Posts Tagged ‘Education’

I made a few friends yesterday (all of them much younger than I am), and created memories that will stay with me for a very long time.

I talk about my church, HolyHill Church a lot, first because of the Word of God I’m exposed to there, and second because of the focus on charity the church has. Such a focus on charity and the community, and I am very proud to be associated with them. Matter of fact, my pastor, Sunday Ogidigbo once said it was better to give to charity than to give to the Pastor, saying God would ask about the former, not the latter (Matthew 25: 35-40).

And it’s not the pretty, applause-hungry rhetoric that is rife in churches these days, my church actually has a charity arm ( that is focused on education, agriculture, medical and shelter support, and economic empowerment.

To be honest, the focus unit I know and have interacted with properly is the relief arm, and I am forever grateful for the privilege. I’ve dropped a (download) link to the HRelieff-2015 NewsLetter so you can have a read for yourself, while I tell you what I got up to yesterday.

So, there are 10 children I’ve been ‘catering’ to, students of Government Secondary School, Jiwa. More girls than guys, and all of them in junior secondary school. Most students have closed for summer holidays, and when I received their term reports/results, I wondered what they would do for the holidays. To be honest, we’re still thinking. Any ideas? Let me know.

Anyway, so I decided it would be nice to meet them, and HRelieff graciously facilitated the logistics of their coming to Silverbird Entertainment Center. I was really nervous (I don’t know why) but I was also really excited as well.

We met, and it was super awesome to match the names in a document to real people with real stories, real dreams, and real smiles. Real dreams. One of them wants to be a banker, another one an accountant, a scientist (because she loves the moon, sun and stars and likes looking into the sky to understand it); another one wants to be a footballer, and one of them wants to be a soldier. He said his father was a soldier who died in battle, and he has his father’s uniform in his bag at home. He’s 20 years old, and the only thing keeping him from applying is the fact that he isn’t tall enough yet.

Apart from asking him if he was eating enough beans, I tried to get him to aspire to be a lot more than a recruit, which is what he wants to be. Interestingly, he’s also an aspiring fashion designer, and wants to join the people sewing army uniforms. Again, I tried to get him to aspire to being the owner of the tailoring shop where the army uniforms are sewn (he beamed when I painted the picture of him being the boss, having people sew for him, and getting job orders to make for the army nationwide). Ehen. Death to small dreams biko.

Then, they went in to see a movie (Teenage Mutant) armed with popcorn and sodas, and I dashed downstairs to have a quiet, yet fun lunch with a very dear friend of mine. We talked about the children (they’re about 80 on average per class, despite having several arms) and he spoke about investing in the teachers as much as investments are being made in the children. And he’s interested in paying for extra teachers on a permanent basis for the school. Glory to God! Whoop! I have since relayed the message to the good people at HolyHill Relief, and I’m looking forward to us jumping on this offer soon!

Movie (and my lunch) done, we headed to Chicken Republic to grab some lunch they’d take home (much as I wanted to hang with them a bit more, it was super important to me that they got home while there was still light in the sky.

They got me a card, a beautiful thank you card that was as emotional as it was hilarious, with the varied spellings of my name. God bless them!

Amazing Saturday, very well spent. And I look forward to seeing my babies again soon.

Have a great week!

PS: This post is devoid of photos on purpose.

PPS: You can sponsor children through school too, or even join the volunteer teacher squad! I did that for a while but my insane schedule did not allow my greatness shine through. Visit the website, tweet @HRelieff, or call any of the numbers in the newsletter for more information.


Sometime in 1994, we lived in Abuja and I was a pupil at All Saints Nursery and Primary School. Just so you know I attended at least five pre-secondary schools but that’s a story for another day!

Anyway, at this school I had a friend called Aniekan Bassey. She had hair like she was mixed race (I have bad hair- I know), and we were very good friends. Really good friends.

