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FG set to make 60% of cartoon content local

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By Usman Oladimeji

Cartoons being watched by our children do not reflect our culture and values.

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) is aiming to promote positive values and strengthen family Bonds by collaborating with cartoon creators in order to create indigenous content. Also, the agency is working with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to mandate television stations and schools to prioritize airing and teaching at least 60 percent of local content that highlights the nation’s Culture and heritage. The agency also announced plans to involve 37,000 citizen groups in schools at all levels throughout the country in order to spread awareness of national values.

It further expressed concern over the prevalence of foreign content in Nigerian children’s media, noting that it is disconnected from the country’s culture. Speaking during a stakeholders’ workshop in Abuja, the director general of the NOA, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu highlighted the agency’s efforts to introduce measures that will help bridge the gap in parenting. The workshop, supported by Parenting For Life Long Health (PLH) and Global Parenting Initiative from the University of Oxford, aimed to enhance parenting programs in Nigeria. Issa-Onilu pointed out that many parents are relying heavily on schools to take on the majority of their responsibilities.

There are ongoing efforts to promote responsible parenting.

He mentioned that the healthy development of family relationships have been impeded by various factors such as insecurity, economic downturn, poverty, joblessness, and deprivation. He stated that the organization has observed a growing difficulty for schools in compensating for the shortcomings within families, noting that numerous African children are raised in households with absent caregivers and minimal external interactions. To this end, he said there are ongoing efforts at the NOA to promote responsible parenting and address family challenges.

Such efforts include the active engagement with cartoonists to make sure that the cartoons our children watch in the future will represent our heroes, culture, folklore, diversity, challenges, and successes. The cartoons currently being watched by our children, which are important in shaping their character and perspectives, do not accurately reflect our culture and values. Also, the collaboration with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) will allow the agency to ensure that only approved content is broadcasted on television.

NOA is working to establish Citizen Brigades in schools.

Collaboration with the regulatory agency would allow NOA to enforce a new requirement for all television stations, both cable and terrestrial, as well as schools, to ensure that at least 60 percent of their content focuses on local themes and stories within the next year. In regards to implementing the Citizen Brigade program in schools, Issa-Onilu mentioned that the NOA is currently working on establishing Citizen Brigades in both Secondary and Primary educational institutions. The initial goal is to create 1000 citizen brigades in each of the 36 states and the FCT, totalling 37,000 brigades. These brigades will help promote the National Values Charter among the citizens.

Issa-Onilu said the agency’s main objective is to introduce our children to the promises that Nigeria offers them and the responsibilities they have towards their country and fellow citizens from a young age. By doing this, we can raise children who prioritize important values. Advocating for National Values Chatter underscores the importance of responsible parenting, he added. He revealed plans to incorporate the continents of the National Values Chatter, which will be unveiled soon by the president, could be into the entire educational journey of students, from primary school to university.

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Dr. Isang Awah, a spokesperson for PLH at Oxford University, emphasized the importance of interventions for parents to improve child-reading practices. She highlighted the unintended cruelty towards children caused by the ongoing humanitarian crises, adding that findings point towards the necessity of providing support and interventions for parents to ensure better outcomes for children. Awah said while parents do not intentionally choose to be cruel to their children, factors such as Security problems, financial struggles, lack of employment opportunities, and other obstacles can make it challenging for parents to properly care for their children. Meanwhile, many parents may simply lack the necessary skills to provide better care, underscoring the importance of offering support in the form of parenting knowledge and skills.


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