In what seemed to be a fiction movie playing out from the expertise of a Hollywood
actor, a 50-year-old retired soldier allegedly tied both the legs and hands of his eight-
year-old daughter with un-sterilized cable wire as a punishment for a minor offence.
The little girl was reportedly locked up in an inner room of the family’s living apartment
for several days, with the wire tied on her leg, while she hardly had anything to eat or
drink during all the time that the punishment lasted.
The father of the girl was said to be punishing his daughter because she begged for
food and money from neighbours. And when it became exactly 10 days that the girl had
been kept in seclusion, all along with the wire still tightly tied upon her to prevent
escape, the leg dropped off the body.
Child abuse is a serious problem in all societies. In the Western world, the
authorities have a firm grip on the situation but that does not necessarily mean
that no one in those societies carry out child abuse crimes.
The man was arrested by the police and kept in their custody for the inhuman act of
brutality that he carried out on his own daughter.
Child abuse is a serious problem in all societies. In the Western world, the authorities
have a firm grip on the situation but that does not necessarily mean that no one in those
societies carry out child abuse crimes.
In Nigeria, it is an everyday occurrence of which most of it can be overlooked. The story
narrated above was just a single case out of many child abuse cases, although it went
to an extreme case of punishing a child. In the United States, some fathers have been
ordered in the past by the court not to beat their children up with anything bigger or
smaller than a stick; not even with the palm of their hands.
However, in Nigeria, there is evidence that child abuse in all its forms receive only little
attention by the authorities. What happens in the precincts of a home is the business of
the family head, not the business of others. Injustice has been known to go on in
households for years without anyone in the homes been able to report the child abuse
cases for fear that the authorities would not do a single thing about it, like bringing the
culprit to justice or that the perpetrator would look for ways of harming anyone who
complains or report the abuse cases to local authorities.
It is the common belief in many African societies that the extended family is capable and
always takes care of the children with love and care, so there is basically no need for
outside interference. Elders in communities fail to admit that many traditional
childrearing practices can do children more harm than any good.
On the other hand, there is the case of purposeful abandonment of children with various
disabilities and some of these children have been said to be demons. The case of
parents and their daughters in Akwa Ibom is not yet totally faded from our memory. It is
very unfortunate when those who are supposed to show unfettered love and care to
such individuals make themselves enemies of young children.
Child Abuse in Different Forms
Child abuse could take different forms. The short intro of this article is one example.
Another example is the case of abandoning of infants by unmarried mothers or poor
families who could not afford to care of their own children. In the past, infants have been
found wrapped in white cloths and dumped in corners of big cities and even in the
middle of market places. Some people claim that such sights are evidences of babies
used for ritual purposes; yet, time and again, it has been found that no such thing as
rituals were attached to the cases of dumped babies.
The case of parents and their daughters in Akwa Ibom is not yet totally faded
from our memory. It is very unfortunate when those who are supposed to show
unfettered love and care to such individuals make themselves enemies of young
Another case is the increase in child hard labor and this is taking place in almost all the
countries of the world. Forget about whiz kids who work in factories as engineers,
developing apps for various types of electronics. Many children in their pre-teens labor
for prolonged hours, all in the name of peanuts. Some of the children who migrate from
rural to urban places have also been known to be subjected to some form of hard labor
and cruel treatments at the hands of their masters or their urban materially wealthy
family members. The governments of many countries are yet to get a grip on this
Furthermore, child-minders do their own damage in mistreating the children whom they
were employed to care for and protect. These days, people take care to do background
checks before they employ anyone to take the job of houseboy or nannies in their
Not everything about your new employee could be found out anyway. Some of these
child-minders have reportedly bewitched the children under their care. Others sexually
abused the children and threatened to kill them if they report anything about the abuse
to their parents and out of fear and ignorance; the children keep silent; enduring the bad
treatment for years.
Child abuse cuts across many different cases, cultures and it varies from one culture to
another. What sometimes seem to be corrective measures in some societies are
evidently child abuse crimes in another. What is being done to tame this crime of child
abuse? Our next edition will examine that.