My mom had explicitly stated that I was never to leave the school (I think I remember her saying something like “nothing should ever take you near the gate”) without adult permission, supervision, and accompaniment. And all my time in that school leading up to the incident that inspired this blogpost, I’d done well with that.

Till one day, Aniekan came to me during break period and said we should go greet her mom in her office, which was a government establishment in a very tall building (now that I think of it, I was under 10 so anything would have been ‘tall’). Anyway so I said no, and she asked if I’d been in that building before, and something about getting in their elevator. And I’m sure I’d been in an elevator before (you don’t crave what you don’t know) but I guess like Adam, “the woman deceived me”. Lol.

I don’t remember how we passed the school gate (this is an official indictment on the security guards we slipped past), and after crossing a road or two, we were at her mom’s office! Yippie!

Now, because I’m not a foolish person, I knew I was disobeying my mom. But, elevator! Lunch with her mom! So, I decided I wouldn’t let anyone see me. Right? Now if that had worked you wouldn’t be reading this.

Not only did it not work, it must have been my day cos I ruined my plan all by myself! How? I saw a friend of my mom’s who I found out later didn’t even work in that building but had come for some business. Before I knew it, I’d shouted “hello aunty” and run towards her. Sigh. I only remembered my ‘don’t get seen plan’ after hugging her. If she was surprised to see me, she didn’t really show it so I figured I was fine. We saw Aniekan’s mom, had a bite to eat, went up and down the elevator a couple times, and ran back to school.

The end.

You wish! Of course mom’s friend mentioned it casually to her that she saw me at so and so office with my friend, mom asked me and because I believed my mother had magical powers (tell me you didn’t believe yours had too) there was no point lying. I’ll save you the chastisement bit; you get the idea if you’re Nigerian. If you’re not, ask one!

I don’t know if Aniekan (with the lovely hair) and I were still close friends after that…

Where am I going with this? When I was younger, most of the times I got into trouble were because I was hanging out with people I wasn’t supposed to hang with. Was that the story for you too? Is that still the story?

I was in church last week (I’ve fallen in love with HolyHill Church – you should come) and the pastor talked about a number of things, slipping in ‘vicarious liability’, and it really struck me. What does it mean? Wikipedia says “a situation where someone is held responsible for the actions or omissions of another person. In a workplace context, an employer can be liable for the acts or omissions of its employees, provided it can be shown that they took place in the course of their employment.” So technically, your company becomes a weakness, your undoing. He talked about us spending our time ‘keeping up with the Kardashian’s’ yet not spending anytime with God and wondering how we expect any intimacy with Him, how we expected to renew our minds, live out our purpose here on earth, and even away from that, how we expect to use our time profitably.

Really made me think, even though I’m not a fan of that show or family anymore. Haven’t been in a while actually, it’s like the real life version of the Adam’s family!

Away from church sef, drug users, criminals, etc. If only they said no to ‘chilling’, to ‘hanging out’. If only that person on death row in an Asian country said nah, I won’t carry this substance. If only the politician said no to the meeting with buddies where they’d plunder collective resources. If only.

I’m still figuring stuff out everyday, but I just wanted to share this with you. Sometimes a little ‘no’ today is the difference between a super tomorrow and one filled with sorrow and gnashing of teeth (a tad dramatic but you get the idea).

Any tales (past or present) along these lines you’d like to share?

It’s been a while since we had an interview with an entrepreneur and so it is with great pride and excitement that I introduce ‘Kayode Ajayi-Smith! He is a Social Entrepreneur with over 7 years cognitive experience in the third sector; and  currently leads a youth-led Non-Governmental Organization called Joint Initiative for Development (JID), famous for its Internship Connect Programme. So far, they’ve placed over 100 graduates on internships in Lagos and Abuja and in organizations like Dafinone Consulting, SHI, NOI Polls, CSR-In-Action, Goge Africa, and a host of other reputable organizations.

