Our Security, Our Peace With Dr. O.E Bassey
There used to be an ancient adage that says the training of a child is that of the society. In other words, the parents are not exclusively responsible for how a child grows up, the society has its role to play in it too.
A child will only grow up to be a responsible member of the society if there are concerted security efforts in place – emphasis on concerted.
Because the truth remains that there is only much parents can do. Parents cannot be everywhere. Parents cannot be with them all the time. They go to school. They run errands. They go to church. They spend time with their friends in the neighborhood; all these places, chances are more a child’s parents won’t be there with them always. At that point, who does the onus to protect the child fall on?
There are no prizes for guessing, you as a neighbour privileged to see these children walk home from school, run errands on the street, at home in the same compound when their parents are out; the onus falls on you to keep an eye on their security and ensure that they are not in any way in harm’s way.
The indifference we have paid as a people to the communal protection of one another as expected of neighbours that we are has contributed significantly to the flawed security system that has not only put the lives of adults at risk, but that of children as well.
As neighbors, community leaders and community members, of which I believe you reading this column find yourself, here are some roles you ought to play in seeing the security of children in your neighbourhood.
1. Stranded or lost kids should be handed over to the right authorities:
Most people act unconcerned when they find a lost or stranded child with the mindset that it is no concern of theirs while putting the blames on the child’s parents for leaving the child out in the wild. But it should not be that way.
Helping the child at that moment should be paramount before straightening it out with the parents later.
The first step to take when you see a stranded kid is to contact the police or any other authority that is around, or try to contact the relatives of the child if they are known to you. It is even better if the child can provide the contact of any of their relative so they can be informed of the situation of the child and can take the necessary steps to retrieve the child. Since what happened is unknown, it is better to secure the child first before taking actions.
2. Assist children in getting across the road
On their way back from school or while on errands, children might have to cross some roads with heavy traffic, getting scared in the process; of which if not well-managed usually results to them being run over by vehicles. As an adult, helping the children get across the road is one of your responsibilities so that they can get to their destination safe and sound.
3. Tactfully notice any strange discussion between a child and an adult:
Oftentimes, children are spoken to by unknown people while they walk on the streets. These strangers pretend to be nice initially, wanting to earn the children’s trust and affection, but once they noticed that there is no adult around, they get into their nefarious plan and take the kids away eventually. As an adult, once you notice that a child is being accosted by a stranger, and that the conversation is starting to become forceful, tactfully observe things; and over the course of your observation, if you notice that the adult is trying to overpower the child, raise an alarm via alerting the police or any security force to come to the rescue in order to stop any danger from occurring. If the situation is within your capabilities, you could move in and protect the child from the harmful plan of the stranger.
4. Drive slowly while in the neighbourhood to avoid hitting children
Most adults drive their cars at insane speeds while forgetting they are in a neighbourhood resident with children that could either be playing in the streets or about to cross the road. Adults should be warned against driving at fast speeds since a child could be lurking anywhere in the corner of a street and can whimsically bump into the road at any time. Make sure you’re driving slowly while in your neighbourhood as it would make it easier to slow down if by chance, a child bumps into the road or a child wants to cross the road.
5. Report any social vices you find a child engaging in to their parents
Children easily mingle with other children in the neighbourhood, and some might indulge in some activities that could be impairing to their morals and even put them at a security risk in the nearest future. Example is a child of 15 years seen smoking cigarette. An act he never used to do but suddenly, as a result of moving with some friends, engages in it. Seeing such and shrugging it off as none of your business as some do is 0nly making you a complicit in the breeding of the next criminals in the society.
Vices noticed in a child should be reported to the parents or guardian of the child, so the right actions to get the child on the right path be taken before it becomes too late.
6. An entrance gate should be provided by the community to monitor those who go in and come out
It is imperative for the security of children that an entrance gate be provided by the community which would serve as a deterring force for suspicious movements and a way to find out who goes in and out of the community.
As neighbours, there is no value in seeing children in compromising positions and then you do nothing about it.
You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother. And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it. Then you shall restore it to him.
We are all interconnected and no one is absolutely exclusive of the other. It is our responsibility to be joint-partners in positively and wholesomely building the next generation. And the best way we can go about this, I must emphasize, is via seeing every child as our own child. That is, we take interest in every child just the same way it comes off natural we take interest in our biological children, seeing that physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, they are protected against any harm that will or will not spell doom for their life.
And to this end, knowledge is very vital as it is only the things that you know you will be able to do. In other words, it is only the protection techniques you are armed with that you will put to use. This is the reason I am putting together an extensive training for parents, guardians and neighbours to bring them up to speed with relevant protection techniques for children in light of the prevailing dynamics of our society and of the time we are in. The training is tagged: Child Protection and Safeguarding Training, it will be holding from the 27th May to 29th May, 2022 from 6pm – 8pm. Training fee is N10,000 with materials and certificates to be given to you. For registration, you can contact: WhatsApp: +2347065828892
Dr. Ofonime Emmanuel Bassey is a Security, Peace and Conflict Resolution Coach with decades of experience in the practice and promotion of Law Enforcement, Peace and Security through the Nigeria Police and the United Nations.
He is an advocate of Peace Leadership and Child Protection.
He has served and interacted at the top level management of the Nigeria Police as well as internationally as a United Nation’s Monitor/Mentor in Kosovo, Europe.
A professor of Peace Advocacy and Conflict Resolution, Dr. O.E Bassey is a certified United Nation’s Trainer, and currently the Director of ICOF Institute of Leadership, Peace and Conflict Resolution in Africa.
With his marks well-established in Peace Leadership both in Nigeria and Africa. Currently, he is the President, NISSI Safety Management An Institute ofInstitute of Peace Leadership.Presently, he is spearheading a campaign tagged “The Next Peace Leaders”, a campaign that is billed to run from 2022-2023 with a target of training 37,000 young peace leaders.For peace and security tips, consultations and trainings, reach him via:Facebook: Dr. O.E BasseyLinkedIn: Dr. O.E BasseyTwitter: Dr. O.E BasseyWhatsApp: +2347065828892Mail: [email protected]