Incessant Abuse Of Fundamental Human Rights, A Call For Proscription Of Primitive Family Rites
Many cultures in Africa ought to have been proscribed and outlawed because they are in flagrant abuse of fundamental human rights as some of them prevent basic right to dignity of human person.
In some parts of Nigeria for instance, some family rites include; circumcising a female child, otherwise known as female genital mutilation, while in some parts, especially, the western parts of Nigeria, tribal marks which are done in most ‘primitive and barbaric’ ways does a total damage than its purpose which by now, should have outlived its purposes.
Howbeit, some families, towns, communities and even tribes are still practising this ‘un-21st century acts’. A case of Kodaolu family of Abeokuta in Ogun State, Southwest, Nigeria. This family is a prominent one among the ranks of traditional Chieftains in Egba land otherwise called Olorogun chiefs. The Kodaolu family is one prominent member of Leragun chieftaincy stock.
In this family, it is almost unbelievable that at this age and time, the family head and ranks still firmly hold on to and believe in a ‘do or die’ family tradition which makes their male children have a compulsory tribal marks with various concoctions which are invariably inimical to the growth and well being of the child; this is of course against the spiritual belief of such child’s parents.
In a recent fact finding check on the family, one of the family members, Kodaolu Olalekan Ayoola, who spoke with VOA News correspondent, lamented the untold hardship their male children passes through in order to undergo the family rites. He said that their family’s lifestyles were not the same after the rites might have been performed on them as it reduces self worth and have a sharp dent on their self confidence apart from the spiritual imbalances which they are subjected into.
“In our family, there is this ritual that is usually performed by the head of the family to all the male children from age 5 to 14 and the rationale behind it is to make all our male children stronger spiritually in order for them to attain a leadership position in the society or inherit our forefathers position after they might have gone. The ritual involve giving the baby tribal mark and rubbing the mark with series of concoctions”.
He narrated that his mother stopped raising more children after him as the aftermath effects of the family initiations which he did left his mother helpless and frustrated for so many years. “During my own initiation, my mum told me how she suffered by taking me to so many places after I started my sickness to the extend, she was made to believe that I wasn’t a bonafide member of the family. This led my mother to decide she would not raise any more child and I eventually became the last born from my mum side because I am from polygamous family but my mum is the oldest of the remaining wife.
Olalekan said that same fate has almost befell his own children as his family have made several frantic efforts in initiating his own male children. He added that his first child, which he gave birth to in 2007 is almost 15 years and according to the family, he has to be initiated before he reaches 15 years old, otherwise, his son would have to be faced with the dire consequences. A situation, which he is considering eloping with his family to a safer place to prevent his extended family from getting at his lovely children and wife.
When our correspondent visited Iyana-Iyesi, Ota, the residence of Olalekan on a case of ‘threat to life’ which he reported at the Sango, Ota Divisional Police Headquarters, and copied VOA News, it was gathered that some of his family members, who travelled all the way from Abeokuta to warn Olalekan’s wife to return her male children to Abeokuta for the family initiation or be ready to suffer the dire consequences any one who betrays suffers. This shananigan, as gathered, did not go down well with Mrs Kodaolu, Lekan’s wife. She put up a stiff resistance and it resulted in a fiscuff between herself and her inlaws. As gathered.
A family source, who would not want his name in print, when contacted, told our correspondent that the culture has been in place for several years and anyone who defiles it would face stiffer spiritual sanctions.
The head of family, Chief Olusegun Kodaolu, who confided in VOA News correspondent that the age long tradition is one that can’t be abolished.
He warned that every male child of the family has to pass through the initiation rite process as the only panacea for becoming an integral part of the family.
In a chat with a health expert, Dr. Ezekiel Olude, he told VOA News correspondent that such rite is barbaric and should be outlawed by now as the purposes which those in previous generations started it for has been outlived. He added that children who suffers mutilations from birth battle depressions in most part of their lives.