Child’s Rights Education: The Foundation of Child Protection(4)

The right of the child to Child’s Rights Education

The right of the Child to Child’s Right Education flows from his right to education in general, guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, African Charter on Human and people’s Rights and the Child’s Right Act, 2003. Section 18 (1) of the 1999 Constitution provides as follows:

“Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels”.

It is my humble view that education, either formal or otherwise cannot be adequate until it empowers the child to speak for himself. It may then be apt to conclude that the education of the Child is inadequate without Child’s Rights Education.

Suggested syllabus

An appropriate syllabus for the Child’s Rights Education is that which takes into consideration the three main angles the right of the Child can be considered under local and international laws, namely: 

  1. His/her Rights at the domestic/family setting.
  2. His/her rights in his relationship with the larger civil society.
  3. His/her rights under the child justice system.

The rights protected under the foregoing can be further broken down as follows:

  1. Right to live, survival and development;
  2. Right to name, family and nationality;
  3. Right to belong to any association or assembly according to the law;
  4. Right to express opinion and freely communicate them on any issue        subject to restriction under the law;
  5. Rights to protection from any act that interferes with his or her privacy, honour and reputation;
  6. Rights to adequate rest, recreation, (leisure and play) according to his age         and culture;
  7. Rights to compulsory basic education and equal opportunity for higher education depending on individual ability;
  8. Rights to good health, protection from illness and proper medical attention for survival, personal growth and development;
  9. Rights against indecent and inhuman treatment through sexual exploitation, drug abuse, child labour, torture, maltreatment and neglect;
  10. Rights against discrimination irrespective of ethnic origin, birth, colour, sex, language, religion, political and social beliefs.

The foregoing issues constitute most of the areas on which the participation of the Child should be sought before decisions are taken by society.

A charge to Nigerians and policy makers

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his opening statement to the General Assembly, addressed the children of the world. “We, the grown-ups, have failed you deplorably… One in three of you has suffered from malnutrition before you turned five years old. One in four of you has not been immunized against any disease. Almost one in five of you is not attending school…. We, the grown-ups, must reverse this list of failures.”  Carol Bellamy, former UNICEF Executive Director, gave a clue to how “this of failures” can be reversed as follows: “If we want to overcome poverty and the instability it breeds, we must start by investing in our young people…”

Fellow Nigerians and policy makers, there is not better investment in young people than the investment of knowledge, only through which the Nigerian Child can participate in his own protection. I therefore charge you all to use  your areas of influence to give expression to the rights of the child to protection and participation by agitating for the introduction of Child’s Rights Education in Upper Primary and Secondary Schools.

The introduction of Child’s Rights Education will evince the faithfulness of the Nigerian State to her promise to keep faith with the resolution of the United Nations’ General Assembly Special Session on Children held in May, 2004.

My watch word as a legal practitioner and child protection specialist is found in the following instruction of’ the first indigenous Nigerian lawyer, Christopher Alexander Sapara William: “The legal practitioner lives for the direction of his people and the advancement of the cause of his country.” It is in keeping faith with the instructive words of the founding father of the legal profession in Nigeria that I have decided in the last 16 (sixteen) years embarked on the crusade for the protection of the rights of the Nigerian Child. It is also in that spirit that I do this advocacy in the interest of the present and future of us to agitate for the urgent need to introduce Child’s Rights Education in the primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.

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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  Enroll for The ChildProtectionCREED™ Mobile Academy ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’ Fredrick Douglass Deliverables:ChildProtectionCREED™ Cds; Compelling and instructive E-Books(Minimum of 3); Written Social Empowerment Nuggets(Every other day); Weekly  SMS, Attendance of  the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminar for Couple; Opportunity to nominate others for the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminars; Hosting of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Rountable and lots more. Registration & Participation Fee: The lowest fee you have ever paid for a HIGH QUALITY, EXCEPTIONALLY IMPACTFUL and INVALUABLY REWARDING Empowerment program

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Child’s Rights Education: The Foundation of Child Protection(3)

