On a good day, sunny bright weather, not raining, the miscreants in droves roam the streets of Calabar, living on alms and bins, while lurking around lonely paths and corners to harass especially soft targets, dispossessing victims of their money and valuables.
These young folks who are runaway or escapes from homes and often within the age bracket of 8-15 years, go by the trade name scolobo and lacasera for boys and girls respectively. These kids who mostly come from deprived homes, with other rascals from unstable homes, not only constitute social nuisance but are easy recruits of cultists, robbers, kidnappers, rapists and other criminally inclined activities.
The security situation in the country vis a vis that of the state is in a sordid state already. The other day, a relation of mine informed me of how these miscreants, last week tried to forcedly gain access into his car in the morning, packed along Wilikie street. What alerted him was the car alarm. An intriguing part of the story is the fact that the car was parked by the shade of a food vendor, with buying and selling in progress.
These children are uncared for. They are exposed to untold hardships, hunger, unsheltered, inadequate robe, various degrees of sexual assaults, lack of education and several other deprivations. Unarguably, the adverse conditions they face daily on the streets influence their behaviors.
It was in recognition of the need to offer care as well as curtail their vicarious and untoward activities, that the Sector 4 Operation, Delta Safe Land Component, Calabar, opted to mark the Nigeria Army Day 2018 with street children in Calabar. The event held on an open space, by Fiesta Eatery and Piated Collections, at Marian road by Atekong drive junction Calabar, was in collaboration with a Non – Governmental Organization (NGO), Maglarge Feed a Child Foundation. The chairperson said, “The foundation was making effort to take these children out of the streets and to shield them from drugs”.
Cross River is a tourism state. In a few months away, the state will be hosting yet another “The Carnival Calabar”, an event that has earned international status. Insecurity no matter how insignificant, is inimical to this global event.
We think in, The Lens, that the government should do something about it in earnest. A feasible and real solution should be sought to address this problem. To this end, specialists and professionals in juvenile matters should be consulted to proffer day time solution. These may include experts like lawyers, phycologists, doctors, behavioral scientists, therapists, counsellors et cetera. A team of these professionals should be assembled with mandate to proffer concrete solution to the problem.
Published in maiden edition, Lens Newspapers Vol. 1 No. 3.