Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, has said imminent danger awaits the nation with the number of children roaming Nigerian streets, especially in the north.
He said while crime is being prevented, Nigeria is in the process indirectly breeding crime if it does not address the issue of street children.
Bello who said this at the Interfaith Dialogue and Engagement, organized by the Development Initiative of West Africa and The Kukah Center held in Minna on Saturday, also said Nigeria will not have future leaders unless the issue of children roaming the streets are addressed.
The governor who represented by his Special Adviser on Religious Affairs, Mallam Ahmad Tanko, said, “It is sad that while we are trying to prevent crime in the country, we are breeding it indirectly. We must be concerned about the number of children out there in the street. The danger is that the next generation we are breeding are generations of children on the street. With these children, we are breeding danger and we are struggling in darkness.”
Accusing parents of failing in their duties and being responsible for the situation, Bello said, “Let us all go back and resume our responsibility as parents. We have to take responsibility and stop our children from roaming the streets. We have not discharged our responsibility as parents that is why our children are on the street.
“These children do not know the the comfort of a bed, they do not know the comfort of clean water or the comfort of the parents. They are born and thrown into the streets. Let us go back and take back our responsibilities as parents.”
The governor stressed that there is nothing wrong with the nation that cannot be cured as he emphasised that the success of Nigeria lies on the shoulders of every citizen.
In the same light, the Founder of The Kukah Centre and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, said whether or not the nation liked it, Nigeria’s future leaders are the almajiris and the youths roaming aimlessly on the streets.
While encouraging Nigerians to be patient and tolerate of one another, the cleric said it was important for Nigerians to put the past behind them and forge ahead for the peace, unity and stability of the nation.
Kukah who said there is a lot the nation can do as a unified body and there is a lot Nigerians can do together to build a better and peaceful Nigeria and leave it as a legacy, called on government to work at improving the quality of conversations between Muslims and Christians, adding that if the problem can be dwelt with at the university level, the nation would have achieved a lot.
He said, “Universities are the incubators of the leaders of tomorrow. The reason why we are having confusion in the country is because we have not dealt with this problem at the university level. The conversation between Muslims and Christians at the universities have to be improved.”
Photos: The Kukah Centre