...Redifining Journalism for Development

My 2019 Review (1): Children’s Right, by Barr. Gimba

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Like all the years I have witnessed through two and a half decades of my uninterrupted and mostly peaceful existence, 2019 AD has been a year filled with ups and downs. It was full of learning, chances, missed chances, failures, and successes.

The human condition is a pot of rice and beans, you see. One has to be focused, relentless and make good use of whatever the pot of life fetched for him. I don’t know how well I utilized my 2019 but I can boldly say it is the year I realized a lifelong dream of being a Child Rights Practitioner.

The case of children in Nigeria remains a curious one, I have learned. Majority do not lack love; just that conservative beliefs wouldn’t let us show them, archaic correctional methods wouldn’t give them the freedom to learn and be who they really need to be, and parents and guardians continue to see them not as independent beings but merely as an extension of themselves.

These have contributed to a rise in neglect of the child, and there is such a thin line between neglect and nurture that we unknowingly romanticize between both sides with reckless abandon. My submission has more to do with practice and less to do with theory. For I have observed (not read) that, just like me, it was a mixed year for children in Yobe, they – without much of a say – dovetailed between turbulence and felicitousness… and just like the morning sun, I am sure they will rise!

We must understand that the care, nurturing and special protection children can get from home is the shield they wear to school, walk on the streets, and interact with people in the community. I hope that 2020 gives us the chance to all take steps towards the shielding and empowerment of our children, younger siblings, and relatives.

Deposing a traditional ruler for sexual abuse of a child is commendable and hopefully, a sign of things to come because there are still children that continue to suffer in silence, in fear, and without a voice. Tackling this mayhem would require genuine Social Policy change and the reorientation of the populace. It would be great to have institutions and proper channels of identifying and punishing abusers, giving special care and counseling to victims.

My work with children and the success recorded wouldn’t have been possible without my family and my team at CoY-PCR. They have been constant and unflinching in their support. I have talked about learning, chances, success and I must recognize and show my gratitude to Dr. Abubakar Kagu, who helped me redefine my organization’s scope; Suleiman Dauda, who has always guided me like a younger brother and gave me my first job as a humanitarian; Dr. Mohammed Goje, who is also a humanitarian mentor; Alfaruk CH, for taking his time to build my capacity and that of my team, which improved tremendously our professionalism and technical skills; Dauda Gombe for a short but very rich advise, Mohammed Zakar (Kanti) who I only met towards the end of the year but has been a beacon with his unwavering support and passion for the betterment of our people, and finally, Union Bank for supporting us in our efforts to sponsor as many children as we can through primary and secondary school.

I hope 2020 provides more chances for partnerships and learning from such people. I also hope that fate gives me the chance to meet with Dr. Ali Abbas, whose intellect I have admired from afar; with Yusuf Ali – and his exceptional use of the new media – whom I have already had a memorable encounter with; and finally with Fati Abubakar, for her work and amazing photography.

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