It’s Hurting More To Be A Child Today

    Patrick, paraded  by the Lagos Police Command for the kidnapping 
 and murder of  a seven year-old boy.

Ordinarily, the things people experience  while growing up, impact on them through stages in life. Children should have experiences that would give them good memories; as this could help them grow up as better people.

For as late as the year 2000, children were not exposed to so much horror as is happening today. I do not want to feel depressed by reeling out an endless list of attacks children face today, but I just want  to mention a few disturbing ones that happened lately.

I had cause to do most of my work at home yesterday and took time to follow the news update on Channels television. The news on attacks carried out by some adults on children was like bile!

The Lagos Police Command, paraded one Mr Patrick Onyeka,25 years old, for kidnapping and murdering an innocent child who was only seven years old. The news report had it that the murdered child, Ayuba, innocently played into the next house where Patrick lives with his brother. Rather than let the child be, Patrick decided to make quick money by kidnapping him for ransom.

Worried that the child would identify him if he eventually released him, Patrick murdered Ayuba by strangulating him. To cover his evil deed, he went on to dispose of the body into an empty soak-away pit about some 200metres from their house in Ikotun area of Lagos. Wickedly, Patrick still wrote a note to the child’s family, demanding for a N5 million naira ransom.  Patrick’s arrest was facilitated by the help of his brother who identified the handwriting on the note as his. Patrick is in Police custody and would be charged to court, but little Ayuba is stone dead and gone forever.

Earlier in the week, one Mr Christopher Ogbeun, aged 49 years, and a school principal in Kogi State, decided to torture his 10 –year- old son Stephen, by subjecting his body to multiple burns with a hot pressing iron.  Mr Ogbeun claimed that his son destroyed a WAEC approval letter and denied knowledge of it.

The only way that Mr Ogbeun felt his son should pay for his 'sin' was for him to plug the pressing iron to an electricity supply point and torture him by pressing the hot iron against parts of his body. The boy screamed in agony until the police came to his rescue. Commissioner of Police, Kogi State Command, Muhammed Kastina, was physically aggrieved by the attack from a father to his own son. In condemning the crime, the CP said: “This attack is sad in the light of the fact that those who should protect and love children are the ones turning around to attack them.”

Mr Ogbeun has been taken into police custody while his son is writhing in pains at a hospital. Staying beside Stephen’s hospital bed is his sister who is also a child.

Much earlier in the year, still in Kogi State, the Commissioner of Police, also paraded one Mr Hosea Folorunsho, 48years. He was arrested on allegations of killing his four-month-old son, Sunday Folorunsho for ritual purposes. Under police surveillance he was made to exhume the corpse of the baby which was taken away for autopsy. The community members who watched as he dug up the dead child, booed him  and rained curses at him. While Mr Folorunsho was taken into police custody, baby Sunday remains dead!

The cases of attacks on children by adults have become overwhelming and one begins to imagine the kind of memories that these children would carry into adulthood. The times have long gone when mothers would entrust care of their children in the hands of neighbours who were home while the children returned from school.

During those periods, just one older child would lead a number of other children back from school. And as they moved people would show concern here and there, until they got home. That is no more the case, as children even come under attacks while being taken to school in secured cars. Even if children don’t ask why openly, I’m sure they would be wondering why some adults have decided to ‘toy with their innocent world.'
One is left to wonder how fast some people have decided to turn into beasts and forget that children have a right to life, and a happy one too!