“Criticizing your children and yelling at them for every mistake affects their confidence and self-esteem. Support your children and let them know that making mistakes, too, is part of growing up” Dr. Nobila Farhat Siddiqui. Siddiqui’s submission stirs up mixed feelings, if one considers the manner teenage girls now use dangerous and sharp objects to attack other human beings; one begins to have a rethink about Siddiqui’s submission of not yelling at them for every mistake so as not to affect their confidence and self-esteem.
What do we make out of this? Do we call it peer group pressure, personal decision or intake of all manners of drugs and high substances? Should the society blame it on frustration, poverty or is it part of the new normal or jet age according to some quarters?
Promise Idorenyin, a teenage student of Community Secondary School, Ikot Ewa in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State boldly carried a gun to school to shoot her teacher who asked her to cut her tainted hair. At birth, her parents named her Promise, but unfortunately she is not showing promising signs with her recent action. Her attitude became so questionable and confusing as it did not show signs of a promising young lady who is growing into womanhood. On February 11, Idorenyin went to school with a gun to probably kill the teacher who asked her to cut off her tinted hair; if not for the quick intervention of the school authority, maybe that teacher would have been sent to his grave that day.
The first question that ran through the mind of many according to the posts and comments as the news trended on social media was: how did Promise come into possession of a gun, given that she is supposed to be a minor still in secondary school? She should have manifested ‘bravery’ in academics like the Anambra State girls who went to the United States and conquered the world in ICT. What gave her the confidence, courage and audacity to bring a gun into school premises? Did she for once consider the consequences of her action. Well, that effrontery to bring a gun out and raise it towards her teacher is quite deep. She will find out the consequences of her actions as she cools off at the police station where the law will take its full course on her.
What she said during interrogation by the police is cause for deep concern and sober reflection by all and sundry.
Promise confessed thus: “I am a member of Sky Queen Confraternity; I am just an ordinary member, I do not hold a position in the group, I have known the owner of the gun, Okon Effiong Edet, 51, who is my man friend since last year. He sleeps with me and supports me with little things, but he is not the one paying my school fees. My mother knows about him because he visits me at our house and sometimes, he sleeps over at my place because I have my own room, and in the morning he goes back to his own house.” Accepted, Promise is a young lady, but refused to represent quality with her actions. She became a cultist and took a gun to school, allegedly to kill her teacher. It beats imagination a secondary school girl who should have focused on her education, rather chose to become entangled with vices. One wonders whether she is filled with regret over her action as she cools her feet in police custody. But clearly, she has become a cheap bowl for the village spit.
Okon Edet, the obviously shameless boyfriend of Promise, told the police in a confessional statement: “I am married with six children, I did not give her the gun, she took it herself from where I kept it under the bed. I started sleeping with her in August 2020; her mother knows me, I have been doing small something for her, they know she is my wife.”
The most disturbing aspect of the sordid affair is that the mother of Promise was aware of her daughter’s escapades with Edet but kept sealed lips. Can there be any other example of a failed mother. To her knowledge, a 51-year-old man married with six children would come to her home, and sleep over with her teenage daughter in her room. It was quite clear that the mother is bereft of morals. She is to a large extent complicit in what happened, because she gave a free pass and prepared a room for the randy he-goat called Edet to come around and sleep with her daughter. Absolutely, she failed as a mother. Shame on her!
In Lagos, another teenage girl exhibited fatal violence. Favour Adindu, 14, stabbed her neighbour, Favour Adanne Osinachi Opara, 13, a student of Okota High School, Okota to death with a sharp knife. Both teenagers reside with their parents at No 2 Lawrence Omagbemi Street, Off Double Power line, Ejigbo, in Oshodi- Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos State. The 13-year-old victim was the only daughter and third child of her parents.
The boldness, confidence and devilish mind that would drive young, teenage girls to resort to fatal violence by using dangerous weapons, without considering the consequences, should cause disquiet among parents, guardians, education and religious institutions and the society at large. On February 11, the father of the deceased girl, Kennedy Opara allegedly said that the suspect acted out the script written by her father, Sunday Adindu, a native of Olokoro, Umuahia in Abia State who was fond of threatening other neighbours with a sharp knife whenever there was an altercation.
Apparently, Favour Adindu followed in the footsteps of her father, and the life of a 13-year-old was cut short, causing pain, agony and psychological trauma to the family of Kennedy Opara, father of the victim. Trouble ensued when the younger brothers of the two girls had a disagreement by the tap where both were fetching water. Each of the boys went to report to their senior sisters. Favour Adindu allegedly ran out from the backyard with a sharp knife and stabbed Favour Opara in the chest. She slumped and died immediately. From that moment, 14-year-old Favour Adindu stained her hand with blood, became a suspect and has been cooling off in the custody of the police.
Also, in the East, two brothers Chukwuekezi Michael, 62, and Onyemaobi Michael 66, were exchanging words over a piece of land. The issue of the landed property got to a crescendo with all manner of threats made. The 14-year-old daughter of Onyemaobi, Ngozi, allegedly ran out of the house with a big cutlass and gave her uncle a deep cut.
Young Ngozi is also cooling her feet at the police station. These are a few cases reported, while several others may not have been reported to the police.
Now, where are all these coming from? Are parents failing in their primary responsibilities to raise their children properly? Do all perpetrators of such heinous crimes belong to cults and gangs?
Does one blame it on peer pressure or excess violence on television? Where do the schools and religious bodies come into all these? Who should be blamed? Is it families, institutions or societal influence?
Dear Nigerians… this is no longer a case of pointing fingers at either the father or mother. The situation calls for the involvement of all; we should all wake up and face the challenge.