ByÂ Chioma Obinna
Stakeholders in the services of rescuing orphaned and vulnerable children has raised alarm over increasing number of street children in Nigeria, sayingÂ if this alarmistÂ trend is not reduced, the country may be heading for what it described as â€œsocio- economic disasterâ€.
AÂ voluntary non-profit association dedicated to the care of street kids and children in need who raised the alarm in Lagos said over seven million children of school age is out of school in Nigeria.
Speaking at their rehabilitation Center, the 80-year old President of Child Life-line, Mrs. Marion Sikuade hinted that statingÂ that the number is particularly rising in Lagos State and other urban cities in the country.
According to Sikuade, the efforts by Government to reduce crime and fight social unrest will constantly be short circumventedÂ if street kids are not rehabilitated and provided with a long term solution.
Sikuade noted that the root cause of the problemÂ must be first addressed.,Â includingÂ puttingÂ in place the preventive measures of education and counseling, parenting and moral upbringing.
Her words: â€œA radical change in individual and societal attitude is required as a matter of urgency. It is time we moved away from blame shifting and feel a personal sense of responsibility for street children in Nigeria. Everybody can play a part in the change process.â€
Child Life-line has a strong vision to positively direct the energy and natural endowments of street children in Nigeria into a more productive vocational channel. One of the Child Life-lineâ€™s key objectives is to promote the care, well being and development of children in need, especially the deprived, the abused, the destitute and the homeless.Â It also provides counseling, education and vocational skills training for children and youths enabling them to become self-supporting and independent.
Child Life-ine takes all necessary steps to promote the rehabilitation of Nigerian street children and create public awareness about their needs.
Applauding the efforts of government,Â SikuadeÂ stated that the task of taking kids off the streets must go beyond the corridors of Government.
Corporate organizations and individuals can make donation, offer employment and training opportunities as well as give their time and heart.