I remember May 27 with nostalgia but the present situation in my dear country warrants some musings too. I look back on those sweet, innocent years, decades ago, moments filled with joyous activities, and I weep for the present, for today’s Nigerian children who cannot even go out freely to celebrate their day.

May 27th is Nigeria’s children’s day, a day kids here should look forward to. Back in the days, it used to be a great occasion parents will know no peace, days prior to children’s day because we harass them endlessly to ensure everything is new and sparkling. On the d-day, you wake up before the crack of dawn, having checked a million times to see that the day was taking longer to wake up. The fun usually takes place at the local government headquarters, so dressed in sparkling school uniform, washed and ironed by Mum’s loving hands, stockings glistening, sandals polished and shining, every strand of hair properly in place. Armed with enough money for food, souvenirs, other goodies, not forgetting ice cream, we will set out for the venue, in the midst of friends, chattering away happily in the bus. Hearts filled with excitement, face beaming with smiles, steps light as if set to fly, straight to the field where each school in the zone has their different stands.

At the venue, devoid of fear and any form of security challenge, we participate or otherwise cheer at the unfolding activities; march past, cultural dances, drama, choreography and what have you. There is just too much fun and excitement. The high point however is when the results are announced and you get to hear whether your school won or not. But either way, it makes little difference. What matters is the fun of eating, mixing and making friends, wondering around and drinking in the sights of jubilant children in their various uniforms, attires and musical instruments.

Even at home, more celebration awaits you. But today, what fun do our kids enjoy? Presently, most states called for prayers and sit at home of children and their teachers for the Chibok girls. The few die-hard schools bent on entertaining the kids, do so amidst fears and tight security, where’s the fun in that? Apart from the ‘bring back our girls’ issues and campaigns, there is still the fear of bomb blasts and more kidnapping that most parents will not even let their children out of their sight today. As I came out this morning, the streets were devoid of any sign of festivities. Quite unlike in our days, when as early as 7am, the streets are already surging with happy kids in different uniforms and the sound of their drums filling the air, leaving you in no doubt as to what the day is all about.

Oh! my sweet, innocent Nigerian children, you have been robbed of your joy and innocence prematurely. What a way to celebrate children’s day, in fear and trembling. As we mark another children’s day here in Nigeria, I plead with the boko haram members and their sponsors to bring back our girls, to let our children enjoy their childhood peacefully and joyfully as they ought to. I guess they either did not get my letter to them or they are yet to give it the favourable attention and action it deserves. I pray thee oh BH, stop the shedding of innocent blood already, stop the kidnapping and torture, stop the carnage!