‘It’s a laudable idea Bint, a very good display of social responsibility. But the whole thing is shocking really. Why would an adult male go after small girls like these, and worse still his own daughters? Is it a result of the drugs epidemic? I mean so many young rapists are said to be high on drugs when caught. Is it the same thing with married men who are also paedophiles? And the normal thing is to warn your children against strangers or distant relatives, how do you begin to warn them against their own father?’ Tahir asked, rhetorically.
‘Thats the one-million-naira-question, Hubby dearest. And. It is the reason we are left with no choice but to use the phrase “ Even if it’s Daddy” as our theme. It seems we’ve come a long way since the time when only strangers can harm our children. Today it’s fathers and uncles, as the story of these poor girls and numerous other news reports demonstrate. As for our display of social responsibility, well we are only borrowing a leaf from you aren’t we? ‘ I asked, smiling.
‘Just three weeks ago, you offered to produce and sponsor the transmission of radio jingles that will sensitise neighbours to report unusual occurrences in households around them. You were reacting to the story of the man from a village, in Rimi local government area of Katsina state, who locked up his wives for ten months and subjected them to humiliating and degrading treatment. So I decided that if you alone can undertake that “If you see something, say something” campaign, why can our Ladies Parliament do the same?’ I concluded.
‘Wow, so it’s all thanks to me that you are about to embark on this good work? How flattering.’ He replied, smiling back. ‘But I can see that your campaign is only targeted at girls, I think you should include boys too. Young boys are increasingly becoming victims of sexual molestation and just like the girls, they are lured unsuspectingly, by sinful perverted adults, through gifts and false affection. This is why I believe your campaign will be helpful to them. It will let them know what constitutes improper behavior and when to run away from an adult who acts thus or at what point to report such to parents and siblings.’ He advised.
‘Yes, you are very right on this. I remember the story of that houseboy who sodomised ten boys at the house of his employer before he was found out. If any of these boys knew the signs and when to act, he wouldn’t have gone that far before he was caught. And there was the case of the young man who was lured by a predator, who showered him with gifts and money till he made him a playboy for an entire gang of gay men. According to the Doctor/Columnist who wrote about him, by the time they were caught and he was taken to her for medical check-up, he was already HIV positive. Imagine this kind of tragedy. I agree with you, we will surely expand the scope of the campaign to include posters enlightening young boys against sexual predators.’ I declared.
‘I’m glad you agreed, somehow I thought it will take a bit of convincing for you to accept because you’ll insist only girls are vulnerable.’ Tahir answered.
‘No, not in this case. In unfortunate situations like this, I don’t play the gender card. As far as I’m concerned all paedophiles are monsters and they should be treated as such. So all children must be kept away from them.
And talking about keeping children away from paedophiles reminded me of what the mother of these two girls told newsmen. I’d just finished listening to an audio interview with her, which Maryam sent to me, when you returned. About half way into my sketches I decided to tell both Asabe and Maryam about the “Even if it’s Daddy” campaign so that I can have them on my side at the meeting. You know some people are fond of saying “we don’t have enough money” whenever one brings up a project that includes spending money. So while doing a conference call, Maryam told me she heard the interview with the lady whose husband was molesting their daughters. She sent the audio to me after our phone call. You can’t believe what that woman disclosed Tahir.’ I stated, shaking my head.
‘You mean she said worse than what the girls had said?’ He enquired.
‘Yes, because she was asked where she was that the man had such access to their little girls and she answered that she was in the inner room. And you might have heard the younger of the two girls saying the same thing, when she was asked where Mummy was when this was happening. She simply said “In the inner room”. Apparently the man is a customs officer who is stationed far from home. Whenever he came to see them at month’s end, he will request that he wished to sleep next to his daughters in the sitting room. According to the mother, they live in a room and parlour apartment. So thinking it was an honest, filial and platonic affection, the mother always gladly let him go with the girls to the parlour to sleep. And that was the time he used to molest them. What I can’t understand is how she never got to hear or sense anything unusual. But some people are deep sleepers and like she herself said such a thought will never cross somebody’s mind when you are dealing with a father.’ I quoted.
‘So is she with her daughters now? I mean you said she was released from detention after a compromised judge got her arrested instead of the husband.’ Tahir asked.
‘No, in fact she has no idea where her daughters are. She was quite calm during the interview until she was asked where they were and that was when she broke down. She said she doesn’t know in whose custody they are because she had not seen them since she was released. But I was encouraged by the fact that a lady lawyer who is helping her, probably belonging to one of those helpful NGOs, has promised to reunite her with her daughters and ensure that she gets justice.’ I said.
‘I wonder what justice will mean to a woman whose daughters’ lives have been ruined so early in life.’ Tahir muttered, rising up from the garden chair.
‘I wonder too, hubby dear, but to me justice is when that monster of a father gets a life jail term so he will never be out to cause anybody any harm. You know he’s a three-count offender. He’s an incestuous rapist, a paedophile and a sodomist as well. You know the medical exam showed that the girls were both disvirgined and sodomised. This makes him a danger to even young boys. So my sincere prayer is that this man and all others like him should all be jailed for life.’ I suggested.
That’s my prayer too Wifey dearest, that’s truly my prayer.’ Tahir concurred.