which is enforcing the rights of children in education.

 Education is key if a society must develop. We should know that educating our children is not a waste of time or money, but a rewarding and profitable endeavour.

 At the most basic level, education is important because it gives people the baseline skills to survive as adults. 

 These skills include both basic literacy and numeracy, as well as the ability to communicate with others.

 Education is essential for almost every type of job or career and in many cases, it makes the difference between being able to perform a job safely and accurately and not being able to perform at all.

 However, many people believe that education is important in life beyond basic survival skills. 

Eleanor Roosevelt, an American politician, diplomat, activist and longest-serving First Lady of the United States, said that education was essential for the citizenry because it enabled them contribute their quota to their community and country.

Education is important because it helps answer life’s biggest questions including questions of how to live, work and love. 

 It teaches people about the world and the events around them.

The fact still remains that our children need to be educated, and if you say education is expensive then try ignorance.

In countries threatened by insecurity, kidnapping, terrorism, cultism among others, unfortunately, children ultimately pay the ultimate price. 

Children are vulnerable and in most cases considered helpless. 

 In Maiduguri the capital of Borno State, children are scattered all over the streets and bridges, some as orphans or now classified as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The children have turned into labourers working hard to fend for themselves, some homeless and sleeping in garages.

 Children in Nigeria as well as other parts of the world have a right to life, education, healthcare services, and freedom of speech among others. However the rights of these children are abused.

 Walking through ‘Tashar Bama’ in Maiduguri, one is left with nothing but a troubled mind; children are seen wandering all over the street scavenging for food, with the popular word the almajirai say when they are in need of food say ‘alaro’, renting the air, or hawking.

 Some of these children are used by handicapped adults as guides in street begging which makes them fall victim to abuses.

 These children are engaged in child labour which is simply referred to as any hazardous work that is given to children who fall between the ages of 15 to 17 as a result of their poor family background.  It is also seen as any activity that deprives children of their childhood, broadly, any child who is employed so as to feed himself or his or her family is subjected to child labour. 

 Most children who engage in one form of labour often times are perceived to be without manners, as disrespectful to their parents and elders. 

 When the right of a child is being abused, he or she is exposed to crime and thereby increases the rate of juvenile delinquency in the society.

 Some of them become drug addicts since an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.

 These children, especially the girl-child, might be exposed to early and unwanted pregnancy which makes them experience stigmatization in the society. 

 Most of these girls end up aborting the pregnancy thereby committing a grave sin before God and humanity. Some girls lose their lives in the process and some get infected with diseases or end up giving birth to illegitimate children thereby constituting a nuisance to their families.

 We appeal to the Borno State government to ensure that no child is seen roaming the streets or hawking during school hours. 

Both primary and secondary schools in the state should be well-equipped both in personnel and infrastructure to make learning conducive.  

 It also behooves on the state government to create empowerment centers where these children can learn trade or skill, so that they can be entrepreneurial creators and not job seekers. 

Give the child a bed to lie on, a pillow to rest his head, a shoulder to lean on, arms to embrace him, a heart to care and love him. 

 Give him the greatest weapon that can conquer illiteracy, poverty, insurgency, terrorism; give the child education.

 Say, ‘No’ to child labour, protect the young ones from the hot scorching sun, the cold, winds and the rainy days.

 We must make their safety our priority. 

 Put a smile on the face of every child, give the Nigerian child a voice, give him education!

 

Yabawa Lazarus and Winifred  Ijafiya are 300 level students of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri.

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