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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  Enroll for The ChildProtectionCREED™ Mobile Academy ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’ Fredrick Douglass Deliverables:ChildProtectionCREED™ Cds; Compelling and instructive E-Books(Minimum of 3); Written Social Empowerment Nuggets(Every other day); Weekly  SMS, Attendance of  the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminar for Couple; Opportunity to nominate others for the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminars; Hosting of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Rountable and lots more. Registration & Participation Fee: The lowest fee you have ever paid for a HIGH QUALITY, EXCEPTIONALLY IMPACTFUL and INVALUABLY REWARDING Empowerment program

Tested & Highly Recommended:  ‘I commend your presentation. It was backed up with so much passion. We all found it very inspiring and will definitely recommend you to others.’ Dr. (Mrs.) C.O. Ogunsanya, Managing Director, Oxbridge Tutorial College, G.R.A. Ikeja and Chairman, Association of Private Educators of Nigeria

Further Details: Contact Faculty Officer: T: 234-8186830275 E: fo@taiwoakinlami.com

Child’s Rights Education: The Foundation of Child Protection(2)

H.E. Hajia Aisha Ismail, who led the Nigerian delegation to the historic event of the United Nations’ General Assembly Special Session on Children, applauded Child Participation as follows: “…And therefore, the children of today are the adults of tomorrow. That is why Nigeria welcomes the participation of children in this special session. We salute their representatives here and assure them that we value their contributions to our deliberation…”

 The CRC and rights to participation: The right of the child to participate is not only covered by the resolution of the Special Session of the General Assembly of the UN, referred to above, it is also discernable from the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 to which Nigeria is a signatory. I make reference to one of the Articles, namely:

Article 12 (1.) States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child. (2.) For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

Child Protection and Child Participation linked: It is my humble opinion that one of the primary responsibilities of children is self-protection in instances where it is practically impossible for primary and secondary custodians to intervene or where the custodians become the abusers.

Please note that phrase, in all matters affecting the child (referred to in the UNICEF definition and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child) envisages issues of abuse also. It simply means children must as a matter of necessity and in accordance to their age and maturity must be involved at both private and public levels in formulating and implementing policies concerning child protection.

If children must play informed and active roles in the formulation and implementation of child protection policies at the private and public levels, he must be empowered through education.

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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  Enroll for The ChildProtectionCREED™ Mobile Academy ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,’ Fredrick Douglass Deliverables:ChildProtectionCREED™ Cds; Compelling and instructive E-Books(Minimum of 3); Written Social Empowerment Nuggets(Every other day); Weekly  SMS, Attendance of  the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminar for Couple; Opportunity to nominate others for the ChildProtectionCREED™ Seminars; Hosting of the ChildProtectionCREED™ Rountable and lots more. Registration & Participation Fee: The lowest fee you have ever paid for a HIGH QUALITY, EXCEPTIONALLY IMPACTFUL and INVALUABLY REWARDING Empowerment program

Tested & Highly Recommended:  ‘I commend your presentation. It was backed up with so much passion. We all found it very inspiring and will definitely recommend you to others.’ Dr. (Mrs.) C.O. Ogunsanya, Managing Director, Oxbridge Tutorial College, G.R.A. Ikeja and Chairman, Association of Private Educators of Nigeria

Further Details: Contact Faculty Officer: T: 234-8186830275 E: fo@taiwoakinlami.com

Child’s Rights Education: The Foundation of Child Protection(1)

‘One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.’ Malala Yousafzai

Article 29 Convention of the Rights of the Child provides:  States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:  (a) The development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential;   (b) The development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations;  (c) The development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own; (d) The preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin; (e) The development of respect for the natural environment. 

I believe that the foregoing provision of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) focuses on teaching children their rights, responsibilities and the universal principles and values upon which both are built.

It is interesting that articles 29 of the Convention finds ample similarities in Section 20 of the Child’s Rights Act, earlier referred to in the previous chapter. Section 20 provides:  ‘Every parent, guardian, institution, person and authority responsible for the care, maintenance, upbringing, education, training, socialization, employment and rehabilitation of a child has the duty to provide the necessary guidance, discipline, education and training for he child in his or its care such as will equip the child to secure his assimilation, appreciation and observance of the responsibilities set out in this Part of the Act.’

I believe that apart from the fact that the foregoing provisions instruct primary and secondary custodians to  agree to teach children their responsibilities under that the law, I think the provisions agrees with my submission under the CREED that children must be empowered to be active participants in their protection.  

I think one way to describe enlightening children to be alive to their responsibilities and be a major stakeholder in their own protection is child participation. 

