May 27th is Nigeria Children’s Day whereby office workers are off work to attend events with their children. How I wish everyday is Children’s Day in Nigeria whereby we no longer tolerate another story of helpless children abuse and maltreatment.
In Britain for example there is National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), they work with schools and community – open everyday and ready to hear children’s concerns and step in to mediate especially when the safety of the child is not certain.
NSPCC visited my girls’ school a few months ago, they had assembly with the children – basically to let them know that they are never alone, they encouraged children to report any concerns they may have with adults around them to lighten up the burden and to get necessary help before it gets out of hand. And if adults around them are the ones given physical or emotional discomfort, the children were advised to speak with their teacher who has the responsibility to inform appropriate bodies.
I thought that was incredible to have a neutral support system where little children can run to if adults in their lives become abusive.
From January till date, we’ve had to take Yeye to A & E more than I care to remember now and a few subsequent follow-up for X-ray and MRI scan results and consultations. She tripped on her toe on the stairs at home so had scratched up proximal phalange. That was the beginning and by the end of the April, somehow the ankle and knee of the same leg got injured in separate occasions.
The school is informed as she was not able to participate in sports for sometimes. In one meeting as we were updating the school on pain relief schedule during the day, I learnt that each time a child is admitted to A & E, the school received a note stating briefly what the visit was about.
Really? A society that has learnt that adults/parents as loving as they are towards their children can sometimes ‘flipped’ and if that happens, the most important cause of action was protect the children from further abuse – that is great, I thought.
When UK PM David Cameron, said Nigeria is Fantastically Corrupt – this is one of the instances that popped in my head.
Let’s take for example the case of two year old Musa Murtala whose mother has divorced from the father. The toddler is being looked after by his step mother and paternal grandmother in Kano.
His tongue, private part was severed and one of his eyes poked, reportedly by the stepmother and grandmother. One wonders what the sin of a 2 year old could be?
What is obvious in Nigeria is that parents and guardian often have absolute authority on their children, parents can successfully do whatever they liked to their children without anyone knowing – easy explanation would be that they have travelled.
Murtala’s case is not an isolated one, similar news are in our newspapers daily and often perpetrators get away with it. We have grown used to this type of news that people deliberately tuned out of it as another ‘negative’ news.
Nigeria and Britain have completely different social welfare programs, so not comparing apple and orange here, however since we are all human if Kano could spend large amount of money on people to re-marry, procreate from young age and praises polygamy, maybe it is time to emulate others who spend their resources to look after existing children’s welfare.
Maybe this Children’s Day we can all give voice to those children whose cries needed our echo.
Happy Children’s Day!