Challenges of Modern Day Parenting

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Worried children in Nigeria

As Nigerian children celebrate their day this week in conformity with the United Nations mandate, it appears that the 21 century parents have more work to do in their upbringing owing to the availability of various gadgets and technological devices which attract and lure them into crimes and other vices

|  By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Jun. 2, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

NOVEMBER 16, 2013 was a day Papa Remedy is not likely to forget in a hurry. On that fateful day, Papa Remedy entered his two-bedroom apartment and found his 17-year-old son reclining on a seat in the sitting room with his mobile phone and an earpiece stuck his ear as if listening to music. But the unusual manner displayed by the son aroused his suspicion that he was forced to collect the phone from the young boy. To his amazement, he found that his son was watching pornography. Shocked with disbelief, Papa Remedy raised an alarm which attracted his neighbours at Arandun Estate, Iba, Ojo, Lagos State. They were surprised when they got to know what the boy did because they had regarded Papa Remedy as a very disciplined and upright person who would be strict in the upbringing of his children.

To his chagrin, Papa Remedy also discovered that there were more than 20 video movies in the phone and that all were pornography. The father of six told Realnews that his son was always lonely whenever he was using the earpiece with the phone. He, however, blamed his wife for allowing the children, who were still in secondary schools, to have access to internet phones. “This is not the first time he is watching this thing. For a long time, I had observed that whenever he came back from school, he would like to be alone with his phone and earpiece. But I never thought that this was what he was always watching. I warned my wife not to allow these boys to have internet phones but she insisted that it would be useful for them in their academics. See where the whole thing has landed us now. They have succeeded in embarrassing me in the neighbourhood and damage the good name I worked tirelessly to make for myself. All I know is that from today onwards, none of them will ever use a phone that has access to internet,” he said.

Nigerian children
Nigerian children

Papa Remedy’s case is a bit different from others. On Omowami Street, Ajuwon, Lagos, is a 26-year-old lady with five children. Each of the children has a father. The eldest among them is 10 years old, while the youngest is about a year and five months. The young lady has vowed not to marry any of the fathers of her children, saying that her parents must train the children since they refused to send her to school. To make the matter worse, none of the children is going to school.

According to her neighbours, the presence of this young lady and her children is a big threat as they terrorise the neighbourhood at will. The neighbours also see her as a bad influence on the teenagers in the area. One of the neighbours who didn’t want his name in print, told Realnews that the young lady was always fighting her parents and staying out late at night in company of notorious guys in the area. “Even the parents are tired of her. She comes in anytime she wants and will even jump the fence whenever the gate is locked. It is only God that will save us from this prostitute because her presence is a big security challenge to us,” he said.

Perhaps, a little bit different is the story of a prostitute who also blamed her situation on the way she was raised. That is for girls. Through lack of parental cares and carelessness, a number of children who have turned out to be kidnappers, area boys, rapists, militants, armed robbers and many other notorious criminals imaginable. For instance, on Thursday, February 6, it was reported that four men, Chinye, Sule, Wale and Lawal Kamoru, were accused of gang-raping a 14-year-old-girl who was returning from a church vigil early in the morning. The incident happened on Oluwanishola Street, Ilaje Bariga, Lagos. The victim and her sister, who live in Ifako, Gbagada area of Lagos, had attended a vigil with their mother in Ososa Avenue, Bariga. After the vigil, their mother was said to have asked them to wait for her at the home of a family friend on Jide Street, Bariga. On their way to the friend’s house, the sisters were reportedly cornered by the four men who threatened them with knives, sticks and bottles.

The quartet was said to have been temporarily distracted from their evil intention when they noticed a group of people approaching. They allegedly freed the girls but later took another direction to catch up with them. The hoodlums reportedly abducted the girls and seized their bag containing a Bible, a head tie, a handset and N10,000 cash. Moreover, they allegedly seized the younger of the victims and took the 14-year-old to a corner where they took turns to rape her. She was said to have received serious injuries as a result of the raping and was rushed to a general hospital in the area for treatment.

In a similar incident, a primary three pupil of Christian Victory Nursery/Primary School, Ikot Ekang, in Etinan Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, was allegedly raped to death by two unknown men in February this year. Realnews gathered that the incident occurred when Enobong Wilson, the maternal grandfather of the girl, sent her to a nearby store to buy an item for him. The little girl was said to have moved to Wilson’s house when her father, Udo Jimmy, died late last year.

2013 childen's day celebration in Enugu
2013 childen’s day celebration in Enugu

Ufok Tommy, head teacher of the school, said when the girl did not return from the errand her maternal grandfather sent her, the man became curious about her whereabouts. After a long fruitless search for her that night, they thought the girl had gone to her father’s compound to see her other relations. “Nobody had any idea about her whereabouts. We expected her at school, but when all the other children resumed, we noticed she was missing. But one of our teachers, Mrs. Lucy Okon, heard many women shouting as they gathered. So, she went to the scene only to see the girl’s corpse lying at the back of a building, which has been raised above foundation level. She was found naked, with blood all over her private part and foam in the mouth. And besides where she lay, two pairs of male sandals were picked up. Nobody can tell who killed her. She joined us this term immediately she began to live with her grandfather,” he said.

While the suspected rapists of the young girl were still at large, nemesis caught up with one Akeem Ibrahim, a 29-year-old man who was accused of raping a two-year-old girl. Ibrahim appeared before an Osogbo Magistrate’s Court, in Osun State, on Friday, February 7 and was remanded in prison custody. The list of similar crimes is endless. But what is responsible for these growing criminal tendencies among the youths?

As in the case of Papa Remedy’s son, the internet has exposed a great number of Nigerian youths to cybercrimes. Through the internet and home videos, the youths have learnt how to commit various crimes. For instance, it is through the internet and home videos, and sometimes, through television, that the youths learn a lot about pornography, how to  use guns to rob, how to make and plant bombs, rape, defraud, hack into peoples’ accounts and mails as well as commit all manners of crimes. A recent study by the International Data Corporation, IDC, and the National University of Singapore showed that Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya are in the upper ranks of countries with the highest rate of internet crime. Ironically, the three countries produce less than two percent of global gross domestic product, GDP, but account for 10 percent of global cybercrime.

A Nigerian journalist, who does not want his name in print, recently got a mail on his Facebook account which read: “We congratulate you over your success in the just concluded and official publication of results of the Facebook online draw held today, 4th of April 2014. We are here to notify you that your profile on Facebook was selected among the 50 lucky winners of Facebook active member monthly draw award.” The scammers, also known as yahoo-yahoo boys, informed him that his profile had won him $10,000 for being an active member of Facebook and that he could claim the amount at any bank using Western Union. “You are advised to contact the Director of Africa/Asia Facebook team, Mr King Thomas Fall, through his email address [email protected] with your information for verification of your account.”

Luckily, the journalist detected the scam and did not fall for it. But others have been conned. One scammer, who identified himself as Moses, a 300-level student of English at the University of Benin explained how the trick works. “The latest trend is fraudulent loan services,” he said. “Before now, I concentrated mostly on dating scam. But the loan scam is more lucrative and more fool-proof. What we do, I and a network of friends, is to create websites offering loan services. We send emails to a list of about 800,000 persons. Sometimes, we get less than 100 responses. At a point, we ask them to pay $100. We continue to scoope (con) them, extorting little dollars from them. Once the Maga (victim) pays, somebody in the U.S., South Africa or India – our pick-up point – collects and sends the money to us through Western Union. We make up to N4 million a month whenever the business is not moving well.”

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