I, The Preacher took time off this series last week to address the #BigBrotherNigeria issue. Today, I shall bring closure to this subject matter…
I, The Preacher, having spent twenty(20) interrupted years preaching the Gospel According to Child Rights/Protection, CHILDHOOD PRESERVATION and Family Strengthening, I dare submit with oracular precision that law is not enough to provide the protection our precious African child.
The 2006 United Nations Report on Violence Against Children found that local and international laws on the protection of our precious children have flatly failed in protecting our precious children, the world over.
The reason for the foregoing is very simple. Laws as they relate to children are confronting a belief system in Africa, which is not necessarily anti-children but not DELIBERATELY pro-children…We are a people, who are yet to come to terms with the fact that children are the pivotal link between our present and our future…We are yet to come to terms with the fact that a society and her people are as strong as her children…We are yet to accept as Abraham Lincoln puts it that the state of humanity is in the hands of the child…
How did I come to the foregoing irresistible conclusions? It is the way we treat our children…Almost all our tools of child upbringing are abusive in their designs and applications…The challenge is that as a people we have not invested in the studying children and understanding what I call ‘the mystery of CHILDHOOD.’ And you cannot understand a person/people, entity or institution that you have not invested into studying. Unfortunately, as Africans when we don’t understand a person/people, entity or institution, instead of us to seek to understand, we embrace mental laziness. We either deify or demonize a person/people, entity or institution that we do not understand or seek to understand.
Again, the real challenge with us is that we mistake the simplicity of the life of a child for simplicity of the entity call CHILDHOOD, which is the spiritual, social and psychological architecture upon which the life and the making of same sits. We are not in anyway aware that CHILDHOOD is far more complicated, an entity than the child it represents. It is against this mammoth ignorance that we think we understand children and CHILDHOOD. Unfortunately, our claims to such understanding is predicated on the faulty foundation of how most of us were raised or erased, as the case may be. We are not even in a mode or consciousness to correct our faulty upbringing as we believe by virtue of our achievements today that we ‘turned out well’ as adults. This is easy to do in a society like ours, which judges the life and significance of man or woman by the abundance of career attainments and possessions. It does not matter to a man or woman therefore the multitude of his inner struggles, as long as the society rewards his/her so-called external exploits. It is important to state that whatever value a society rewards, it enthrones and multiples.
Again, we must understand the disposition of the generality of our Third World society to law and order…We tend more towards jungle justice than the rule of law, believing by our experiences that the state and its functionaries have no proven character to enforce her own laws…Again, our society has more of the characters and trappings of the jungle than that of modern society, therefore we have little or no respect for the dignity of human person. In a society where the dignity, inherent in human person is not recognized, children will remain cheap preys of oppression and abuse…They remain eternally defenseless as the caregivers, who are to protect them have no respect for the dignity of human person…In most cases the existence of the caregivers is abused, therefore they cannot give what they do not have or better put, they will only give what they have…The circle continues if it is not deliberately truncated through a social reconstruct deliberately fuelled by enlightenment.
In a society like ours, the law and its instrumentality cannot be an end for us to obtain unfailing protection for our precious children and preserve their CHILDHOOD. The law therefore must be seen an instrument of social change, a veritable tool of enlightenment, which must be employed to paddle the canoe of value orientation or reorientation. The goal of such orientation or reorientation must be to achieve what I call Social Policing. What is Social Policing? It is the consciousness which emanates from deft enlightenment efforts, which helps every caregiver to take responsibility for the protection of our precious children and defend them from all forms of aggression. Thus we say ENLIGHTENMENT is SUPERIOR to ENFORCEMENT.
The foregoing must have been strong in the mind of UNICEF when the Child Rights Act, 2003. UNICEF embarked on rigorous enlightenment campaign. I, The Preacher, working with UNICEF traversed the length and breath of this great nation enlightening media practitioners, parents, teachers, law enforcement officers, government functionaries and the rest.
Again, I, The Preacher worked with UNICEF and Nigerian Institute of Journalism, in the company of many other leading professionals in curriculum development, mass communication and education to mainstream Child Rights Education into the curriculum of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism at all levels. I, The Preacher also had the opportunity to lecture the one of the modules.
The goal of the project was to empower media practitioners, who have unusual power to influence the belief system of the members of the public and their government at all levels to acquire knowledge and sense of mission in reporting and initiating Child-Focused or Child-Interest stories.
We have also suggested that such project should be duplicated for the Nigerian Police Force and other critical public organizations.And I am aware that efforts have yielded fruits, particularly for the Nigerian Police Force.
It is the submission of I, The Preacher that it is not yet UHURU for the precious children of Lagos State except the law is mixed with rigorous enlightenment campaign, which uncompromising goal is to achieve Social Policing.
I, The Preacher is persuaded that the Lagos State government will embark on massive enlightenment campaign to give life to the Executive Order of December 16, 2016.
Remember Enlightenment is Superior to Enforcement. I charge you to Think the CHILD…Think the FAMILY…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…
(C) 2017 by Taiwo ‘ODINAKACHUKWU’ AKINLAMI…All Rights Reserved
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