FGS: Hi Kayode! Very simply, the 3, 2, 1 series talks to entrepreneurs to capture the real life situations/experience of starting/building a business. The aim is not only to showcase their work but also to see that the next young person is spared the errors these entrepreneurs made because they now know how to get around them.

Kayode:  okay, let’s do it!

FGS:  Awesome… First off, what are three things you are most afraid of?

Kayode:  Number 1 would be not fulfilling my purpose according to God’s plan, 2 would be being a bad influence to the younger generation, and third would be marrying a wrong wife and partner but I am sure that has been taken care of.

FGS:  Ok, just to jump on your third point, are you already married or you’ve popped the question somewhere?

Kayode:  Yes I have popped the question; we’ll send invitations soon.

FGS:  Whoop! Congratulations!

Kayode:  Thanks

FGS:  Now, tell us about yourself, what gets you out of bed every morning?

Kayode:  I would say, it’s the need to make our communities a better place

I know I am engaged in other activities that all lead to that same goal of making our communities a better place. I guess that was why I chose to follow a career in the Third Sector (Non-Profits).

FGS:  And are you happy here in the Third Sector?

Kayode:  I am but it can be better.

FGS:  How?

Kayode:  Well, I think the sector needs a lot of accountability and legitimization; accounting and making the credibility of what we say we do visible. We also need to think sustainability especially in terms of ensuring that funding does not only come from donor sources but also from sustainable initiatives driven by collaborations with the organized private sector.

FGS:  What led you to grooming interns? Tell us about Joint Initiative for Development…

Kayode:  Okay, Joint Initiative for Development is a Youth-led Non-Profit Organization whose key goal is to increase citizens’ participation in the development of their communities. We are also keen on ensuring that more young people are involved in the development of their communities thus the reason the organization is led by young people between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. We have reached over 3,000 young people through our programmes, supported over 300 MSMEs and mobilized over 10 million Naira worth of donations to public schools.

 Kayode Ajayi-Smith

FGS:  How old is this business?

Kayode:  4years

FGS:  Wow! That’s a while… How many interns have passed through your organization?

Kayode:  The Internship Connect programme started a little over 2years ago. We commenced with a Pilot called Volunteer Training Scheme where we placed 27 interns in Abuja and scaled up into a full social business in August 2013. Today we have almost 150 interns placed in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

FGS:  What are two things that would make you change careers in a heartbeat?

Kayode:  God and the sustenance of my family.

FGS:  Ok. Back to the internship connect. What challenges have you faced with it?

Kayode:  Hmm, the recipients, and funding. By recipients I meant unemployed graduates. You see, our motive for starting the Internship Connect programme came from the rising unemployment figure in the country with youths being the worst hit. Private organizations’ constant lamentation of the poor quality of graduates from our tertiary institutions led us to find out what they really want and that helped us to develop our 2-day Employability and Competency skill training which helps unemployed graduates understand what the 21st century workplace requires.

I however think there’s a huge need to change the orientation of our youths and that of their parents.

FGS:  Hmmm. Explain please?

Kayode:  Okay, a lot of our graduates have a funny get-rich-quick or small work-huge-pay mind-set. This mentality has played out in all our interactions. We also observed that a lot of our young graduates are very lazy

FGS:  Tell me about that!

Kayode:  I will actually tell you. We started with collecting CVs from interns to submit to organizations; we observed that a lot of our graduates do not know how to prepare CVs. 8 out of 10 CV’s were rejected on average so we decided to organize the competency training.

After soliciting funds from individuals to cover the cost of the training so that lots of young people can benefit from it, they were surprisingly lackadaisical towards it! Some of them arrived 2 hours into the training

Sometimes, the facilitators (who work for other organizations and are around because we pleaded with them to give hours of their time) would have to wait for them to arrive.

We decided to charge a fee for the training sessions, and to our surprise (again) they started showing up, and on time too.

FGS:  Ahh! So you’ve learned something!

