The bright lights at the mall in Owerri, Imo state, adequately mask the dusk. There is chattering, adults strolling, often times speaking loudly, as they meander through stores admiring the array of items therein.
I see a couple, with their children, who decide to walk into the same store I am in. The two children in parents’ hands, excited to see all the fancy items the store had, start to examine some of them, just like their parents.
The mother snaps, smacks the kids’ arms swiftly one after the other, and shouts, “stop that or I will beat the hell out of you”. The kids stop immediately, but they are unable to hold their urge to admire the toys. So, in less than five minutes, the kids, who look about 3 and 4, go back to touching. The mother, having none of that, spanks them several times on their buttocks.
“You don’t listen,” she yells. “You don’t listen”. I interfere “It is OK madam, they are just kids, the toys are too attractive.”
The woman hisses, “mind your business.” I try to make amends and apologise; then introduce myself to interview her on physical punishment.
“Have you taught them to look at the items carefully? I eventually ask.
She is livid and walks away.
This report was funded by International Centre for Journalist as part of the early childhood fellowship.