A call has been made for the government, the civil society, parents and other relevant bodies to embark on concrete plan of actions that will create the necessary synergy needed to tackle the menace of street children in Nigeria.
The call was made by the member of the National Assembly, representing Ede north, Ede south, Egbedore and Ejigbo federal constituency of Osun state, Representative Bamidele Salam who was featured on Radio Nigeria Programme titled: “Providing Sustainable Support for Street Connected Children in Nigeria”.
Rep. Salam emphasized that, the situation has been compounded in view of the absence of a much needed synergy and lack of practicable strategy of engagement with the children, parents and appropriate institutions.
According to him, the manifestation of the problem is an indication of parental and systemic failure compounded by the inability of appropriate bodies to enforce the legislations already enacted to take care of such situations.
“When you have a problem, the most important thing to do is to identify the problem, the root causes and applying the solutions. The problem of street children in Nigeria has been on for quite a while and is growing by the day in spite of all the interventions and policies we have had from governments; previous and present.
“It is unfortunate that today, Nigeria happens to be the headquarters of the most Out of School children put at about 13.5 million in population. There are so many reasons that are responsible for this. Some of which are cultural, some are as a result of lack of monitoring strategies on the part of government and its agencies. Part of it has to do with the negligence of parents on their social responsibilities to the children”, Rep. Salam stressed.
While emphasizing that there have been some legislative interventions such as The Child Rights Act, 2003 and Basic Education Act of 2004, he lamented that there have been no giant strides in that direction noting that, the blame cannot be placed on the children but the adults who have failed to take them (children) off the streets.
He explained that, been on the street have exposed the children to all manners of exploitations, abuses and other forms of deprivations all over the country.
Apart from his legislative work in the menace of street children, Rep. Salam informed that he formed a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) called Children of Africa Leadership Development Initiative (CALDEV) in 2017 having identified lack of concerted effort to manage the situation.
He warned that if the children are not taken off the street in good time, there are devastating consequences that will befall the nation, hence an idle hand is the devil’s workshop.
Responding to a question by the host, Zainab Khaleel, Rep. Salam suggested that, Nigeria must adopt a strategy of engagement with the children hence a lot of them are products of broken homes while some are protesting against the society. He advocated for an all-encompassing platform for such children to have a form of participation that will give them attention.
Rep. Salam called on the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and government to provide tailor programs are very critical to every child’s survival and meaningful development thereby bringing about education and skills to this category of people.
He welcomed the establishment of Children’s Parliament and assured that the parliamentary group on out of school children, which he is an active member, will work closely with them in order to achieve the desired result.
Meanwhile call-in participants and followers on the social media handles appreciated the efforts injected into the problem by Rep. Salam and urged him to keep up the good job while at the same time, called on the government to take up its responsibility.
Copyright: BS-E4 Media Team