Kayode:  I must say that we have had quite a number of very good interns but we have had a lot of very terrible ones too. We once had an intern who we called a day to the interview (because the host organizations determine when and where interviews take place) and she said she couldn’t attend simply because we can’t give her just a day’s notice. Even when we informed her that it was at the employers’ request, she declined in an impolite manner and ended the conversation.

FGS:  Oh wow. Since you’re actively engaged with young people seeking employment, what is one thing you believe they should know/do/be?

Kayode:  I think for young unemployed graduates, the one thing they should know is, Service comes first if you must penetrate any system. I am and I still am, a product of service.

FGS:  That’s very nice

Kayode:  when I graduated I went to work for free and I walked my way into full-time employment. I have stories of several young people around the world and it ended the same way and even sometimes better. When you don’t have a job, I think it is best to be prepared to go work for free. It not only helps you to sharpen your skills but also helps you acquire new ones. It also helps you build a huge professional network, one that you will not get seating at home.

FGS:  Thank you very much Kayode for taking the time to chat with me today, for all the insights you’ve shared. Most grateful!

Kayode:  I was glad I could share. Thank you.



Find more information about JID and internship connect here: and


One minute silence in honour of the lives lost in Nigeria on Sunday, Monday, and every other day. The people we know the ones we don’t, the sheer number of them.

May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace, Amen.

I lost a friend in the crash, people lost husbands, wives, children, brothers and sisters. We’re all crushed, heartbroken by the whole families wiped out, and the losses we’ve all suffered. Like I said on Twitter yesterday,

What I didn’t say was, the worst kind of death is the one that could have been avoided. Whether we like it or not, Sunday could have been avoided.

I was speaking with a very dear friend early this morning. His 10-year-old son had gone on an excursion with his class the day before and their teacher didn’t return the children to the school premises till 10pm. That’s when parents and guardians were called to pick the kids up. My friend’s wife went there in a rage (naturally), and other parents were telling her to calm down, that that’s the way the school is, and they are just grateful nothing happened to the children.

What?!?!?!? I’m shocked to say the least, and on two levels too. First is, what on earth are children doing outside their beds at 10pm? I don’t care where and how they went, the logistics team should have made plans to cater to the children if they wouldn’t make it back to school on time. And only under extenuating circumstances too! What the hell!! It’s unheard of! And this is a private school o!

Then tomorrow teachers will turn around and say parents are not involved in their children’s education right? How are they supposed to do that if the children get home at 10pm? What on earth is going on? Any self-respecting school should have had those kids home by 4pm so they can shower, get done with their homework, eat supper, and still have ample time to tell their parents about their day!

Second level? Concession. We concede till we’re dead, and then those of us left behind start apportioning blame from here to the heavens. What parent in their right mind would not have raised a storm (literally) over this incident? Noooooo. “Let’s thank God they got back safe”, right? And then when they go on another excursion and on their midnight trip back have an accident (because our roads are death traps) or they get waylaid by robbers or ritualists we’ll blame GEJ abi? The making of another plane crash.

Or worse still, we’ll say, ‘it’s the will of God’. Which God? The one who gave us brains so we’d let him rest? I wish I had the time to discuss the way we’re turning religion into an ineffective, dead-on arrival cult but my friend’s tweet sums it up…

We concede. Too damn much. When we ‘tip’ that policeman (or appreciate him, whatever helps us sleep) to get out of trouble, we’re setting ourselves up for another plane crash. When we run traffic lights, overtake dangerously, jump queues, sleep with that boss to get ahead, we are building another plane that’s doomed for destruction.

The Bible says, ‘little foxes spoil the vine’; sometimes I think we’ve been overcome by foxes around here, and full grown ones at that! We quietly accept things that are unheard of everywhere else! And then when you complain, your friends chide you for being finicky; they’ll be crying the loudest at your funeral, and pointing the longest fingers everywhere but at themselves.

Don’t give, don’t take; if it’s wrong, it is wrong. Let’s reduce the number of disasters we have, on land, at sea, and in the air; at our schools, work places, and in our homes too.

