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Wanted: Baby’s Policy For Nigeria

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NYSC Not Death But Skills' Sentence

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Emmanuel Onwubiko

According to widely publicised data from unicef.org, Nigeria is a `country of the young with almost half the entire 180 million strong population, 46 per cent, currently under the age of 15.

Importantly, the current total for children under the age of 5 the statisticians insist,  stands at nearly 31 million while each year at least 7 million babies are born. From 2019 till yesterday, 17,000 babies were born by women and girls displaced by the Boko Haram terrorists attacks in the North East of Nigeria.

While a little over one in three of Nigeria’s whole population lives below the poverty line, among children this proportion surges to 75 per cent, so argues the UN.

The UN says too that when considering the low levels of birth registration, in some areas up to 62 per cent, known data about child health issues are likely to underestimate the true scale.

The UN says a 2016 national campaign linked to healthcare services resulted in the registration of about seven million children, but large population growth is impacting progress.

Nigeria’s 40 million women of childbearing age (between 15 and 49 years of age) it submitted, suffer a disproportionally high level of health issues surrounding birth.

While the country represents 2.4 per cent of the world’s population, it currently contributes 10 per cent of global deaths for pregnant mothers.

Latest figures show a maternal mortality rate of 576 per 100,000 live births, the fourth highest on Earth.

Each year approximately 262,000 babies die at birth, the world’s second highest national total. Infant mortality currently stands at 69 per 1,000 live births while for under-fives it rises to 128 per 1,000 live births. This writer had argued that under no circumstances should women bringing forth young lives be put in the way of mortal danger. Therefore, a clearer implantable national policy on babies in Nigeria must be introduced as an enforceable legal framework. This is the import of this piece.

The aforementioned statistics by the UNICEF on the stark existential issues affecting babies no doubt represent the hard core data that necessitated this reflection alongside the unmitigated hardships that faced millions of families as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The year 2020 will therefore inevitably remain symbolic for Nigerians not necessarily because it was one period that millions of families were forced into joblessness by the imposition of restrictions to movements due largely to the Pandemic of Covid-19 that came from China.  The year 2020 will be remembered as that which compelled the children of Nigeria to stay out of schools even as millions of babies passed through the pains, penury and cruelty of mass poverty generated by the inability of their parents to access their places of employments and therefore were not economically empowered.

READ ALSO: Preparing African School Children For Future Jobs and Challenges

In the year 2020, the stark reality of the consequences of the decades of marginalization of babies emerged with the sorry pictures of thousands of street children who are left with no option than to beg for their survival.

Stories were all over the newspapers about those street kid beggars particularly in Northern Nigeria and how the state governments tossed these less privileged children around from where they were to other states under the pretext of decongesting their states of street kid beggars.

The controversies generated by the decision of some or almost all northern governors to remove street kid beggars off their states, can be summed up by affirming that what those grim pictures of neglected and abused children who being taken off the streets shows is that Nigeria does not have a clear BABY’S policy as a nation.

Indeed, any nation that lacks a consensus around the theme of how to effectively support the upbringings of her kids or children’s population is doomed.

A nation that lacks clarity regarding a national blueprint on mainstreaming the human rightsghts of children in the  overall national planning strategy, will be a place whereby children are endangered species and if children are made to grow up in very uncertain and unstable environments, what it means  is that, the future of that nation is properly not assured but definitely also endangered.

Psychologists are of the view that children who go through spectacular abuses will turn out as unruly adults and abusers themselves.

With the lack of a clearly approved baby’s policy in Nigeria, children substantially are subjected to the vagaries and vicissitudes of physical crimes, psychological and emotional trauma, trafficking, and many other types of dehumanizing tendencies including being sold to rich patrons. Nigeria is about one place in the globe that there exists what we call baby’s factories whereby young girls are sexually exploited for them to take in and give birth for fees after which these children are sold. If there’s a national policy blueprint on Nigerian children made into a law of the federation with broad-based implementation strategy,  this social menace would be exterminated. Some believers in a school of thought argue that Nigeria has a national policy instrument on children just as these persons submitted that the extant child Rights Act represent its.

Honestly, I do not subscribe to the idea by the editors of The Guardian that the child Rights Act can be termed the National Policy on Nigerian Babies.

Here are the positions of The Guardian: On July 6th 2018, the Guardian wrote:
“When the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on November 20, 1989 and in July 1990, the African Union Assembly of Heads of States and Governments adopted the African Union Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (CRWC) which Nigeria also signed and subsequently ratified on 23rd July 2003, it was assumed that humanity was appropriately committed to securing its own future.

