In the house
The two-year old girl did not know she was going to die on the fateful day. She thought mummy truly cared and would do all to protect her from harm. But, on this day, mummy had her head in the clouds and her brain in the blender.
She had had a hard time, getting to the market, and a most stressful time shopping at the market. And you know Nigerian markets. She was cooking a lovely pepper soup meal for the family. It was nice and hot and she had spent all day cooking. So, with frayed nerves and short tempers, she wondered why the baby could not understand her predicament and wait to be fed. How can she be crying of hunger when mom was doing her best with this lovely soup?
Anyway, mummy will just pop into the toilet for a second. She warned the baby not to go near the pot. ‘Hot, hot, hot’, she said to the hungry baby. Well, to cut a long story short, the baby decided to feed herself and grabbed the pot off the cooker, upending the contents on herself.
I think the doctor said it was 90 per cent burns. Or was it 95 per cent? It doesn’t matter, as the job was effective. Sad that it took the baby a whole day to die!
Children burning and injuring themselves in the home is a tale you hear every day. I am not even talking about those who leave their children with housemaids no older than the child. Or those who leave their child with certifiable psychopaths.
There are trending videos of child minders beating the children and inflicting serious life-long injuries on them. To pay a child-minder serious money to turn your own child into a punching bag, give them cerebral palsy and paralysis is a sure way to kill your child.
In the car
You should take your one and only child, a beautiful baby boy, for a drive. Please, take your husband along! He made the baby and needs to participate in the killing process. Let your husband drive, as usual, since he owns the car and you can sit beside him as the ‘Madam.’
Once in the car, please ensure you put on your seat belts, after all, you do not trust Nigerian drivers, especially the ‘dangerous, cold hearted, untutored taxi drivers in Lagos.’ Once a taxi driver hits you in Nigeria, they are either prostrating on the floor, begging for forgiveness; or you see their tail lights as they speed off in a ‘hit and run style.’ If you can still see, that is.
Anyway, once you are safely ensconced in the car, please leave your child in the back, preferably unrestrained, or better, allow him to stand between mom and dad, so he can see the ‘Okada’ as it drives recklessly towards your car. Or, maybe, it is your husband who is driving recklessly towards the ‘Keke Napep!’ Doesn’t matter really!
The important point is that someone should cause an accident that allows your boy to become a projectile through the windshield. If the windshield is already cracked, then it will be easier for your child to land on the concrete asphalt. But if it is a new car from Korea, then his severe head injury might actually occur in the car — for you to see.
What I hate is the Nollywood style tears that usually follow this scenario. As if it wasn’t the plan all along. The plan was to kill your own child, through utter stupidity, abject ignorance and fake affluence.
Yes, some things are accidental and stuff happen. But, sometimes, carelessness and lack of thought lead to the scenarios painted. I am sorry if it is all too shocking for you and perhaps the title is a bit melodramatic. But these things happen and keep happening in our community.
There was a time I would try to stop cars in which the baby or a young child was unrestrained and vulnerable. But I have since stopped after receiving insults. One mother asked me, ‘Why is it your business? Is it your child?’
That’s when it struck me that I may have been messing up their plans. Perhaps childcare and nursery school fees had become a problem, a big drain on the family’s finances and some people had to be sacrificed (I use that word advisedly!).
Sometimes, I wonder what the job of the Nigerian police really is. These are obvious crimes being committed in broad daylight and with the police as witnesses. Yet, they are oblivious to the plight of the child — Nigeria’s future leaders. They are busy hiding from Boko Haram they have no idea what else is going on around them!
So, what can we do?
Please join me today to protest loud and clear, such that even the deaf may hear our voices. Children must be restrained in cars. Car seats must be imported or manufactured to ensure safety for children. Surely, they cannot be more expensive that a trip to the casualty. Older children must be trained to use the seat belt. Remember, there is nothing wrong in Madam sitting in the back to carry the baby while wearing a seat belt.
Finally, please beg our policemen and women to do their sworn duty to protect each member of the society, especially the vulnerable. I know it is hard being a parent and accident occurs every day in the home. However, we must be ever so careful and do all we can to protect the children. They come first, above all else. I mean some women will give all they have to be blessed with a child. Yet, some who are blessed fail to do all they can to protect their most important asset.
This is the truth and yes, the truth hurts.
NB: This article was previously published in 2013.
Updated for your education and involvement. Get involved in the advocacy. Please!
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