By Helen OvbiageleSOMEWHERE in Britain today, a mother of three is completely devastated by the tragedy that befell her recently.
She and her children had been living with her boyfriend (one is not sure if she moved into his place or he came to live with her and her kids) as one big happy family, for about eighteen months.
Even the neighbours testify that it was a well-blended family where every member was happy and well-adjusted. A few weeks ago, to give her nine year old daughter a treat, she told her to accompany her boyfriend whoâ€™s a delivery man, on his rounds in his truck.
The little girl has always wanted to go see the sights in the countryside around them, which the duties of the â€˜step-fatherâ€™ took him to. The mother thought it was the ideal gift as she was about to change schools.Â They were going to be away for the day and return in the evening. As they made the rounds, she rang up the pair, from time to time, to find out where they were and how the child was enjoying the outing.
The little girl was in high spirits as she spoke about all the exciting things she had seen and done. They had stopped at an eatery in the countryside, so that she could watch her favourite programme on television in the lobby, when the mother rang in the afternoon. She spoke impatiently with the mum as she wanted to concentrate on the programme.
The mother, who could hear the voices of other diners there in the background, also spoke with her boyfriend, who reported that all was fine and the child was enjoying her outing.Â Â They would be back home in a couple of hours, he assured her.
She had no need to expect a tragedy, or double tragedy, as things turned out to be.Â The first sign that there might be trouble was when the company for which the boyfriend worked, rang to report that the delivery truck that he drove had still not been returned to the yard, and it was well past the appointed time. She reached for her mobile phone and she called the man.
No response. She called her daughter. No response. She began to panic and she contacted the Police who swung into action immediately, sending out a search party to comb the areas the duo had visited. They drew blanks in all these places, though it was confirmed that the â€˜fatherâ€™ and â€˜childâ€™ had indeed been at those places.
â€˜How did they look?â€™ â€˜Did the little girl show any signs of distress or panic?â€™the Police asked. â€˜They looked like any loving father and daughter on an outing together,â€™ they were assured.Â Someone added that at a point the girl had her hand trustingly in the â€˜dadâ€™s’ hand, and they were holding hands like any father and daughter would.
They looked happy and relaxed. Much later, the delivery truck the man was driving was sighted. The Police swooped down there and discovered to their horror, the little girl all alone in the back of the truck, strangled.Â Â Her â€˜step-dadâ€™ was not there. They began to search the neighbouring bush for him and found him nearby, hanging from a tree. The same type of rope that had been used in strangling the girl was what he used in hanging himself.
The Police said theyâ€™re not looking for a third person, as they believe that the man strangled his â€˜step-daughterâ€™ and then took his own life. No suicide note was left behind. The little girl, they think, may have been sexually assaulted. Tests are still being carried out.
Completely overwhelmed with grief, the mother of the little girl said that she couldnâ€™t believe that her gentle and loving boyfriend, who got on very well with her children, could be the monster who had committed those crimes.
It was quite at variance with the character of the man she loved and lived with. Could it be the same person?
This mother was described by the head teacher of the school the daughter attended, as a most caring and responsible mother, who would always turn up at the school on the relevant occasions. The little girl was a bright and very popular pupil who always looked happy. The head-teacher added that the entire school; staff and pupils, would miss her.
Thereâ€™s no doubt that the girlâ€™s mother would grieve and blame herself for the tragedy, all the remaining days of her life, for being so naively and stupidly trusting.Â Some people would blame her for throwing her young daughter and her boyfriend together in such a â€˜tempting’ situation. No-one will ever know why the man had to strangle the girl, and then went to hang himself.
The Police later discovered that the boyfriend had been arrested and cautioned for an incident some years ago. She hadnâ€™t known this before she began to live with him along with her kids. â€œItâ€™s an unfortunate incident,â€ observed a female colleague. â€œThese oyinbo people can be so carefree and trusting in a relationship, I doubt if any single mother here would be comfortable sending her nine year-old daughter and her boyfriend on an outing away from her.
A man, whatever the age, will be a man; unless heâ€™ sunder the influence of the Spirit of God.â€ â€œBesides, some nine year old girls in the western world can be so mature that a man may see them as adults,â€ added another colleague.
â€œDid you say it canâ€™t happen here?â€ I asked. â€œ It can, and very easily.Â Â Arenâ€™t some very young girls left with male relations, neighbours and even male domestics?
We read in the papers of adult males known to the family, committing all sorts of indecent acts with minors in the house.â€ â€œThatâ€™s true. A single mother may not see anything wrong in allowing a boyfriend to take her little girl for an outing.
It wouldnâ€™t cross her mind that he would have any bad intention towards a child heâ€™s old enough to be the father of.Â Â In fact, she would be glad that he and her child like and accept each other enough to want to go out together; especially if marriage is on the cards.
She would reckon that those to watch are the teenagers and the young ladies; certainly not a mere child of nine.
What attraction could she possibly be to a grown man whoâ€™s in a relationship with the childâ€™smother?â€
â€œExactly! But then the world is now upside down, Things which our society used to consider an abomination are happening right here under our noses, and people say the End Times are here.â€ â€œI guess the lesson here is that parents, especially mothers, have to be careful about who they invite into their homes, or send their young children out to,â€ was the conclusion of a colleague.
This is a good advice which we should all heed. If you have young female children under your roof, right up to the early teens, avoid having male domestics, if possible, and donâ€™t go out and leave them in the care of drivers, gardeners, etc.
Yes, sometimes a mother is pushed to the wall and desperately needs an adult, any adult, to keep an eye on that child â€˜for a few minutesâ€™ while she goes round the corner for something urgent. Take the child or children along with you, is the sensible thing to do.
Or, leave whatever is urgent until your husband, or a responsible close female relation is in the house. This why itâ€™s important for a mother to plan her week properly so that thereâ€™s no emergency outing that will make her leave her young children to the care of just anyone.
Another thing is to carefully screen whoever youâ€™re inviting to come live with you and your kids in the house.Â Â God will then help with the necessary protection and guidance.