” The uniqueness of the African Charter is that it enjoins State Parties to embrace not only the rights of the child but also the responsibilities towards the child.

Nigeria also did well to have enacted the principles in these international instruments into law on 31st July 2003 as the Child’s Rights Act (CRA), 2003.

“However, having been enacted at the national level, the states were expected to formally adopt and adapt the Act for domestication as state laws because issues of child rights protection are on the residual list of the Nigerian Constitution, giving states exclusive responsibility.

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“State laws inimical to the rights of the child are also to be amended or annulled as may be required, to conform to the Act and to the CRC.

Available data show that by now, the Child Rights Act 2003 has been promulgated into law in 26 states.

“The states yet to pass the bill into law are Sokoto, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe, and Zamfara.”

Whilst not accepting that the child Rights law encapsulates the National Babie’s Policy there is a policy blueprint close to that.
It is called the National Policy on infant and young child feeding in Nigeria.

“The overall goal of the National Policy on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Nigeria is to ensure the optimal growth, protection and development of the Nigerian child from birth to the first five years of life.

“The Specific Objectives are; i. To promote, protect and support exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life; ii. To create and sustain a positive image for breastfeeding throughout the society; iii. To empower all women (including women who work outside their homes) to adopt and practice optimal infant feeding; iv. To promote the timely introduction of appropriate and adequate complementary foods while continuing breastfeeding up to 24 months and beyond.

“Other objectives are: v. To ensure the provision of specific feeding recommendations for all infants and young children irrespective of their circumstances of birth and health status; vi. To promote the provision of appropriate information for nutrition counselling and support for households in the prevention of malnutrition in children; vii. To develop and strengthen activities that will protect, promote and support adequate infant and young child feeding practices; viii. To raise awareness on issues affecting infant and young child feeding in Nigeria.

Other goals are: ix. To provide an enabling environment for mothers, family members and communities to make and implement informed decisions on optimal feeding of infants and young children; x. To support and enhance the provision of enabling environment without any form of discrimination for working mothers, fathers and other care-givers including those in part-time and domestic occupation to practice optimal infant and young child feeding.

The remaining objectives are: xi. To promote the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV through appropriate and safe measures that ensure optimal infant and young child feeding; xii. To ensure that health workers and other care providers have adequate skills and information to support optimal infant and young child feeding including in emergency situations; xiii. To support and enhance the national capacity to address issues of infant and young child feeding in different situations and circumstances.and other care-givers including those in part-time and domestic occupation to practice optimal infant and young child feeding; xi. To promote the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV through appropriate and safe measures that ensure optimal infant and young child feeding;

xii. To ensure that health workers and other care providers have adequate skills and information to support optimal infant and young child feeding including in emergency situations; xiii. To support and enhance the national capacity to address issues of infant and young child feeding in different situations and circumstances.

READ ALSO: Dr. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi And The Institutionalization Of Feminist Power

Before finally proposing a merger of the National Policy on infant and young child feeding in Nigeria with the child Rights Act to form the National Baby’s Policy, we need to highlight key issues to be captured therein.

Basic thematic areas that should be included in any national policy on Nigerian children must look at ways and means of providing for stringent sanctions and penalties to adults who fails comply with the provisions of the policy so it does not turn out as a mere paper tiger.

Babies in Nigeria face many social issues around the area of poverty. Only yesterday, we learnt from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) that 17,053 babies were given birth to by Internally Displaced Persons in 18 locations in Borno state alone.

The UN agency told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the figure represents information of babies who have been registered between 2019 to May 2021.

Mr Frantz Celestin, the IOM Chief of Mission, IOM, said that the agency collaborates with the National Population Commission and UNICEF to issue birth certificates to the children.

According to him, the identity of the children was very important and also falls within its Displacement Matrix data which it shares with other stakeholders intervening in the North East.

“We do biometric data collection so that we know exactly the number of people who have been displaced so that the service we provide to them can be effective.

“This is important for food distribution, for non-food items distribution, it is also important for medical provision.

“Some of the work that we do on our displacement matrix data is to work with the population commission and UNICEF to provide birth certificates to those under five who were born in the camps.

“On the number of children that were born in the camps, I know last time I checked, those we had taken the biometrics and issued with birth certificates between 2019 and May 2021 were 17,053,” he said.

