Issues to consider: Having established the global acceptability of Child Participation as a major and inevitable factor in the protection of the Children and their rights around the world, the next issues are:
Is the Child Participation and protection an issue in Nigeria? The Child participation is an issue in Nigeria today considering the social, economic and political state of the Nigerian child, which leaves a very spacious room for improvements.
If it is, what makes it an issue? To my mind, one major reason why the rights of the Nigerian child are trampled upon is lack of adequate awareness on the part of the child, parents and the society on the rights of the child as protected by the law. Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti on this issue opined thus; “although they (youths) crave to be informed, nobody tells them anything; not even the government, the church or parents. It is painful that those (parents and society) who are saddled with the responsibilities of protecting the rights of the child in Nigeria suffer from acute ignorance of what these rights are. The matter is made worse by the fact that the owner of these rights, the child is equally to a very large extent ignorant, thus he/she cannot demand for these God ordained rights.
What steps are to be taken to ensure that the Nigerian Child is not left out in reaping the benefits of the child protection through child participation? It is this question that leads us to the definition of Child’s Rights Education: Child’s Rights Education seeks to empower the Nigerian child with basic information about his/her rights, with a view to making him/her a very loud voice and an effective force in the fight for his protection and respect for his rights as outlined by the Child’s Rights Act, 2003.
My case for Child’s Rights Education
It is a known fact in social struggles that rights are not given except they are demanded. It flows from this fact that no one makes a demand for a right he is not aware he is entitled to.
I am therefore of the firm view that the Nigerian Child will miss out on his roles of meaningful participation in his protection except he is purge of ignorance. The reason is that a Child cannot participate in matters that affect him if he lacks knowledge of the issue involved.
Thus, the unavoidable foundation upon which the capacity of children to live up their responsibilities under the law and participation ‘in all matters affecting the child’ rest on Child’s Rights Education in upper primary and secondary schools. Except a child is equipped with knowledge; it becomes impossible for him to make any meaningful contribution, even when called to participate.
When a child is armed with knowledge of his rights he does not only wait to be called upon to participate, he agitates to participate. This is because Knowledge is power, information is strength, and ignorance is destructive and costly. Nothing is more desirable at this stage of our development than a proper, vigorous and consistent education of the, the children and adolescent on their rights. It is my firm belief that the child will continue to suffer countless social, economic and political disadvantages if he/she is not properly educated on his/her rights and obligations in the society.
I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE.
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