The Girl Child, An Endangered Specie in the 21st Century Nigeria: Public Lecture & Book Launch by Fill in the Gaps Outreach

The utmost responsibility of any nation is to provide security for her citizens – Prof. Stella Odebode.

As the world marked another “Day of the Girl Child” on 11th October 2018, there were many activities organized by individuals, organizations, and groups to draw attention to the challenges beguiling and preventing girls from achieving their potentials. It was also to bring to fore practices that harm the girl child’s physical and psychological well-being and to seek solutions to ending these inhuman treatments such as rape, sexual violence, abduction and kidnap, sex slavery, early marriage, lack of equal rights to education and opportunities, domestic abuse, child slavery and Female Genital Mutilation(FGM).

One of such organization, “The Fill in the Gap Outreach(NGO)”, brought together various stakeholders; students, parents and guardians, policy makers, Community leaders, development partners, and the media to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child through a public lecture. The CEO, Princess Aderonke Olajide in her opening remarks said that one of the organization’s goal is premised on filling the gaps created by unexpected pregnancy which occurs in the life of some girls for whatever reason. Fill in the Gaps provide support for such girls through ensuring safe delivery of their babies and ensuring they go back to school/learn a skill.
An interesting, informative and eye-opening lecture titled, “The Girl Child as an Endangered Species in the 21st Century Nigeria was delivered by Prof. Stella Odebode, Director Gender Mainstreaming office, University of Ibadan.

A cross of school girls present at the Fill in the Gap Outreach Public lecture

A few take away points from the lecture:

  • Globally 60% of girls are denied education as opposed to boys who are 40%.
  • Rape and sexual violence is a global phenomenon that needs to be continually addressed. Students are sexually molested by teachers, headmasters and other people who are supposed to be carers.
  • Perpetrators are hardly prosecuted which promotes the culture of silence.
  •  Parents need to be very sensitive and conscious of any signs that anyone is attempting to abuse their wards particularly extended family members living with them.
  • Prevalence of Child marriage and young mothers: According to a study carried out by Prof. Stella Odebode in Igbo Ora, Oyo state there is a prevalence of young mothers ages 11, 12 and above.
  • There is an increased incidence of school dropout and unwanted pregnancy in girls.
  • 1 in 4 children is reported as having an incidence of sexual violence.
  •  In some parts of Nigeria, 43% of girls are married off before age 18. In some other parts, 15% are married off before age 15.
  • Key ailments of girls exposed to early marriage are VVF, Anemia, High Blood pressure, premature births and even death in some cases.

Solutions

The Chairman of the occasion – Dr. Mike Omotosho , PDG, D9125, AKS Rotary International, dressed in his Ghanian royal title in a pix pose with the convener & CEO, Fill in the Gaps Outreach – Princess Aderonke Olajide
  • All maternity and orphanage homes should be dully registered to nib in the board criminal activities that expose children particularly girls to any form of sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • Speak up and do something about that your neighbor who is abusing his/her housemaid or child. If you notice something isn’t right and a life is endangered, do not mind your business. Remember that it could be you or your child.

You are standing under the shade of a tree because someone planted it – Warren Buffet

Dignitaries at the Lecture

Dr. Mike Omotosho, PDG, D9125, AKS Rotary International – Chairman.
Her Excellency, Omolewa Yetunde Ahmed- First Lady of Kwara State – Special guest of Honour
Prof. Stella Odebode – Guest Lecturer
Mr. Oluwarotimi O. Martins – MD/CEO Midway Airlines – Chief Launcher
Chief Mrs. Ranti Koiki – CEO, Fawzy Hotels, Nigeria – Guest of Honour
Alh. Mohammed Bello – Zonal Director, FRCN Ibadan Zonal station – Guest of Honor
Asiwaju Abdlrazaq Shittu – President/Chairman, Skysite Offshore Access (WA)Ltd – Father of the Day
Princess Olabisi Sangodoyin

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

XX-FILES Debut on International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGMC.

Me interviewing our guest on radio for FGMC zero tolerance day.

I am excited to be a part of the ideas team for XX-FILES a radio program that inspires women to reach for the sky and beyond.

