IT IS CHRISTMAS: SHALL I MERRY OR MOURN?

My brother and co-British Council School Leadership facilitator, Johnson ABBALY said this African proverb to my hearing and same has become handy today as I think about this Christmas affairs: ‘your chicken is not safe when your neighbor is hungry.’

This is Nigeria, a ‘nation’ situated in the heart of Africa, a prominent member of the Third World nations, a self-inflicted socio-economic status.

Nigeria has been christened the poverty headquarters of the world. CNN reported in 2018: Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, with an estimated 87 million Nigerians, or around half of the country’s population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day,’ according to World Poverty Clock and compiled by Brookings Institute.

According to Wikipedia, extreme poverty is ‘the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs, such as food, clothing and shelter.’ I SIMPLY CALL THIS THE OBVIOUS ABSENCE OF SOCIAL PROTECTION.

The worst hit by this plague of extreme poverty is my constituency, the precious Nigerian children and their distinguished parents.

According to UNICEF, Nigeria is ‘country of the young,’ 46% of our estimated 180 million population are under the age of 15; children under 5 stands at nearly 31 million and 7 million children are ushered into the world yearly.

13.5 million Nigerian children of ages 5-14 are out of school, the highest in the world; 1 in 5 Nigerian children never reach the age of 5; according to the World Bank in 2018, ‘108 million Nigerians are estimated to be homeless, based on an average family of six people per housing unit.’ According to UNICEF, ‘Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children and only 26.5 per cent of the population use improved drinking water sources and sanitation facilities; UNICEF submits, ‘Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children in the world…Just 18 percent of children aged 6-23 months are fed the minimum acceptable diet…’ ‘Preventable or treatable infectious diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles and HIV/AIDS account for more than 70 per cent of the estimated one million under-five deaths in Nigeria,’ reports UNICEF.

From the desperate situation of our self-inflicted status of extreme poverty and the extreme impact on the biggest class of our population, our precious children and their families, many of our neighbors are hungry and therefore our celebration Christmas chickens are not safe in the cage, in the soup, on the grill or even in my stomach…

While I am grateful to God and will forever be for His unusual favour and mercies over my life, family and work, how shall I celebrate personal victories when my God-assigned constituency is in ruins and bleeding almost to the point of death? Like Nehemiah felt towards Jerusalem in her state of ruins, so I feel towards the state of the precious Nigerian children.

In the years to come, God’s willing, beginning from 2020, I shall do more of SOCIAL PROTECTION ADVOCACY as the lead strategy of Securing A FRIENDLY and PROTECTIVE Environment™ for the precious Nigerian children.

I shall speak of solutions aimed at reversing the state of many Nigerian parents, whose existence is abused and mobilize PUBLIC WILL in that very direction…

I shall continue to say that the nations of the FUTURE focuses on the FUTURE, their precious children while the nations, who remain in the past, shed the blood of its FUTURE, her precious children…

I shall show us all that in Nigeria, we do not have underprivileged children as we have been made to erroneously believe. What we have are the abused and abandoned children, whose parents, who are hewers of wood and drawers of water, the hoi polloi, the ‘wretched of the earth,’ in the words of Franz Fanon.

I shall show that no family is big or equipped enough to bring out all the God’s enormous deposits of potentials in the child to bless humanity with and until the other institutions saddled with the responsibilities of parenting are empowered, the Nigerian children are not only stunted in physical growth but in social and psychological growth and this has dire consequences for us a nation and a people.

Poverty must be seen for what it is. It is an artificial but carefully ingrained human condition, inflicted on the majority by the greed of the few and it can be eradicated. I guess that is why Ghandi says, ‘the world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.’

I am Taiwo AKINLAMI, a Social Development Lawyer, leading a Social Protection Advocacy for Securing A FRIENDLY and PROTECTIVE Environment™ for the precious Nigerian children.

Today, I do not see the Nigerian State, from her premature birth in 1960 show her precious children the LOVE, which undilutedly characterised Jesus’ birthday(Christmas) and therefore, I join God, WHOSE I AM and WHOM I SERVE to MOURN a deliberate waste of the most impressionable and absorbent state of His humanity and I do solemnly swear with every breath I take to join Him in restoring SANITY to the lives of these precious children and their distinguished parents: Parents’ Rights are Children’s Rights.

I am deeply sorry for disrupting your Christmas with this long lamentations of a MOURNING Social Development Lawyer. It is just that I must remind us that our chickens are not safe when our neighbors are hungry? Do you know a neighbor, who is hungry?

Do have an INSPIRED day

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