Philosophical praxis and the menace of street urchins in Nigeria

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Christopher Akpan
Dorathy Akpan
Stephen Adi Odey
Samuel Akpan Bassey


The problem of street children is becoming more severe because of their increasing number day by day and the violation of child rights by society at large in order to fulfil their vested interests. This paper examines the societal problem of street urchins in Nigeria and contends that the problem could be addressed through philosophical praxis. Using critical and contextual analytical approaches, the paper shows that street urchins have been dehumanised by several factors, which have consequently pushed them to become a societal nuisance. We argue that neither government efforts in ridding the streets of urchins through armed task forces nor non-governmental organisations’ efforts towards rehabilitation have yielded lasting solutions. This is because they neither ask fundamental questions nor proffer essential solutions. We contend that since philosophy and philosophical praxis involve asking fundamental questions and consciously engaging in critical reflection to transform existential situations and social structures, contemporary philosophical practise should not be apathetic towards such a societal problem. We propose Philosophico-outreach Therapy (PoT) as a praxis framework in which professional philosophers could interact with distressed urchins, their parents, other caregivers, and the government through dialogue. We conclude that this approach can uncover any concealment that led to such a distraught situation, thereby paving the way to re-humanising them and sanitising society.


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