We wanted to do a special package to educate listeners about the negative impact of female genital mutilation and cutting on girls and women for the 6th of February. This is the international day of Zero tolerance for FGMC.

All the morning shows were not suitable so I shared the idea of doing a one-off women’s program only for that day with my bosses. The idea got a positive nod. However as we sat down to plan and give the program a title out came the phrase XX chromosomes and then XX-FILES! Everyone liked the idea and that was how I got myself into extra work o… Meaning that my work load had simply increased. Just when I was thinking of shedding something off *wink.

Right now XX-FILES is now going to be a weekly live program… All about the female gender. A splash of the different aspects of women’s lives ranging from lifestyle, leadership, politics, empowerment, fashion, relationship, family life, career issues and more.

So thanks to the International day of Zero tolerance for FGMC – we gave birth to a brand new program. My guest for the debut edition was Ms Abimbola Aladejare – Founder and Executive director of The New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative.

Ms Abimbola Aladejare on red t-shirt, me, her team & radio stations staff

She is an FGMC survivor and is passionate about ending this harmful cultural practice.

Female genital mutilation and cutting is not a campaign slogan it is an issue that affects many girls and women. Many live with the consequences of having been cut. Let’s keep the discussions going; let’s keep educating those who hold tenaciously to this practice in ignorance.

Together we can end FGMC in a generation!

XX-FILES comes up every Tuesday at 10am on Premier FM 93.5.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Our World has Gone Mad!!! What can We Do About It?

Credits: Shutterstock

Some time ago a man was seen early in the morning when people were rushing to get to work carrying a little child who was kicking and crying. Everyone passed by as they went about their business but one man noticed and decided to challenge the man carrying the child. The man just dropped the child and ran. He had abducted that child as soon as her mum dropped her off at the school gate!

The world has become more complex as our once simpler and innocent way of life is a mixed bag of mistrust, horror, and chaos. We now want to satisfy our appetite at any cost. The syndrome of anything that makes me happy even when it hurts others. Selfishness and wickedness(forgive my strong language) is the picture that we see on our news screens every day. Sometimes even though I work with a media organization, I feel like shutting out the news headlines that evade the social media, TV, radio, and newspapers. This is because fellow human beings seem to craft and carry more terrible wicked schemes. Will this ever end?

Such news as that of the rape and murder of young Zainab Ansari In Pakistan is really disheartening. As I watched her picture on the placards of those protesting in her community, I couldn’t but feel an awful chill. One camera did catch her abductor on tape and the horror of it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. “You dare not trust your child even with a supposed trusted neighbor”, it didn’t use to be so! I thought to myself.

I remember as a child my parents could just leave us in the care of a friend or neighbor while running errands or on days they have a function we couldn’t accompany them on. They did not fear us being molested by anyone. In fact, as a child up to my teenage level, you were afraid of your mum or dad’s friends seeing you engaged in anything that your parents didn’t approve of. They will definitely make sure that your parents hear about it! Now neighbors, friends and even close family members abuse those in their care sexually to a point where organs are damaged or a life is lost!

I also remember times when I was sick as a teenager when our family doctor would examine me. My mother didn’t have to stay in the examining room and the doctor did not take advantage of me! Now I won’t dream of living my daughter or my son for that matter with a doctor alone especially if it has to with getting undressed to examine him/her.

My Advice on ways you can protect your child:

  • Don’t be careless. Walk with your child to school especially younger children.
  • Keep an eye on your children.
  • Stop living your child with just anyone. some of us parents even leave them with a lesson teacher and you go out doing your business… Haaa! I hear some even leave their house key with lesson teacher who sleeps in the house when such parents travel on business! Haaaaaa… Danger raises to power 100!!😱😱
  • Teach your child what to look out for in identifying predators.
  • Remind your child about the golden rule of not talking to strangers.
  • Stop minding your business if you notice something abnormal about an adult holding a child or a stranger taking away your neighbor’s children do Something!!!

Seriously parents pay attention, stop been in hurry to go about your tasks forgetting to take those little but safe precautions.

