By Collins Adaka
BEFORE now, I never knew the gravity of the plight of the children displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa until Florence DJ Cuppy Otedola, an ambassador of the United Kingdom charity, Save the Children, rescue humanitarian efforts came to the fore.
According to Medicine sans Frontiers, MSF, 1.3 million children have been forced into internally displaced persons camps in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
Moreover, three million children cannot go to school with most of them suffering from malnutrition and diseases. These stunted children must not be allowed to die. Every right thinking parent should join the crusade to save the lives of these children. It shouldn’t matter where they live or come from.
DJ cuppy, Florence Otedola was reported in the Saturday Vanguard newspaper of November 16, 2019 as saying: “I was able to visit Save the Children’s work in Maiduguri, Borno State. At their stabilisation centre, the first child I met in the hospital was only two years old. She was so malnourished that she needed a blood transfusion.
“Later I met more and more sick children dying including a 16 year old mother who was also malnourished. I was told that I was only meeting the lucky few who were able to make it to the medical centre. My heart broke and is still broken as I stand.”
The last sentence of cuppy’s experiences in Borno State at their stabilization centre touched me beyond measure. That is to say, those critically malnourished children at the stabilisation centre were only just fortunate to be there. What happened to the others? I feel a sense of urgency to add credence and support to the unfortunate plight of these North Eastern vulnerable children. Nigeria must stand up for their sake!
We cannot and should not leave everything to the government. As it is presently, the government is overstretched with so many contending issues hence it has become totally inevitable for all Nigerians to rise up to this peculiar challenge.
At the inaugural gold gala of the Cuppy Foundation, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo called on Nigerians to contribute towards the upkeep and education of children displaced by insurgency in the North East. He said: “What will you be remembered for?
“No one ever remembers the number of houses, cars that anyone has. We do not need to be billionaires to start doing something. It is time for everyone of us to decide that we really can make a difference”.
He is absolutely right. We have to make a difference. I sincerely believe Nigerians can and will come to the rescue of these kids for the sake of humanity and posterity. In addition to what the vice president said, I believe before we transit to the great beyond, it doesn’t really matter your earthly possessions or the huge amount of money you have in both your local and foreign bank accounts but it is all about the legacy you leave behind that is what you will be remembered for so many years when you are gone.
Also speaking at the occasion, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote challenged wealthy Nigerians to donate to charitable causes. He restated an earlier promise he made to donate a large chunk of his wealth to charity before his transition.
The children must not be blamed for the unfortunate situation they have found themselves. You can make the difference. When you give to save the lives of these malnourished children, God, who sees in secret will reward you openly.
The claim by the Boko Haram sect that Western education is a sin or taboo should be completely discarded. The whole idea in life is to get education since it will shape and prepare individuals for the globalised digital 21st century. Without education, man is completely empty upstairs and as such useless so to speak. It shouldn’t matter where the education is coming from be it Western, Eastern, Southern or Northern as long as it is acquired. It doesn’t stop anyone from practising whatever religion he or she chooses.
No fewer than 35,000 people have been reportedly killed since 2009 when the Boko Harm insurgency became active in the North East. About 1.8 million people have been internally displayed while 7.1million people are in need of humanitarian assistance spanning the three ravaged states in the North East. Also, 230,000 people have fled to neighbouring states of Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
The Federal Government must do all within its powers to bring this “joke” to an end. The military high command should examine how Boko Haram obtain their food and ammunition supplies? By and large, I dare say that when this evil eventually stops, then we shall heave a sigh of relief. Now and until then, please remember, we must save the children.