Nigeria has one of the worst statistics on violence against children in the world with up to six out of 10 children suffering from abuse — physical, sexual or emotional.
The statistics, as revealed in the National Survey on Violence Against Children, published by the National Population Commission, the US Centres for Disease Control and UNICEF, reflects the pervasiveness of child abuse in a country where the biblical quote “spare the rod, spoil the child” has been thoroughly abused.
According to UNICEF, “one out of two suffer physical violence, such as punching, kicking, whipping, burning, choking, trying to drown, threatening or hitting with a weapon”.
What’s worse is that abusers are usually close relatives who abuse children in places that should be safe havens, their homes, homes of relatives or neighbours, schools.
Find the most grotesque cases of violence against children in 2016:
In August, a step mother burst open the head of a four year old preschooler and broke the arms and legs of her two-year-old sibling in what can be described as one of the goriest cases of child brutality in 2016.
The incident happened at their father’s house in Igabi local government of Kaduna state.
“My son is being treated for a broken hand, a broken leg and bruises on his eye, stomach, back and private part while my daughter is being treated for a broken head after their step mother used the sole of a pointed shoe to hit her head,” the biological mother of the children, who is separated from the children’s father, explained.
“They were also starved in the house because if you see the way they gulped down the tea my sister made for them. The people in the hospital can bear me witness.”
The step mother fled after officials of the Nigerian Security and Defence Corps (NSCDC) came in search of her.
The stepmother who took out a toddler’s tongue and more
This is a heart-wrenching story of another stepmother and his paternal grandmother brutalising a two-year-old toddler. In May, news broke about a two-year-old boy who was battling for his life after the duo of his step and grand mother lacerated his body, broke his bones and sliced a part of his penis. His father had divorced the boy’s mother and handed the little boy to his mum and his wife to care for. They tortured him instead. And almost blinded him. The boy was too young to speak about the reason he was tortured, hospital and police officials said, as though there would ever be plausible reasons for the brutality meted out to the child.
The child who was chained by his father
In July 23, a nine-year-old boy was chained by his father, a pastor, for weeks at a church, the Celestial Church of Christ, Key of Joy Parish, Ajiwo in Ogun state. The boy looked gaunt, depressed and helpless.
The father said the boy stole a lot and was possessed.
“I chained my son because I felt he is possessed and I’m not comfortable with his stealing habit,” a police officer had narrated the father’s explanation.
But this is not an isolated case of a child being accused of being evil or being a witch. This is actually a trend — child witchcraft. A situation where children are accused of being witches, abandoned and left to die or even murdered by their parents and accomplices who diagnosed the kids of witchcraft, sometimes pastors or evangelists other times native doctors.
Boy, 2, accused of being a witch and left for dead
Hope is now recovering, but in February, the little boy was found roaming the streets in Akwa Ibom state, naked and severely acutely malnourished.
He had been abandoned by his own family who accused him of being a witch. Hope was rescued by a a Danish health worker who took him to a hospital.
He was severely sick, treated for worms and needed blood transfusion to live. His story went viral and Anja Ringgren Loven, the health worker, raised about $1 million for his well-being.
Loven’s charity houses over 30 kids who were accused of witchcraft and abandoned by their families.
And the seven-year-old who just couldn’t make it
She died, the little seven-year-old girl died after a series of horrendous torture in the hands of her stepmother. Zainab was tortured, mutilated by her stepmother in Rigasa, Kaduna state. She was taken to a hospital but caved in to the severe injuries
The step mother had lied that the girl sustained the injuries after having a seizure. But the doctor who was treating her found the story ludicrous, especially with the extent of injuries the child sustained — a severely bruised buttocks that the doctor described as “damaged”.
Zainab eventually died on August 25.
Pathetic case of a man who raped a six-month-old infant
In September, a baby was raped by a 40-year-old man, Shaaibu Danladi, in Potiskum, Yobe.
Danladi, a deaf and dumb man, tore the baby’s vagina through to her anus. She was rushed to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
Muhammad Fari, the NSCDC boss in the state, decried the spate of pedophilia. He said too many rape cases had been charged to the magistrate court in the state.