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How Rivers FIDA Celebrated The African Child

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On June 16, 2021, Africa celebrated the International Day of the African Child, a day set aside to raise awareness on the importance of education for children in Africa.
The theme of this year’s celebration was;”30 years after the adoption of Charters: accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an African fit for children “.The Day of the African Child has been celebrated every year since 1991,when it was first initiated by the then Organisation of African Unity.
In Nigeria, the celebration kicked off with a call on all stakeholders to protect the rights of children. 
The call was made in Abuja at the celebration of the Day of the African Child (DAC) by the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission,Mr Tony Ojukwu,who urged all Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs) and child-focused organisations to adopt some of the strategies like aligning with the national implementation plans of child rights/laws with international action plans, SDGs’ agenda to ensure a more holistic and measurable implementation outcome. 
The executive secretary, who was represented by the Director, Political and Civil Education Rights of the Commission,Mr Abdulraham Yakubu, also urged  the organisations to explore new tools and innovations like technology and social media to accelerate the implementation of child- based laws and policies in the country. 
Furthermore, he charged the organisations to adopt and ensure universal health services for all children. 
Equal access and compulsory education for all children, including rural communities, the girl-child, disabled and children in conflict, were also suggested to be implemented by stakeholders.
The executive secretary also challenged them to address the root causes of the conflict and engage early warning mechanisms to eliminate the impact of armed conflict on children. 
Here in Rivers State,the International Federation of Female Lawyers(FIDA), Rivers State Branch in partnership with the Women and Young World Unit of The Tide Newspapers,Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, last Friday commemorated the International Day of the African Child at primary and secondary schools in Kalio-Ama, Okrika Local Government Area. 
It was an interactive forum, where discussions with the pupils and students on various topics took place.It was an eye-opener and instructive engagement as some of the pupils and students expressed delight over the knowledge gained from the interaction. They noted that this was the first time they were made to know and get this kind of information about their rights.
The topics presented dwelled on sexual violence and molestation -How to protect yourself and a third party, Cyberbulling and protection, Positive use of the internet, Career talk and rights and responsibilities of a child.
In a chat with some of the pupils and students after the interactive forum,they expressed enthusiasm for the knowledge gained from the programme. 
A primary five pupil of State Primary School, Kalio-Ama, Okrika Miss Tamunomiebaka Loveday, said,” I learnt that if anybody wants to touch my private part I should shout and run.If they threaten me that they will kill me,I should tell them that they cannot kill me and run”. She also learnt that,she has right over her body and report anybody touching her body even in her house, she should go to the Police Station and report. 
Also a primary five pupil of State Primary School, Kalio-Ama, Okrika, Master Progress Tamunosimie, said, “I was told not to let nobody touch my private part and buttocks,my shoulder and my mouth, because they are private to me. Anybody that wants to do any of those things,we should shout and say no and tell any elder around”.
Also, Master JSS1 student of Community Secondary School! Kalio-Ama, Precious Tamunotepiba, said,”we were told that it is not good to do bad things by touching our sisters,that it is not of God.If we see anybody doing wrong things, like sex in the school,I should call FIDA”.
In the same vein, a JSS1 student of CSS,Kalio-Ama Miss Rosemary Mustaphar, said,”the aunties told us that we should not do sex,when somebody tells us to do it,even if it is our brothers,uncle or Dad,we should report.I learnt that we should not go to Facebook and post our full names, image and address,it is not good because of criminals”.
An SS 3 student of CSS,Kalio-Ama, Miss Adams Grace said,”we were taught as girls to dress properly to avoid bad things.That our body belongs to us,we should not allow anybody to touch us privately.
Also,we should not use the internet for immoral things, that we should use it for something that will benefit us.For career,we should not choose courses because of friends,we should choose careers we can do well.
Lastly, Master David Pan some,SS2 student also of CSS Kalio-Ama said,”we learn that we should make good use of the internet because it gives us some good information but we should not use it to check pornographic pictures which is not good for us.Also,we should cover our private parts, both boys and girls, because it belongs to us.
We were told that if we see anyone involved in rape,we should report to the nearest Police”.
In a separate interview, the Vice Principal of CSS,Kalio Ama, Mr Turbo George, stated that the programme was worthwhile and commendable in the sense that the children had interacted with worthy achievers and role models.
He added that,”this is a good thing for the children because seeing these calibre of women coming to talk to them in their local community has given the chilren a sense of belonging.
After the forum,the group paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman of Kalio-Ama Council of Chiefs,Chief Johnson Amiemiesimeaye Abi Kalio,who expressed satisfaction about information gained by the children said,this will help them greatly.
Chief Kalio commended the group for visiting Kalio-Ama to educate the children, noting that the community was safe.
He stated that,”nowadays boys and girls behave as if life is meaningless but that the information they have gained from this interactive programme will help checkmate them on their sexual activities and attitudes.
He however, appealed to the group to come back on a later date for a Townhall meeting with chiefs and parents so that they are intimated with some of these information.
Earlier, in her speech,the Acting Chairperson of FIDA,Rivers State, Barr(Mrs) Nnenna Igbokwe, stated that the group was in Kalio-Ama to celebrate the International Day of the African Child, which is celebrated on the 16th of  June every year,
The chairperson noted that children were always at the mercy of whoever they found themselves with and therefore needed adequate protection from all forms of violence. She however thanked  the chief and the school authorities for the opportunity given the group to sensitise the children on their rights and privileges adding that,”for us at FIDA,we are focusing on the security of our children in the society today”.

