From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The decline of ethical values in the society appears to be getting worse with the growing rate of insecurity, insincerity, cheating, drug abuse, rape and truancy, particularly among the youths.
While ethical pundits link the problem to the advent of social media, which allows young people with poor self-control to copy, hook, line and sinker foreign behaviours and experiment in the Nigerian space, others blame it on parents and governments who prohibit the discipline of children by teachers.
Worried by the disturbing development, the Moral Values and Ethics Support (MOVES) Foundation has championed the cause by tutoring schoolchildren on the repercussions of social vices.
Founder of MOVES, Pat Oseh, who launched a magazine recently in Abuja, explained that her decision to seek to remedy the malady stemmed from a video she saw online where a teenager assaulted his mother.
Oseh added that the clip bore credence to the unacceptable attitude of those who stood, took photos of the incident and uploaded it on Facebook without restraining the boy from hitting his mother.
According to her, children must not deviate from the norms of the society, but that they should begin to wage psychological war against societal pressure so as not to cave in to the antics of evildoers.
She said: “Basically, this vision was born from a terrible clip I saw where a teenager of about was assaulting his mother because she came home drunk.
“I said to myself that the people I was hearing their voices in the background were adults and they were all enjoying the nine to 11 old child hitting his mother and saying to her, ‘You come home drunk every single day’.
“After capturing the scene, they posted it on Facebook and that got me really worried. And I said to myself, that video is going to influence other children and they will begin to think that it is normal for a young child to be hitting and assaulting an adult.
“Every other child may want to practice it with their mother. So these are not the kind of things that should go outside.
“The adults who did that, I felt that they also need orientation because most times when we talk about orientation many people think about young people only.
“But when you look at the things adults are doing as well, you will know that they need orientation.
“Apart from this, a lot of things are happening in our society today and it looks as if we do not have a solution to the problem.
“So, I said let us catch them young. I could start a moral values and ethics club from my foundation. So, let us see how we can begin to talk to them at a very tender age from the primary school on the importance of respect and integrity.
“All these good virtues that we knew while growing. Even some of our parents, those are the virtues that have kept them till today.
“So, we should begin to imbibe in this young children from primary school age so that they will begin to grab these values and they will not depart from it.
“And for the foundation, we also talked about a lot of things happening. The social media have its advantages and disadvantages.”
“A lot of people are copying what they see other people do not knowing that we have our culture.
“A typical example is dress code. The number of half naked women and men we see these days, you will not even believe that they are Africans. It is not our culture.
“There are certain things that we are identified with as Africans and Nigerians. So, I thought about the negative influence that people derive from social media and they begin to take it as a culture.”
Contrary to some cultural beliefs that prohibit the girl child education, she contended that negligence of the girl child from getting educated would affect the society as most of them will get married to educated men which would affect the home front.
According to her, “it is important we also look at these issues that concern values and ethics as well as women and girls. You cannot have so much of women and girls foundation. They are important part of the society.
“One of the staff said men are confused. Inasmuch as I do not agree with that, I still believe that men need the support and guidance of women.
“Even in marriage, if you see a man who is loyal and faithful to the wife, there are a lot of blessings that goes with being working with your wife and female children.
“Now, there are some societies in Nigeria that still believe that the girl child should not go to school. Even if she goes to school, they want to get her married at a very tender age and expect her husband to train her.
“But what if you marry a husband that is like your dad that does not believe a female should be encouraged to go to school?
“The male child that we pay so much attention to, do you know that the girls or women you are ignoring, will eventually get married to those men you have given special treatment, will end up not being compatible.
“So, I think we should have a balance when it comes to male child and female child. For us in the MOVES, we do support the girl child by sending them to school.
“Of course, some parents may not do that deliberately; it may be as a lack of resources to send them to school. We support such parents.”
Also, Dr Ibrahim Yusuf, who is the Sariki Akin Ade of Bwari Area Council and the School Basic Management Committee, said all hands should b on deck to remedy the situation.
Yusuf, who implored Nigerians to be proud of their culture, also urged religious leaders to deviate from misleading the people but tell them the truth.
He said: “Government should give 100 % support so that tutors can discipline children. It is when parents, traditional rulers and our security personnel are involved that we can address the problem.
“If I tell you that the expatriates that came are the ones, people would be surprised. Check history, before they came, when you misplace something on the road, somebody will see it and put it by the side.
“For one year, it will be there until the owner comes for it. If you are selling goods, just put the price there, somebody will come and put the money on top.
“But expatriates came down, we received them and started practicing their culture while they are not even practicing it. We left our culture and ways of life and busy imitating other cultures.
“Naturally, Nigerians are sincere. It used to be a good place to live, but we left our ways of life and things have changed.
“For example now, Gbagi man does not want to behave as one. He will tell you that he cannot carry firewoods.
“We should go back and follow the scriptures. Today, we have a lot of pastors, churches and Imam, but no faith.
“The real teaching of the scriptures is not being followed. Most of the pastors and Imams are no longer preaching the word of God; they are preaching miracles and what can bring something to their pockets.”