It is no longer an exaggeration to say that the security situation in Nigeria is deplorable and that the situation worsens by the day. Years ago, the major security threat experienced in the country was terrorism perpetrated by the Boko Haram sect in the Northern part of the Country and the Niger Delta militants down south. While these acts of terrorism haven’t receded, the country is now unfortunately faced with new forms that have emerged and given rise to serious insecurity in the country.
In recent times, there have been rise in kidnappings in most parts of the country. This is aside the menace of cattle rustlings carried out by bandits in the north-west and central, particularly in Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, and Niger States. This is exacerbated by the protracted incidents of herdsmen-farmers clashes, and most recently the ‘unknown gun men’ in the South East, causing mayhem and killing policemen and vandalising properties. As a direct consequence of the preceding, lives and properties have become insecure as farmers are afraid of going to their farms for fear of being kidnapped or out-rightly killed by insurgents. Oftentimes, unscrupulous elements invade homes and schools, kidnap adults and children for ransom.
Insecurity and the Nigerian Child Children are leaders of tomorrow. They deserve to be protected and supported. They deserve to be educated. Amidst the insecurity being faced in this country, the rights, interests and welfare of children should be paramount. No doubt, in times of insecurity, children are the most vulnerable. They are weak, feeble, and cannot adequately fend for or protect themselves completely from harm. Children require the protection of not only the parents, but the government and the society at large. Owing to the security situation in the country, many children have been made orphans, hundreds of female children have been kidnapped by Boko Haram forces, hundreds of thousands of them are displaced and living in IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps, Boko Haram forces have been known to arm children with suicide bombs and explosive devices and send them to thickly populated places to detonate.
Children’s education is mostly affected. Children of school are currently out of school. The outcome of UNESCO’s research years ago shows that 13 million Nigerian children are out of school and currently, owing to the problem of insecurity, the figure has probably doubled. This situation is not only negatively affecting the present living conditions of the Nigerian child, it also has a negative ripple effect on the future generation. This current state of the nation is and should be a major source of concern to us as a nation and also particularly for us at Lawyers Alerts as a humanitarian civil rights organization. This is a heart-wrenching concern to us. The rights, interest and welfare of children are the center-piece of our mission and vision.
The Way Forward To guarantee the fate, future and try to improve the condition of living of the Nigerian child, it is pertinent to try to put an end to the rising wave of insecurity in the country as this has a direct impact on their wellbeing. And while we are aware that this might be a timely task, steps should be taken to ensure that children are not irreparably affected by this ongoing crisis. To ensure the above, there is no sacrifice on the part of government that is too big.
Written by Ayomide Joshua