By: Ibinabo Ogolo

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Nigeria Of Our Dream

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As Nigeria approaches the 2023 elections, children in Rivers State have been baring their minds in The Tide on what they expect in Nigeria and their leaders from 2023, and their advice to other children.

 

Nigeria Needs Good Leaders – Alice Godwin Udoh (SS1)
For my country Nigeria, I wish for good and considerate leaders that have the fear of God, good schools with equipment and good roads. Also, law- abiding citizens and peace everywhere in the country.
My advice to children is that, they should always put God first in all they do. They should respect their elders,obey their parents and teachers and always live in peace with others.

 

ASUU Strike Should Not Happen Again – Oluwole Anointed (SS2)
My dream for Nigeria is that there should be free education for children and scholarships for students that deserve it.I wish that ASUU strike should not happen again. Let this be the last.
Government should help the less-previledged and defend the rights of the poor.
All children should try their best to make their parents, families and nation proud.

 

I Want A Corruption-Free Nigeria – Virtue Ayomide Lawal (SS2)
I dream of a new Nigeria rising like a plumule of a lily from the myriad of corruption, inhumanity, insecurity and insincerity. I crave for a Nigeria,where justice takes the centre stage, also love and tolerance with leaders seeking first the interest of the citizenry.
I also dream of a Nigeria where I can sleep  with my eyes closed, travel round without fear, stand and express my talents and show the world how gifted I am as a Nigerian.
A Nigeria with the air in the North, South, East and West blowing fresh fragrance of oneness, not the smell of blood. A great black kingdom of power knitted in unity. A nation with an army of gallant leaders paving the paths of greatness for their children and generations yet unborn. A birth of a new Nigeria.
To Nigerian children, do not lose hope. Better days will return, do not write off this nation, do not abandon it, do your little bit,get to know your history. Begin the change with yourself. Share, spark and ignite the fire of positive change into others around you in school, places of worship and communities. Together, we shall build a nation where peace and justice shall reign again.

 

Government Should  Try And Eradicate Poverty – Benjamin Charles  (SS 1)
I dream of a Nigeria in good condition. A country where more than half of the population is not held down by poverty. A country where hardwork provides results regardless of proximity of political powers and wealth, where every graduate will have good jobs waiting for him or her after graduation.
I believe in my dream, hoping for good governance in our country and effective changes in our economic system. When these are achieved, we as children will have a country to be proud of.
As Nigerian children, our dreams would involve driving structural foundation and transformational reforms that will serve to integrate us as a country from the Sambisa Forest of the North to the Fishing Port of the South, down to the Plantain Plantation of the West and finally to the Ricemills of the East.

 

I Want Employment For Nigerian Youths – Ruth Sokari Siyeofori  (SS 2)
I dream of a Nigeria where youths will be employed so that all these kidnappings, stealing, robbery, bunkering and cultism will stop. I wish that the discrimination against the poor will stop. The government should stop giving the people false hopes but provide good roads, railways, functional hospitals and good potable water.
I wish for good leadership and governance in my country, Nigeria.
My advice to children all over the world is to be respectful to their parents, elders and religious leaders.
We as children should learn to be grateful in all situations because better days are ahead of us. We should also be focused on our education so as to make not only our parents proud but the society at large.

