LOUD WHISPERS: Even The Devil Should Be Ashamed

Even the Devil himself would be ashamed at some of the things that have been done in his name lately.  When murderers and sexual predators are caught, they often claim that ‘it is the devil’s work’. Perhaps it is time for the devil to start issuing disclaimers. The devil now seems to have authorised a new pandemic – Pedicide, which means the murder of children.  Little Hanifa Abubakar from Kano State, was only five years old. A beautiful child whose only crime was being in school. She was kidnapped for ransom by her school proprietor and teacher Abdulmalik Tanko. The ransom was paid, but that was not enough. The poor little girl was fed rat poison and she died what would have been a slow and painful death, all because she might have been able to identify her abductor.

This is just one of many incidents lately, where the blood of innocent children and young people has been shed. If it is not rape or ritual killings, it is bullying or kidnapping. In June 2021, we heard of the death of 14-year-old Keren-Happuch Akpagher, a student of Premier Academy, Lugbe, Abuja. She had been raped and a condom was left inside her which caused a serious infection that killed her. The school attempted to cover it up. Again, in 2021, Sylvester Oromoni, a student of Dowen College, Lagos, died after a prolonged period of bullying. Not only did his school strangely claim that he sustained injuries while playing football, the autopsy report claimed he died of ‘natural causes’. Before he died, Sylvester had allegedly told his parents that one of the seniors who bullied him into drinking a dangerous substance told him that he would die and nothing will happen. And now, nothing is happening. Another child, 11-year-old Izuchukwu David Onwuah, a student of Valerian School, Onitsha, was hit on the head by a teacher for not doing his homework. Izuchukwu died of a brain injury.

The more you think you have seen and heard it all, there is always one more story to shock you into going without food for the rest of the day. Our children are no longer safe at home. They are not safe in their neighbourhood. They are not safe on the way to school. They are not safe in school. They are not safe on their way back. They are not safe in places of worship. We can no longer send them on errands that we ourselves gladly ran for our own parents. If we take our children out anywhere these days, we have to have eyes at the back of our heads.

In my last essay, I wrote about a famous female preacher known for the preposterous and laughable claims she makes in her sermons, all with the theme of qualifying to ‘make heaven’. The preacher has come under extra scrutiny lately and this has thrown up a number of claims against her. The one that I find most worrisome is the allegation that she has a camp where people with mental health issues are taken by their families and they are kept in chains by the church for ‘deliverance’. Many of these victims are alleged to be young people. I hope that these claims are looked into because this is another example of endangering the lives of children, using religion as a cover.

We should question, strengthen and transform (in whatever order is applicable) institutions which shape our faith, education, law enforcement, governance, legislation and communities.

It is therefore my humble opinion that something needs to be done urgently about public and private institutions, particularly schools, where the lives of our children might be at risk. All outstanding cases that have resulted in the death of students who are supposed to have been under the protection of schools need to be investigated thoroughly and culprits brought to book. It is such a disgrace that our children keep dying and we are pussyfooting about what actions need to be taken. How many more children need to die? I hereby recommend the following:

  • The Federal Ministry of Education should work with the entire architecture of educational institutions in Nigeria, both public and private, to ensure safety of all children in schools. This includes ensuring policies on school-related Gender Based Violence, all forms of bullying, exploitation, intimidation and the required infrastructure for conducive learning.
  • All States should prioritise the registration of private educational institutions and agree a framework for operations with a recognised umbrella body of private school proprietors.
  • All existing (if any) regulations that guide provision of boarding facilities need to be revisited. Issues such as safety of boarding students, adult supervision, availability of medical facilities, grievance procedures, parental access and other related issues need to be addressed.
  • Before private schools are granted permission to operate, they should be screened by Security Agencies. In addition, educational authorities should be mandated to carry out background checks on teachers and administrators.
  • Convicted Sex offenders should be registered in a Sex Offenders Register and it should be illegal for any institution, public or private to hire a convicted Sex Offender to work in schools in any capacity. There is a campaign on right now to find a former teacher at a prominent private secondary school in Nigeria. He not only abused several children in that school, he went on to do the same in other schools. He needs to be found and answer for his alleged crimes.
  • Parent-Teacher Associations should strengthen communication and operational channels with the schools where their children are learning. Issues such as safety, appropriate discipline, and zero tolerance for sexual violence, drugs, cultism and bullying should be high on the list of concerns of parents. Considering the fact that the private schools charge a fortune, this is something parents can insist on. This should however be balanced with the need for the parents of today to support the efforts of school authorities as they try to enforce discipline. While on the one hand, we do not want our children abused and tortured in school, we also do not want to see parents taking the law into their hands and intimidating teachers in retaliation for disciplining their children.

This is a New Year. It is too early to start recording the deaths of children due to the unspeakable wickedness of adults. Yet, here we are. How many more Kerens, Sylvesters and Hanifa’s are we going to see this year? Hopefully no more, but we know it is wishful thinking. Even the devil should be ashamed at this unthinkable evil. May the judgement of God be upon those who shed the blood of the innocent.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She is the First Lady of Ekiti State, and she can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

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4 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Even The Devil Should Be Ashamed

  1. Olakunle Olajide January 24, 2022 at 12:23 pm

    The heart if a man is desperately wicked. It is really difficult to see your recommendations fulfilled especially with the so many different believes, mindset of leaders and the lack of importance to education clearly seen these days. I really hope the perpetrators receive their judgments. It is well.

    Reply
  2. Dseed January 24, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    I read of these stories and my heart skipped. The world we are leaving in now has become more dangerous and terrifying. No consequences for bad actions and no judgement served. I am in support of your recommendations ma. I just hope they can be implemented.

    Reply
  3. Femi Diipo January 25, 2022 at 9:45 am

    Even though I’ve heard and read about some of these tragic events before, each time I read them again my heart goes cold and I feel a certain weakness within me. The world is a terrible place and when you think it can’t get any worse, then the worst would happen again. I really just can find any rationality as to why there are so many wicked people in the world and in cases where we can do something to avert these evil, then we’ve got to give it our best.
    These are great recommendations and I really hope they are adopted, we desperately need things to be better.

    Reply
  4. Frama February 6, 2022 at 11:07 pm

    Thank you for not being selfish with your thoughts , experience and resources. I’ve read your book ” where is your wrapper”? And I must say it has changed my perspective on important issues of live for the better! Indeed I will be better and do better.

    Reply

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