Killer Kids And Irresponsible Parents, By Babayola Toungo
The north is now a reservoir of violent youth gangs, be it in Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi or even conservative Yola. There is no political activity that takes place in the north without blood being spilled and we seem helpless in the face of this violent culture that is taking over the future of the region and that of our “future leaders”.
Taking a life is no more a big deal to youth barely getting out of their diapers and all the elders could do is to stand and watch wringing their hands. Parents are more scared of their wards than the other way round.
I cannot actually put my finger on where we all went wrong but the how is becoming clear to the discerning. And sadly enough, we are all guilty. The excessive misplaced love for our children has turned them into truants and we aid and abet them either by our collective acts of commission or omission.
While we obeyed and serve our parents, we are now obeying and serving our children and in the process destroying their future. Your neighbours or your child’s teacher cannot scold your wayward child without a backlash from you. Parents are known to go to their children’s’ schools and dress down teachers in front of their kids. We even pay for good grades, which we know they don’t deserve thereby turning them into morons. We give them enough pocket money to buy clubs, yet we express surprise once they become unruly, disrespectful and ultimately menaces to our societies. We spare the rod and spoil the child.
The rise in the number of street gangs and killer kids in all northern cities has taken a very dangerous dimension and is spreading like wildfire to the provinces. The recent spike in mayhem by these street gangs in Kaduna these past two weekends points to a very dangerous forthcoming political activity in the run-up to the various congresses and primaries by the political parties. The primaries conducted for local government councillorship aspirants by the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) in Kaduna state were a test-run for these street urchins.
More than four deaths were recorded and many injured by the ‘yan shara between Kawo and Badarawa areas of Kaduna. The boys thump their noses at the men of Operation Yaki, the state’s rapid response security outfit who turned up in large numbers to ensure the security of lives and properties during the party primaries. They roam around with machetes and other dangerous weapons unmolested by all, particularly their parents, who shift the blame to the government for allowing their wards to become killers and petty thieves. This is what I failed to fathom. How can you allow your ward to become wayward and then you turn around and blame someone else? Though the state also has its failings.
Every child was fathered by someone, or at worst has a mother; he must have come from a certain family, no matter how poor they are. So why do we fail to take up our responsibilities of training them to discern right from wrong, or handing them over to the authorities when they commit crimes? Was that the way we were brought up? When they commit murder and run home, we transport them out of the town and hide them with our village folks and shout intimidation when the authorities try to do their work. We blame the politicians for recruiting them and turning them into thugs but they have to be there first to be recruited.
The Senate has invited the Minister of Education to go and explain why the mass failure in WAEC/ NECO exams. How can the Minister explain the failures of what we (including the Senate) have caused? JAMB had to reduce its cut-off points for northern candidates writing its exams with our lawmakers insisting such must be done so that our northern students will “catch up” with their southern counterparts. How could they not fail when they know they don’t have to try hard to be able to make their University entry grades. I challenge any senator to rise up and be counted as among those whose passion for public education is such that he cares about the education of his constituents. What can the Minister tell them? It is a parental problem and they must recognize such for us to move ahead without harassing any public official.
When Nasiru El-Rufa’i, the Kaduna state governor tried to address the rot in the state’s public education, all the senators from the state challenged him, and now they want the Minister of Education to come and explain to them why our children fail their exams? When you compensate your political thugs with teaching jobs, what do you expect to get – “thug in, thug out”, of course.
Apart from the almost ten million out of school kids roaming our streets, we are saddled with killer kids who have never been remorseful for their actions. Consumption of codeine laced cough syrup and other drugs have turned our kids to killers without conscience right in front of our eyes. The north is now a haven of addicts – hard drugs for the children of the rich and cough syrup for the kids of the poor.
What are we doing as parents to bring this menace to an end? The government is partly to blame for the escalation of the brigandage holding the north to ransom. Whenever any of these killer kids are arrested, they make bail the next hour to come and attack their accusers. This makes many people scared of identifying and taking them to the police. But then the ultimate responsibility still lies with the parent. Shifting our responsibilities to the government won’t help us.
Future leaders? They don’t even have any future in their vision, no thanks to our stupidity.