 

Nigeria Needs A Roadmap For Sustainable Growth-  Perfect Eric (SS1)
I want a Nigeria where youths are given the chance to chart a roadmap that outlines a future that works for the good of the citizens, a roadmap that will put the country on the path of development, and make it a place where opportunities abound.
I visualise a Nigeria  where vibrant railway network forms an integral part of our transportation system because a lot of pressure would be taken off our roads thereby making them last longer. A vibrant rail system is important for us as a country  because most cargoes will be transported  by rail. Our political leaders  must strive to ensure that there is security of lives and property  and do whatever it takes to end terrorism, insurgency perpetrated by Boko Haram and other such groups.
I dream of a country where corruption  is checkmated to address the rising scourge of poverty in the country. The current unemployment rate is mind- boggling. So, I dream of a country where jobs will be available for every qualified youth.
I wish government at all levels to find solutions to our pressing challenges, including unemployment which has made many graduates remain jobless after graduation. Put differently, the massive unemployment in the land is part of the reason why many youths consider  acquiring western education as a waste  of time and resources.
Finally, as the country marked her 62nd Independence anniversary on Saturday, October 1, I would like to charge the Federal Government to do all it takes to meet our  expectations as well as create an environment where our dreams can come to fruition and all children  from all walks of life can be proud citizens of Nigeria and boast of her achievements. If we all pull our resources together, we can make Nigeria great again .

 

I Look Forward To Nigeria’s Unity- Ndieze John Paul (JSS2)
My dream for Nigeria is that of equality and unity as a nation. I have a dream that one day, Christians, Muslims, the rich, poor, clean, unclean, able, disabled, male, female shall sit together side by side in brotherhood to pray, work, play and eat.
My hope is for this great nation, Nigeria, our great motherland to be bound in unity, faith, peace, love and progress  for therein lies our motto.

By: Ibinabo Ogolo

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Nigeria Of Our Dream

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Last month, May 27th, Nigeria celebrated Children’s
Day.The Tide spoke with some children that talked about their  dreams,wishes for Nigeria and advise to other children. Here are their views.

 

Nigeria Needs Good Leaders – Alice Godwin Udoh (SS1)
For my country Nigeria, I wish for good and considerate leaders that have the fear of God, good schools with equipment and good roads. Also, law abiding citizens and peace everywhere in the country.
My advise to children is that, they should always put God first in all they do. They should respect their elders,obey their parents and teachers and always live in peace with others.

 

ASUU Strike Should Not Happen Again – Oluwole Anointed (SS2)
My dream of Nigeria is that there should be free education for children and scholarships for students that deserve it.I wish that ASUU strike should not happen again. Let this be the last.
Government should help the less-previledged and defend the rights of the poor.
All children should try their best to make their parents, family and nation proud.

 

I Want A Corruption-free Nigeria – Virtue Ayomide Lawal (SS2)
I dream of a new Nigeria rising like a plumule of a lily from the myriad of corruption, inhumanity, insecurity and insincerity. I crave for a Nigeria,where justice takes the centre stage, also love and tolerance with leaders seeking first the interest of the citizenry.
I also dream of a Nigeria where I can sleep  with my eyes closed, travel round without fear, stand and express my talents and show the world how gifted I am as a Nigerian.
A Nigeria with the air in the North, South, East and West breezing fresh fragrance of oneness, not the smell of blood. A great black kingdom of power knitted in unity. A nation with an army of gallant leaders paving paths of greatness for their children and generations yet unborn. A birth of a new Nigeria.
To Nigerian children, don’t lose hope. Better days will return, don’t write off this nation, don’t abandon it, do your little bit,get to know your history. Begin the change with yourself. Share, spark and ignite the fire of positive change into others around you in school, places of worship and communities. Together, we shall build a nation where peace and justice shall reign again.

 

Govt Should  Try And Eradicate Poverty – Benjamin Charles  (SS 1)
I dream of a Nigeria in good condition. A country where more than half of the population is not held down by poverty. A country where hardwork provide results regardless of proximity of political powers and wealth, where every graduate will have good jobs waiting for them after graduation.
I believe in my dream, hoping for good governance in our country and effective changes in our economic system. When these are achieved, we as children will have a country to be proud of.
As Nigerian children, our dreams would involve driving structural foundation and transformational reforms that will serve to integrate us as a country from the Sambisa Forest of the North to the Fishing Port of the South, down to the Plantain Plantation of the West and finally to the Ricemills of the East.