Every child has a right to life and protection

Adebisi Adetunji(c)

 

Girls Living in “Face – me – I – Face – You” at Risk

“Face-me-I – Face – You” houses are overcrowded living quarters where occupants share bathrooms, kitchen and compound. It is not uncommon to see a family of ten share just one room. It is a community of constant fights and chaos. People who live in such a place are usually low income earners who struggle to make ends meet.

I remember we once lived in a face-me-I – Face- You compound while growing up. My father would insist that we do not go out of our house to play with children of other tenants in the compound. Instead we were kept busy reading our books and doing our little house chores. He then went a step further to purchase a betamax video cassette player and lots of cartoons to keep us busy. These we will stay glued to whenever our parents were not around.

One time I made the mistake of getting involved in settling fights between two children in the compound. I got the spanking of my life! Why because my dad did not want us to keep bad company plus I was supposed to be home already with my siblings after attending an evening coaching lesson. So you see it was getting dark and my poor dad didn’t know I was somewhere in the compound so he went in search of me at the lesson afraid something bad had happened to me. Hmmm… I will never forget the discipline I got.

Little did I know that my Dad was only trying to protect us from horrible things that could happen to girls like I and my siblings. I was under ten years and I had two other sisters as at that time. As soon as dad could afford it he got us an apartment with more privacy in safer environment.

Later I got to know about girls who were sexually abused by neighbors. Some of the perpetrators were young boys their age or male adults.

We were protected by our very vigilant parents who knew better. Unfortunately many parents of children who live in face-me – I – Face – You are so careless and some just don’t know the dangers lurking around to grab their daughters.

I have come across horrifying stories that I don’t want to even begin to talk about here. Everyday one girl is waylaid in her community and sexually abused. Most times it is one old man or silly boy in the compound/next door who abuse such vulnerable girls.

What is the way forward here? Why am I ranting? There is a serious need to educate parents at the grassroot level to pay more attention to the safety of their children.

Any practical suggestions of what we can all do? While at it please educate as many people you happen to meet in your community and neighborhood about this.

Girls need to be protected from sexual predators. It starts with you.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

A butterfly trapped in a school bus

Butterfly

A butterfly, beautiful but fragile
A butterfly helping with the pollination process
Beautiful flowers flourish as it moves from one nectar to the other.
A butterfly flies by my window, makes me  smile
Out in the fields children try to catch a butterfly from the many beautiful ones floating around. Butterfly 2

A hand catches a butterfly but on opening it,
The wings were crushed, the little girl felt sad and started to cry
Oh my beautiful butterfly is crushed

A four year old beautiful butterfly was deflowered by a bus driver who took her to school everyday so it went in a  news report.Then i decided to read further about the story. It came down to a horrifying detail. The news report says that the bus driver raped her on a table in her classroom!!! Where were the teachers? Who leaves a toddler in her class alone to be molested by the school bus driver?! Did he drop off all the other students before this incidence? What is the school’s yard stick for employing its drivers?  Many questions besieged my mind. Can’t a parent even feel safe with his or her ward’s school bus service, i asked myself.

On the other hand there are parents who do not engage the services of a school bus. They simply refuse to see the need to ensure that their children get to school safely. I find it amazing that a woman who has a small shop or sells Ate ties a wrapper early in the morning and sends of her 3year – 7year old to school by himself or herself. That is what i see in some Adugbo close by me. These same children would have to cross a quite busy road to get to their school. Soon it will be in the news that a car crushed some school students trying to cross the road by themselves! Or a young child gets raped in some lonely pathway between her house and school. Some would engage the services of an Okada rider to take and bring back their kids to and fro school. This morning i saw two girls on an Okada with the rider struggling to get a balance on a very busy road. A trio danger is involved here: accident, kidnap and rape of such girls by a depraved minded okada rider.

Seriously we need to make going to and been in school safer for children!

Photo Credit: Blue Butterfly- Clipart Panda

Photo 2: Royalty Free stock photo thank you for sharing- dreamstime.com

Word Glossary

Wrapper: Big and colourful or plain  West African clothing that can be tied around a woman’s waist like a wrap skirt.

Ate: Petty trading items like biscuits, sweets, tomatoes, etc displayed on a stand or tray.

Adugbo: Neighborhood

Okada: Nigerian local slogan for motorcycle

Okada Rider: Motorcycle rider

Adebisi Adetunji