Experts say that the current high crime rate, moral decadence, and even terrorism are pointers to bad family upbringing. Undoubtedly, a child that has sound family upbringing would not be easily lured into armed robbery, homosexuality, kidnapping, prostitution, terrorism and other vices.
The need to strengthen family values was stressed at a recent symposium jointly organised in Abuja by four non-governmental organisations.
The organisations are: The Companion, The Criterion, Family Counseling Centre and Federation of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria.
The theme of the Abuja Family Symposium was: “ The Family: Tool for a Sustainable Society.’’
Mr Abdul-Malix Abdul-Azeez, the President of The Companion, said that all religions placed great value on the family.
According to him, if the family, as the fabric of the society, is built up properly, the society will be cohesive and stronger.
“As the building fabric of a society, Islam places so much value on the wellbeing and righteousness of family units as the fundamental root that can make or mar the society.
Significantly, our womenfolk constitute the engine room of these families and therefore greatly influence the quality of the men folk and youth injected into the system.
While sensitisation for the societal families to rise up to this task continues, we need to start building a societal family to facilitate living beyond our differences and embrace common front against common enemy.
We hope to institutionalise this concept through an annual organisation of this friendly family forum, to constantly examine and explore areas of our strengths for synergy and collective action in solving our common societal problems through socio-religious means.’’
Abdul-Azeez said that the organisers would make recommendations to the government on ways to move the nation forward in the face of numerous challenges.
On her part, Hajia Duduyemi Saudat, the Chairperson, Ansar-ud-Deen, Maitama Abuja chapter, condemned all forms of societal ills and called on women to rise up and fight against increasing immorality in the nation, especially lesbianism.
“Both Muslim clerics and Christian pastors have strongly condemned homosexuality; both the Quran and the Bible condemn it.
As a woman leader, I will take the message back to the society.’’ She noted.
Dr Hussaini Abdu, the Country Director, Action Aid Nigeria, said that urgent measures must be taken to address the numerous problems confronting the family.
“There are 10.5 million out of school children in Nigeria and 15 million others in child labour; this means that family is under stress, which leads to increasing violence and family breakdown.
Insurgency is increasing family stress and family crisis have created lots of children in the streets who are very susceptible to manipulation.
What we need now is to provide long time interventions; poverty makes people vulnerable; so our aim is to de-radicalise them through various interventions.’’ He said.
Rev. Dr Johnson Oguegbe, Lead Pastor, Hope Lifters Kingdom Assembly, said that there was need for a change of attitude for the nation to progress.
According to him, to sustain the society we live, we have to go all out against corruption, child abuse, lesbianism and homosexuality.
“Every evil condemned in the Bible is also condemned in the Quran.’’
In his Easter message, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, the Archbishop of Catholic Arch-Diocese of Onitsha, implored Nigerians to be committed to reviving family values.
The message was titled: “Easter Message: A Time to pray and be committed to Resuscitate Our Family Values.’’ It reads;
“This year, I would like to call for prayers for our various families and how we could resuscitate our family values.
There is a great need to re-awaken our family values in the country since in the family one experiences his or her first love, peace and brotherliness.
We must work hard to make our families a place where love, peace, equity and justice is shared and practised.
And the golden rule as enshrined in the Holy Scriptures must be practically practised in our various families, for this family peace and love to be nourished.’’ He said.
The clergy said that the decay in the society would be effectively checked when family values and ties are restored.
“If our families are good, it would translate to a better community, society and nation; and the world will be a happy place to stay,’’ he said.
Okeke prayed for peace and love to be restored in various families that had been in disarray.
He said that the family and communal system of life must be restored for most of the ills and misconceptions in the society to be checked.
“Christ’s resurrection means victory and everybody must experience this ongoing victory through being our immediate brothers and family members’ keepers,’’ he said.
However, Mrs Tessy Ewuga, a civil servant, said that building a healthy society filled with orderly, disciplined and God fearing children was not a responsibility of the family alone.
Ewuga, who has five children, said that both the family and the schools have roles to play as both form a crucial part of a child’s upbringing.
“The emphasis should not be on the family alone; most children spend more hours of the day in the school than they spend at their homes.
“So, the school curricula should be designed in such a way that morals, discipline, tolerance alongside knowledge are impacted into the children.
The teachers have a great role to play because they are like second parents to the children because of the amount of time they spend with them.’’
Stakeholders want the government to put in place policies and programmes that will foster and promote family values. They say that good ethical foundation from infancy will promote national cohesion and development. (NAN)