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Tainted Childhood

By Denrele Animasaun

Why is there ever this perverse cruelty in humankind that makes us hurt most of those we love best? -Jacqueline Carey

Children do not stay young forever, but their formative years do and will affect and often dictate their journey towards adulthood and the rest of their lives. So it is important that they are supported to develop resilience and given a solid foundation of love, emotional, social and psychological support while they make their way through the most important stages in life: adulthood.

Unfortunately, it seems that the adults in the young people’s lives forget that the young shall grow and that young people do not stay defenceless and vulnerable forever.

This week in the news was the  case of Lydia Taiwo and the cruelty meted by her parents, how they physically and emotionally abused her during her younger years.

She finally had her day in court. After a long deliberation, her parents were given custodial sentences. Inspite of their advanced age there will not be a get-out-jail card.

There is no moratorium on cruelty and while some people felt that she should have forgiven her now elderly parents, I believe that they deserved what they got and hopefully, it will serve as a warning, a deterrent to many parents who terrorise their defenceless children, beating them so badly in guise of reasonable chastisement, correction and discipline. Here’s a lady whose scars runs deep and the extent of what she endured in the hands of her parents becomes clear; the physical scars, all over her body and most horrendous and shocking is when she removes her wig, the patches on her head where there should be hair,  like that of a burnt victim is shiny, and sparse. No one can and should defend such barbarity and cruelty. It is indefensible. We know that millions of Nigerians’ children suffer such cruelty on a daily basis.

Lydia recounted how she was kicked in the head and left bleeding and how  her parent’s whipped her with electric  cable wires with such verbosity that the wires splintered: ‘I have all the scars to prove it all over my body from head to toe. My head is bald in some places as a result of the horrific injuries. Being thrown on the floor and ending up with broken front teeth that couldn’t grow back from her book: The Broken Childhood described her ordeal in graphic details: You cannot explain it or talk about it. It literally tears you apart inside, especially if you have friends experiencing such care and love from their parents.

In your heart you ask?  “Why can’t my mother do the same for me?”

When I was very young, I lived with British foster parents until I was four and a half years old. I experienced love and care from them.

I never knew who my real parents were until they took me away. There was no explanation. How could I possibly have bonded with them as mum and dad immediately? How could I pick up the threads? I can’t imagine it, can you?

Like many young Nigerian students in the 60s, her parents sent her off to live with foster parents in order to concentrate on their studies and make ends meet. She had an idyllic and happy life until she was five years old:

“This is where my nightmare began. I was the victim of unending abuse. Neither parent showed any form of love and affection to me. Instead I was beaten almost daily. I was literally beaten with wire and often left to cope alone with my younger sister and brother. Even the courts and social services were well and truly deceived.”

Now married with children of her own, she is a Consultant Biomedical Healthcare Scientist. She is a survivor, a published author and public speaker speaking out against child abuse. Her story is one of hope, inspiration and tenacity despite horrendous beginnings.

She said: As a child abuse survivor, I’m writing books to tell and show people what absence of love really means. Despite the pain, the trauma, the injuries and the tears, as long as there is life, there will always be a way out. God will make a way.

I believe that if we could only look into someone’s heart – the bleeding, hurt and broken heart that is yearning for love, for care, for peace, for a solution – then we could all make the world a better place.

For that reason, I want to be a beacon of hope to those around who are seeking for freedom from abuse. There is an alternative to pain and bitterness, from being a victim rather than a survivor. I often wonder how and why I survived my childhood when there was many an incident when I felt death was inevitable. My Christian faith has helped me through many a dark moment. I see myself as a beacon of hope to those like me who were too afraid to speak the truth about their parents’ cruelty.”

As parents, it is important to understand and take parental role especially that of nurturer and protector of our young and provide them a loving and safe childhood so our young can grow up into loving and well-adjusted adults.

The old practice of long held  view of spare the rod and spoil the child, no longer hold water, this is redundant and ineffectual.

And many adults take this mantra literally and go the whole hog. They need to break the cycle of abuse. It has been so normalise.

Yes, for those who say that they were beaten and it did not damage them. I say to them, that was then and this is now. If we know better, then, we should do better.

We should instead talk to our children, rationalise and set firm boundaries that is fair and reasonable but without cruelty.

Our young people learn from us and if anything, we need to remember that our young people do not stay young forever.


Who is Mansoor?

Continue from last week.

Who and what inspires you?

The credit goes to my late grandfather, father and mother who inspired me to render my services with the consistent help and encouragement from my wife, Bushra.

My children also remain steadfast with my mission to serve humanity.

What drives you?

My strength always drives me to do something good for fellow human beings, the needy and under privileged and I enjoy doing so.

You said you are committed to educational development and progress, what do you mean by that and why?

Provision of best and affordable education to children at the grass root level and to invest in areas to benefit humanity at large is the main commitment.

Can you tell me about your schools including your most recent one and what are your expectations for your teachers and students?

To achieve the above mission, KMS has recently commissioned its ultra-modern branch at Murtala Muhammad Way. More schools can be opened in other areas or states with our richly tested expertise and consultancy of about three decades. Any interested party either from public or private sector can use our services.

What makes your schools stand out or different?

Consistentancy in efforts with dedication to give the best available to our pupils and students in the school fully manned by qualified and experienced teachers and staff and equipped with laboratories, libraries, sports and other extra-curricular activities.

You are a family man, what are the pearls of wisdom passed down from your parents that you have shared with your children?

Service to humanity remains as the top priority which was derived from my parents and has been inculcated and passed to my children and grandchildren including all other children in our schools.








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