Begging For Alms: Babies for Hire – What We Must Do!

 

While in the salon making my hair I scrolled through messages on the Advocacy for family planning WhatsApp group page I belong to and then came across this video – (Nigeria Beggar Abandon 3 Babies) that someone had posted. My mouth was agape all through while I watched the story unfold. Here was a woman begging on one of the bridges in Lagos with three babies wearing identical caps. One would have thought they were triplets and most people will be moved to give this “poor woman”, money to care for her “suffering innocent children”. Guess what…these babies were not triplets and she was not their mother either. How did she get these babies? Their mothers hire them out to this “beggar woman” every day and in return get some change at the end of the day. You need to have seen these babies crying their hearts out wrapped in pieces of cloths lying on the ground. The mother heart in me went out to them and then this anger against their mother and the woman using them for alms arose in me.

Some women should simply not be mothers!!! How could they be that heartless all in the name of making some money? I hear that they make some good money as much as N10, 000, N15, 000. Their foolish mothers get like N1, 500 at the end of the day for exposing their child to the elements and weather (come rain, come the sunshine). The particular “woman beggar” in the video ran away when authorities tried to question her but thankfully she was caught. Ask me what happened after that? I believe these babies should have been taken over by the social welfare and then these women should be arrested and prosecuted! How far they went with this I don’t know.

The sad thing was that when I checked Google to find out more about this story I discovered that the act of hiring babies to beg alms has been a practice for some years now.  This is a criminal offence. There was a time the Lagos government clamped down on people doing this but they found means of escaping and moving to new places to continue this inhuman act. It is now known as baby trafficking, using babies as slaves to make money! What is our world becoming?

One wonders why these women engage in this act. Is it because of poverty or Laziness? Yes, we can say poverty but seriously hiring your baby out to be used for alms begging?! I think laziness is also part of it and of course the problem of giving birth to too many children that they cannot cater for. A Punch newspaper story shared the story of cash- hungry mothers who loan  out their babies for begging. One of such women came to Lagos in search of a good life with her four children from Ibadan. She then had another baby whom she rents out to a “woman beggar” every day. This woman works at as a food vendor and earns N300 while also collecting N1, 500 daily pay for hiring her baby out. The annoying thing is that this baby is given out at 5 am and returned at 7 pm. Come on this is crazy! (Forgive my language). It is so unfair.

I don’t want to just write about this story like every other disturbing societal issue; we need to do something about this.

Every one of us has a part to play in educating people that there are other things they can do to make money; that they can control the number of children they give birth to through the use of modern family planning(FP) methods.

There are various methods that can be used. Short FP methods (Condom, injectable for 2 – 3 months) and long lasting methods (Implants 3 – 5years, IUDs and so on; permanent methods – Tubal Ligation and Vasectomy). These are available at Primary Health centers at affordable prices)

What Should/Can be Done:
1) Well-meaning individuals, organizations can invest in establishing shelter homes and facilities to house such babies or less-privileged mothers. This caters for their housing need. Most importantly skills acquisition programs should be organized and a start-up money given to empower these women.

If you are rich perhaps instead of sharing money on the streets in bales wasting resources engage in such enduring philanthropic activity.

2) And seriously, our government need to step up in putting in place policies that can protect such children and punish their mean mothers. And perhaps from my social work point of view empower these women so that they can stop begging on the streets or hiring their children out as tools for alms begging.

If we continue to ignore:
Many babies will die as a result because of being starved of proper nutrients and getting exposed to diseases that kill infants. They will end up increasing the statistics of infant mortality rate (IMR) in Nigeria. According to WHO  2013 data, infant mortality rate in Nigeria stands at  100 children per 1000 live births. The latest data for 2015 according to world Bank development indicators from recognized sources shows  IMR for Nigeria at 69.4 per 1000 live births. Still very high, every child, every life counts.

We will also be raising adults who become hard and callous. If they do survive they become street wise and engage in all kinds of vices. They end up becoming problems to us all as they will grow up feeling cheated.

