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CHILD LIFE-LINE RAISES THE ALARM ON STREET KIDS

By NBF NEWS
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With over seven million kids of school age out of school in Nigeria and a growing number of street kids in Lagos and top urban cities, Nigeria may be heading for a socio-economic disaster except this ugly trend is reversed, according to the founder of Child Life-Line, Mrs. Mariam Sikuade.

Speaking at the rehabilitation centre, the 80-year old Sikuade said the non-governmental organisation was dedicated to the care of street kids, adding that 'the desperate situation of street children needs to be placed on the national front burner.'

According to her, 'Efforts by government to reduce crime and fight social unrest will not yield results if street kids are not rehabilitated and their future secured by care, education and training for life.'

Sikuade noted that the root cause of the problem must be first addressed, adding that government must put in place preventive measures of education and counseling, parenting and moral upbringing.

'A radical change in individual and societal attitude is required as a matter of urgency. It is high 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.'

She said Child Life-Line had a strong vision to positively direct the energy and natural endowments of street children in Nigeria into a more positive and productive vocational channel.

The objectives of the group, according to her, include promoting the care, well being and development of children in need, especially the deprived, the abused, the destitute and the homeless; providing counseling, education and vocational skills training for children and young persons; and enabling them to become self-supporting and independent.

While applauding the efforts of government, Sikuade stated that the task of taking kids off the streets must go beyond the corridors of government. 'Corporate organisations and individuals can make donations, offer employment and training opportunities as well as give their time and heart to this cause,'' she said.