68 FCT communities still practice infanticide
Despite enlightenment and persuasion against the killing of twins and other children termed “evil,” indications have emerged that the primitive practice is still ongoing in about 68 communities across the Federal Capital Territory.
Some communities in the FCT still describe as evil, multiple birth children; children who grew upper teeth first; children who lost their mothers at birth or when they were still sucking breasts; children born with down syndrome or any deformity, and albinos as evil.
To ward off “such evil” from their communities, “the children are either poisoned or offered as a sacrifice to their gods, and in case of children that lost their mothers at birth, they bury them with their mothers.
The Operations Leader of The Vines Heritage Home, in Kuje Area Council Abuja, Stephen Olusola, said that the home offers shelter to such children, adding they have been getting hints that infanticide still takes place in some communities
Even though some community members have denied it, some affected mothers are still secretly handing over their children to the outfit to avoid them being poisoned to death.
Olusola while speaking at the handing over of a five-year-old boy who lost his mother at birth and has been living in the home to his father said: “If the such practice was not going on, why would a mother willingly give us her child?”
He, however, informed that the situation has greatly improved through increased sensitisation. And with the support of ActionAid and the European Union, the children are no longer termed as evil, and their parents now come to visit them.
He pointed out that one of their major challenges is that some of the children are usually poisoned before they are handed over to them, thereby saddling them with the arduous task of battling to save the infants’ lives or battling other health challenges.
The leader of the home also said that feeding the minors constitutes a huge task noting that 98 per cent of the children brought to the home were infants who were yet to be breastfed. So, they are challenged with the provision of infant formula among others to ensure that they grow well.
He said that the home offers shelter to 177 children including 20 sets of twins, and 17 children have successfully been reunited with their families.
ActionAid Project Lead of Mobilising Action Towards the Abolition of Infanticide in the FCT (MATA) Ubong Tommy, said that ActionAid and the European Union since 2019 pulled funds together to raise awareness about the practice of infanticide in the FCT, and also put in place structures in the community to ensure that the children are successfully united with their families.
He said that they also carry out routine monitoring of children when they return to the community, and ensure that their welfare is properly addressed.