By Bianca Iboma
Dr. Celine Njoku works with the Education District Five, Agboju, Lagos, as a Guidance and Counselling officer. Part of her duty is to shape personality and tackle maladjustment among school children and young adults. She spoke with Daily Sun recently.
Most young people do not have career prospects, as a Guidance and Counselling expert, what do you make of this?
It has to do with the educational system in Nigeria unlike in developed countries, where qualitative education is given to all. As they are growing up, they already have an idea of the career path they intend to follow. However, in Nigeria, if students do not have idea of their career choice, then the schools, government and education districts should create the platform for them.
I know that the Federal Government had mandated the Federal Ministry of Education to appoint career officers and counsellors for schools. However, there is a low rate of guidance and counselling officers presently, which affects the educational system.
If they are well informed on their career paths and they put their interest to it, we will have professionals in every field occupying the various sectors of our economy, instead of making use of any professional to fill a vacant position. The world is advancing and we need to move along with the rest of the world.
Youths are engaged in social vices especially, those in secondary schools. What is the cause?
We are faced with a dramatic change in the society today. When I was growing up, my parents had affections for all of us and we equally reciprocated. When we were scolded, it was done with love. My mother would use the whip on you and draw you back again, wiping your tears with her wrapper.
But today, parents will chase their children away in the name of discipline, business and career. The children are, therefore, left at the mercy of nannies and domestic staff. The worst is their access to internet facilities which replaced their parents.
How can parents leave her children without monitoring them? Why do you relinquish your duties as parents, to chase money? Why have we thrown away the morals that made us who we are? It is annoying that most mothers just package garbage as future mothers. Let us return to the drawing board. The youths are involved in societal ills and various crimes because that is what the society has offered them.
How do we stop the youths from engaging in societal ills?
Let me give this illustration so that you can understand how bad it is. If you use nylon to package a particular product and you remove the nylon to repackage the same thing, the result is that you will have a punctured nylon.
It is true that the society is dynamic, there is breakdown of tradition and morals. In spite of that, we can instill some values in the lives of these school children and young adults. As a matter of urgency, we need to engage the services of Guidance and Counselling officers in secondary schools to correct them from straying and curb the rising culture of societal ills.
If money is not spent to put the youths of this nation in the right track, they will turn out to be miscreants. The older generation would not have peace because they have successfully raised people who would embarrass them.
What is the implication of domestic violence is our society?
It has a serious impact on the individual. The way the person thinks and reacts becomes abnormal. It causes physical injury that can affect one’s mind, such that if there is a mental shift in the person’s mind, it may lead to trauma.
The Lagos State Government created schemes like in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) to help such individuals recuperate. Their services are meant to provide timely recognition of abused people, get timely assessment, offer swift and effective intervention as well as assistance for the victims. All these are efforts meant for correction and help for the abuser or perpetrator.
Our government should have facilities in place to cater for domestic violence victims. However, a single authority cannot combat domestic violence. The government must seek help from other relevant agencies.
Can you give a specific example of other state government on such policy?
I don’t know of other states. In Lagos State, there is a ministry that deals with such issues. It is called WAPA. Here the government puts in place policies that address the needs of our women. Many people have been empowered through this means.
The place of women in any economy cannot be over-emphasized. It is either you assess them by their contributions to the overall national growth or their contributions to their families. Do not forget that women are on the receiving end in a distressed economy.
Is it necessary to involve women in post-conflict resolution and if so, has it been done very well?
Women are the best people that can handle and resolve conflicts. If they are included in conflict resolution, it would be successful. There had been a systematic exclusion of women from participating in negotiation of peace. This is one of the reasons negotiation of peace agreement ultimately fails because women are sidelined.
Any country that wants to achieve sustainable development should involve the women in peace agreement with a wide range of issues that are important to the people. She can confidently drum up support for victims of child trafficking, domestic violence and rape cases in her society. She can also assist in restoration of health facilities and reintegration of displaced persons and refugees. She can do a lot in various issues that would have been ignored by the menfolk.
What is your word for the young ones, especially, school children?
The youths should pursue their careers by studying very hard. They should face their academics, build self-confidence, which in turn defines their priority. As Guidance and Counselling officer, I see a lot from these children. I admonish the young ones to make use of technology as an advantage to their time rather than engaging in unholy activities. They should be diligent because there is dignity in labour.