From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
As Nigeria celebrates her 60th Independence anniversary, National Association of Seadogs (NAS) has stated that the country has nothing to celebrate for, with the level of insecurity, hardship and poverty faced by the citizens.
The group also known as Pyrates Confraternity said Nigeria ranks highest in out-of-school-children in the world according to the current record of the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Ken Henshaw, Port Harcourt Chapter President of the Association, stated this during their 2020 Free Medical Outreach organised for residents of Rumuolumeni community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State in commemoration of the independence anniversary.
Henshaw lamented that Nigeria at 60 has failed in the education, health and security sectors, adding that agitation for disintegration has threatened the nation’s unity.
He stated: “The current data released by UNICEF states that Nigeria has 10.5 million children, who are currently out of school. And that is the highest number of out-of-school-children in the world.
“So, we have a population between 180 million and 200 million. And out of that number, we have 10.5 million of our children without a future, without education, without any kind of skill. That is the reality. That is the kind of country we live in.
“The question to ask yourself is in the next 10 years, when Nigeria would be 70 years, where would these children who are currently out of school be? And that tells you simply that the insecurity in the country will country.
“Today, Nigeria is 60. We are looking back at 60 years of independence. The reality of Nigerian nation today, is it commensurable with the hope and expectations of that ushered us independence in 1960. The answer is no,” Henshaw decried.
He stated that NAS decided to carry out the Free Medical Outreach as part of its contributions to the society because government has abysmal record on that sector.
In his goodwill message, the paramount ruler of the community, Eze Ndubeze Olumeni, commended Pyrates Confraternity for the group’s philanthropic services to the society, particularly on health issues.
The monarch, who was represented by Chief Collins Wagba, described NAS’ gesture as worthwhile and called on other groups to emulate such humanitarian services rendered to members of the public.
Some of the beneficiaries of the programme commended NAS for bringing the gesture to their community.
Mrs Felicia Oparali, Woman Leader, Rumuolumeni community, said “I so much appreciate this programme. On behalf of my women I am here to testify that the group came at the right time and we are so grateful for it.
“All we have learned here today, we will use as instrument to avoid some sickness because this period the sickness is much and the women are the worst affected”.
The event featured free health talk on colorectal cancer, Covid-19 and general health, free Medical’s and donation of medical equipment to the community health centre.