I trust my friend will go to the school and give a few people an earful. He will do that, or I will be disappointed in him.


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I found him on a friend’s page, was nice to finally ‘meet’ the person behind the acclaimed Student Circle, and very recently, the first fully online African university, fresh from its beta testing phase. Say hello to Gossy Ukanwoke, the 23-year-old Nigerian who is successfully channeling his passion for Africa, technology, and education into multi-pronged solutions.

ME:  Hello!

Gossy:  How are you doing? And good evening!

ME:  Good evening. I’m doing great! You?

Gossy:  I’m very well, lots of work but I’m getting by…

ME:  Welcome to the 3, 2, 1 series; a platform where the Fairy God Sister is at liberty to ask any question she wants!

Gossy: *smile* thanks and Gossy chooses which to answer!

ME:  This interview is written so I’ll reproduce as is on the blog, only editing for any errors. And err, Gossy will be compelled by my fairy powers to answer! Ready?

Let’s start with, what is it about Gossy that I won’t/can’t/haven’t read in interviews?

Gossy:  Gossy is really God fearing, he’s a strong Christian.

ME:  Wonderful! What else?

Gossy:  My computer is stuck with me.

ME:  Ha ha ha… obviously!!! Give me something Gossy

Gossy:  I do not like education as it is currently. I believe the system is not built for all types of learners; that’s why we see those who are not “bright” in class excel outside class, in business, in art or vocation. However, vocational learning is not always considered equal to the standard learning schemes in our societies today

@ play.. starting in front of a painting

ME: Student Circle Network. What’s the back story?

Gossy:  I have always believed that every student should have access to quality and affordable education; Students Circle Network was built from that drive to help students and the rest is history.

ME:  What’s your biggest success story from the network?

Gossy:  Our users come back to say thank you and for me that qualifies our success. 

ME:  Any distinct story?

Gossy:  A Masters students who was choked for a final project got on SCN 5 days before  submission deadlines. He spoke with a teacher/a group of students, was put through and he got an A in that project!

ME:  amazing! That’s the kind of story that keeps you going on a difficult day isn’t it?

Gossy:  yes exactly. There have been times in the past that the pressures were so much that I once reconsidered the network but these stories give you a sense of fulfilment

Ok, #3. Who’s your ideal woman? (And I’m a Fairy, so feel free to dream…)

Gossy:  Lol! Ok, my ideal woman….. should be understanding; because I could get stuck up on work and this PC so much!

ME:  That’s it? Understanding? That’s it? C’mon!!! There must be other things you want!

Gossy:  that’s pretty much all I can say trust me! You won’t understand how much understanding is..

ME:  Looks, culinary skills, temperament, nothing? Ok, at the risk of digressing, explain your understanding of the ‘understanding’ you’re looking for.

Gossy:  Understanding that being on my computer 72 hours doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention. Get the picture?

ME:  hmmm….. I know your type! On to your latest venture, what does Beni stand for?

Gossy:  Beni is just a unique name in itself and its part of a personal experience. So yes Beni…… I think it’s a great name

ME:  Ok… if I pronounced it in Yoruba be ni could mean ‘yes’. It could also be a place, river, or part of a name. For you is it an acronym, something in a language, I’m curiooooooous Gossy!

Gossy:  more things will unfold in the future I guess, but it’s a name on its own.

@ work, the PC to 'understand'....

ME:  hmmm, I’m restraining myself from using my powers to extract the name from you right now! What’s the place of social media in the communities you’re building?

Gossy:  Social media drives sporadic communication between those who are remotely linked; this is vital in learning and the growth of knowledge and that intersects with what my focus is on.

ME:  I see that the pioneer students at Beni American have a ‘class blog’. We had one during my postgraduate studies but I’d like to know why you set that up?

Gossy:  students who are coming from diverse backgrounds come together, they need to know each other, learn from each other’s experiences, etc. I got to know a few people from that class blog myself whose knowledge I’ll be tapping into in the future.

