WWaysat my mechanic’s place yesterday to fix a troublesome silencer when Glory, a water melon hawker, (first picture) came to patronise myself and two other guys where we sat. Petulantly, one of the guys asked she was not in school. The young girl, who later told us she was 15, was scared. Thinking she was about to be arrested, she knelt down and started begging. We reassured her that all was well and that she had no cause to be scared. That gave her the confidence to open up.
“My name is Glory,” she started. “I was brought to Lagos by mother’s younger sister. I have finished Primary Six and she promised to send me to secondary school. But I have been in Lagos for two years now and she has not taken me to school.”
Glory explained further that her aunt has told her to sell enough water melon so as to raise enough money to go to school. When we asked about her parents, she said her father was late and her mother is a petty trader in their village in Benue State.
The second and third pictures are those of Chinonso (not real name). Chinonso is from Imo State and was brought to Lagos by the daughter of her mother’s friend. She used to live in my street until about four months ago. All I knew Chinonso. She was always running errands 24/7! Gaunt, sickly and unkempt, the poor girl, 13, was always looking sad. One day, my cousin came to visit around 1pm when Chinonso was running up obviously agitated and crying. We stopped her, calmed her and asked what the matter was. She explained that her aunt’s younger sister had told her she won’t eat breakfast until 3pm and she had been fetching water all day. When she could no longer help it, she sneaked to the back of the house with her food, a leftover from yesterday, to steal some bites! Her aunt’s sister caught her and dealt her a beating of her life. Not only that, she used turning stick on her until she escaped. The weals of the turning stick were on her back as seen in the third picture.
I took her to my house, took these pictures and we reported to Civil Defence office at Ikeja and the lady who beat her, her aunt and her husband were all arrested. After hours of drilling, they signed an undertaking to treat her and return the girl to her parents in native Imo State. This, they have since done as we did the necessary follow-up!
Like Glory, Chinonso was brought to Lagos with promise of sending her to school. To add salt to injury, according to her, she came first in her class during her Primary School Leaving Exams. When you listened to her, you needed no further confirmation. Like Glory, the parents could not send her to school as a result of lack of funds. Good schools.
Why do people take young girls away from their parents and turn them to slaves? Why? In the case of Chinonso, she was brilliant. While she fetched water at home, her aunt’s kids attended schools. Good schools.
Finally, it is high time we became more of our brother’s keeper in words and deeds. It is not fair for you to see a girl being mistreated in the next flat everyday yet, you turn the blind eye. “Wetin be my own?” That’s what most of us usually say. In the next house, a girl or boy lives a miserable live in the hands of her guardians and you could not do anything when you have the power to. Check James 4, verse 17:
“Therefore, to him who knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him, it is sin.”
And then you good but corporate Christian, who claim to know Christ more than Jesus Himself, yet you treat another man’s daughter like a slave.
Like I said yesterday, you have a case with God.