IT IS NOT NATION, WHICH CAN NOT KEEP IT’S CHILDREN SAFE IN SCHOOLS
‘There is no keener revelation of the soul of a society than how it treats her children.’ Dr. Nelson Mandela
I went to A.U.D Ado Ekiti for my primary school. I began my second school education at Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Ado Ekiti and completed the same at Saint Joseph College, Ondo.
One major characteristics of my elementary and secondary school journey was that we, the precious children wenf to school in the company of ourselves. It was fun going to and returning school in groups as children.
When were at home, we were in the custody of our parents, when we walked to school, we were in the custody of ourselves and we arrived in school we were in the custody of our teachers.
Were our parents careless to allow us to walk to school? I do not think so. I think by their reading of their environment, using their native intelligence, we were not endangered or in the peril of being kidnapped or harmed. Secondly, they were mostly poor parents, who did not have the means of ferrying to school, not by their their personal car or engaging for us the services of public transport.
They had us in their prayers and warned us to walk in groups. They knew the danger of ‘gbomogbomo’ but they also understood their strategy, that a child needed to be isolated before he/she could be stolen.
We had little or no casualties. At least, i cannot remember any of my fellow school mate that was stolen or kidnapped.
I know today, with the knowledge of Securing A Friendly and Protective Environment® for Children, also known as Child Protection, we would be called unaccompanied children and the advice of excepts would be that every group of 10 children must be accompanied by 2 adults under the ‘two-adult rule.’ Yes, I agree and would dwell on that another day and bring some lessons.
It is important to also note that our schools were neither attacked nor were we at any time in danger of being kidnapped.
Today the story is different, from Chibok to Dapchi, from Kankara to Kagara, from Igbonla-Epe to Abia, from Kakau to Abuja, Mahuta to Suleja, from the north to the south and extending to the east, from private to public schools, the precious Njgerian children are not safe in schools. They are being killed and kidnapped.
Safety is the number one prerequisite to schooling. Children do not llearn when they do not feel safe, not to talk of when they are evidently not safe.
Surely, we must not continue like this. There must be an open conversation and followed by sustained agitation insisting on Securing A Friendly and Protective Environment for our precious children, particularly in Schools.
Let us hold the government accountable to the international Safe Schools Declaration of March 2015, a commitment to safeguard education in armed conflict, which Nigeria has endorsed.
If the humongous money being spent, paying ransom to the abductors is spent pursuing Social Protection our case will surely be different.
The precious Nigerian children deserve much better, except we now say that being a child in Nigeria is a crime and the punishment is total abandonment by State and its handlers.
Do have an INSPIRED week.