Violence and Parenting in Nigerian Families – Mary Olushoga

Published:23 Apr, 2013

UNMIL Launches "16 days of Activism" Campaign
Women participate in the "16 days of Activism" campaign, launched by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to strengthen the rights of women and stop gender-based violence.

I recently got the opportunity to speak at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women – a CSW 57 Series workshop on “Winning Strategies for Preventing Violence against Women – Sharing Global and National Models.” Preparing for this speech allowed me to think about the Nigerian experience. The Nigeria that I remember is one where violence is prevalent and one where a cultural bias elicits silence from victims of abuse. The cycle goes thus: father beats mother, mother and father beat child, child goes to school and is beaten by either peers, teachers, or persons of authority. The average Nigerian child is exposed to gross acts of violence at home and at school hence the child becomes a victim within this cycle and a future perpetrator. This issue of violence is not unique to Africa or Nigeria but I am most familiar with the Nigerian terrain. The act of child abuse through the use of violence is very prevalent throughout the Nigerian society and the question is what can be done to stop it.

All too common whenever a parent beats a child you will often hear the biblical phrase, “spare the rod and spoil the child” but I think that this interpretation is wrong. The rod I believe is symbolic for correction – and correction happens through effective communication, constant mentoring and monitoring, good examples, and actions. Of course, being a parent is a herculean task. It is not easy to cater for and train a well-rounded individual who will grow up to become an effective human being and adult. This article aims to address violence and parenting styles in Nigeria.

Go through Nigerian platforms such as Seun Osewa’s nairaland.com and read countless of stories of children, now adults who have survived acts that can best be described as child abuse from parents. What is most disturbing is that these children who are now adults also describe similar atrocities that were committed against them repeated to their own children. Not only does this cycle continue but now parents rationalize violence and child abuse.

This cycle is particularly dangerous for a child’s development because it desensitizes many to violent acts. I remember the popular story of the Aluu4 boys – everyone on social media went up in arms about how these boys were burnt alive for no apparent reason. Everyone criticized the nonchalant attitude of the watchers and passersby who just watched this heinous act and did absolutely nothing. I thought to myself – these people including those who watched the videos online may have found nothing wrong with what happened to these boys because many are desensitized to violence. Many of these people have watched their father violently batter their mother or vice versa. Some experienced violence and merciless beatings at the hands of their parents. Some have gone to schools where it was okay for teachers or persons of authority to beat them military style. The cycle continues and unconsciously, the child victim becomes the abuser and future perpetrator.

I recall the story of a friend who confided in me that her mother was recently fired from her place of employment. Why? She beat up a co-worker at work. Prior to the beating, the mother had been involved in a domestic violence situation with her husband, who beat her a few weeks prior. A few weeks later, she beat up her sister and now she is fighting at work. We see here that the victim is now the perpetrator.

As expected, the average Nigerian was silent during the burning of the Aluu4 boys because of the gross desensitization to violence, as a result, are passive participants to violent acts. It appears that such cruel acts of violence are justified because we can tolerate violent acts committed against children and women. Such environment affects a child’s mental development and perception of abuse.

Who will stand up for the child? Who will speak up against violence? Who will break the silence? Who will break the cycle? Who will say enough is enough – especially in a country where the legal system is broken and needs to be strengthened and where there is little to no mental health support for victims of violence particularly women and children.

There are many women and children crying, saying who will come and save me? Who will stand up for me? Who will stand up today to break the cycle of violence where father beats mother or vice versa, mother and father abuse child, teachers and peers abuse that same child. Change starts with you. Any kind of abuse whether verbal, emotional, psychological, or physical should never be tolerated. The children are watching. Parents should be encouraged by social and religious institutions to take parenting skills classes. It takes hard work to be a parent but parents and guardians should stop operating through anger or passive aggressive nature. Let us all work together today to stop and break the cycle of violence, the average child whether male or female, has enough to worry about.

Mary Olushoga


About the author
:
Mary Olushoga is an avid supporter of African women and girls. She is also founder of www.awpnetwork.com an enterprise given honorable distinction at the 2012 World Summit Youth Award (WSYA) and listed as a 2012 Apps4Africa Innovation. She is the first-ever GOOD Maker/Oxfam America International Women’s Day Challenge Winner, a Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) Associate, and an Oxfam America Sisters on the Planet Ambassador. Mary received a bachelor’s degree from Union College in Schenectady, New York and a master’s of science degree from Baruch College. She has served as a Public Policy Fellow at the University at Albany, Center for Women in Government and Civil Society and most recently participated in the Sub-Saharan African Women In Public Service Fall Institute. Mary has featured on BBC World News, the Columbia University Africa Economic Forum, the UN ECOSOC Youth Employment Forum, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and the United States Department of Labor Add Us In Initiative on Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, and Disability. Her articles have featured in The Huffington post, Sahara Reporters, and Applause Africa magazine.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Army Acquires Vehicles To Enhance Communication

The Nigerian Army has acquired six vehicles to enhance communication in its fight against insurgency in the North-East. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the vehicles were inaugurated by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, during his visit to Lagos on Wednesday. Buratai said the vehicles, procured by the Army Signal Corps, would be deployed to help in prosecuting the fight against insurgency in the North- East. ``We are still pursuing the terrorists and we will continue...

