Saturday 7 March 2020

How do I explain this to my children?

I was thinking this morning..... about foreign education. Having been born in Warri many years ago, one of my dreams as a teenager was to study abroad. With the modest financial state of my parents, I knew the only way I could achieve that dream was for me to study hard and get a full scholarship, but that did not happen. Unaware of any other way, I gladly accepted the closest thing to studying abroad, going to Benin City. For a child, born and bred in Warri and had traveled only as far as Sapele, why won't he regard Benin city as 'abroad?' Afterall, it was called a city like London and New York and had a ring road.

As I became an adult and had children, I taught my children the time-honoured maxim, 'the surest way to be successful in life is to study hard and get a good education.' Since our higher institutions have very little to offer having been serially raped and left for dead by our political leaders, I told my children to study even harder so they can be deserving of a scholarship to study abroad. I had told them categorically that the ONLY way to study abroad is either 'your papa get plenty money,' like we say in Warri or you get a scholarship. They accepted my words like the obedient children they are. Thank God.

Then last week, I was shocked to my core when I read the headline 'Repentant terrorists to enjoy foreign education.... Senate bill.' 'It's a lie!' I exclaimed in anger. I wasn't sure exactly what part of the headline and news made me angry. Was it the fact that the bill being sponsored by Senator representing Yobe East, Ibrahim Geidam, would even scale through the first reading in the Senate, or that the headline used the word 'enjoy?' Chai!!! But how can anyone contemplate taking funds from the Universal Basic Education Commission and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund meant for law abiding Nigerian children and use it to send terrorists abroad to enjoy? Chai Nigeria, how do I explain this to my children?

How do I explain to my children that there are over 13 million Nigerian children of school age roaming our streets, yet the meager resources budgeted for their education is being proposed to be used to send Boko Haram members abroad to enjoy. Chai! How do I explain this to my children?

My greatest worry at this time is what to tell my children when they return home on holidays. I can imagine them ask 'Daddy, but you told us that the only way to getting foreign education is to study hard to get a scholarship, why are repentant terrorists being sent abroad to school?' Our shameless politicians want to make me a liar but they will not succeed. Chai! This thing our politicians is doing is not good o. Even the holy book says in Matthew 15:26 'It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs.' Anyway you look at it, this bill erodes justice and makes a mockery of the suffering of victims, and the unspeakable human tragedy, humanitarian crisis and appalling atrocities committed by the Boko Haram terrorist group. Yet, they want to use our children's money to send them abroad to enjoy. Schools will be going on Easter break soon and I am thinking, how do I explain this to my children?

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey

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