The story of Oluwalonimi (Nimmy) is hard to ignore, the first question that popped to my mind after reading the story was, where are the parents of this child?
Nimmy is a 4 year old girl with cerebral palsy. Nimmy’s parents hired Bisola Abajomi-Ojo, a registered physiotherapist to work with the girl three times a week.
Nimmy’s mother, Bukola Ayinde did her homework, like many women in her shoes, she read a lot about her daughter’s condition. Travelled with her family to Hungary for a month with her child all so she could learn how to better help Nimmy live a normal life.
She got to know Bisola Abayomi-Ojo through reading a church magazine – if one could not trust a referral whose name appears in a church magazine in Nigeria, who else can one trust?
I am not particularly sure why Ms Abayomi-Ojo was this nasty to the little girl. She seems like an informed person, who is aware of challenges facing disabled people in Nigeria. Even the girl’s mother said she thought Abayomi-Ojo was her friend given how she related with the family on the progress of their child.
What did Abayomi-Ojo do wrong – sometimes in 2016, she made a visit to Nimmy’s school for a physio session. During the session, it was just Abayomi-Ojo and Nimmy in the room. The school has a CCTV camera in the room. The whole time that she was in the room, she was on her phone. Nimmy, given her condition fell off the chair several times, at one point, Abayomi-Ojo tied the girl’s hands together – all of these were done in a hurry, she seems to be preoccupied with her phone throughout.
There are video clips online clearly showing all of these including hitting the girl whose parents are paying lots of money for ‘professional’ help. How sad can one be?
After the school showed the clips to Nimmy’s parents, they were clearly devastated but wanted to handle the case with care, eventually they got Nigeria police and Registrar of Medical Rehabilitation Therapist Board involved.
Getting justice through normal routes in Nigeria is difficult and can be frustrating to the point of withdrawing the case.
Only few weeks after Nimmy’s abuse at the hand of a well paid and trusted physiotherapist was reported, Abayomi-Ojo left Nigeria for the USA, now doing her masters.
Child abuse is not unusual as Nigeria goes, but for authorities to push aside a case of an abused disabled child in the hand of a trained professional is another rock bottom, even for Nigeria standard.
If Nigeria middle class can’t get justice on a case like this with proven evidence, what hope is there for more than half the population?
I am glad that Nimmy’s mother realised she is the best person to look after her own child. She has decided to write about her experiences and sharing it with Nigerians – I think this is crucial. Often, we rely on success stories of raising disabled children in the west, reading from people within the country is very important and hopefully will lead to government paying more attention to paediatric needs.
There is an ongoing petition urging the USA to revoke Abayomi-Ojo’s visa so she could go back home to face consequences of her action, only few more signatures from justice loving people from around the world to reach 10,000 target.
I hope justice prevails in the end.