FG Constitutes Committee To Address Demands Of Organised Labour

The Federal Government on Wednesday constituted a 16-man committee to address issues that necessitated the three-day strike called by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) after the fuel pump price hike. Mr Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), stated this in Abuja after a meeting of the Federal Government delegation with the organised labour. He said that the meeting was called to work out modalities on ways to resolve the issues raised by the organised labour. ``I am...

Former PDP NWC Members Endorse Constitution of Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee

Members of the immediate past National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have endorsed their dissolution and other decisions taken at the party’s National Convention held in Port Harcourt. This is contained in a statement jointly signed by the immediate past Deputy National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus and six others. The statement stated that in the absence of the then National Chairman of the Party, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, Secondus presided over the...

Agunloye Advises FG To Fight Corruption In Power Sector

Former Minister of Power and Steel, Dr Olu Agunloye, on Wednesday advised the Federal Government to address corruption in the power sector. Agunloye gave the advice during a chat with newsmen in Abuja. He had purchased Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for the Ondo gubernatorial election on the platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP). According to him, electricity generation is not rocket science and tackling corruption in the sector will ensure stable power supply across the country. ``When I was minister of...

FAAC: FG Recovers N1.5 bn, Shares N281.5bn To 3 Tiers Of Government

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said in Abuja on Wednesday that N1.5 billion, being excess bank charges, was recovered and paid into the Federation Account. Adeosun announced this while addressing newsmen on the outcome of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting. She said this was done by a consortium of consultants for the Federation Account and that the money was proposed for distribution. She also said that N281.5 billion was shared among the federal, states and local governments as...

Army Renews Call On Boko Haram Fighters To Surrender

The Nigerian Army on Wednesday renewed calls on repentant Boko Haram fighters wishing to surrender to do so without wasting more time. Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, the Theater Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, made the call while speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA) Nursery School and a Day Care Centre at the Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri. Irabor said that those who failed to surrender would pay the price for being stubborn. He added that ``I will like...

5 Herdsmen Arrested Over Enugu Massacre

The Police Force Head­quarters in Abuja, have announced the arrest of the masterminds and perpetrators of Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State on April, 25, 2016. The attack led to the death of several persons and destruction of prop­erty valued at millions of naira The attackers compris­ing a five-member-gang were arrested by op­eratives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT). The suspects were found with one...

Economy In Volatile Situation- Buhari

Nigeria’s economy is currently in a volatile situation due to the crash in oil prices, President Muhammadu Buhari has said. The president’s remark came at a time when oil price yesterday rose to nearly $50 a barrel, even though Nigerian will earn less from the boom due to drop in production in recent times.  Buhari spoke yesterday at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja at a farewell audience with Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria,...

Reps Order Halt Of Refineries Privatization

The House of Representatives Committee on Privatization and Commercialization has directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to stop its planned privatization of the nation’s refineries or joint investment ventures with some multinationals. The committee’s chairman, Hon. Ahmed Yerima (APC, Bauchi), who gave the order yesterday in Abuja during an interactive session with the managements of the NNPC and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on the planned privatization of three  refineries in the country, said the...

$200 Billion Loot: EFCC Raids Dubai Firm’s Office In Abuja

As part of the ongoing probe of the laundering of over $200billion loot in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by former political office holders, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) yesterday stormed the office of a Dubai property firm, The First Group Company,  in Abuja. The company is also being investigated for allegedly defrauding unsuspecting Nigerians by luring them to invest in real estate in Dubai. A prominent Nigerian lost about...

Dana Air Pilots Go On Strike, Passengers Stranded

Dana Air pilots have gone on strike in protest of the non-payment of their salaries, grounding the airline’s operations and leaving hundreds of passengers stranded nationwide. “The strike started this morning and passengers that were supposed to travel this morning are stranded,” a source at the airport said. According to the source, the airline had continued to sell tickets to passengers earlier today in the hope that the dispute would be resolved.

