By Akpeji Charles
As recognized by the convention of the Rights of the child, education and others essentials of life which includes security, food, shelter, right to life among others are the basic human right for all children.
This is however not the case with 12 years old Hafsat D. Umar and 16 years old Shalom Rufai, whom due to the cold hands of death on their parents, are now being denied all the aforementioned rights by the state that pride itself as ” Nature’s Gift to the Nation (Taraba).
The duos and other who took the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) down the memory lane on how the society has not neglected them, but relegates them to the background, said the dreams of Orphans and Vulnerable children in the state has continue to dim as no helping hands are reaching out to them from any segment of the society.
The NACA media team who were recently in Taraba state on a tour to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) intervention sites were no doubt disturbed by the predicaments of both Hafsat and Rufai and other OVC present undergoing medical attention in most of the sites visited.
Narrating how his dream of becoming a military officer have been thwarted as a result of the demised of his parents, with tears taking over all the little available spaces on his face, Rufai said ” my dream was to be a military officer. But since I lose my parents when I was ten years, that dream has begin to fade away.”
The reason for that according to him ” is because the people I am presently living with are not financially buoyant to shoulder my educational responsibilities because they have their biological children to cater for educationally and our government is doing nothing to assist us actualize our dreams.”
Citing how it has become cumbersome for him to feed and cloth himself, government, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), philanthropists, he pleaded, should as a matter of urgency come to the aides of the OVC in the state and the country at large.
Rufai whom Naija2447 News observed to be flaunt in both English and Hausa languages, said if given the much needed opportunities to excel in life despite the demised of his parents, he vowed to contribute to the rapid growth of the Nigeria army and the country at large.
In the same vein little Hafsat who spoke in Hausa language through an interpreter, wants government to invest in ventures that would not only bring pride to the state and the country, but would also catapult the nation to the height.
Citing how OVC children are cap in hands like mendicants seeking for livelihoods, governments in her view can intervene by extending the much celebrated empowerment programmes ” to all of us.”
Aligning her weight behind that of the OVC, the state Coordinator of the Association of Women Living With HIV/AIDS, Bilikisu Obidah Welle, agreed that ” orphans are suffering in this state.”
Apart from the T.Y Danjuma foundation, whom according to her, has to some extent extends helping hands to OVC in the state, other relevant organizations that ought to follow suit, she Said have being drag their feet.
Welle who noted that ” several orphans and vulnerable children died as a result of sicknesses, crisis” and other ills, believed that little gesture from the government would go a long way to mop up the drooling tears on the faces of ” these children.”
some of the children whom Naija247 News noticed faces deprivation and poor access to basic services that promotes and maintain health, are presently not only suffering from sicknesses such as HIV/AIDS but are as well battling with severe malnutrition.
If truly the federal government of Nigeria is a signatory to two important international declarations of the Rights of children which are the United Nations Convention and Rights of Children (CRC) and the Africa Charter on Rights and Welfare of Children(ACRWC), one wondered why issues relating to OVC are not being taking serious by some state governments.
When reached for comment, the NACA head of corporate and media communication, Toyin Aderibigbe who along side with NACA media team were on tour of the intervention sites in the state, stresses the need for the federal government to budget more fund for HIV/AIDS.
Charging government to improve funding on HIV/AIDS, such action, she believed would go a long way in bringing succor to OVC especially those presently living with the scourge.
Convinced that the gains made in the HIV/AIDS response in the country can be consolidated and sustained with increasing domestic funding and support, NACA/NCAPS HIV/AIDS intervention as stated by her “is a pathway to the attainment of this goal.”
Some medical experts who spoke with Naija247News agreed that much can be done by government at all levels to herald smiles on the faces of the OVC some of whom according to the experts, have promising futures.
Such funds if made available and adequately utilized, would not only bring succor to OVC but would as well go a long way to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child and as well reduce the spread of the epidemic especially in Taraba state.
For the lives of the most vulnerable children in Taraba state and the country at large to be drastically change, there is need for all hands to be on deck to make available for them basic essentials of life.