ME:  Including me? smile

Gossy:  yes you were a student in the class blog

ME:  Past tense? Ahhhh!!!

Gossy:  the class is over, and you weren’t exactly a model student… you did not attend classes and you did not do assignments.

ME:  Awwww, I’m sorry! I feel like I’m getting a talking to from a Principal! And I am a good student! *adjusts halo*

#2 If I  gave you three days devoid of work/school and all the money you wanted, what would you do?

Gossy:  I’d head to England to see someone and have a nice holiday

ME:  See who? The person who understands you?

Gossy:  I don’t really discuss personal details but yes it may be the person who understands me, or an advisor I have been promising to visit, or a family member!

ME:  That’s good enough for us, I respect your privacy. Student Circle, BAU; what else does Gossy have his hands in at the moment?

Gossy:  school, I’m a final year student at Girne American University, studying Management Information Systems.

ME:  Final set of questions, and I must thank you for being an interesting guest…

Gossy:  Thanks plenty, any time!

ME:  Why Beni American? Why not Beni Nigerian?

Gossy:  We need to let people know what they are going into. Nigeria doesn’t currently have a benchmark for online universities; however the Americans do and we are running an American system, curriculum, structure and calendar amongst other things.

ME:  What’s the biggest take away for you now that the testing for BAU is done?

Gossy:  The people love it and that’s a great start. The students have come to realize the online system isn’t exactly an easy process when properly executed as we are doing

ME:  #1 If you had one wish that you were sure would be granted, what would it be?

Gossy:  that every Nigerian youth gets educated and upon graduation have an opportunity

ME:  Thank you Gossy!

Gossy:  You are most certainly welcome

Note: Gossy is currently fund-raising to provide free tablets for BAU students as well as subsidized internet access for them. Information about his outstanding precedents, and avenues to donate are here.

@school, looking up to a light up roof.....

Today is not a good day, not a good day at all. I’m so angry, I could hurt someone! ‘Calm down’, I can hear you say, ‘you know you’re a Fairy’. Today is however not the day for calming down…..maybe I should tell you why I’m upset.

I’m not upset because of the environmental disaster the BP fiasco has become (279 sea turtles, 658 birds, etc have found dead…..and counting); I’m not angry that Dimeji Bankole is under some heat from his colleagues; I’m not even angry that Cameroon (which has a bigger farce called democracy and is just as corrupt as Nigeria) had uninterrupted light supply for the 12 days I was there, and not half or quarter current either!

I’m angry that the rate of child molestation/abuse is rising, and at a very alarming rate! My friend Hajo says it’s not higher than it’s ever been; people are just speaking up now. I’m angry that the innocence of little children is being stripped crudely by the very people the Fairy Godfather put in charge of them; you and me. More despicable are the biological relatives that abuse these little ones.

From the beginning of the year, the stories began to trickle in. As a matter of fact, from January 2003 when The Sun started as a weekly in Nigeria, they told us Nigeria was slowly but surely becoming the next Sodom and Gomorrah but no; we said it was The Sun’s style to be alarmist and sensational (and I agree that they can be). Our people however say that when more than two people pass and look at you strangely, it’s time to find a mirror. I strongly believe Nigeria needs a large mirror, the largest she can find because our children are no longer safe.

Forgive me for not wasting my fairy ink on definitions of words like paedophile (paedophilia), molestation, abuse, etc. Sometimes I think that’s one of our major problems; defining, finding synonyms etc when we know exactly what is being discussed. I also won’t bore you with like happenings in Europe, Asia, the Americas, etc because honestly, it’s not our business; our house is engulfed in an inferno; it would be plain silly to checking the strength of the fire (if any) at our neighbours’. Ok?

Starting from the Yerima case a couple of months old now, almost everyday I have seen in print one case of abuse or the other and I must tell you, the gap between the ages of the children and the adults can almost rival the distance between the heavens and the earth!

