The problem of child abuse in a lot of schools in Nigeria has been going on for as long as I can remember. Educators beating children to the point of leaving scars on their bodies has been a problem and continues to be a problem. I have heard so many cases of children being severely hurt by their teacher and nothing is done about it. I even heard a case of a child that went blind after the tool used to spank him hit his eye. With social media, there are even more reports of this with picture proof to follow. What are Nigerian officials doing about creating laws to put a complete stop to this problem? As far as I know, NOTHING! Some kind citizens have created awareness about things they see and these people to me are priceless.
WARNING – GRAPHIC PHOTO BELOW
Spare the Rod?
A lot of people will say spare the rod, spoil the child. We are not talking about that here. We are talking about blatant abuse. We are talking about frustrated human beings taking their frustrations and lack of proper training on how to handle different children and their different personalities out on a child. We are talking about people who will beat a child silly because he or she forgot to do homework, without care of what situations at home could have caused that child not to do homework. We are talking about lazy wicked souls who instead of counselling the child on the importance of homework, choose to pick up an object and hit the child instead. We are talking about cowards who feel the best way to “TEACH” a defenseless child about not finishing his lunch is by subjecting that child to 10 strokes of the cane. We are talking about people who beat a child to the point of scars, welts, etc. There are so many ways to punish a child. Why must hitting a child till you literally tear their skin even be an option? Not just that, why are authorities that should be protecting children not outlawing that option. I personally believe teachers can discipline but should NOT have the liberty or right to hit anyone’s child. Sadly, its children who are born into lower socio-economic situations that suffer most because in Nigeria, fear will not allow most teachers hit a rich mans child. So my question is, these kids, who were not privileged enough to be born into wealth, hell, even the ones that are but still get abused, who is their voice?
There is Power in Numbers
In past times, I have brought up this topic of child abuse on several occasions and I almost always get the same reaction. I’ll use twitter as a prime example. On twitter I have over 90,000 followers. Whenever I tweet about child abuse, even tweeted one with the graphic photo above, the amount of people who were moved enough to react was sad. It left me wondering what people care about, I mean I know from experience they care about whose marriage is not working out or who is sleeping with who, or who fought who at a club enough to trend it, but what is it about Nigeria as a society that for the most part, a child’s welted, red buttocks doesn’t cause the same mass discussion or public outrage?
Personally I feel like a lot are desensitized to the perils of others and things like that are seemingly “normal.” Yeah they have their own frustrations and their own problems so why bother right? Well guess what, bothering is as simple as composing or sharing a single tweet. I also understand that we cannot choose to stand for everything or fight for everything, that is not what I am asking for. However, it would be nice to at the very minimum choose one thing to stand for or at least support a certain social issue.
That single tweet times hundreds and thousands will definitely go a long way. This is something most people do anyways, but most times, it is wasted on matters that don’t impact society like who is leaving a record label or who is wearing a fake watch. I also believe a lot have this mentality of, well if its not affecting me, why should I care. Well, there are certain social issues that can not be ignored because ultimately it creates problems that affect us all. I honestly believe this mentality can change if people are sensitized to it. If one person did not care enough to share the picture of the child with red buttocks, I would not have seen so I believe this sort of awareness really helps.
I always joke that some Nigerian are aggressive because they know no other way. I have seen how people resolve issues in somethings as simple as a minor fender bender. No talking, no lowered tones, just yelling and sometimes eventually resorting to violence. I have even seen how people in a place of authority handle a minor traffic stop. One would think with all the rod these people’s parents and teacher did not spare, they would know how to better comport themselves in public right? WRONG!
My theory about a big problem
I somewhat believe there is a correlation between children that grew up in surroundings where problems were solves with either violence or aggression and people who grow up to become aggressive in nature. This problem spills over to so many things like domestic violence eg – men beating their wives and so much more. Again I cannot begin to emphasize that this is a social problem that needs to be addressed from the bottom up. I believe if you teach a child that violence and aggression to resolve every issue is ok, they will grow up into adults that do exactly that. Children need love and nurturing not aggression for every move they make because when you think about it, they are learning.
Do not get me wrong, I am not totally against spanking, but I feel there is a difference between spanking and child abuse. I know some can argue that it is the same and I can respect that opinion as well. What I am clearly against is the trend I have been seeing for decades where children are beaten so hard and so badly you see marks on their bodies. There are so many forms of discipline out there that work even better. You do not solve every problem with a child with aggression and beating because you in turn teach that child that, that is the only way to solve problems.
The Power of the Celebrity
I understand that you can’t force people to care but you can at least try. Nigeria like a lot of nations are celebrity driven. Celebrities have the power to influence their fans and to create awareness about certain things. I understand that one celebrity can’t do it all and there is a power in numbers and this is why I am sometimes disappointed when certain issues come up and a lot of (not all) Nigerian celebrities choose to turn a blind eye. I’ll give you an example, a while ago, Pop Singer 2face Idibia campaigned against the killings in his home area. I expected a lot of his colleagues to rally behind him and support and find a way to create so much awareness the government won’t have a choice but do something about it. It never really happened and like most things fizzled out. This is where the power in numbers helps a lot. Your 1000 fans plus my 1000 fans plus her 1000 fans and his 1000 fans adds up.
