So last week we looked at the on-going case of mass child abuse in some developed countries in the name of sex education. The push is for children as young as 4 years to be taught about same sex marriages, so that it becomes normal for them to see two dad or two mum families. We know how fecund the minds of young children can be. Questions upon questions will come from them. I imagine children then asking ‘so where did the other dad s..t the baby from?’ Or how come the other dad has no breasts?’ Confusion. I wish these countries luck because for me it seems like a turning point, a point of diminishing returns when societies overplay their hands.
By every means, children should be left alone in this high-octane game of sexuality that some nations have found themselves. Pushing sexuality down the minds of children who just want to play and see life gradually through their own innocent eyes, is definitely child abuse. Of course I also informed that in the UK (one of the chief promoters of this idea), incidences of child sex offense may rise as some are being caught bringing in child sex dolls! See Hundreds of child sex dolls seized at UK borders, sparking legal crackdown. And also we have seen tentative attempts by some, to justify paedophilia in the name of science.
But having said that, we also have an extreme and that concerns us here in Nigeria. It is actually a fact that at some point we brainwash our children with tribal and religious prejudices. Children who have always had open minds about the world begin to see those from different parentage and tribe and religion as those they were born into as ‘different’. They often stop playing or talking to those ‘other’ children, and start suspecting them. Some grow into teenagers and become aggressive about it. Radicals. Fanatics. Some are even ready to kill and maim in the name of their tribes, creed, and religions. We all seem to forget that these things are accidents of birth. No one chose to be born into Nigeria, or their particular families – Christian, Muslim, idol worshipper, north, south, east or west. We just found ourselves here. I personally do not believe that God, in his infinite mercies will punish us for what we are unable to change. So I urge that we be careful – especially the Christians and Muslims – with this usual mutual recriminations about who is worshipping God and who isn’t, or who is heading to Hell and who is Heaven-bound.
But the mass child abuse that concerns me today is what I see as an elite conspiracy around the mass illiteracy in some parts of Nigeria. It is now clear that we have a class system in Nigeria which we all need to begin to scale down. Nigeria in particular needs all the intelligent human capital that it can find. Nowhere else in the world are they manufacturing ignorance on industrial scale as we seem to be doing in Nigeria. While I was campaigning, I made a point to walk into public schools randomly in the North, West, East and South of Nigeria. And this shaped my opinion to a great extent. In states like Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, I saw that most of the public schools had no teachers. The largest number of personnel I saw in any of the random primary schools I visited was three. In one large school in Katsina, I was glad to find a teacher in a creche kind of class, and she taught the children rhymes, in English. This is a good innovation from the ministry of education but I never saw another creche in any other public school I visited.
With one, two or three teachers in a whole school, nothing actually gets taught all day in many public schools in northern Nigeria, which leaves one with the impression that we are deliberately keeping the children of the poor in continuous ignorance. The governors and the president himself don’t believe this is a major crisis. The class system up north has still not permitted for people considered to be lower class to find genuine, and mass liberation – they and their descendants. Part of the rationale is that mass education will tip the social balance, by depriving land owners of people that can till the land, odd-jobsmen, peasants, petty traders and so on. But we must be careful not to choose a forgotten, regressive reality. This is the 21st century, and whereas we are not willing to join those who equate sexual overdrive and perversion with modernity, we must strike a balance to ensure we do not remain in perhaps the 16th century.
It was a bit elating that when I went down South as much as the schools had no roofs and the floors were dug up, there was an attempt to teach and discipline and ensure students attended schools. Without that rigor and dedication, children will be too distracted to learn.
The neglect of the minds of our children across the country is a great cause for concern and is gross child abuse for one reason; these children did not ask to be born. No parent has the right to keep their children ignorant of basic essentials of today’s world. No parent has a right to show unconcern and lack of care for their children. The moment a child is born in a progressive, normal society, that child becomes the property of the state. A mother cannot kill a child and say ‘shebi it is my child’. A father cannot starve a child, beat a child to stupor, or lock a child up for long as punishment and claim the government has no opinion in the matter. In such countries that are progressive, everyone is accounted for. Population size is not by conjecture or something to play politics with. This is where Nigeria must be heading.
One single child can change the fate and trajectory of a nation. In fact, singular people, born whether into money or out of it, into royalty or servitude, have changed the world positively – and indeed negatively – up to date.
By not educating our children, by denying them exposure to basic communication skills needed in today’s globalised world, by depriving them access to learn skills that will take them away from being hewers of wood, fetchers of water, vagrants eking a living from dumpsites, load carriers in our markets and so on, we are abusing those children, many of whom cannot take revenge from their abusers when they grow old, but will take out their anger on society at large, and randomly. The very unfortunate thing is that this gross child abuse is going on in Nigeria today, on an industrial scale. This must stop. Every leader with a single bone of responsibility in them must move against this anomaly.