The IOM’s chief said the data help it to identify those who have been displaced, adding that “if you don’t have an identity you do not exist in the eyes of the government and the law”.

He said that it was important for the IOM that in spite of the conditions that they find themselves, the children were identified. A key element of the Child Rights that ought to become binding is the right to education for all children and a measure of enforceable national and states wide legal framework be put in place to check the menace of out of school children.

Around March this year, The Guardian said contrary to the optimistic impression recently given by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu that more children in Nigeria are being enrolled into schools, there may be no cause to cheer after all, going by the more current declaration, this time by the Minister of State in the same ministry, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba that the country still holds the continental record of children who are out of school.

READ ALSO: Egypt Moves To Flush Out Civil Servants With Links To Terrorists

Specifically, The Guardian said Mr.  Nwajiuba lamented, “… that Nigeria has more than 10 million out-of-school children, the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.”

This the newspaper said “contrasts sharply with Adamu’s declaration, about a month earlier, that many more Nigerian children are in school than ever before..

“Adamu in fact stated that the number of out-of-school children (OOSC) in the country had dropped to 6.946 million from 10.1 million; claiming that as at December 31, 2020, a total of 3,247,590 children, who were not in school, were enrolled within the space of a year and seven months, due to several activities undertaken by the Federal Ministry of Education, particularly, Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) being implemented in 17 states of the Federation,” The Guardian concluded.

Incidentally, the emerging scenario of terror attacks targeting schools in the North which are yet to be tackled by the federal and state governments has added to the crises afflicting the Nigerian children. This could have been mitigated if Nigeria has enforceable national policy on children and babies.

Another social crime is trafficking of children for sex and cheap labour.

Last year, U.S State department reports: “The Government of Nigeria does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. These efforts included continuing efforts to train government officials and raise public awareness, collaborating with international organizations and NGOs to establish anti-trafficking task forces in Borno and Ekiti states, using new technologies to enhance collection of victim testimony, prosecuting three government officials complicit in human trafficking, and drafting memoranda of understanding (MOUs) to improve coordination between government agencies.”

The USA further stated that: “However, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. Nigerian security forces recruited and used at least two children in support roles during the reporting period.

In addition, there continued to be reports of security officials sexually exploited, including through sex trafficking, IDPs in government-run camps in and around Maiduguri.”

The government it said did not hold criminally accountable any military officials for exploitation of IDPs in sex trafficking or recruitment and use of child soldiers. In addition, the government did not hold any Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) members criminally accountable for sex trafficking of IDPs or past recruitment and use of child soldiers.

The Nigerian military, the USA said, did not always provide trafficking victim protections to female and child trafficking victims allegedly associated with insurgencies and the government convicted fewer traffickers. Therefore Nigeria was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.
My submission is that Nigeria deserves a national blueprint on mainstreaming the human rights of children and babies. The Ministry of Women Affairs needs to be renamed the Ministry For Babies And Families. These calls are necessary so Nigerian babies are protected and raised in a safe environment.

Onwubiko is the head of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and was a federal commissioner at the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria.

 

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Opinion

Where Are Secular Lawyers?

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Witch Burning, Impunity And Abuses Linked to Witchcraft Beliefs In Benue State
Dr Leo Igwe

By Leo Igwe

This question has agitated me over the years, and it persists. At a recent event in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, a participant introduced herself as a member of the Christian Lawyers Association of Nigeria. Christian Lawyers Association? I wondered, Why Christian lawyers? Why should lawyers associate based on faith? Do we have a traditional religious lawyers association? Jehovah Witness Lawyers Association? Bahai Faith lawyers? Hindu Lawyers? I mean, why the religionization of everything in this country?

In northern Nigeria, the Muslim Lawyers Association exists. This organization is active. It features prominently in cases, especially those that concern religion, Sharia, or Islam. I guess there would be Sunni and Shiite Muslim lawyers associations. In 2022, over 30 Muslim lawyers came forward to defend those suspected of murdering Deborah Samuel in Sokoto. Meanwhile, no member helped prosecute the suspects. Muslim lawyers have strongly supported the execution and imprisonment of suspected blasphemers. They constitute the legal wing of Islamic separatism in Nigeria. This religious slant in practice, profession, and association of lawyers is disturbing and needs to be critically examined.

