Human Rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana has stated that the13.2 million children roaming around the streets across the country are potential recruits for terrorism, kidnapping and other social menace.
Falana made this remarks on Wednesday while speaking as the chairman at the public presentation of a book, ‘Tolu’s October 1st Birthday’ and symposium titled ‘Indigenous Culture and the Nigerian Child’ in Lagos.
Falana attributed the worrisome social menace and terrorism ravaging Nigeria to the fading cultural and educational values.
He said the dearth of culture and low quality of education in Nigeria was due to the lack of funding and neglect of public schools, which have led to total collapse of these schools.
“ Today, we are battling with 13.2 million children roaming around the streets and 60 million of them are illiterates. This is as a result of lack of culture and the low quality education in Nigeria. It is very easy for the Boko Haram, armed robbers, terrorist and kidnappers to recruit them. “These children won’t make it impossible for all us to sleep well. The population of these children is the largest in the world. The population is higher than the population of Cuba and many other countries in Africa, whereas children in China and European countries are already in schools using computer to learn and develop their knowledge,” Falana explained.
He said that in the next 20 years, Nigerian children will be competing with what the children in China and European countries are learning at the moment.
“It is a shame we are encountering such challenges. We must ensure we intervene and be determined to preserve our culture and fund our education.
“The elites and government officials have abandoned public schools and have allowed them to collapse. We took our children out from public schools where culture can be learned and put them in private schools. This is a dilemma we are facing as a country. Frontline countries like America, Israel, China Japan and other developed countries don’t rely on oil. They rely on knowledge. Knowledge builds economy. It’s through administration of good culture and knowledge our country can develop and thereby make advancement”.
The Special Guest of Honour was Chair, Oba Sikiru Adetona Professorial Chair in Governance, Prof. Ayo Olukotun, while book reviewer was acting Editor, Saturday Independent, Mr. Yemi Adebisi.
In his speech, Olukotun lamented the decay of reading culture, lack of encouragement for creativity and fulfilling careers for the youths.
He noted that there is a need to encourage indigenous culture and to catch them young, through training before they mature. The book was written by a journalist, Grace Edema.
Other dignitaries at the events are, Prince Wale Oyekoya of Barma Farms, Mrs. Yinka Ogunde, Mr. Mojeed Jamiu, Mr. Olumide Iyanda, Mr. Peter Edema, Mr. Lekan Otufodurin, and Mr. Bolaji Adepegba.