What is child participation? According to a recent report by UNICEF, “Child participation involves encouraging and enabling children to make their views known on the issues that affect them. Put into practice, participation is adults listening to children — to their entire multiple and varied ways of communicating. It ensures their freedom to express themselves and takes their views into account when coming to decisions that affect them. Engaging children in dialogue and exchange allows them to learn constructive ways of influencing the world around them. (See www. Unicef.org)

Child Participation, which formed the theme of ‘THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN 2003’ report of the UNICEF, was the resolution of the United Nations’ General Assembly Special Session on Children, held in May 2002, where for the first time, the General Assembly met to discuss exclusively Children’s issues. One significant feature of that Session was that for the first time ever, “Children were present as members of 142 national delegations and 106 non-governmental delegations.  More than 400 children, aged 8 to 18, also met in a three-day Children’s Forum prior to the Special Session and produced their own declaration…” (See www. unicef.org)

Kofi A. Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations (as he then was) commented on the General Assembly Special Session as follows: “The children’s presence transformed the atmosphere of the United Nations. Into our usually measured and diplomatic discussions, they introduced their passions, questions, fears, challenges, enthusiasm and optimism. They brought us their ideas, hopes and dreams. They gave life to the values of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. And they contributed something only they could know: the experience of being young in the 21st century – in a time when HIV/AIDS continues to grow at a devastating rate; in a time when unprecedented wealth coexists with extreme poverty; in a time when the rights of children, while almost universally recognized, are abused systematically and daily throughout the world.” (Forward to ‘THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN 2003’ of UNICEF)

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.

NOTICE:
Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 10 Audio CDs and 4 Handbooks are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.

GIRLS’ RIGHT TO EDUCATION IN NIGERIA (2)

Please find for your reading the series, I began last week. It is a revisitation of an article, I wrote few years ago.

“States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

Article 3 Child’s Right Convention

Today I continue this piece, which I began last week by lamenting from the very depth of my heart the unjustifiable denial of the Nigerian Girl Child access to education.

The reasons that have been identified by experts for this prehistoric attitude to the education of the Nigerian Girl Child despite clear global indicators against gender discrimination are as follows:

I.    Poverty and economic issues.

II.    Early marriage and teenage pregnancy.

III.    Inadequate school infrastructure.

IV.    Cultural and religious biases.

V.    Gender bias in content and teaching and learning processes.

VI.    Poorly qualified teachers.

Now, discrimination against the Girl Child in the area of education is not without dire consequences. It is one of the major reasons for abject poverty in the sub-Saharan Africa. According to a report by UNICEF published in The Daily Independent, Thursday, April 29,2004, “the school is more than just educational opportunity. It saves and improves the lives of women. It enables them to make decisions for themselves and to influence the family. It is this power that produces all other developmental and social benefits. Women’s participation and influence in government, families, communities, the economy and the provision of services is a common good. It leads to more equitable development, stronger families, better services and better child health.”

The consciousness of foregoing benefits must have been the driving force behind the Ouagadougou Conference organized by UNICEF. It was a gathering of 24 ministers of education from West Africa. The Conference gave birth to the “Ouagadougou Declaration,” this declaration recognizes the importance of girl’s education for the countries’ development and commit governments to accelerating efforts to get as many girls as boys in school. With this document in mind UNICEF launched recently a key education initiative, “25 by 2005,” which has made a concerted effort to maximize the enrolment of girls in 25 countries where the situation is most critical {See Daily Independent, Thursday, April 29, 2004}.  It is no more news that Nigeria is one of the countries in focus.

Now, on the home front as an attempt to stem the tide of discrimination against the girl child in Nigeria, the Nigerian Government working in conjunction with UNICEF in 2001, joined the African Girls’ Education Initiative (AGEI).

You may want to ask why this piece if so much efforts are already been made to correct the situation. Yes, we live in a country where Government and it agencies take more delight in making and supporting policies than implementing them.  Last week, I made reference to the fact that the state of education of the girl child today is not because there is no National Policy on Education, which actively encourages the education of the girl child. There has been one since 1981. The problem is  “it has not been implemented effectively and efficiently.”

The fear is, if the National Policy can be abandoned what assurance do we have that the Nigerian Government would keep faith with its obligations under the above initiatives?