Look, a lawyer is a person trained to offer legal services. A lawyer is trained to represent an individual or organization in legal matters. S/he applies the law to specific cases, religious or nonreligious. The legal profession should be carried out without religious bias or favor. The law should be practiced to further justice, equity, and fairness, not in defense of a particular faith or belief. In practice, the law should be faith/belief blind. Unfortunately, this appears not to be the case in Nigeria. The tendency of lawyers to associate along religious lines is entrenched. As in other sectors of the society, religion has hijacked the legal profession and association. Lawyers practice and are pressured to practice law along religious lines. That is the raison d’etre of the religious (Christian/Muslim) lawyers association. And it is worrisome.

It has become pertinent to ask, where are secular lawyers? Put differently, where are lawyers beyond belief? By secular lawyers, I mean lawyers who are not religious, that is, lawyers who are atheists or agnostics; lawyers who do not take religion seriously. Secular lawyers include those who think that religious and spiritual matters are strictly private affairs and should not be the basis for legal practice, profession, and association.

Nigeria needs secular lawyers for the following reasons. First, based on section 10 of the constitution, Nigeria is a secular state, although not explicitly stated. Nigeria has no state religion. But theocrats often contest Nigeria’s secularity and openly propose that sharia and their religious books are superior to the constitution. The country needs lawyers to defend and uphold its secular character and help prevent the slow undoing of the secular gains and progress that Nigeria has made. Nigeria needs lawyers who can champion secularism. And secular lawyers can fulfill this need.

Second, Nigeria needs secular lawyers to professionally and constitutionally handle cases linked to faith or belief, such as witchcraft, blasphemy, and apostasy allegations. Lawyers who practice or associate on grounds of faith cannot be trusted to handle these cases because they are likely to compromise. They are likely to sacrifice their profession on the altar of their faith. For instance, it is a challenge to find lawyers to defend victims of witchcraft accusations because most lawyers, as people of faith, believe in the reality of witches and demons. Even though witchcraft accusations are against the law. Religious lawyers cannot be trusted to render professional services to victims of witchcraft branding. The same thing applies to cases of blasphemy and apostasy accusations. These accusations are linked to religious beliefs. Many lawyers do not want to profess law in ways that violate their faith. So, faith is a factor in hiring an attorney or getting a reliable solicitor.

In cases where Christians are accused of blaspheming Islam or insulting the prophet of Islam, Christian lawyers volunteer. They offer to help. Religious (Christian or Muslim) lawyers consider it a duty to defend their members. Christian lawyers defended Rhoda in Bauchi or the Christian barber, Elijah, in Kano. Muslim lawyers defended the suspected murderers of Deborah Samuel. But it is more challenging when the accused is a nonbeliever, an atheist, or a nonreligious person. Religious lawyers are reluctant to take up the cases. Religious lawyers cannot be trusted or entrusted with these cases because of concerns over religious bias.  Christian lawyers are guided by their christian faith and muslim lawyers are guided by their Islamic faith in their legal practice and representation.
So secular lawyers are needed. They can be trusted to represent in these cases because, in principle, they are free from the faith baggage that encumber legal representations by christian/muslim lawyers. Nigeria needs secular lawyers to keep church, mosque and state separate, and to ensure state neutrality on religious matters. It needs secular lawyers to tackle religious oppression, persecution and tyranny. Nigeria needs secular lawyers to uphold the rule of law and defend the freedom of religion or belief of all.
 Igwe, PhD,  is a board member of the Humanist Association of Nigeria.

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Minister Dangiwa Versus Cement Cabals

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Felix Oboagwina

By Felix Oboagwina

Wednesday, 31st October 2023, CEO of BUA Cement, Abdul Samad Rabiu, paid a visit to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Aso Rock. As he walked out of the President’s office, journalists swarmed round Rabiu. To cut this narrative short, the billionaire businessman said he had come to assure the President that by March 2024, a bag of BUA Cement would start selling at N3,500 instead of N4,500 for which it then sold. The market leader, Dangote Cement, retailed for between N5,000 and N7,000 per bag. The hike not only alarmed but frustrated users because just two months earlier, Dangote Cement sold for a lower price of N3,500 max. The jump in price annoyed Nigerians. Thus, when the media went to town with Rabiu’s assurance of crashing the price, the news provoked much happiness nationwide.

Easier said than done, however, Rabiu’s optimism quickly evaporated into thin air. Mysteriously, thereafter, the price of cement went crazy and bizarre. The popular 50kg bag of cement flew to N10,000, then N12,000 and landed at N15,000. This year, Dangote Cement PLC reported a profit of N166 billion for first quarter of 2024.

