31 May THE SITUATION ABOUT ORPHANS IN NIGERIA
THE SITUATION ABOUT ORPHANS IN NIGERIA
By Brian Joseph
The news about how vulnerable children are suffering in one of our African countries hit me like an A-bomb. According to a report by UNICEF, it revealed “that there were about seven million orphans in Nigeria. This was in the year 2003 and that 800,000 more orphans were added during the same year. Out of this number, about 1.8 million had been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. This numbers are just shocking as this was just but in 2003. I cannot imagine how far the numbers have gone due to other fatalities such as the Ebola pandemic which claimed a number of lives in the west Africa region, terrorist attacks from the boko haram terror group and even from the recent pandemic that is the covid 19 which has left the whole world with scars that only God can heal.
On the contrary, though we have lost lives of people we care about we need to look after what they have left behind since not much is being done about them.
First and foremost the general public has little or no awareness about the state of orphans in their country. About only 10% are within the scope of knowing about the orphans and lets say they are the ones who offer support to children homes etc. But we have a larger percentage who don’t know about them and am cock sure they cannot be so cruel as not to support these children, but who is willing to go and tell them?
I guess it never crosses peoples minds to talk or think about orphans. Orphans are among the top of the list on the social ladder ,that is, from bottom. They are among the most oppressed groups since no one, not even their own governments thinks about them and even if they are thought about they always come last on their minds their agendas… lets just say that orphans are usually dead but only come to life when they are thought about.
Some people don’t even bother themselves to think about these little Angels of God and most of them refuse to care about them and ask where their relatives are. Why can’t their relatives take care of them? And today I want to answer this question and hope it gets home. The answer is that they don’t want to take them in mostly due to the stigma from the cause of death of their parents. Like if the parents died of corona virus, they will exclude you since they also think that you might bring the virus to them which is not true. Yes my parents might have died of the disease but it does not mean that I have the disease too.
The other reason is just being selfish and not wanting to have an extra mouth to feed. Well, that’s not fair at all since they are also humans and have feelings and they get hurt when they are mistreated.
In Nigeria most orphans once they are left on the streets they get exposed to all sorts of danger such as child labor where they get employed due to the fact that they want money so that they can put something into their stomachs and it is in this places where they are employed by some individuals who mistreat them by underpaying them or even forcing them to work overtime and since all they want is money for food they cannot argue and furthermore they are kids and no one can listen to them.
Apart from being under payed and overworked some bosses will sexually harass them and since most of them don’t even know what they are being asked to do is that they will just agree. And for those who are not lucky they get sold to rich people to go and work for them some orphans get involved in drug trafficking and end up in prison some even get to join street families and it is from these families that some of them graduate to become thieves and start terrorizing people. Let me focus on the orphans in children homes they really don’t have enough access to basic needs since their numbers are many, secondly even the education that they get is not up to the required standards yet the high net worth individuals are very comfortable taking their kids to prestigious schools while there is a kid out there struggling to get basic education that is provided by the orphanage.
As I conclude it is my humble plea that we all start seeing orphans as human beings and not just as things. Am calling out to every Nigerian Citizen whether rich or poor lets make sure that we put a smile on an orphaned kid once more. Lets have the government putting up care and special protection measures to make sure that the orphans have what they need and not only now but also in the future.
Lets see the fund that is usually set aside for this vulnerable children is used in the right way so that they can stop suffering. Lets stop taking money set aside for this kids and filling it into out pockets that is for our leaders.