 

I Want Employment For Nigerian Youths – Ruth Sokari Siyeofori  (SS 2)
I dream of a Nigeria where youths will be employed so all these kidnappings, stealing, robbery, bunkering and cultism will stop. I wish that the discrimination against the poor will stop. The government should stop giving the people false hopes but provide good roads, railways, functional hospitals and good potable water.
I wish for good leadership and governance in my country, Nigeria.
My advice to children all over the world is to be respectful to their parents, elders and religious leaders.
We as children should learn to be grateful in all situations because better days are ahead of us. We should also be focused on our education so as to make not only our parents proud but the society at large.

 

Nigeria Needs A Roadmap For Sustainable Growth-  Perfect Eric (SS1)
I want a Nigeria where youths are given the chance to chart a roadmap that outlines a future that works for the good of the citizens, a roadmap that will put the country on the path of development, and make it a place where opportunities abound.
I visualise a Nigeria  where vibrant railway network forms an integral part of our transportation system because a lot of pressure would be taken off our roads thereby making them last longer. A vibrant rail system is important for us as a country  because most cargoes will be transported  by rail. Our political leaders  must strive to ensure that there is security of lives and property  and do whatever it takes to end terrorism, insurgency perpetrated by Boko Haram and other such groups.
I dream of a country where corruption  is checkmated to address the rising scourge of poverty in the country. The current unemployment rate is mind boggling. So, I dream of a country where jobs will be available for every qualified youth.
I wish government at all levels to find solutions to our pressing challenges, including unemployment which has made many graduates remain jobless after graduation. Put differently, the massive unemployment in the land is part of the reason why many youths consider  acquiring Western education as a waste  of time and resources.
Finally, as the country marked her 62nd Independence anniversary on Saturday October 1, I would like to charge the federal government to do all it takes to meet our  expectations as well as create an environment where our dreams can come to fruition and all children  from all walks of life can be proud citizens of Nigeria and boast of her achievement. If we all pull our resources together, we can make Nigeria great again .

 

I Look Forward To Nigeria’s Unity- Ndieze John Paul (JSS2)
My dream for Nigeria is that of equality and unity as a nation. I have a dream that one day Christians, Muslims, the rich, poor, clean, unclean, able, disabled, male, female shall sit together side by side in brotherhood to pray, work, play and eat.
My hope is for this great nation, Nigeria, our great motherland to be bound in unity, faith, peace, love and progress  for therein lies our motto.

By: Ibinabo Ogolo

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How You Go Forward Is Your Responsibility 

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What happened to you was not fair. You were merely a collateral damage on someone else’s war path, an innocent bystander, who got wrecked out of proximity.
We are all hurt by life, some of us from egregious wrongdoings, others by unprocessed pain and sidelined emotions. No matter the source, we are all handed a play of cards, and sometimes, they are not a winning hand.
Yet what we cannot forget is that even when we are not at fault, healing in the aftermath will always fall on us and instead of being burdened by this, we can actually learn to see it as a rare gift.
Healing is our responsibility because, if it is not an unfair circumstance it becomes an unlived life.
Healing is our responsibility because unprocessed pain gets transferred to everyone around us, and we are not going to allow what someone else did to us to become what we do to those we love.
Healing is our responsibility because we have this one life, this single shot to do something important.
Healing is our responsibility because if we want our lives to be different, sitting and waiting for someone else to make them so, will not actually change them. It will only make us dependent and bitter.
Healing is our responsibility because we have the power to heal ourselves, even if we have previously been led to believe we do not.
Healing is our responsibility because we are uncomfortable, and discomfort almost always signals a place in life in which we are slated to rise up and transform.
Healing is our responsibility because every great person you deeply admire began with every odd against them, and learned their inner power which had no match for the worst of what life could offer.
Healing is our responsibility because “healing” is actually not returning to how and who we were before, it is becoming someone we have never been, someone stronger, someone wiser, someone kinder.
When we heal, we step into the people we have always wanted to be. We also are not only able to metabolise the pain, we are able to effect real change in our lives, in our families, and in our communities. We are able to pursue our dreams more freely. We are able to handle whatever life throws at us, because we are self-efficient and assured. We are more willing to dare, risk, and dream of broader horizons, ones we never thought we would reach.
The thing is that when someone else does something wrong and it affects us, we often sit around waiting for them to take the pain away, as though they could come along and undo what has been done.
We fail to realise that in that hurt, we had the most important lessons of our lives and the fertile breeding ground upon which we can start to build everything we really want.
We are not meant to get through life unscathed.
We are not meant to get to the finish line unscarred, clean and bored.
Life hurts us all in different ways, but it is how we respond and who we become that determine whether a trauma becomes a tragedy, or the beginning of the story of how the victim became the hero.
Culled from January Nelson.

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