While tweeting this morning about my disappointment that most Nigerian celebrities stand for nothing, I was challenged by popular Nigerian Rapper Jude Abaga aka M.I.. He felt I was singling out the celebrity and brought up a lot of valid points which I countered with equally valid points. I stood my ground that based on MY observations, most (not all) Nigerian celebrities only use their voice for self promotion. He mentioned quite a few who have stood for different things, and I replied that with the exception of 2face Idibia and him, I have no current recollection of others and promised to research. It is as simple as that, without dialogue there will be no conversation and without conversation there will be ignorance.
No one is too old to learn and I am glad Jude mentioned some who have helped with different causes and I hope they do more.
On the flip side, during my tweets, I posted a single tweet to Madam Oby Ezekwesili asking what she was doing about child abuse in Nigeria. Sincerely, it was just a question. What I did not expect what her overly defensive response or her attempt to call me out of my name. I was not accusing her of not doing anything, I was simply asking, based on her history what she is currently doing.
What also baffled me most was her attempt to misconstrue my words to her followers by putting words in my mouth or in this case, adding to my tweets. What did not surprise me was those who cannot think for themselves falling for it. When I write or have an opinion, I do not expect everyone to agree with me. I welcome reasonable matured discuss because truth is, I may learn a thing or two as well.
During my tweets, I discussed the BBOG placard as it pertained to celebrities who had to wait for others to carry the placard to do the same. I was not referring to her at that point, but she took that aspect personal and went left with it. I find it somewhat funny that she would try so hard to misconstrue my words and reinterprete it to others. I mean what I say and I say what I mean without mincing words. There is never a need to help me add to it to serve self serving purpose.
Her reaction left me wondering about her person as a whole. I can respect her movement and passion about the Chibock girls and obviously do not expect her to solve all of Nigeria’s problems but it would have been interesting to hear her take on child abuse and things she has done without her being insulting or cynical. Anyway, not to divert too much from the topic, I’ll digress.
The importance of the celebrity voice
Some will wonder why I singled out celebrities. Celebrities have so much power in their hands to create awareness, mass awareness about situations that would ordinarily go unnoticed. This is why when certain companies want to create awareness about their products they get a celebrity to endorse it. They understand that with the celebrity’s endorsements there will be mass awareness. It is a no-brainer.
Although I agree with M.I’s argument that his job is to entertain and I can completely respect his stance, It still does not change the bottom line, which is a celebrity has the power to reach the masses and they should use that power to create awareness about certain social issues. Although I cannot force my point of view on somebody else, this is my point of view and I doubt if it will change anytime soon.
Am I part of the problem?
The honest answer is we all are. I try my possible best within reason and even with that I feel I could do more. Like I said, I do not expect everyone to agree with me. But as little as we can, let us try to speak against things that are bad even if it’s one thing, even if it’s sometimes. We can’t just sit back and watch most especially when we know that we have incompetence in government.
I remember a time a certain producer beat his ex wife, the evidence was there, yet not a single female celebrity said a thing. I also remember another time a certain pop duo’s wife was being dragged for something she was innocent of, if was obvious she was innocent, not a single female or male celebrity said or did anything to defend this lady. I remember a time when a certain Senator beat his wife and took his kids away, I reached out and spoke up not minding what criticism I would receive amidst my own personal drama. I would go on and on, for each time I spoke up, I did not give a bloody hoot because I stood up to speak against what I believed was wrong. My voice may have been little or big but it doesn’t change the fact that it was a voice and there will be one person out there who that voice resonated with to know right from wrong. Sometimes when I think about those situations, I wish other female celebrities spoke up too because they were very public social issues that affect women. I think it would have gone a long way to condone such acts.
We have seen many examples of social issues getting desired result because awareness was created and people spoke up and forced the hand of government officials or people that were in charge to do something. This is what I am talking about. When you ask someone what they are doing about something, a nice concise answer would suffice. Responding with “what are you doing” with no further explanation doesn’t solve anything. If you have the power to activate against an issue that affects the masses you should. I am not saying you have to stand and pick every social issue and jump on everything, but I don’t think it is a good thing not to at least try.
M.I has agreed to help with the cause of Child Abuse, I have told him I will take him for his word. To anyone reading this, I want to leave you with this quote from Malcom X – If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall for Anything.
For anyone who says all I am doing is talking, If talking about it activates someone to act. Then I have done something. I want to say to others who have intentions of helping but feel it will be too little. Do not let people who think like that discourage you. Nothing is too little. Do whatever is within your power irrespective of how little and know in your heart you tried.
I am always open to reasonable discuss but will not engage in back and forth insult about any topic. Lets focus on the problem and not me. Stay Blessed!
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