No one knows what the future holds for a child. A lot of great things are possible. We will be losing individuals who are probably endowed with answers to our world’s problems.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

#World Cultural Diversity Day – Celebrating the Nigerian Way

Every 21st May has been set aside as world Cultural Diversity Day by the United Nations. 

Diversity brings variety it should be a strength. Someone may come from a different cultural background from you but you can both work together as a team and achieve great success. 

On my way to the Cultural center at Mokola in Ibadan for a program I met this cultural display train. I jumped out of  the vehicle I was in to take pictures.

So this how we celebrated the cultural day in Oyo State, Nigeria.

Drummers beating their drums during the cultural match at Mokola, Ibadan

 

Igbo Attaire
Ladies in Red Adire iro and baba Attaire.

 

Celebrate your cultural heritage and respect that of others. We are all unique and special in our own way. 

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

82 Chibok Girls Released: Need for Rehabilitation and Re-integration into Society

The news about the release of the 82 Chibok girls brought lots of smiles for the camera and we are all celebrating. I’d say that is the first leg of the race; the real work begins. Often we hear that such abducted victims will be rehabilitated but do we follow through? It easy to fill the news headlines with such stories but serious plan and thought should be given to rehabilitating these girls who have become mothers under captivity.

Why is this important?
Try picturing what kinds of treatments these girls must have gone through while under the lordship of the Boko Haram terrorist. I dread even thinking about the horror of it. So these girls are carrying emotional and possibly physical scars and wounds. The most difficult scar to heal is that of the spirit and soul of a human being.

Possible Effects of abduction/Kidnapping on Victims

  • Dreadful fear
  • Anxiety that can lead to panic attacks
  • Psychological trauma
  • Mental problems
  • Low self-esteem
  • Wrong ideology about life.

What does the future hold for these girls? It shouldn’t stop with releasing them to their families there is a need for follow-up.
• The government can encourage them to go back to school by giving free education.
They could be helped to acquire skills that they can sustain themselves with. Such skills include tailoring, bead making, catering, animal husbandry, poultry, pottery making and so much more.
• There is a need for spiritual reorientation because they might have been brainwashed which could start manifesting in the nearest future and we might have cases of active terrorists living in the community.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

GUEST INTERVIEW: Banker Turn to An Orphanage Home Worker

Mrs. Oluwatosin Adesakin is someone I met at an orphanage home where we went on a follow-up visit concerning one of the children housed there. While chatting with her I found out that she hadn’t always been working at the orphanage home. I was curious to know her story as she is young and looked like someone who should be out there pursuing a corporate career. Gladly she obliged me but she declined to take photos. So I’ll just share a poster of the home.

img_20170215_101514

Her story and that of the children she cares for touched me and I’d like to share it with you:

What Course did you study?
Oluwatosin: I studied Computer Science at Lead City University Ibadan

Work Experience
Oluwatosin: I worked with a Microfinance bank for two years then I resigned and started to work with He Careth Orphanage Home, where I had been offering my part time services. I became the Manager of the home.

It looks like you left a more lucrative job for a social services work which isn’t paying as much as you earned before. What inspired you?
Oluwatosin: The Orphanage home was started by my mother, Evangelist Kikelomo Ali. On my free days I help out at the home caring for children but soon we noticed that those hires to care for the children were not giving adequate attention to the children. They beat the children and even steal items donated by well-meaning individuals to the orphanage home. After a while, I decided to make myself available to ensure that these children are been properly cared for as I really love children.

Would you like to share a bit of your experience working as manager in this orphanage home
Oluwatosin: Taking care of children is quite challenging. We feed them, dress them up, take them to the clinic when they fall ill and also take the older ones to school every day. It requires one’s full attention.

What has made working here at the orphanage home worth all the trouble?
Oluwatosin: We get children with different background stories. Some are brought in because their mothers died at birth; others were picked in the street or taken from mothers who suffer mental illness etc.
Some of these babies are brought in here looking emaciated and sick. We work so hard to care for them and watch them blossom into healthy and happy children. This is very rewarding for me and I am happy to do it over and over again.

