CBAAC… Putting Children’s Living Conditions In Perspective


Children performing at the event

As part of activities marking Children Day celebration last week in Lagos, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) in collaboration with Society for Performing Arts in Nigeria (SPAN) hosted a dance-drama competition among some selected schools in Lagos.

In the end, Christ Redeemer International School came tops with 229 points, followed closely by Topgrade International School with 200 points while Stepfield International School, Surulere was adjudged third best with 171 points.

The winner went home with a bicycle and other gift items, the first and second runners-up also got gifts for their efforts. The other schools in the competition were Bolade Oshodi Secondary School, Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba, which also got gifts for its arts exhibition, St. Gregory College, Ikoyi and El-Gina Group of schools, Lagos.

Besides presenting performances for the competition, there were dance presentations from Estate Grammar School, Kings College, Command Day secondary School and Mylod Private School. All the participating schools were given fifteen minutes to present a dance-drama that speaks to the theme of the day, ‘What is the acceptable living condition for the Nigerian child?’

Each of the schools highlighted the many challenges the Nigerian child goes through to get to school and living as a person within the Nigerian space.

They also painted a picture of their ideal living conditions for the Nigerian child. Earlier, in his welcome address, Director-General of CBAAC, Sir Ferdinand Anikwe, stated that Nigerian children deserve more attention as they represent continuity that links the present with the future, saying it is for that reason that CBAAC is compelled to invest in children and youth, as an agency statutorily set up to promote, preserve and propagate African culture.

Anikwe, who was represented at the forum by the Director, Documentation Service of the CBAAC, said, “Our interest and investments in children and youth programmes are also encouraged by the fact that children are malleable and can be shaped and turned into positive torch-bearers of society which can help in facilitating societal growth and development.

“You will therefore agree with me that our prosperity as individuals and country lies in not only the values we inculcate in our children but the general attention we give to them. Inculcating useful values in children and giving them due protection in our respective homes, schools and society at large are the best legacies we can bequeath them.”

Giving reasons for the choice of the theme, Anikwe noted that the continent is now a hot bed of frightening inter-state confrontations, civil wars and pogrom with African children living daily with the threats of robbery, kidnapping and other forms of violence.

It was for this, he said CBAAC decided to dedicate this year’s edition of International Children’s Day celebration to the theme of children’s acceptable living conditions.

“We need to build in our youths the attributes of dialogue, reconciliation, peaceful co-existence and accommodation which characterise our culture.

Perhaps, the submissions of our children may enrich government’s response to the problem they face in the nearest future.” The CBAAC expressed gratitude to all its partners, especially SPAN, for their support in putting together a successful programme.

Special guest and chairperson Mrs. Funmilayo Adesegun, commended CBAAC for organising a programme that directs attention to not only issues affecting Africa’s cultural development but also those that affect the welfare of children.

According to her, “Marking Children’s Day in this manner will direct the attention of Nigerians and the global community to the plight of children and what we jointly need to do to address the challenges they face. Using this year’s celebration to ask this important question is appropriate and timely”.

Adesegun observed that though Nigeria has been trying its best, it was to deal with several issues hindering the protection of rights of children such as children living on the streets, children affected by communal conflicts, drug abuse, human trafficking and the weakness of the juvenile justice system among others.

She said, “It is gratifying to note that the inauguration of the Children’s Parliament by the Federal Government in 2003 to enhance children’s participation are some of the ways the government is addressing issues affecting the welfare of children.

The main challenge therefore is to make this parliament provision truly representative of the broad categories of Nigerian children. This should include the most vulnerable and the disadvantaged”.

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