In Nigeria, the dominant cement brands are Dangote, BUA, Lafarge and Elephant. For a country of 250 million, being serviced by four brands sounds like a monopoly or oligopoly, when a few companies exert significant control over a given market and together control prices by colluding with each other to promote uncompetitive prices. Today, manufacturers blame the skyrocketing rates on the falling value of the Naira. From the N700 per dollar pre-May 2023, the Naira had gone to exchange for N1,600 to the dollar, although it has now dropped to about N1,200. In addition to using the unhealthy Naira as scapegoat, cement makers blame the high cost on expensive gas and manufacturing equipment.

However, in the midst of the darkness, a silver lining appeared to appear from the midst of Tinubu’s cabinet ministers.

There are 46 ministers, although 13 of them wear the title of Junior Minister or Minister of State and 33 substantive ones. Suddenly, two substantive ministers called cement manufacturers to a meeting. The meeting by Dave Umahi, Works Minister, took place first on Monday, February 19, 2024. At that meeting, the minister and manufacturers fixed the price of cement at between N7,000 and N8,000 max.

The following day Tuesday in Abuja, Ahmed Dangiwa, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, also met representatives of the Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN). And there things exploded. Dangiwa displayed uncommon knowledge of all the tricks and shenanigans. He told the producers the implication of their pricing: “This is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.”

For Dangiwa, the reasons for the price hike were insufficient to justify such outrageous pricing. He confronted them with the bare facts, that the government stopped cement importation to enable local companies to increase output and lower prices.

Then he dropped the banger: “Government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do.”

When CEMAN said the association “does not interfere with the pricing of cement,” Dangiwa hit back with, “One person cannot be selling at N3,500 per bag and another selling at N7,000 per bag and you cannot call them to order. The association is expected to monitor price control; otherwise, the association has no need to exist.”

Where the President and the Works Minister pacified and appeared to have lost touch with reality, Dangiwa spoke to manufacturers in the language they understood. He threatened them. Government, Dangiwa said, could fling open the borders to tame prices.

He told them: “We know that some of the key components of producing building materials, especially cement, are locally sourced, so the recurring disproportionate increase in the price of cement is unacceptable and unreasonable. Key input materials such as limestone, clay, silica sand, and gypsum within our borders should not be dollar-rated.

“You cannot continue to give excuses and blame it on the dollar all the time. The worst part is that other building materials manufacturers take a cue from cement manufacturers, and once they see that you increase your price, they do the same. Recently, this is happening almost every week, and it has to stop.”

Fact is Nigeria has been hijacked by cartels. They have the country by the jugular mercilessly. Like cartels the world over, the Nigerian business profiteers nurse the motive of profiteering at all costs. Governments have been unwilling to confront them and break that hold today. Past pro-people regimes behaved otherwise.

General Murtala Mohammed imported Argentinean beef to force down the price of meat in the market.

General Gowon goes down in history for the Cement Armada. Ships upon ships upon ships of cement harboured at the Apapa Lagos port and crashed the price of the product.

In his own time, when the price of cement rose astronomically and the country complained, Goodluck Jonathan, in May 16, 2011, invited producers to Aso Rock and gave Dangote, BUA and others 30 days to crash cement price to N1,000. They succumbed.

While that drama played out, four cement manufacturers in February 2013 wrote to Jonathan to demand import licences, calling themselves “Cement New Entrants Stakeholders.” They each wanted to be granted papers by Jonathan to import 5 million metric tons of cement. According to them, granting import licences was a sure way of forcing down cement price to between N500 and N1,000 per bag and breaking the current monopoly of the “cartel” in the industry.

There is much to learn from this engagement. Monopolistic profiteering dictates cement pricing in Nigeria. The monopoly flaunts every excuse to justify the high price, which the proposed independent importers told Jonathan was “making Nigeria to be classified as the country with the highest price of cement in the world” with the ex-factory price then fixed between N1,400 and N1,800 per bag.

That is the way to go. Good history ought to repeat itself. Open the borders. Grant licences to import. Create competition. It will amount to a win-win for Nigerians because cement imports will create a new line of businesses as well as jobs through the value chain of importation, ports, clearing, re-bagging, warehousing, marketing, advertising, distribution and retailing. This the Housing Minister Dangiwa knows as a professional architect, a player in the building industry and a politician who wants to deliver pocket-friendly housing to the masses.

