About 67 communities in Abuja still practice the inhumane and barbaric acts of killing twins, triplets, albinos, children who grew up with upper teeth first and those born with deformities according to a report published by Vanguard on Thursday 14th November 2019.
The report titled “67 communities in Abuja where killing of twins, triplets still rampant” exposed how some communities in the country’s capital still kill children all in the name of cultural beliefs.
Some of the communities mentioned include Owanbi and Chakumi in Gwalgwalada Area Council; Makana and Dudu in Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC; Gulida and Zuhi in Abaji Area Council; Kehi in Kuje Area Council, and others.
According to the report, a non profit organisation that is also into missionary activities in Abuja, Vine Heritage Home Foundation, VHHF, has taken it upon itself to eradicate such primitive act which it discovered in the late 90s.
The report quoted the Head of Operation, VHHF, Pastor Stephen Olusola, who explained how they have been able to rescue lots of children who would have been killed based on their communities cultural beliefs.
“We go inside to pick up the children as we go inside to plead with them and pick up the children, and as of today that has been reduced to some extent that we don’t run around again.
“On their own, after the government intervened to know whether the story is true and after their investigation in 2012 they discovered it was true, if not they would have closed down the home and prosecute us. They started their intervention by reaching out to the people.
“We have our youngest baby in the house today, baby girl and her name is Jennifer, and she should be about seven days old today. She lost the mother, another baby was the youngest who is just three months old, he lost the mother too because in those communities maternal mortality rate is very high.
“As at today, we have a total of 158 children in the home. They are in various categories from ages one-three and above. It’s been worthwhile working with ActionAid Nigeria, and they have improved our operation. The first baby was rescued and picked up in Kehi, Kuje Area Council that was to be killed was in 1996.”
After this first rescue, the Foundation did not know that there was widespread of the barbaric practice until 2004, which another child was rescued in 2004, and that was like opening the lid. He further stated that in 2004 alone five children were rescued from the teeth of death.
He said: “Nursing mother has just passed away who had a baby we picked in 2004 who now is in Senior Secondary School (SSS III) who was already strapped to the dead body of her mother in a village under Abaji Area Council.
“It was even an Imam that called our attention to it. He approached us and said, “can we join hands to meet the chief of the community and plead with him to release that baby so that they don’t kill the baby?” They wanted to bury the baby alive together with her dead mother.
“We had the opportunity to rescue five children. Out of the five that came in 2004 three survived because then we were still actually trying to find out what killed the rest two babies because we don’t know the poisoning effect the local people gave to them. It was when we took them to the hospital we knew.
“From that 2004 to date children have been coming even from other places we don’t know were part of the killing of the children. There are 67 communities practising killing of these set of children, and I can only mention few because they are too many. We have Owanbi, Chakumi in Gwalgwalada Area Council; Makana, Dudu in Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC; Gulida, Zuhi in Abaji Area Council; and Kehi in Kuje Area Council.”
He also explained that “Our aim is not to keep our children forever. Once the communities are transformed and are ready to change their mind like our first child has been reunited with her family which is behind us over the river there. She has gone back to her parents because they told me they want her to come back.
“That is part of our vision. The mentality of their view that something is wrong with the children and once that is eradicated from their mind the children can go back to their families.” So far four children have been reunited with their families.