Social Problems: Focus on Social Protection

The spate and magnitude of insecurity in Nigeria is alarming and deeply agonizing. It would leave the tough and strong-hearted drained, confused and devastated. The bombings, the killings, the abductions, the kidnappings, killing and maiming of innocent citizens including children! It is unthinkable as it is unimaginable!

When criminalities nothing compared to current happenings occur, the immediate reaction is to go after the culprits, apprehend them and bring them to book. These in many cases meet with delays, failures and a times misplaced justice. In this regard we need a change of strategy.

The pertinent question is what is responsible for these occurrences? What are the causes of these dastardly and despicable incidents? In addition to ongoing efforts that are mostly reactive, the situation also calls for effective crisis management that is proactive, preemptive and preventive. These include conflict management strategies that emphasize care, support and infrastructure.

There is always the feeling of nostalgia when people recall the good old days when there was communal living characterized by a strong sense of community, people looked out for one another, pool resources, shared meals, help, protect, cared for one another and resolve conflicts amicably. There was a sense of belonging and meeting one another’s needs. They were their brothers’ keepers.

This sense of cohesion got lost over time. Many families are struggling with harsh economic conditions and its consequences, unemployment, poverty, accommodation problems and social isolation which may result in family tensions.

Family stress could lead to serious disagreements between parents, family breakdown or violence posing great dangers to children or long term harm which may be associated with children’s behavioural problems with consequences on their education and future, emotional damage and crime.

A principle of conflict resolution is to understand the root cause or sources of a problem to determine the strategy required to fix it. It is widely believed that to prevent a problem from occurring is better than searching for a cure. Considering the spate of youth joblessness and the danger it portends.

This and the ideals of communal living find expression through the children’s law, Child’s Rights Act. It mandates State Governments to identify disadvantaged children within their areas assess their needs and provide services appropriate to their needs including financial assistance where necessary.

It provides solutions to address some of the problems faced by families and their children and youths. It proffers pointers that will drastically reduce the prevalence of social problems such that youths are not rendered vulnerable and made pawns in the hands of the unscrupulous.

It mandates the establishment of family centres in every State of the Federation where needy children and their families can visit when in need of support and assistance to meet their unique individual family needs. A family-friendly facility they can turn to when in distress. They can be established by government or voluntary agencies. This serves as a viable means of emotional outlet and promotes a sense of belonging.

This will protect families, at-risk youths and single mothers. It will provide education, empowerment and emotional support to vulnerable children and help to their families. Those with one need or the other can walk or call in to trade helplessness hopelessness for hope and care.

We need to encourage proactive approach to support and empower families in need, make them strong to protect children and youths. It is not only the children and their families that will benefit the society as well!
It is expedient to emphasize the establishment of family centres playing down the paraphernalia of government to make it user-friendly and encourage patronage. We need this in addition to having God in our lives.