He had similarly maintained this humane stance when, as Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN, 2015–2022), he packed several human-faced, pro-people policies into his tenure. He processed N39.5 billion worth of refunds to 247,521 retired Federal housing contributors. Under him, FMBN made available NHF mortgage loans to 5,900 beneficiaries as well as home renovation loans to 77,500 people. He, also, led efforts to develop the Diaspora mortgage loan. This innovative scheme specifically aimed at assisting Nigerians living abroad to own homes without the weeping tales of getting duped by relatives or friends in Nigeria.

Minister Dangiwa knows that ONLY the cartels’ insatiable greed propels the price of cement sky-high. Exorcising this evil begins with taming the profiteers and making them sell cement to Nigerians at the N3,500 per bag that CEO of BUA Cement, Abdul Samad Rabiu, promised Tinubu at Aso Rock.

Oboagwina is an author, journalist and publisher, reachable via foboagwina@gmail.com

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Opinion

Money Without Family Relationship: A Time Bomb!

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The Futility Of A Marital Chase
Dr Hope Nwawolo

Money Without Family Relationship: A Time Bomb!

By Hope Nwawolo

Recently, l came across a trending post of a 72-year-old pensioner, who was said to have worked all his life to raise his kids. The writer of the post claimed the man was abandoned by his children whom he trained in expensive schools, at home and abroad.  It was further disclosed that his 65-year-old wife, had relocated to live with her children abroad, on the excuse of taking care of their grandchildren. The writer went on to paint the gloomy picture of the man as a bachelor once again and battling with high blood pressure and other old age ailments. He cautioned men that women love their children more than their husbands, so they should plan for their future. He erroneously put the number of such women at 97%.

This piece is in response to the above biased claim which is also capable of causing friction in homes striving for unity and togetherness. He may just succeed to plant a negative seed of distrust and discord in the minds of fickle-minded men, who before reading the article were enjoying a blissful relationship with their wives. It may also be possible that the writer is a disgruntled person who did not succeed in marriage or relationship and believes the same must be for all men.

When we see people like the writer portrayed, we should ask a pertinent question. What was the man’s relationship with his wife and children when he was ‘struggling’ to fend for them? Unfortunately, some men fail to realize that there is so much more in family life than money. In as much as money ‘answereth’ all things, it cannot be exchanged for lasting family relationship. 

Some men literally shove their wives aside while making the money without realizing the children see the treatment of their mothers. When some of these children become independent and financially stable, they feel obligated to compensate their mothers for the loveless treatment received from their fathers. In other cases, some men do not value family time, no matter how short, and would not understand the emotional craving of the wives and children when they really need it. Often, it is these women, that stay in the  gap in their absence, making the children bond more with  them. And instead of appreciating such women for filling in their physical vacuum, some men rather get jealous of the bond and further drift away from the children, while blaming the wife. 

Today, wise men make out time to pray, discuss, and have family outings with their families. This is called relationship building, which cannot be broken by distance in the future. The children from these homes grow up with memories of fun and family laughter. The women from such homes, have strong relationship with their husbands and will not stay more than one month when they go to visit their children. You will hear them say to the children, “Please, l want to go back to my husband.”  Why is nobody talking about them?

There are also couples who travel together to visit their children from time to time. So what stops a man from also going to visit his children whom he struggled to train? Is it that they did not invite him, and why? Perhaps they have no relationship! 

The claim of 97% women who abandon their husbands for their children is not empirical, cannot be scientifically proven, and is unfair to women. It also has the tendency to put fears into innocent men who are building strong relationships with their wives and children. I pray such men do not abandon their effort after reading such a biased write-up…for their own good! Every marriage and family is unique and should have values and principles that will bind its members together today, tomorrow, and in the future. This should override the quest for money if it cannot be combined with building lasting relationships with every member of the family.

Nowadays, while many men believe their provision of money for the home is the answer to family issues, the women sacrifice key factors that cannot be monetized, and build lasting relationships with the children. These vital factors are their tears and worries, emotional support, and constant prayers, among many others. Observably too,  some women are also contributing financially to feeding and sometimes, schools fees, as well as other necessities of the families. Despite these, they  find time to ensure that the family bond is maintained as best as possible. Unfortunately, the ego rather than complex of some men will not allow them acknowledge or appreciate the effort of these women and which the children obviously witness as they grow into independence and financial stability.

Therefore, instead of blaming women for the unpalatable fruit of old age loneliness as a result of early years of family emotional neglect, men should attempt to juggle their quest for money with building relationships that will see them through the evening of their lives, with members of the families. 

 Nwawolo, PhD, writes via 

hopenwawolo@yahoo.com

 

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