This piece is therefore a call on the Government and its snoring agencies to wake up and keep faith with the covenants of the “25 by 2005” and the African Girls’ Education Initiative. It is also a louder call to every man and women of conscience in Nigeria to safe the girl child from destructive discrimination. Finally, this is a corroboration to the recent call by International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) reported in The Guardian of Saturday, June 12, 2004 as follows: “that the male and female child must be given equal opportunities to education without discrimination and as such all traditional inhibitions against the education of the girl child which include early marriage, childbearing, performance of labour, care of younger siblings and participation of food production among others must be stooped”

Remember that one thing that cannot wait a second more today is the right of the child.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 7 Audio Books and 3 E-books are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.

GIRLS’ RIGHT TO EDUCATION IN NIGERIA (1)

I wrote this piece in 2004 and it was published in two parts my weekly column with Daily Independent on Thursday, July 1, 20004 and Thursday, July 8, 2004. I will share the first part this week and the other next week. I was inspired to dig into my archive to bring it out today by the declaration made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, in his goodwill message on Malala’s birthday, ‘when women and girls are educated, they accelerate development in their families and communities. For every extra year of schooling, a girl increases her future earnings by up to 20 percent.’ Having, meditated deeply on the foregoing, I feel the 9 year old piece is still relevant today, particularly as it relates to my country, Nigeria.

Though, there is a level of improvement, but as long as there is one girl child, who is out of school in Nigeria, the system is incomplete and if the system is incomplete, we must hold all stakeholders accountable for the right of the girl child to education. The statistics are still scary. Below are the statistics supplied by World Bank Data ( data.worldbank.org )

  • The In 1999, around 106 million children were out of primary school. Almost 61 million (58%) were girls compared to 45 million (42%) boys.
  • In 2009, around 35 million girls were still out of school compared to 31 million boys.
  • Although the gap in gender parity has decreased substantially, there are still many more girls out of primary school than boys.

In Nigeria today 5,054,204 and 5,487,901 male and female children are out of school respectively. It is sad that Nigeria is one of the countries, which take the lead in number of girl children, who are out to school in the world.

Having state the foregoing, I invite you to read my piece of 2004…Thank you.

“Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has 114 million people and more than 250 ethnic groups. Although Nigeria has had a National Policy on Education since 1981, it has not been implemented effectively and efficiently due to rapid population growth, insufficient political will, a long period of undemocratic governance, and poor management of scarce resources. Women and girls have been most affected by these negative factors. The national literacy rate for females is only 56%, compared to 72% for males, and in certain states the female literacy, enrolment and achievement rates are much lower. For example, girls’ net enrolment in Sokoto, one of the six target states under the UNICEF African Girls’ Education Initiative, is 15%, compared to 59% for boys.”- UNICEF

As a lawyer, I live, I move and have my being by the driving elixir resident in the injunction of the founding father of the legal profession in Nigeria, Christopher Alexander Sapara William. He instructed, “the legal practitioner lives for the direction of his people and the advancement of the cause of his country.”  In fact nothing fascinates me as a lawyer more than the fact that the profession provides a viable platform for me to engage in the noble cause of social engineering. This was the platform upon which Thomas Jefferson stood to draft the Charters of Freedom (the American Declaration of Independence) with which the United States declared its independence from the British in 1776. This declaration has today become an eloquent reference point in the struggle for the respect of fundamental human rights the world over.  It was the same platform upon which Dr. Nelson Mandela stood to reject the evil of minority domination in South Africa.

Today I am delighted to stand on this same platform to defend the rights of this Nigerian Child. I am elated by the fact that I have a virile platform to challenge a society, whose culture and negligence defy all logic of civilization, equity and good conscience. A society is best described as retrogressive when it descends into the ludicrous abyss of rating people on the basis of gender, contrary to the original intention of the Maker, who declared, “…there is neither male nor female; for you are all one…”

The introductory statement to this piece credited to UNICEF vividly illustrates the dismal case of the endangered Nigerian Girl Child, who is today denied equal opportunities to equal and adequate education with her male counterpart. The situation as it is today runs contrary to the collective spirit of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Section 42), The Organisation of African Unity Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (Article 3), and The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 2).  Article 3 of the Charter provides, “Every child shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in this Charter irrespective of the child’s or his/her parents’ or legal guardians’ race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.”