Case in Point:

Victoria was a baby brought in looking skinny with her bones all showing. She looked like a skeleton. Her mother was a prostitute who had her and wanted to throw Victoria into a pit latrine (toilet). Thank God she was caught before she could carry out this unthinkable act. We nursed and cared for her, praying hard that Victoria would survive. She did and today she is a big, robust and healthy baby.

David is another baby who when he came to the orphanage couldn’t walk or sit until he was 2 years. His growth had been stunted. We feed him, took him to the doctors and did all we could to help him. We also prayed hard for him and today he is able to walk, talk, sit and do everything a child should do.
These success stories keep me going on the tough days.

Personal Lesson
Oluwatosin: Working here and with the children has taught me how to be more patient.

How is this home funded
Oluwatosin: People donate money; give material things, food stuff, beverages and so on. Mostly my mother put in her own money to keep the home going.

He Careth Orphanage Home is located at N0 47 Ajagboju, General Gas, Akobo Ibadan.

Support a Child

If you wish to support or donate to this orphanage home you can reach them on +2348033858451, +2348072802227 Or simply send your cash donations to:

Field Mission Evangelical Ministeries

Wema Bank – 0120431403
I hope to do more personally. Little drops of water can make a whole lot of difference. Give a child hope today. Thank You.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Winning & Losing – Lessons from US Election

us-electionHmmmn, so much has been said about the US elections. I’d say it was one election that we followed closely in my family. There was always one scandal breaking at any given time.
Everyone had their favorite candidate and I must say that I really wanted Hilary Clinton to win. Well, for one thing, she is a woman, so it would have been nice to have her represent us the women folk.
I felt terrible that she didn’t win but i did take away a few lesson i would like to share

Losing
* Whether things turn out the way you want or not- there is always a lesson to take away from an experience. So don’t be too gloomy to miss out on the take away lesson that will eventually make you a better person.
* You can lose gallantly. Attitude is everything even when it is painful. Sure losing is painful just like it was for Hilary and all of us who wanted her to win but i must say that i admire her response to the matter at least on camera. I mean she is human as well… Her receding speech sent a strong mesage to me:
…This is painful and it will be for a long time. But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person or even on election…it was about about a country we love.

And I love this one:

…To all the little girls who  are watching this, never doubt that you a valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your dreams.

Sometimes you win even when you lose- Attitude is key

Winning
This Bible verse comes to mind: I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong… Time and chance happens to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:11

So sometimes the “Unqualified” according to human existing standards get to occupy a position.

The lessons:
* Never underestimate anyone; never write off anyone.
* Don’t hang your nose looking down on others
* When you do win remember that it doesn’t end with winning. What you do with your win is what would matter most in time.
* Winning means – so much more is required of you.
* Winning is an opportunity. What you do with the opportunity is much more important than the title or position.

Don’t be too gloomy to miss out on the take away lesson that will eventually make you a better person.

Photo Credit: PeteLinforth

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Dino Melaye: A Lawmaker Assaults fellow female lawmaker? What kind of laws would individuals like this make?!!!!

Dino Melaye a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria threatens to beat and rape a fellow Senator, Oluremi Tinubu at an executive meeting held July 14, 2016 in the hallowed chamber of the Senate. He boasted that he would beat her and nothing will come of it… Oluremi has since written a letter asking for security protection.

Dino’s Previous scandals  on violent tendencies
In 2011,  Dino Melaye led a team as a member of the  House of representative  and started a brawl that led to the death of a member.

How is it that a law maker who has a history of violence against women (and anyone for that matter) gets to hold such a sensitive leadership position?

Melaye’s response to the allegation“She called me a dog and when she called me a dog I stood up and I reacted….”

Is this enough reason to have threaten to abuse, rape and impregnate her? Sincerely i am bewildered by the kind of people we have holding key positions in our country. Mostly we celebrate “rubbish” – violence, crime, money launderers, and corrupt individuals.

