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By; Abdulfattah Abdussalam

Years ago, pupils in primary schools in the western states of Nigeria read in a storybook the conviction of a wayward boy for stealing. While he was being led away from the courtroom to the prison, he made a request to speak with his mother who was wailing in the courtroom and the request was granted. When the mother was close to his position, he made a gesture to speak into her ear, but rather than speaks, he bitten off her ear lobe and rebuked her for not being a good mother, which could have corrected his waywardness. It was a moral lesson that guided many to be good children to their parents and shun crimes.

In the past, parents were sincere and parenthood stood tall in each home. They moulded children to be upright, disciplined and committed to learning (vocational trainings or conventional courses). Probity and decency were the watchwords. Covetousness, theft, lying and, truancy were rarity in children. The parents, though many were ‘illiterates’ but they inculcated into their children virtues and their mode of parenting produced: medical doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, architects, business-tycoons, nurses, administrators, public and civil servants, military personnel, Islamic and Christian clergies and professional artisans. Their parenting produced London trained tailors, Lagos trained furniture makers, carpenters, Barbers and Mechanics. Then teachers were well respected, the community trained children and, society flourished. The children of those eras were flawless diamonds and pride to their parents.

Today opposite prevails. Parents had largely abdicated parenthood; their children are on the loose to prowl the lands. What we now have is to see children dropping out of schools in droves, and the girls are into prostitution, clubbing, crimes, nudity and drugs. While the boys are into cultism, gangsters, high profile crimes, kidnapping, robbery, banditry, assassinations, drugs, bank frauds, internet fraud, money rituals, organ harvesting, rape, homosexuality, child/girl trafficking, advance fee frauds, love scams and other heinous atrocities. 

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In addition, because parenthood has gone with the winds, teachers are no longer respected and associations of Parents of internet fraudsters now exist. Parents openly fight teachers because of their wayward kids, bribe teachers to pass their children and write examinations on their behalf.  Some live on their children criminal escapades and openly celebrate them. It is now randy parents waiting for their randy children to come home to feed them. 

The consequences of abdicated parenting are here with us. We now live in a world that portrays marriage as a form of slavery, motherhood as a curse, and sex as natural as indestructible entertainment. Single parenthood is now a status symbol with women believing they are happier living alone without being married. We now see more suicides, Incest blossoms and deluge of narcotics flow across the country. Furthermore life has become a mere fun and amusement, Nigeria rivers crimsons with the blood of the innocents and vegetations grow thick and tall with human bodies as fertilizers. Guns and bayonets boom over our milieu with vultures flying above us waiting for next dead body to devour. Pulpits and altars in religious sanctuaries are now platforms for Lucifer and Iblis to the extent the Clerics and Imams cannot showcase their children as exemplary children for others. 

No doubt the above suggests the future is bleak. However, since the country wears a religious robe, the Clerics should think of robust approaches to salvage the situation. We need the Clerics to set examples and be at the vanguard of reorientation of the family units of the country. But importantly, we need to do self Jihad to change the narratives and guide these children back on courses because they are lost and, the consequences could be more devastating.

Guidance is in the hands of Allah, but He will question us on the knowledge He had given the parent to guide their children, with which some fail to do.

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