Recently, a crucial meeting of West African Education Ministers held under the auspices of UNICEF in Burkina Faso to find solutions to the embarrassing situation. Next week I shall continue along this line as I bring you some of the resolutions of the meeting and other matters arising.

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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Our Child Protection Audio Library Comprising of 7 Audio Books and 3 E-books are available for order and immediate delivery depending on your location. They are well-researched and widely-applauded materials, carefully and meticulously designed to bring to your CONSCIOUSNESS and CONSCIENCE the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES of your children and EQUIP you with the INDISPENSABLE SKILLS to do all things in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. Be on the side of your child Today…Be on the Side of the Future…Place Your Order NOW! @ 234-8186830275(SMS Only) or send an email, titled: ORDER to ask@taiwoakinlami.com. Thank you and Stay INSPIRED.

Children still battling to go to school: A Case for the Nigerian Child

Welcome to my weekly column, A Vote for U.N. Global Education First Initiative, where I discuss the principles and ideals of the initiative as it affects the African child.

Today, I will like to relate the state of the Nigerian child and education to the recent policy paper on education and conflict, released by The Education For All Global Monitoring Report team in conjunction with Save the Children for the Global Education First Initiative’s ‘Malala Day’ on July 12 and hosted on the website of U.N. Global Education First Initiative (www.globaleducationfirst.org).

According to the story hosted on the site of U.N. Global Education First Initiative, ‘globally, the number of children out of school has fallen, from 60 million in 2008 to 57 million in 2011, but the new paper shows that such progress has not registered for children in conflict-affected countries.’

The story further reveals, ‘the paper calls for immediate action to bring education to the 28.5 million primary school age children out of school in countries affected by conflict who now represent half of the children who are denied an education. The slow progress in reducing the children out of school in the world has not benefitted those living in conflict affected countries; they now make up 50% of children who are denied an education, up from 42% in 2008.’

Sadly the report alerts that ‘of the 28.5 million primary school age children out of school in conflict-affected countries, 12.6 million live in sub-Saharan Africa, 5.3 million live in South and West Asia, and 4 million live in the Arab States. The vast majority – 95% – lives in low and lower middle income countries. Girls, who make up 55% of the total, are the worst affected, as they are often victims of rape and other sexual violence that accompanies armed conflicts.’

It depress me that despite the fact that the Arab States seems to be the boiling point of conflict today, they account for 4 million, while seemingly less troubled sub-Saharan African countries account for a whooping 12.6 million of  children of school age, who are out of school in conflict-affected countries.  Sub-Saharan Africa has the lion share of the figure.

It is in the light of the foregoing that I will like to address the present siege on education in Northern Nigeria. A UNICEF report submits, ‘forty per cent of Nigerian children aged 6-11 do not attend any primary school with the Northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate in the country, particularly for girls.’

The foregoing reports show that children, particularly girls from the Northern parts of Nigeria are disadvantaged educationally. This report was before the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northern part of Nigeria and the recent war declared on education in that region by the Boko Haram sect.

UNICEF puts the total figure of pupils and teachers, who have been killed by Boko Haram since June 16, 2013 at 48 pupils and seven teachers. The sad thing is that the Nigeria government does not yet have a solution to the situation apart from declaring a state of emergency. The failure of the state of emergency to protect school children is evident in the fact that the 48 pupils and seven teachers were killed after the state of emergency was declared in their states.

As it is today many children and teachers have deserted most of the public schools in the Northern parts of the country out of the fear of attacks by Boko Haram. The situation has further worsened the poor state of education in the Northern parts of Nigeria.

My advocacy today is that the Northern parts of Nigeria should be declared as a conflict-affected area. Local and international concerned and pressure groups should put pressure on the Nigerian government to ensure safety for the Nigerian child. As I said in my article, published on July 9, 2013, I will say here again in concluding this piece, ‘I urge us to begin the debate today and I think the issues are clear in my mind: first, is the school environment safe for our children in Nigeria, particularly in the Northern part of Nigeria? If not, what kind of security measure are we to immediately put in place for the safety of our children, beyond a blanket declaration of a state of emergency? What kind of relief mechanics can we put in place for the affected schools and the families of the deceased, pupils and adults alike?’

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. Have an INSPIRED day.