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Mum & Parenting

Young, bold and daring

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It is no longer news to hear or see teenage girls getting into prostitution either willingly or by trick. It is also worrisome with the fact that it is increasing by the day, especially in some parts of Lagos. SEGUN OJO writes

 

 

They lured young girls into prostitution in various forms with tokens and see-through dresses to work in brothels, bars and clubs. They also work as sex slaves in factories.
This phenomenon, perhaps, is due to the present economic hardship of the country. Most of these under aged girls, during a tour undertaken by New Telegraph, were with little or without education.
At some of the hotels, bars and brothels, visited in Ago-Palace way for example, also in Okota-Isolo, Ojuelegba, Idi-Oro, Mushin, Church Street, Oshodi, Olowu Street, Ikeja and spoke with some of the youths.

Sandra Andrew (not real name), 14 years old, had innocent look on her face with a pretty shape and fully developed body that is enough to make a man turn twice. She was the sales girl at a bar in Mushin, area of Lagos where the area big boys known as ‘Mushin big guys’ usually hanged out. She revealed the condition that brought her to Lagos: “I came to Lagos with a friend who ran away from home in Delta state who was promised to be taken to London to work as a Nanny.

She has since travelled supposedly to London over two years now and I have not heard a word from her. I was told to wait for the next batch but this is the second year of my waiting, nothing has happened and here I am, trying to surviving. Life is not easy!”
On why she did not go back to her parents in Delta state, she said, “I cannot face my people at home because they believed that I am in London, so I decided to remain here and work things out.”

A visit to a brothel along Ago-Palace way, by Enoma bus stop, there were plenty under aged girls and spinsters on short pants and see-through dress mingling together and seductively gesturing to customers to come patronise them.
At night the various shades and designs of lightings in the premises makes it colourful. In a chat with Janet Idem who claimed she is a customer service officer in the brothel, said she hailed from Akwa-Ibom, according to her “my uncle told my parent that his friend’s wife needed a young girl who can take care of her shop in Canada and he gave my parent some amount of money. That was a deal! But look at where I now found myself.” On whether she has gotten in touch with her parent to relay what has happened to her, she simply said, “no.”

Another victim, who simply identified herself as Bibi, 17, spoke very good English language fluently. Bibi held a stick of lighted cigarette in one hand and a glass of herbal mixture drink in the other hand while chatting with New Telegraph at a brothel along Church Street, Mafoluku, Oshodi; said “my friend lured me into it this business, since my Guardian could not afford to pay my school fee or register me to learn a trade, I had to listen to my friend who said she was learning a trade and that after six months her madam will open a hair dressing salon shop for her, unfortunately, we have spent two years and still counting, yet nothing has happened, each time the issue of shop is raised, we got threatened.”

At Olowu Street in Ikeja, capital of Lagos, some of the young girls were seen in the hotel premises in broad day light smoking cigarettes, substance like marijuana and different kinds of alcoholic drinks. One of them, who pleaded anonymous, spoke said, “I am a Lagosian and I learnt this trade from my mother before her death. She died late last year. So I was brought up knowing this business very well. My mother built a house from the proceed of this business. I am personally comfortable with this business and I am sure I am going to make it like my mother.”

The increasing numbers of under aged girls that have been lured or tricked into forced labour in various factories and as sex workers in various environments such as brothels, bars clubs and homes has become a source of worry to individuals, families, Non-Governmental organisations and the government

When New Telegraph visited Mrs. Abimbola Whenayon, the Head of Department of Education in her office at Ojokoro Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) who has started working to rescue those underage girls; she reiterated her resolve to continue the fight to liberate under aged girls doing menial jobs and prostitution in hotels across the state.
She said that she has just resume at Ojokoro LCDA and that she was settling down to continue what she has begun in Surulere Local Government. According to her, the project was very successful there and department was preparing to commence the project of “rescuing and rehabilitating of these under-aged girls. The challenge we are facing is that of accommodation for them. We need Non-governmental agencies that will be able to provide accommodation for them just like we did in Surulere. After rescuing them we’ll enrol them in schools and thereafter reunite them with their parents and guardians.”

She added that they were working towards getting partnership with private organisations to train those who were not interested in school, in vocational skills to become self employed and employer of labour as well.” However, she said, “This cannot be done without government’s support; the project can only be a success if we got the required financial support just like we got in Surulere.”
According to a psychologist, Dr. Aramide Sanusi, if nothing drastic is done to check the ugly trend in the country right now, almost every family will experience it either by having a member of the family as a victim or a prostitute, irrespective of their economic status or religious leaning.