There’s the case (currently in court) of a 4year old who has been defiled repeatedly her 45 year old uncle who is the principal of a nursery and primary school. What? A 4year old is still in the babbling stage; what kind of pleasure can be found there?

An 8year old also defiled by this pervert was taken to the hospital by her mother after the case blew open; her mother will not be pressing charges however because of possible stigma. When the good people (young people like you and me) went to the hospital to visit the 4year old, the doctors asked, ‘which of them’?

A 9year old won’t be getting any justice soon because the police station where the 32 year old who violated her was reported said the little girls’ statement is missing so they cannot do anything. And they let the man go. What is this world coming to?

There’s also the case of the 7year old defiled by a 49year old. When he was arrested, he told the Police that he’s a widower. So what? He also said he used his fingers not his penis, like it makes his crime any less vile. Contradicting his story are medical reports plus the fact that the little girl now has a foul odour and discharge from her privates. Quick question (for the guys); can the fingers under any circumstance produce sperm or other seminal fluids?

Most distressing (and the reason I started writing this) is a report I saw on 234next of a Mr. Phillip Benson whose 12year old daughter is now pregnant or him. Guess who found out? The little girls’ teacher. The father (who is separated from the girls’ mom) said the 12year old seduced him, that it started the day he woke up in the middle of the night to find her beside him, naked, so he touched her. How on earth can a 12 year old seduce a 49year old and her father at that? The girl on the other hand says that it’s been going on for two years and her father always threatens her with starvation and death; giving her drugs and hot drinks after every sexual encounter. Haba! Did I add that the Police said they will conduct investigations in to the case of ‘alleged abuse’? Alleged? The 12year old is visibly pregnant, the father has confessed and it is still ‘alleged’? God save us, but please start from the Police Force!

Good people, what do we do? Why is this happening over and over again? This is the height of depravity, the lowest anyone can sink to. What is the pleasure to be derived from a child? It’s complex enough with a fellow adult; why go to a child? And mind you, statistics show that for every case revealed (brought to light), there are thousands unreported.

In Africa (especially), it is believed that if a HIV positive person sleeps with a virgin (and the younger the more potent), he/she will be cured; in the year 2000, this fact contributed immensely to the over 67, 000 new cases of HIV in South Africa alone. Uganda passed a law in 2007 making it a crime (punishable by death on conviction) for a HIV positive person to wilfully infect a minor via sexual intercourse. Germany and many states in America are working on approving chemical castration using the drug Depo – Provera (besides stiff incarceration) for offenders.

In Nigeria where the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been domesticated to become the Child Rights Act (2003), punishments for rape have the option of fines. Imagine a N100, 000 fine for a man who used a screwdriver to poke around a girls’ vagina! Also, there are no punishments for forced oral and anal sex, finger insertion etc. Note also that 49 out of 50 victims are hushed by their parents for various reasons so I’m referring to the tiny percentage that actually comes forward.

While we wait for our government to get their act together (starts from harmonizing and passing the13 bills relating to the rights of women and children, which are pending at the National Assembly), we can protect our little ones thus. By the way, these bills are pending yet our lawmakers are lobbying to increase their take home to 42million naira per quarter? I digress.

We can protect them by

  • Teaching them about their body parts, emphasizing that they should resist unnecessary touching by anybody.
  • Teaching them to yell or run if they are faced with an uncomfortable situation, even if it’s by ‘uncle’.
  • Show any gift given to them by uncles, aunties, teachers, anybody to mommy and daddy.
  • Teaching them to talk to mommy or daddy about anything they are unhappy or uncomfortable about.
  • Teaching them acceptable behaviour; sitting with the legs closed, etc, so they don’t put themselves at risk unnecessarily.

While we do that, as many as can be present at the Nassarawa High Court, Mararaba on the 23rd of June for the hearing on the case of the 4year old, please be there, this has got to stop!