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Africa culture/tradition education Nigeria opinion reflection Series

Amnesty Int’l Letter: Children’s Day 2020

Dear Okechukwu,

I wish a happy Children’s Day to all the children in your life.

But as I write to you today, my heart goes out to all the children detained in Northeast Nigeria and caught up in endless violence at the hands of Boko Haram and the Nigerian military.

They were taken away from their families and had their childhood revoked – they were forced to become child soldiers and child wives, subjected to atrocious violence. They were detained unlawfully, often with adults, in grossly inhumane conditions. They were ill-treated and tortured.

And now, as they attempt to recover, hundreds of schools remain closed – 75% of children in Borno State are out of school.

We’re launching a report on the toll of Nigeria’s Northeast conflict on children today.

Nigeria must swiftly reverse its course and bring redress to children in the Northeast.

Kind wishes,
E. I.
Campaigner, Amnesty International Nigeria

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I received this heart breaking email from Amnesty International Nigeria. As I read through, it dawned on me that there’s little or nothing to celebrate today. Bad leadership, political unrest, insurgency, religious crisis and poverty contributed to issues faced by children today. I always mention bad leadership because it is at the centre of it all.

It’s frightening when I look at reported cases of abuse (and what about unreported cases?) Children rights are abused on daily basis. Even as we celebrate their day, many will go to bed without food, many will never attend school in their lifetime, many may never have the chance to live (a normal life). What is really going on?

Start blogging today.

Is it not awful that in today’s civilized world which had conquered diseases, deserts and drought, that children rights are taken lightly? They have become main victims of forced labour, teenage pregnancy, sexual/physical abuse, trafficking, child soldiers etc. I hope that things change for good.

I dedicate the poem below to children, all over the world. I echo what many may never have the chance to ask for:

Give me books and a pen,
Promise me nothing but education
Teach me words or to count one to three
And I’ll paint the world for you to see

Today being Children’s Day, I wish that every child has access to quality education, that every child live in a world free of economic, religious, political, or sociocultural discrimination and finally that we all put children’s rights first and contribute towards their happiness, peace and progress.

Good night.

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Africa education lifestyle Nature

Leadership and Nigeria’s Covid-19 situation

As of March 29, confirmed Covid-19 cases in Nigeria rose to 111 and counting. The sad reality is that African leaders are not doing enough to prevent the virus from spreading further. Also, the testing equipment and medical personnel is NOT enough should the disease escalate. Even so, some people doubt the existence of Covid-19. They say it’s a hoax and a political one for that. You see, Nigerians politicize everything. Erosions, landslides, flooding, natural disasters, poverty are politicized and attributed to governments or opposition. Everything is reduced to lame blame games. When much time and energy is channeled to blames, very little is achieved. This is what the government and her opposition do to each other and to the citizenry. The citizens, on the other hand fight (verbally and in extreme cases via violence) amongst themselves to support and show solidarity to their various factions. Private businesses take advantage of situations like this to profit themselves by involving in dubious businesses and increasing cost of goods. Some people go about spreading false info. I don’t know their gain. There’s so much going on the fast lane but Covid-19 is a reality and it’s spreading. Like I always say the African problem is one of leadership. This is typical to Nigeria, where most think like their leaders. If the head is bad, there’s no doubt that the body will be twice as bad.

When I read people’s Covid-19 theories on social media. I can say that some people’s sense of reasoning is beclouded by sentiments and selfishness which somehow boils down to politics. Dear African leaders, everything is not about politics. Instead of pointing fingers, I think this is the time to find measures for collective public health safety.

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Africa education lifestyle

Need for an Afrocentric response to Covid-19

I received this thoughtful anonymous write up and like to share it with everyone.

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Dear Writers, can you help share this to get to the top before it is too late?

Is self-Isolation the best for Nigeria and Africa at the moment? Let’s look at its end result.

When I listen to young people that reason like Seun Kuti, it builds my hope that one day, the narratives will change for good.

Sometimes it seems we write or speak more intelligently than our leaders, it is not so because what we know, they equally know? But this is us telling the raw truth they have refused to tell you and will never tell you because they benefit more from shroud politics and fraudulent leadership, which by all means makes them appear unintelligent. And you as a citizen have not helped matters because you appear to be uninformed as to what your rights are and how to demand for it.

The People that created social distancing and self isolation against Covid-19 are the Europeans, because, that is what will work for them after putting one or two comprehensive analysis together.

The Chinese didn’t use social distancing and self isolation, they quarantined their people by force, because that is what will work for them at that moment.

But not only that, China were building and putting to use new hospitals every 6 days, to help get ahead of the virus, because many Chinese didn’t have access to healthcare and they understood what needed to be done which will work for them. Their response was completely Chinese and not African or European, they knew what China needed to move China fast out of the mess and that’s what they did.

So, when the virus got to Europe and the Europeans looked at their society and came up with social distancing and self isolation because they understood that that approach is what will help Europeans. Europeans don’t have communities that are without water, they don’t have communities without Hospitals, Europeans don’t live in face-me-I-face-you-houses, some of the homeless they have, they put them in government reserved shelters. Social distancing and self isolation is completely European and Eurocentric response to Covid-19, it is not Chinese response, it is their own Response. Europe doesn’t have slumps like where most people live in Aba, Lagos, Onitsha etc with gutters and shanties here and there. They don’t have communities without free water and electricity. Thus, self Isolation became easy.

But People buy water in Africa (Nigeria) to survive, some people don’t even have money to buy water. Now the Europeans that asked their people to self isolate, have created different types of funds to put in the pockets of their citizens to sustain them during the isolation period. But Nigerian medical professionals and politicians are shouting “Self Isolation and social distancing”, how many Nigerians can survive 2 weeks without hustling, without going to the streets to find daily bread?

By forcing Nigerians to self isolate without putting anything in their pockets, the government is only asking Nigerians to choose between death by Covid-19 or death by hunger. How have they saved Nigerians by this? This is not a response peculiar to our society.

You don’t bring an European trained doctor to treat malaria in Nigeria, malaria will kill a lot of people under his watch because he have no such experience. There’s no mosquito in Europe and so, there are no malaria cases for proper experience.

African leaders should be creative and stop the copycat. This is why we have remained slaves to the westerners. Depending on them for everything.
But African leaders all over the continent gives themselves the best in this world. They ride in the best cars, they wear the best cloths, they live in the best homes, access the best hospitals in the world, have the best security, send their children to the best schools in the world. They give themselves world class services with our commonwealth.

So, who taught you that you don’t have a right to demand for the best services from them? Who put it in your brains that you don’t deserve to ask them for world class services? Who put that in your brain? Is it your pastors, your parents, is it the dormant schools you went to? Guys, remove that … from your brain. Until the people learn to stand up and demand what’s due for them, nothing will change.

This social distancing and self isolation is not Afrocentric is not for Africans and will never work for Africans in this situation should it get out of hands. How are we going to sustain families during this isolation if the situation gets tough? This is the window period to think! Don’t let it hit us before we plan for it.

America with the lowest level of poverty is giving each adult a thousand dollars, (N380,000) but you are comfortable isolating without food.

Desperate situations requires desperate measures.