Monday, December 6, 2021 2:27 pm
By Ayodele Ale
The Dowen saga is a manifestation of the failure of the system and many parents also have blame to share in the rot of society. When I was a secondary student at United High School, Ilawe Ekiti in the early 80s, the thugs of a politician then came to beat one of our teachers who had scolded the daughter of the politician. The teacher was beaten to stupor on the assembly ground while the teachers and the students scampered to safety. Nothing came out of it. It was done with impunity while the father did nothing to remedy the situation.
In those days, one of the reasons I had to be careful in school was the no-nonsense posture of my father. I could not withstand anyone coming home to report me to my dad. The house would be literately on fire for me. I thought the man was too hard on me, but he was helping my destiny. The discipline is still helping me till today.
Some months back, a friend was sacked from a school in Lagos because he dared to correct an errant student. In the same school, a Mathematics teacher was booted out for flogging a pupil. Some children are spoilt brats. School discipline has been thrown to the swine.
Sometimes ago, an over-pampering mother came to a school to beat up a teacher who corrected a little girl because of her weird hairdo. Some days ago, a Senior Secondary School 3 student identified as Michael Ogbeise beat his teacher, Ezeugo Joseph to death in a Delta State school for flogging his younger sister.
What of violence from other quarters? Some parents who are cultists have initiated their children, who in turn are initiating fellow pupils. I am serious about this. I was driving out of the environment where I used to live in Lagos one morning and I was surprised at the sight of some young children following their parents out of a fraternity’s place of gathering.
Then, what of those whose homes are too hot to handle due to domestic violence? A woman with swollen face once came to the office where I used to work one day. When I asked her what happened, she told me that the husband was beating her over the weekend in the presence of the children for refusing to surrender her salary for the month that had just ended.
Religious officers are no exceptions. From time to time, as a minister of the gospel, I mediate on cases of domestic violence. A female minister told me about her friend who is also the wife of a pastor. The woman was rushed to a clinic belonging to a church member who is a medical practitioner. When she was asked about the source of the wounds and bruises on her face and body, she replied that she was beaten by a bus conductor over an argument on the transport fare when she boarded a commercial bus. That was because the doctor was attending to the injured woman, who was placed on admission immediately. After the departure of the church members who came to greet her, she whispered to the friend “Daddy lo na mi” (I was beaten up by my husband). Unfortunately, so many ‘warlords’ are still presiding over the churches.
There are also wives who are beating their husbands at home. A man died recently of heart attack in the office. One of the people living with them had gone to break the news of the death to the wife of the deceased, albeit in a terrible and inhuman way, when the colleagues in the office were still deliberating on how to inform the wife. When they eventually asked the man sharing a flat with the couple why he had to do that, he replied that he did it deliberately to spite her as she was in fond of beating the husband who was seen as a very quiet and polite man. Unfortunately, the wife was said to be a pugilist.
Another problem is the fact that many parents do not have time for their children. They are simply absentee parents as they pound the streets for money. Their wards are therefore left at the mercy of grannies and house helps. And some house helps are devil incarnates due to their violent behaviours.
There is therefore the need for everybody, including parents to wake up to salvage the future of the younger ones.
*Ayodele Ale is a trained journalist and legal practitioner