Transition from Child- to Adult Abuse in Nigeria

You spent your life teaching, training and protecting your child; now it’s time to “give him wings.” For many parents, especially dads, the shift from being the primary influence in a child’s life to releasing him to adulthood isn’t easy. Hopefully you have been preparing him for independence from the start. Now that he’s on his own — finding his niche, building a career, marrying, becoming a parent — you’re no longer his authority, but friend.

By setting healthy boundaries, you can enjoy this new role, while offering the love, guidance and insight only a parent can provide. That’s where the buck stops for millions of parents in Africa. Before we go further we must check out these basic premises in our sociocultural life in Africa.

In many cases, parents are never wrong and more or less demi-gods. You dare not question their authority or their finality-decisions, even as 40 year olds. Some of them boast with their Wills and when there are WIVES involved in this situation, things get worse! Some of these people were either educated outside Africa in temperate climes where child abuse or even animal abuse is scorned at, but return home to enjoy unleashing ruthlessness on their wards and other dependants!

In Europe and America, I listen to the news and hear 18 year-olds being described (correctly) as men or women. No. Not so in Nigeria or Uganda or anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa. No! A 29-year old is still a ‘small boy’ or ‘small girl’ to most parents. It is as bad as that. Wars of attrition are carried out in homes. These lead to a psychological weakening by persistent attack: the gradual wearing away of morale and the powers of resistance by persistent physical and emotional attacks. Some parents are even fond of seeking out other relatives to support morally and financially, sometimes instead of their own wards! ‘Civil’ wars in homes occur sometimes with historical animosities and devilish machinations while the perpetrators go about in religious togas as long as they pay their tithes and offerings.

Campaigns of calumny and fetish activities are carried out by one wife against the others’ or their children to assure and protect their individual, selfish interests. In some cases, money and time is spent looking for fetish means to shift attentions of fathers or breadwinners to a particular wife and her offspring, in many cases to the detriment of the others. In my polygamous home, 3 wives living differently, kids of the same age from different mums are served different meals at the same mealtime. The latest (3rd) wife’s kids are served sumptuous freshly cooked meals while children of the other wives whose mum do not live in the father’s house are served with meals of 2 or 4 days old reheated without meat or fish and all that. The result of this attitude? Your guess is as good as mine.

And to think that the perpetrators of this ignominious acts are made elders and deaconesses in churches which do not care about the existence of the tithe payer but just his or her tithes and offerings further motivates the perpetrators, since God ‘is on their side’ according to the pastors of these millions of latter day churches!

Each year hundreds of thousands of adults who do business with one or more of their parents or senior family members, or still live in their parental family homes and other elderly people are abused, neglected and exploited. These victims are frail, vulnerable and cannot help themselves. They depend on others to meet their most basic needs. Elder/Adult abuse as noted in by scholars in this field of human endeavour, can fall under several categories: Physical abuse, the wilful infliction of physical pain or injury, such as slapping, bruising, sexually molesting, or restraining. Psychological abuse, the infliction of mental or emotional anguish, such as humiliating or threatening. Financial or material exploitation is another improper act, using the resources of an elderly person without his consent.Lastly, is neglect; the failure of a caretaker to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish or illness.

Because yours truly (as an adult and a firstborn) refused to accept wickedness as the order of the day, my entitlements were withheld while my siblings are estranged and confused! To drive home their satanic points, they present themselves in good light to other members of the extended family system by facilitating employment to oil companies for relatives while painting their own children black, giving good dogs bad names in order to hang them. Men I saw hell! But for my other pals who had monogamous homes, though it may not be rosier, it is surely better by miles.

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