Take a good, hard look at the picture on this page. No, it’s not from Somalia, Sudan, Iraq or any war-torn country we have heard so much about. It’s neither from the slave trade era nor the Stone Age, when humans were exchanged for ornaments or cash. This is Nigeria of the 21st century. This is Nigeria in 2016!
This surely is a story and photograph straight from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness or Dante’s Hell. This is certainly one of the worst depiction of man’s inhumanity to man
A kid of nine, chained on the neck with a big padlock, kept in a solitary room, in a decrepit apartment to pine away, for the ‘grievous’ offence of stealing meat from his stepmother’s pot. And to ‘exorcise’ the ‘stealing spirit’ from him, his pastor father, manacled him, like a ram meant for slaughter, until he was finally rescued by men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC.
This is one sad picture that trended over the weekend in the social media, and published in virtually all the newspapers of yesterday. Chances are that you would have seen it; chances are that it churned your tummy, making you want to throw up, making you want to weep, actually bringing out the tears from your eyes, making the bile rise in your being and wondering: Have we descended to this level? What manner of stone-heartedness and bestiality is this? Even animals would not behave the way the parents of this kid have done to their kind. And the father is supposed to be a pastor, a man of God? Does anyone need to guess the kind of doctrine this ‘man of God,’ would be pushing out to his flock? We have to pity the souls of his followers and congregation. Lord have mercy!
As the story goes, Master Korede Taiwo, was accused by his stepmother of stealing meat from her cooking pot. She reported the matter to her husband, who thought the best way to teach him a lesson was to put him in such dehumanising state.
According to Sunday Punch, Korede’s father, Francis Taiwo, a Celestial Church pastor, had sometime in May, led his son to a river with a chain on his neck for a spiritual/deliverance bath, because he strongly suspected his son was possessed by some strange spirit, which made him to be itchy-fingered.
The kid in question confessed he actually stole, but pangs of hunger drove him to the act, as his dad hardly provided for the family. He was not fed much during his traumatic ordeal. His words: “My father and stepmother fed me twice a day. Some days, I was not given any food…It is true that I stole a pot of soup and bowl of eba in our house. I also stole in the neighbourhood. But I promise not to go back to my old ways.”
Korede, a dropout even at nine, dreams of becoming a medical doctor in the future. “I still want to return to school. I want to be a medical doctor.” May his dreams come true, Amen!
But his dreams can’t become reality if he continues to live with parents, who think nothing of dehumanising a kid for acting like one. His dreams can’t come true with parents like Francis and stepmum, who rationalise every human problem on the altar of false religious doctrine and interpretation.
We have so many fake pastors and Imams all over the country, causing havoc at personal, family and national levels. Because of the hardship in the land, they have taken over the social space, masking as the road to redemption for damned souls. But, they are prophets of perdition. They know neither God nor His ways. By their fruits – hate messages, ethnic and religious, as well as propensity to fuel what divides us rather than what unites us, we know them. But, sadly, many still do not know them, so they follow them and their teachings blindly.
Indeed, this, as I have pointed out time and again, is one of the banes of our country. A country of many religious, but few Godly people everywhere. We see many government officials in churches and mosques, reading verses from the Holy Books, urging others to love their country and serve with the fear of God. But, do they do what they demand of others? They read verses that admonish us: Thou shall not steal. They probably do not understand the meaning or think it only applies to others but themselves. They call on God to intervene in the affairs of the nation but their hearts and hands are filled with evil thought and blood of the innocent. How can God hear such prayers? Truly, come to think of it, If those who kill, steal, loot, defraud and manipulate our country and the processes have God, would they engage in such nefarious activities? Verily, verily, I say: Religion without God is hypocrisy. Religion without God is demagoguery of the impostor. Religion without God is tantamount to aircraft without brainbox, which can fly nowhere.
Back to Korede and his parents. Apart from the dysfunctional society and degradation of values, which the dehumanisation of an innocent boy presents, the sad story of Korede portrays the negative use of religion to a perverted end. A deliverance act, which includes the manacle and starvation of a child in a dungeon is not just satanic, but an act of depravity in a modern society. That it happened in our country in a technological age should truly depress the citizenry, even as the law takes its course to curtail the bestiality of the culprits!