Gradually hope rises for the boy-child

By Vivian Onyebukwa

In African societies, it has been noticed that girls receive more attention and consideration than boys. They are seen as more vulnerable to abuse and attacks. As a result, they are paid more attention to than the boys in every aspect of life – education, moral, among others. There are also many non-governmental organisation (NGOs) that are springing up each day, with the mission of fighting for the girl-child.  In all, it seems that every attention is focused on the girl, while the boy-child is often neglected. This has for long posed a great danger.

But these days, hope seems to be rising gradually for the boy child. The society appears to be realising gradually that attention should not be focused only on the girl child, as the boy-child also needs protection.

Many have expressed concern that the boys, who are often neglected, are more likely to participate in ugly activities such as cultism, armed robbery, burglary, rape, murder, assault, felony, manslaughter, bribery, corruption, among others. Recent statistics showed that males constituted 87.9 per cent of those arrested for robbery, and 85.0 per cent for burglary.
Instances abound of crimes committed by males. Recently in Lagos, 11 self-confessed homosexuals and suspected criminals were arrested by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command in the highbrow Lekki area of the State.

They narrated how they successfully lure men to an apartment, abduct, rape, and extort them. Several stolen phones from their victims and hundreds of videos showing victims being raped and brutalized by the gang, were recovered from them.
Operatives of the Zone 2 Police Command, Lagos equally arrested 20 suspected thieves for allegedly conniving to steal equipment and transformer cables valued at N40m, property of Kuramo Industries Limited. They have since being charged to court.

The same way, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Osun Command, arrested a bricklayer, Adedapo Ayobami, 24, for allegedly breaking into the home of a dead herbalist to steal a get-rich soap.
Few months ago, an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan, sentenced a serial fraudster, Olaniyan Gbenga Amos, to 75 years in prison after he was found guilty of multiple investment frauds.
Last year also, a serial murder suspect arrested by the Police in Osun State, Saheed Wasiu, popularly known as K-Federal, confessed to killing over 20 people before the long arm of the law caught up with him.
The State Police Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Yemisi Opalola who confirmed the arrest of the suspect, said he had earlier been declared wanted by the police for murder and cult related activities.

Reacting to these incidents, Jimmy John, a teacher with a degree in Adult Education, said it is disturbing because boys are expected to play a big role in the development of a good society, noting that boys are the future fathers, leaders, and therefore are expected to be more responsible. According to him, this can only be achieved when the society as a whole begins to take care of the boy-child.
However, the narration is beginning to change. On May 16th, the world over celebrated the International Day of the Boy Child, a day dedicated to recognising the unique challenges and potential of boys worldwide.

Also, just as girls, non-governmental organisations are beginning to focus on the boy-child too.
In 2021, Boy-Child Transformation Centre (BTC), an intervention platform that provides a positive, permanent shift in the quality of life of the boy-child, was launched. The organisation works to impact the society by promoting healthy, respectful boy-child causes while offering transformational programmes, and resources for companies, foundations, schools, government agencies and community groups. During the launch, the Founder, Nkiru Oguadinma, noted that world order fails to grasp the fact that the boy-child has the same or even worse challenges as the girls. She said that a neglected boy-child generally grows up to be a bigger danger to society than girl child.
Describing children as leaders and guardians of the future, she urged every family and society to aim at raising healthy and productive individuals who are physically and spirituality balanced. “If we help and build our boys early, we wouldn’t have to spend much empowering and training our girls to be better wives because they naturally are. When we fail for the men today, just like we had failed for women decades ago, we create a cycle and someday we might have to focus on the empowerment of the boy-child only because he was neglected,” she said.
Other NGOs for boys include, “Boys to MEN Foundation”, established in November 2017 and dedicated to supporting boys and men to become their best selves, and so positively impact the communities in which they live.

“Rescue The Boyz”, Founded by Oyinade Samuel Eluwol was established to help the boy-child draw the world’s attention to the neglect areas that could cost them the essence of humanity.
Another organisation, “Boys Quarters Africa”, founded by Solomon Ayodele, is also focused on boy-child transformation.

In providing solution to the ordeal of the boy-child, a retired teacher, Olufuke Odetayo, advised all hands to be on deck to guide the boys to the right path as they will eventually become heads of families. “If they are not properly trained, what legacies are they going to leave for their families. She said the responsibility is on families, teachers, environment, and government, to play a good role in the upbringing of the boy-child.

She advocated mentorship programme to guide and educate the boys, and advised the government to create policies that can advance the interest of the boy-child. She equally emphasised the importance of public enlightenment to create awareness on the issues concerning the boy-child.
Joy Egwuonwu, a lecturer, advocated gender inclusiveness that will benefit both boys and girls, and promote equal opportunities for all. She believes in the empowerment of not only girls, but also boys. According to her, boys should also be protected from rape and other forms of crimes and immorality.
She advised the government to put in place policies that will promote and support the growth of the boy-child.

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