Trauma Of Parents Of Missing Children

Children are the greatest assets of any nation and the foundation on which future of nations are built. As they are the future leaders, the highest investment of any nation should be on them since they are 100 per cent of the future. This also portray that when the children are protected, the future of such nation is also protected. This is why every nation should not condone violence and abuse against women who are the incubators of children, and the children specifically in areas of child labour, battering, trafficking, abduction and sales of children. The last three categories are now becoming a daily occurrence in our communities and the world over. Despite the efforts made by government in ensuring the security of lives, especially children and properties in the country, the state of insecurity seems a mirage in security administration. One of such pragmatic efforts of the Nigerian government toward the security of the Nigerian children is the Child Rights Act. Section 30 of the Act states "No person shall buy, sell, lure, dispose of or otherwise deal in a child. A child shall not be used for the purpose of begging for alms, guiding beggars, prostitution, indecency, domestic or intimate labour or for any unlawful or immoral purpose, or as a slave or practices similar to slavery, such as trafficking of the child, debt bondage, serfdom, forced or compulsory labour, hawking or for any purpose that deprives the child of opportunity to be in school. This Section of the act goes as far as spelling that "any person who contravenes this Section shall be liable to 10 years imprisonment. The main objective of the Child Rights Act, therefore is to protect Nigerian children from any harmful, dangerous and criminal practices that are inimical to their future and against their wellbeing as the future hope of our nation. Unfortunately, despite the Child Rights Act, the National Agency For The Prohibition Of Traffic In Persons (NAPTIP) emphasized on the increase cases of abduction by Nigerian Medical Personnel, parents and illegal orphanage homes. And in times past, incidences of teenage pregnancies were regarded as outright abomination but nowadays it is both fashionable and lucrative business ventures promoted by some scrupulous and wicked individuals. They deceived and also fund these teenage girls into carrying pregnancies with the aim of selling the product (child) of such pregnancies for money without minding the ruinous repercussions on the girl child. Most of the victims of this wicked business venture are female children from poor parental backgrounds. Some of these innocent 12 to 16 years old are either deceived by friends, or people who pretend to run orphanage homes or foundations with the sole aim to assist teenage girls with unwanted pregnancies. They also fall prey to some crafty friends who deceived them that they could earn a substantial amount of money if they get pregnant and thereafter sell the babies on delivery, while some of them are forced into pregnancy by some women who match mate them to male partners in the business. Similarly, child labour is another means whereby abducted children are abused and prevented from obtaining basic education and development. These children are usually found on major streets or highways hawking the wares of their slave masters or mistresses or serving food and drinks in restaurants and beer parlours as the case maybe and sometimes end up with male customers in the night as prostitutes. The fate of some of them are gruesome as they are used for rituals, especially the boy child. It is the repeated occurrences of these practices that informed the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to comment that "no fewer than 10 children are sold daily across Nigeria, particularly in the South Eastern part of the country. The above violence is unacceptable and condemnable. Acts of abuses on children therefore cast doubt on the seriousness of the society, and government on the safety mechanisms of the child. The doubt in a sense tries to explain that any government that places a high value on life of her citizens especially children usually emphasizes a high standard of safety consciousness. That is, such government allocates a reasonable percentage of her resources to ensure its safety, all its federating units and stakeholders. Conversely, the government which places little value on life invests little in safeguarding itself or providing safeguards for the citizens and this is reflected in the number of abducted, killed, and missing children. Beginning from 12 years old, stories of missing and abducted children are reported on radio, television and newspapers the world over. As a parent, how would you imagine the situation of the child. Yet, as bad as the situation may be, there is something infinitely worse than the abducted and the missing child. It is nonetheless, how to cope with the traumatic experience of missing an innocent dear child not through sickness or accident but by disappearance through abduction. Dealing with abduction of a child therefore is an experience and omen that is worse than death because the fate of the abducted is never known. It is an unbearable and painful experience that triggers psychological trauma that in most cases leads to dementia, high blood pressure, stroke and sometimes death. The physical effects of this bitter experience are excessive feelings of worthlessness or emptiness, weight loss, sleeplessness, prolonged daily sadness, loss of interest on virtually everything, restlessness, lack of appetite, shyness from public gatherings which ultimately could end in depression. The expectation of every parent is to have children who will grow to become productive and responsible adult citizens, to carry the family identity and name to the next generation as well as bear their names and outlive them when they are death. Howbeit, children also are gifts from God and are precious to parents. These special and precious gifts, sadly are those meted with violence through abduction and used for rituals and other forms of sacrifices. They are being abused physically, mentally, morally and sexually on a daily basis across the globe in child labour, prostitution, terrorism, as kid soldiers and kid mothers for baby factories, outside the knowledge and whereabout of their parents. To protect the Nigerian child from violence and abuses as well as the parents from the traumatic experiences they passed through due to their missing children, government should provide a toll-free-line aimed at enabling people to report any form of child violence and abuse. The government should also set up a committee in every political ward to monitor families and cases of children in distress similar to the committees on illicit drugs. While focusing on our immediate communities, even when safety breaches have already been detected, it appears little is done to stall the abductors and abusers. In order to attain an improvement in the Child Rights Act and community safety standards, parents, community leaders and government must wake up to address the intrinsic value it places on Nigerian children and human lives in general. This is fundamentally necessary. The abductors, killers, violators, etc. should place themselves in the shoes of parents of the abducted children. They should have it at the back of their minds that they were once children and that they are parents. "Do unto others what you want others to do unto you should always be on the breast place of all violators.

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