Edo Govt Withdraws Letter On Appointment Of Oba Of Benin

The Edo State Government has withdrawn a letter earlier issued on its approval on the appointment of the new Oba of Benin, saying it was issued in error. In a retraction signed by the Secretary to State Government, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, dated May 25, 2016, the government stated: “In deference to the revered age-long tradition and respect for the sensibilities of the people of the great Benin Kingdom, the Government of Edo State hereby withdraws a...

Sheriff, Makarfi Sent Out Of PDP BoT Meeting

The former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sheriff and the chairman of the Caretaker committee of the Party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi were excused out of a meeting of the board of trustees of the party which is on going in Abuja. Senator Sheriff walked into the Transcorp Hilton venue of the meeting at about 11:10 am and was followed five minutes later by senator Makarfi who also walked in to the meeting.

NLC Leader Tagged “Ghost-Worker” Gets Sacked By Kogi Govt

The Kogi State government says the state chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Onuh Edoka, is a “ghost worker”, and has fired him. Mr. Edoka was one of about 9000 people sacked following a screening exercise to weed out illegal workers from the 21 local government areas of the state. Mr. Edoka, who serves as head of both the Medical Health Workers Union and the NLC in the state, said he was employed in 1989,...

Value Of Electronic Transactions Hit N48.9tr In Nigeria

Although, it is still plagued by inadequate levels of awareness, poor banking culture, lack of trust and a love for the status quo, the value of e-transactions recorded in 2015 hit N48.93 trillion, up by 11.6 per cent from 2014 in Nigeria. This disclosure was contained in a White Paper report titled “Africa on the Verge (AoV) Convergence Series”, put together by AfricaPractice, a strategy and communications consultancy firm, with offices in Nigeria and abroad. A...

Niger Delta Avengers Blow Up Oil Pipeline Again

Militants suspected to be members of the Niger Delta Avengers have blown up an underground Chevron crude oil trunk line. The trunk line is located along the Seria Creek near Abiteye, a few kilometres away from the company’s multi-billion dollars Tank Farm in Escravos, Warri South West local government area of Delta State. It was gathered that the incident, which occurred midnight, was noticed by workers in the production department when they observed drop...

NAF To Enhance Weapon System Through Collaboration

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Wednesday said it had concluded arrangements to collaborate with the Centre for Space Transport and Propulsion (CSTP) to enhance its weapon delivery capability.   This is contained in a statement signed by its Director of Public Relations and Information, Group Capt. Ayodele Famuyiwa, in Abuja.   The statement said NAF was zealous about optimising indigenous capacity and willing to expand existing frontier of collaboration with research institutions in the country that possessed the potential to enhance its...

Kenyan Army Kills 21 Al-Shabaab Terrorists In Somalia

Kenya's army has killed 21 fighters from the Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab in neighbouring Somalia, a military spokesman said on Wednesday. Army spokesman Col. David Obonyo said in a statement that the dead include junior al-Shabaab commander Salad Bart, who is believed to have been in charge of the group. According to Obonyo, Kenyan soldiers on Tuesday clashed with al-Shabaab members in the Somali town of Hawina, where the terrorists were mounting an ambush along a major road. ``No Kenyan soldiers were...

Lagos Govt. Inaugurates N457.3m Mosan Okunola Waterworks

The Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) said on Wednesday that it had inaugurated N457.3 million Mosan Okunola mini water works, located at Abesan, Alimosho Local Government Area. This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Oluwaferanmi Akinmeluye, the Controller, Media Affairs, and made available to newsmen in Lagos. According to the statement, the Commissioner for Housing, Mrs Aramide Giwanson, inaugurated the water works on behalf of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode. ``This mini-waterworks has the capacity to meet the needs of residents of Abesan,...

INEC To Conduct Bye-Elections In Nasarawa, Kwara On May 28

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has fixed May 28 for the conduct of bye-elections in Nasarawa and Kwara. This is contained in the commission's daily bulletin issued on Wednesday in Abuja. The bye-election according to the bulletin would be conducted into Nasarawa-Toto Federal Constituency of Nasarawa State and Oke-Ero State Constituency of Kwara.   (NAN)

Kaduna Anti-Cattle Rustling Team Recovers 59,515 Animals, Arrests 59 Kidnappers

The special anti cattle rustling team set up by the Kaduna State Government about a year ago has recovered 59, 515 animals in various part of the state, the Coordinator of the team, Yakubu Soja, has said. Soja said the team was under the multi security force, known as Operation Yaki. He said at a press briefing on the one year anniversary of Gov.. Nasiru El-Rufa'i, that all the recovered animals were handed over to their original owners. The coordinator said that...