A GOOD CHILD, A GOOD PATRIOT. HOW TO BE A GOOD AMBASSADOR IN THE SOCIETY AS A CHILD
WHO IS A CHILD?
There is no definite definition of a child, but the general definition of a child is any human being below the age of eighteen (18) years.
A child has also been defined to mean a person under the age of fourteen years and a young person to mean a person who has attained the age of fourteen years and is under seventeen years.
Oxford Living Dictionaries defines a child as a young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority.
The English dictionary also defines a child as a person who is below the age of adulthood; a minor gloss person who is below the legal age of responsibility or accountability.
WHO IS A PATRIOT?
A patriot is a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion, a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference. Patriotism on the other hand is a love for one’s country and a desire to make her better.
However, it is unfortunate that many Nigerian youth have lost patriotism, they are busy running and hustling for personal wealth or survival while the basis and source of the green opportunity is rotten as a result of corruption and political malpractices.
However, patriotism is one of the best qualities that any well-thinking youth can possess. Patriotism does not simply entail loving Nigeria, patriotism also entails loving each Nigerian, young and old, making active, healthy no matter the tribe, gender, religion or ethnic coloration and positive contributions to the development of the country.
It entails having enough passion for this country to comment on the issues that affect the country and to demand the policies to alleviate the issues that face the country. Whenever one speaks about the issues, one must not do it solely for the sake of sounding intelligent, or to signal any political ambitions or intentions, but as a testament of one’s passion for national development, which.
In my opinion, is one of the hallmarks of patriotism.
Patriotism is important in the lives of youth today for several reasons. One is because the youth of today will inherit the nation tomorrow, if the youth do not become involved in making our nation better they may not receive a nation worth inheriting.
Secondly, the nation built by today’s youth will be the nation they will pass along to their own children, and if today’s youth wish their children to have a better Nigeria, the youth of today must protect and defend the nation by supporting our country’s greatness and working to make her ever better.
Finally, the youth of today owe a debt to those of the past who sacrificed, worked hard and even died to build us a country calls Nigeria. To keep faith with those who have gone before and upon whose toil and sacrifice the nation was built, youth need to show patriotism. Also we (youth) need to actively advocate for the policies and laws to put our country in the right direction. That way, it is hoped that more opportunities can be created locally for us (youth) to take advantage.
CHILDREN RIGHT RELATING IT TO PARENTS WHO SEND THEIR CHILDREN ON HAWKING
Children’s rights are human rights. They protect the child as a human being. As human rights, children’s rights are constituted by fundamental guarantees and essential human rights:
Children’s rights recognize fundamental guarantees to all human beings: the right to life, the non-discrimination principle, the right to dignity through the protection of physical and mental integrity (protection against slavery, torture and bad treatments, and so on.)
Children’s rights are civil and political rights, such as the right to identity, the right to a nationality, and so on.
Children’s rights are economic, social and cultural rights, such as the right to education, the right to a decent standard of living, the right to health, and so on.
Children’s rights include individual rights: the right to live with his parents, the right to education, the right to benefit from a protection, and so on.
Children’s rights include collective rights: rights of refugee and disabled children’s, of minority children or from autochthonous groups.
There are Ten basic rights of a child and they are; with some additional rights provided under the Child’s Right Act, 2003 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child which was enacted in 1989.
1. Right to life: Everybody including a child has right to life and nobody shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.
2. Right to Identity: Every child is entitled to a name, family, registration of birth and nationality. This is to ease proper identification of a child such as having proper record of birth and existence of such child.
3. Right to freedom of association: Every child is free to belong to any association or assembly according to the law. Thus, a child just like every other citizen of Nigeria has the right to assemble freely and to associate with other persons.
4. Right to freedom of expression: Every child has the right to express his opinion and freely communicate them on any issues, subject to restriction under the law. He or she has the right to give ideas and provide informations without interference.
5. Right to privacy: Every child is entitled to protection from any act that interferes with his/her privacy, honour and reputation.
6. Right to leisure and recreation: Every child is entitled to adequate rest, recreation leisure and play), according to his or her age and culture.
7. Right to Education: Every child (male or female) is entitled to receive compulsory basic education and equal opportunity depending on individual ability.
8. Right to Health and Health services: Every child is entitled to good health, protection from illness and proper medical attention for survival, personal growth and development.
9. Right to Protection: Every child has the right to protection against inhuman treatment and exploitation. Every child must be protected from indecent and inhuman treatment through sexual exploitation, drug abuse, torture, maltreatment and neglect.
10. Right from every form of discrimination : No child should suffer any form of discrimination irrespective of ethnic, origin, birth, colour, sex, language, religion, political and social benefits, status or disability.
CHILDREN RIGHT RELATING IT TO PARENTS WHO SEND THEIR CHILDREN ON HAWKING
The specter of small children toiling long hours under dehumanizing conditions in Nigeria is worrisome. Nothing demonstrates how poignantly the world impoverishes itself and endangers her future than the recent revelation by the United Nations (UN) International Labour Organisation (ILO) that there are an estimated 168 million child labourers worldwide.
In a statement to commemorate the ‘2015 World Day Against Child Labour’, the ILO explained that these children are aged between five and 14 globally and work in hazardous, low-paying and undignified conditions inimical to their health.
According to the ILO, Asia and the pacific region still have the largest total number of child labourers numbering about 78 million, sub-Saharan Africa continues to record the highest number of child labourers relative to population with a figure of 59 million i.e. 21 per cent of this disadvantaged population.
