Missionary home saves 115 children from infant killing in FCT

Missionary home saves 115 children from infant killing in FCT

Thursday, August 10, 2017 10:25 pm

FCT Minister Malam Muhammad Bello

Mr Olusola Steven, the Coordinator of the Vine Heritage Home, Kuje, FCT, on Thursday, said 115 children rejected by their communities, had been saved from being killed.

Steven, who is also a missionary, made this disclosure during the graduation ceremony of 15 girls of the home trained in fashion designing by the Latiwa Development Foundation in Kuje, FCT.

The missionary told newsmen that since the inception of the home in 2001, 115 children had been saved from the practice of infanticide by 60 communities in the FCT.

Infanticide is the practice in some societies of killing unwanted children soon after birth.

Steven explained that there were some tribes that did not accept the birth of twins, albinos or children with deformities because they were believed to be evil.

“They also believe that if a mother dies at childbirth or if a nursing mother gives birth and dies, as long as that child is still suckling, it is believed the child killed the mother.

“Usually, when the mother is to be buried, the living child is placed on the mother’s chest and buried with her; in some other communities, those children are abandoned in a room.

“They also believe that a teething child that grows the upper teeth first is evil; such children are also killed.

“These children are sometimes poisoned with some local herbs, some others are suffocated to death.

“We started approaching the people; at first, about 10 to 17 years ago, it was not easy because we had to try to convince and plead with them”.

He also said that a few communities were gradually becoming aware of the need to stop the practice and added that some missionaries lived in the communities to help retrieve such children.

“We have about 60 of such communities within the FCT and the  government has done well by investigating the story and they found it to be true.

“Committees have been set up to address such practices and the FCT administration is aware; though, the response is slow, I wish it could be faster but the good thing is that working is on.

“We invite the community leaders and their parents to come and see these children; we have five communities today that have completely stopped the killing of such children”.

He said that the children were not given out for adoption but cared for and trained by the home with the support of Nigerians and Non-Governmental Organisations.

Also speaking, Cathy Amato, Founder of Latiwa Development Foundation, said that facilities in the home were being renovated and expanded to accommodate the children and their caregivers.

Amato said that the facilities and equipment would be made available to empower the 15 girls trained in fashion designing.

“We are here for the graduation of our 15 girls after a three-month programme in fashion designing to empower them and also to inaugurate the building to accommodate volunteers taking care of them.

“With the support from the Polish and German embassies, we are going to construct a building with shops, equip them with about seven machines and other materials the girls need to start a business,” she said.

Ms. Anna Santorska, Cultural and Promotion Attache of the Polish Embassy, said that the building project formed part of the Polish aid programme to support development in countries as Nigeria.

“The idea of the programme is good because we do not donate to people but give them training and possibilities to be empowered and be independent,” she said. (NAN)

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