The First Lady and President of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, Dame (Dr.) Patience Goodluck Jonathan, has canvassed for the increasing protection of African Children across the continent to mark this year’s celebration of the ‘Day of the African Child’ with the theme, “eliminating harmful social and cultural practices affecting children; our collective responsibility”.The First Lady said the purpose of this year’s celebration is to draw attention on the harmful social and cultural practices against children and highlight the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in order to combat and eliminate practices against children in Africa and globally.
The Day of the African Child draws attention and honour to the memory of those killed and the courage of all those who marched on that fateful day. The Day of the African child has been celebrated on the 16th June, every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the African Union.
Accordingly, Mrs. Jonathan called for the continued advocacy with African governments, civil societies, faith based organizations, the media and communities for a greater mobilization for the rights of children across Africa against harmful practices while urging the review of existing legislative and policy frameworks at all levels to combat and eliminate harmful practices against children. Such practices include as the female genital mutilation (FGM) ;and emphasized that Africans should reaffirm their commitment to nurturing and protecting the children of Africa at all times.
Media Adviser to the First Lady Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele in a statement said Nigerian First Lady, Dr. Patience Jonathan has called for the protection of African Children, just as she expressed sadness about the increasing phenomenal trend of street children back home. She reminded Nigerians that children are growing up without cultural, moral and religious education that normally shape the lives of people. She regretted the absence of guidance for this inexperienced human segment that should, at this stage, be guarded lovingly.
Pointing to the Day of the African Child, as a reminder of the nation’s responsibility towards Nigerian Children, the First Lady said; children are at malleable state as they depend on adults at home, school, church/mosque and community for their mental development. They are more often influenced by what they see than what they hear. It is our collective responsibility to care for what they will become tomorrow by doing what is right always. They are always referred to as leaders of tomorrow and this truth cannot be changed if we do not help chart their tomorrow, their actions can either bring honour or shame to their families, communities and country. If we do not bring them up according to the way that is indisputably good and normal for them, our own nation’s future will be adversely affected.
On the street children, Mrs. Jonathan called on governments, corporate organizations, faith based NGO’s and philanthropists to come together and fashion out the best way to rehabilitate street children before their deviant attitudes become cast in concrete. “We must intervene in the lives of these street children” she said, “before they vent their anger for the neglect experience when growing up. The dimension of such anger when vented is always numbing, terrifying and unimaginable in the world today. When children are neglected as regards housing, clothing and feeding, they may turn to the streets for succor, and fend for themselves. And out there on the streets, there are predators, who exploit and debase them, further. They may even be taught to become haters of humanity and civilization. And if they grow up without basic education and acquisition of occupational skills, as it is most often the case, they ultimately become street urchins. The cases of the almajiris are with us today. The breeding of almajiris must stop, and it is a task for all Nigerians today saying “we are the world, we are helping our own lives”, if we begin to rehabilitate these children today, our families, societies and nation will be a better place to live-in and co-exist.No tags for this post.