It is noteworthy that the United States (US) Department of Labour in its 2010 report claimed that Nigeria was then witnessing one of the worst forms of child labour.
The agency pointed out that the situation was worse in agriculture and rural areas where children worked for long hours and for a meagre pay with their families.
There is no doubt that the conditions in Nigeria have worsened considerably since then. The quality of governance has deteriorated badly. Corruption in particular has grown to unprecedented levels with corresponding decline in the diverse spheres including education, health care and job opportunities.
Indeed, Nigeria is reputed to have one of the highest rates of school age drop- outs in West Africa. It is not surprising that in most of our major cities, thousands of under-aged children who should be in school engage in street trading or serve as domestic servants while others are barely literate apprentices to mechanics, vulcanizes, carpenters, panel beaters and other menial workers.
This dismal situation in Nigeria has unquestionably been alarmingly compounded by the Boko Haram insurgency which for the last five years disrupted security of lives and property in large swathes of Northern Nigeria.
A thorough study is certainly needed to accurately assess the implication of the brutal campaign against western education in the region by the insurgents for youth education and child labour.
Fourteen years after Nigeria adopted international prohibitions on child labor into law, millions of children in the country are still engaged in child labor activities.
The International Labor Organization estimates that about 25 percent of Nigeria’s 80 million children under the age of 14 are now in the work force.
One of the greatest problems confronting our society today is child labour. Child labour refers to the employment of children in a manner that deprives them of their childhood and brings harm to their physical and mental development. Child labour should be seen based on the dangers it has on the children and the society at large.
In most cases, child labour involves children working under terrible conditions and missing school. Chidren are naturally entitled to freedoms as the freedom to rest, freedom to play, and most especially, freedom of education.
They might assist at home, work at weekend, but tedious works are meant for adults.
Parents are not to depend on the children for the family up keep, rather the children are supposed to rely on their parents for their welfare and not to fend for themselves.
Although not all work done by children is classified as child labour. Activities such as washing dishes and other chores done at home or doing small holiday jobs to earn some pocket money or supervised apprenticeships are not instances of child labour.
They are referred to as activities that contribute positively to the development and provides them with good skills and experience that prepares them for adulthood.
Child labour comes in many forms worldwide. Children are made to work to pay off debts incurred by their parents. Some are used forcefully for commercial sexual exploitation, drug trafficking, organised begging on the streets and armed conflicts.
Children are engaged in agriculture and domestic services and hawking when the child is meant to be at school.
These activities are very harmful to the child and they violate the child’s rights. Child labour takes many different forms and our priority is to eliminate without delay.
The worst forms of child labour practices are the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict. The use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances compound the problem.
The greatest force driving children into the workplace according to the International Labour Organization is poverty. Another major factor driving children to harmful labour is the poor quality of school.
Child labour especially in rural areas is a form of vocational education, where children learned practical skills from their parents. Child labour is used as a way to instill a sense of responsibility in the children.
These children are aged between 5-14 globally and work in hazardous low paying and undignified conditions inimical to their health. The situation remains desperate and can be handled with complacency.
Many girls and boys in our society are not opportune to attend school. Some try to combine school and work, but all to end up being school dropouts even before the age of employment and become child laborers.
This ugly situation, effectively endangers the future, usefulness, productivity, self esteem and prosperity of such children. It is our society that becomes the ultimate victims for this, bearing such results as destructive social vices on the part of the mislead youth, including premature pregnancies, high abortion levels and incidences of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or dysfunctional acts of violence.
There is no doubt that child labour in Nigeria has worsened. The quality of governance has deteriorated with corresponding decline in the diverse spheres including health care, education and job opportunities.
Also, it is not surprising that most of our major cities, thousands of under-aged children who should be in school engage in street hawking or serve as domestic servants while others are barely literate apprentices to mechanics, carpenters, vulcanisers, panel beaters and other menial workers.
This sad situation has unquestionably been alarming coupled with the bestiality of Boko Haram which has wasted many lives and property.
A critical study is needed to accurately assess the implication of child labour and how it affects our nation.
It is for this reason, that the change which Nigerians emphatically voted for in the last general election should begin to bear fruit for the sake of our much-abused children.
They must be provided with functional, affordable and qualitative education and health care.
Also their parents must be provided with good jobs that will enable them meet up child obligations to their wards. This calls for urgent and creative actions by government at all levels.
Government should priorities education services and make them free, compulsory, relevant and attractive. Children and parents need to see school as a better option than work, as children have the right to education.
Attitudes and practices need to change concerning this situation. There is often too little objection by families and communities to children working. The government should ensure that laws are put in place to prosecute employers who also exploit children.
Government and governmental bodies need to know the various forms of labour, how many children are involved and information on the gender and ethnicity or origin of the children to understand what exposed them to such actions and proffer effective responses to their situation.
Children who are victims of worst forms of child labour be rescued immediately and provided with care and education that will make them useful to themselves and their society.
As it is, labour that affects the physical, mental or moral well-being of a child, which because of its nature requires our concern as it deprives the children of the human rights and freedom. Therefore all forms of child labour should be eliminated.
No matter the economic situation of the country, the love of our children should be paramount in the heart of the government, politicians and parents as they are our future. No matter the degree of wealth we accumulate if we don’t train our children well it will amount to nothing.
I urge governments at all levels, civil society organizations and parents to provide the basic amenities like good education, health etc, sensitized the parents on the evils of child labour and to only give birth to the number of children we can cater for respectively. Thanks.