We forget easily the misgivings of this people and elect them into office the next time an election shows up.

What kind of laws would such individuals come up with?!!!

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

Interesting Angles to the sexual assault Bill : Lecturers and “Female Students” in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions

Lectures protest a new bill that provide for a 5 year jail term for lecturers who sexually assault (female) students.

Oga lecturer

A discussion with some of my male colleagues at work about this new bill opens other angles to this issue. Some are saying that female students sexually harass their lecturers through provocative dressing. In fact they argued that some female student’s dressing showing all their boobs, thighs and cleavage says i am available. I am even told that even heavy makeup and clean looking legs turns some men on. Does that mean that looking sexy might mean sending the wrong signal according to the men?

I am presuming that this protest by lecturers has to do with the fear that now that female students and parent can take legal action against lecturers whom they believe is guilty of sexual harassment, some lecturers might be victimized.

My angle on this matter:
I find it funny that lecturers are protesting a bill that seeks to punish assault against female students sexually. Are they claiming that they are the victims here? I mean many female students have been victims of sexual assault from male lecturers for as long as i can remember. There are many stories of female students who get an extra year or two simply because they refused to give in to the sexual yearnings of their lecturers. Interestingly too the boy friends of such girls also get the hammer. They also fail because they are the wall between the lecturer and his dream sexual exploit.

So i say this bill is a great step in the right direction for unwilling female students who refuse to sleep with their lecturers just to be in his good favor/pass their exams.

Listening to the news paper dailies this morning i listened to how some lecturers in the bid to prevent the bill from been passed said that “Universities have a way of handling sexual assault offend cases and that should be enough”?! Seriously i find the whole thing humorous…hee…heee as we say sometimes “I laugh in French”.

A peep into the bill:

“An educator shall be guilty of committing an offence of sexual harassment against a student if he/she has sexual intercourse with a student.

“He or she shall be guilty if he has sexual intercourse with a student or demands for sex from a student or a prospective student as a condition to study in an institution.

“He or she shall be guilty if he has sexual intercourse with a student or demands for sex from a student or a prospective student as a condition to the giving of a passing grade.

“ He or she shall be guilty if he solicits sex from or makes sexual advances at a student when the sexual solicitation or sexual advances result in an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for the student.

“He or she shall be guilty if he directs or induces another person to commit any act of sexual harassment under this Act, or cooperates in the commission of sexual harassment by another person.

“He or she shall be guilty if he grabs, hugs, rubs or strokes or touches or pinches the breasts or hair or lips or hips or buttocks or any other sensual part of the body of a student.

“He or she shall be guilty if he displays, gives or sends by hand or courier or electronic or any other means naked or sexually explicit pictures or videos or sex related objects to a student.

“He or she shall be guilty if he whistles or winks at a student or screams or exclaims or jokes or makes sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique,”(Culled from Premium Times Nigeria)

Seriously Now

Lecturers are made up of the female and male gender and this bill mentions that both gender could be the culprit. In other words even female lecturers are not allowed to sexually harass male students. Do female lecturers also harass male students? Ok maybe i don’t know but i am aware that it will be in a subtle manner which does not still excuse such act.

The crux of the matter is this lecturers should design a means of maintaining their integrity. The way i see it if you have not been guilty of sexually harassing students before and principled, you have nothing to fear about this bill. The sledge hammer will only come down on the guilty. And seriously students know lecturers who are principled and should not be messed with.

And to our female students just because there is a bill now protecting you, it doesn’t mean you can now walk all over your lecturers. If you use this an opportunity to blackmail, it will come back to hunt you. And ladies dress like you want to be addressed!!

The moral behind this is that every man must learn to exercise self discipline and control especially when you are in a position of authority. Because the people under you are put there in trust- Damola Tinubu

As a lecturer  students are under your tutelage in trust!

Photo Credit: Oga Lecturer

Adebisi Adetunji (C)