By Sodiq Lawal
Fellow Brethren, I have surfaced again. I hope I could spare you this ordeal but something in me retorted. I have not been in perpetual silence for nothing. I have been brushing aside the temptation to write these days for many reason’s. On top of it is the advice I received from elders and colleagues whom I respect so much that I should tarry a while. Trial it may, I overtly obliged and retired permanently to observations. At least they say, time is healing.
I have observed for millions time about the suspected thugs at Iremo road in Ile Ife, they have turned Olatakale compound as their secular home for meeting, smoking, and engaging in all manners of criminal activities.
Over ten years, they have been using the Olatakale compound for many social miscreants. Our big brothers restiveness in the ancient city is dangerously acceleration. They have becomes the order of the day which unleash irreparable material loss, anguish, hatred, revenge, pain and moral degradation on youth, families and society at large.
Often time, critics contend that we only write to attack without proffering solution. It is not true. Contrary to what some are circulating that if you don’t speak for brothers then, you are speaking for the other side. It is baseless. It doesn’t take special training to know our brothers are going nowhere. Let me assuredly tell them that everyone I know, including me, loves and wants them to succeed. The reason is simple. They are youths. The society is looking up to them. They represent the time to come.
Residents of the community have raised serious concerns recently over the growth of the menace of negative youthful exuberance, characteristic of miscreants
generally referred to as Area Boys. Time without numbers, the residents have called on the Police boss to bring the situation under control, while blaming the politicians for the aggravation of the menace in the area. However, the menace was encouraged by the high level of joblessness and thus the need for
government to create more jobs to absorb the teeming army of young people who have since become a menace and ready recruitment tools for unscrupulous politicians who exploit the youth’s deprived conditions for selfish gains.
The issue of these street boys continues to raise many questions. For example, are the education systems (in Ile Ife) not inclusive enough? Could it be that the boys are facing cultural dilemma in the ancient city? Or, are parents and guardians miserably failing in their duty of providing the needed support to the youth? Perhaps, the society is not caring enough! In whichever direction one points the “accusing finger” I think the problem of street youth in Ile Ife deserves our attention. The future of our community is seriously threatened by this phenomenon.
My personal philosophy as an educator is based on the fact that the greatest aim of education is not knowledge, but action. Though it is good to have knowledge about or in something that knowledge fails to ‘serve’ society if it is not put into action.
Action brings results. Results bring improvement and progress for the benefit of the community. Knowledge becomes creative and open when it leads to action! Africans have an adage: “It takes the whole community to bring up a child.”
Undoubtedly, children are our heritage and it is the responsibility of us as adults to identify, talk about and take action on any factors that put our children youth “at-risk”. According
to the National Crime Prevention Council of Canada (1997), “risks are the things or experiences in a young person’s life that increase the chances of a youth being victimized or of developing one or more behavior problems which might be harmful to the youth or/and other persons or property.”
Street youth are youth “at-risk” and they pose a great danger to themselves and the society at large. We, therefore, need to prevent all factors that push our youth onto the street. Dropping out of school is one of such factors.