Sylvester and victims of a dysfunctional society

Sylvester Oromoni

So, the chicken is finally coming home to roost. That is the only way I can describe the sudden conundrum we continue to find ourselves.  It may seem unprecedented to a lot of people, but fellow empaths andsocial scientist, I am certain would all agree that these calamities are a long time coming. For a society that thrives on different levels of abuse, violence, and dysfunction, well of course the children will be one of its greatest victims.

For starters, child abuse has reigned supreme in our societies under
the guise of ‘parenting, training, upbringing’ for generations.
Despite the country signing up on the Child Rights Act over 20 years
ago, not much progress has been made to protect children from abuse
from their own parents. 

Hence child abuse aka ‘spare-the-rod-and-spoil-the-child-belief has continued unabated and fiercely defended by many as the right and only way to parent children. Everyone looks the other way while parents verbally and physically abuse their children in the name of parenting and continue to look the other way while teachers abuse and molest students in the name of discipline.

Well, of course the abuse will filter back into the society, which is exactly what has been happening over the years. There is sufficient scientific evidence that victims of violence end up becoming violentthemselves, – and repeat.

Let us take a trip down memory lane from the beginning of the year to
the most recent child related incidence. In January, news broke of the
bullying and sexual assault of 11-year-old Don-Davis Archibong at a
missionary school. Thankfully, the boys mother stood at arms and saved
her son. After that, we got hit with the rape and eventual death of14-year-old Karen Happuch Aondodoo at one of the expensive schools in
Abuja whose story was so unimaginably gory that it left some of us
traumatised for days. 

These are just some of the known cases of abuse
and cruelty to children that we get to hear about; there are hundreds,
nay thousands we may never hear of. Even the teachers are not left out
in this cycle of abuse as Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu of FGC Kwali’s teacher
beat him to death for not completing his assignment.  Shortly after
that, a video clip emerged of about 4 Islamic school teachers in Kwara
state collectively beating up a female student at the same time and
went viral.

To a lot of us, peer-peer abuse also known as bullying, and teacher to
student abuse is all too common. We experienced it, and out parents
allowed it because they too, were abusive in their own way. Then we
became mothers, and our husbands looked the other way while teachers
abused our children.  And of course, the schools will always cover up,
because why not? This is a patriarchy, and only fathers deserve
answers especially if they are the ones who pay the fees, and they
most often never ask.

Besides their reputation is at stake so they
need to protect it.  If you are asking where and how did children
learn such violence and abuse from, simply connect the dots.
I am shocked to see the reluctance to acknowledge that bullying has
always existed in our society, not just in schools. Most parents and
elders were bullies, that is why it was enabled because those who
should stop it, accept, and condone it. A lot of today’s adults were
bullied both in and out of school, and the system enabled it.

This is
just a continuation of the vicious cycle. The ripple effect does not
care whether a child is from a rich home and gets all the love and
care they deserve. So long as there is abuse in the cycle, they are
still likely to turn into monsters.

Yes, schools should hold up to certain standards of morality and
training, but they are not responsible for the violence and abuse
children witness and absorb from outside of the school walls.
Sometimes, it does not really matter how vigilant the school is, so
long as ‘senior-to-junior bullying’ is allowed anything can happen.
This is not to absolve schools of blame, but to apportion the blame
equally to everyone involved.

We all know that educational regulatory bodies are complicit in the
neglect and decay of the Nigerian educational sector. They sometimes
take bribes and compromise on certain standards and regulations which
led to the destruction of the sector. That is why even the country’s leadership simply look the other way and send their wards abroad to
study. I suppose they assume that since their wards do not attend such
institutions, whatever happens there is of no concern to them.

So, when something does happen, both schools and stakeholders just begin
to run around like headless chickens giving false statements in a bid
to cover up In case you have not noticed, every instrument and structure that makes a society functional has crumbled and continues to crumble. It
is high time we admit to our collective failure as a people andsociety.

The continuous disintegration and unfolding chaos
automatically make us completely incapable of protecting these
innocent children who did not ask to be born.  If we will ever be able to protect them, we need to retrace our steps and go back to the drawing board and re-strategies, and we must begin from scratch. We
cannot raise mentally stable children in a mentally unstable society.

We cannot raise non-violent children in a non-violent society. We
cannot raise children who are non-bullies in a society filled with
bullies. We cannot raise non-abusive children in an abusive society.

We cannot raise responsible children in an irresponsible society. You
cannot plant maize and harvest rice.
Sylvester Oronomi and all the others are simply victims of our

We cannot fix them without first fixing ourselves.

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