Monday 22 April 2013

Nigeria: How We Sacrifice Our Children to Paedophiles

Our Child Sexual Abuse Shame
It made my blood boil when I first read snippets of this story in Chxta’s Daily Dispatches, the case of a 7-year old girl who was repeated sexually abused by grown men that the magistrate found it just to release one of the paedophile rapists on bail whilst committing the girl to remand in a Child Correctional Centre. [Full Story]
There is no doubt that we find the issue of child sexual abuse difficult to understand or manage in Nigeria, it is there, children suffer but find no avenue, forum or platform to ask for protection and ultimately justice.
Community Spirit and Commodifying Assault
It is so disheartening to read of the ordeal and terror the 7-year old girl went through from grooming, inducements and threats to her life that the paedophile made it routine to seek sexual pleasures of the poor innocent child as her guardians strove to make ends meet as well as care for the child.
Our community spirit implicitly expects that amongst adults, a child is safe and will be free from abuse whilst any responsible adult in that setting rises to the occasion if need be to protect or extract the vulnerable from untenable situations.
However, when it comes to sexual abuse, everyone seems to clam up, no one wants to countenance the idea that some respectable member of the community has crossed the line to the utterly reprehensible that they all close ranks and the victim is left to suffer from the pall of shame and silence that has enveloped the community.
What Law Allows This?
The girl gave such a gruesome tale of the many times the rotten men took advantage of her and her guardians might well have been derelict in their responsibilities of care, love, attention and protection but to then send the girl to a Child Correction Centre really smacks of the lowest form of apathy that should only belong to fiction.
The  Magistrate, Mrs E. B. Daudu of Ikeja Magistrate Court, does not have to be a mother to be aware of what this child has suffered but if there is any law or recommendation for justice that has informed her of this heinously contemptible decision, it must be expunged from our legal tomes with immediate effect for our humanity first and then for the sake of basic civilisation.
Only a Barbarous community with a primitive mindset redolent of primates of the jungle will see any inkling of justice in freeing the criminal and incarcerating the victim, a child at that.
Our Duty to Childhood Failing
What could she have done wrong to deserve such a double denial of justice, fairness, respite and at worst motherly concern that her attackers have gotten off lightly and she is condemned to institutionalised care? A correctional facility at that as if her crime is to be a vulnerable child who has had the misfortune of being born in Nigeria.
The child should be able to roam free and develop without being fearful of abuse or assault. Whilst guardians do have responsibilities, children cannot be held on leash like dogs though it also means sexual predators be kept off the streets.
We Need New Thinking
With this case, the sexual predators will only seek another to abuse and when done, probably murder the victim to prevent being exposed as they were with this particular issue – this must be unacceptable to every well-meaning Nigerian.
It would be easy to advocate kicking Mrs E. B. Daudu off the bench, excoriating the police and child protection agencies with unspeakable vitriol and lynching the miscreants mercilessly but what we need is a change in thinking in our communities, we must not tolerate, condone or excuse paedophilia making the culprits pay a hefty price and giving the victims all the consideration, empathy and support required to heal them of those rotten experiences they lived through.

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