Mr. Danladi Lawal, a legal professional, while responding to New Telegraph on the legal implication of the action of those trading with these underage girls, said that “the Nigeria Criminal Code Act (Chapter 77) has duly spelt out the necessary punishment for offenders. Chapter 30 and 31of the Criminal Code Act respectively stipulates the following: Assaults on Females: Abduction: 362. Any person who unlawfully takes an unmarried girl under the age of sixteen years out of the custody or protection of her father or mother or other person having the lawful care or charge of her, and against the will of such father or mother or other person, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for two years.

  1. Any person who unlawfully confines or detains another in any place against his will, or otherwise unlawfully deprives another of his personal liberty, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for two years.
    The United Nations has declared the prostitution of children to be illegal under international law, and various campaigns and organizations have been created to protest its existence. Several definitions have been proposed for prostitution of children. The United Nations defines it as “the act of engaging or offering the services of a child to perform sexual acts for money or other consideration with that person or any other person”.

According to the International Labour Office in Geneva, prostitution of children and child pornography are two primary forms of child sexual exploitation, which often overlap. The former is sometimes used to describe the wider concept of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). It excludes other identifiable manifestations of CSEC, such as commercial sexual exploitation through child marriage, domestic child labour, and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes.

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Mum & Parenting

Letter to mom on valentine’s day

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I found this piece of love note written by Sarah Skinner to her mom ( of blessed memory). She says, “Love from mom is one of the best things a girl can ever have.” I hope this little piece inspires us to build loving relationships with our daughters – our kids. Enjoy!

Dear Mom,
Happy Valentine’s Day! I just wanted to let you know that no matter how old I get, I won’t stop finding special ways to let you know how much I love you, and I will try my best to get especially creative on holidays such as these. Some people find the excess of candy and stuffed animals that fill the stores this time of year annoying, but we’ve always enjoyed the displays. Hell will surely freeze over before the day comes that one of those adorable teddy bears won’t be purchased as a “just because” gift. How can someone not be happy with something soft to hug?

There’s always a lot of bitterness that is floating around during this time of year, especially about relationship status. I think many people must have forgotten the days of childhood when Valentine’s Day was a day we all showed our classmates a little love, indiscriminately. No doubt, it is a great feeling to have a romantic Valentine, but there is so much more to love than just the romantic aspects of it.

I’d like to take the time to thank you, mom — to thank you for letting me know what it feels like to be unconditionally loved. Your love has served as my rock for as long as I can remember, keeping me grounded and giving me the confidence I needed to shoot for the stars. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, you help me see the situation from a different (and more manageable) perspective. Whenever I’m feeling vulnerable, you remind me of my value. No matter what holes I’ve managed to fall into, you’ve always helped me see the light and find the strength to climb out.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you are a cheerleader who always tells me what I want to hear; you will tell it like it is, and you are always honest with me. If you don’t have a good feeling about a guy I’m with, you won’t hesitate to tell me. But, when that same guy stands me up on a date, you won’t mock me with an “I told you so,” but rather, you will greet me with a “you look too good not to go somewhere.” Knowing what it feels like to be loved like that is an indescribably beautiful experience. You showed me the correct way someone is supposed to be loved.

I remember when we first started watching “Gilmore Girls” together. Man, was that our show. What made it comical was how similar our relationship was to that portrayed in the show. Everyone else in our lives saw it too. I’m able to (and want to) tell you everything because I know you never judge me and you always find a way to help me understand my life a bit better.

We hang out a lot because we always find a way to have an awesome time together and the conversations between us never cease.
A relationship like that comes once in a life time and our bond has never been out of any sort of blood obligation. If I had the choice of who my mother would be, I would choose you a million times over. I am thankful for our relationship, and I will never be too old to give you a Valentine’s Day shout out.

With love,
Sarah.

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Mum & Parenting

Surviving in women’s world

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From time immemorial, men, in a typical African society, are known for taking tougher jobs due to the responsibility they are saddled with, while women take the less tough jobs like subsistence farming, cooking, and laundry work. However, the tune seems to have changed, as a good number of men are now treading where women are supposed to be. They are now seen dominating the centre stage of women’s job role like catering, hair-making, frying bean-cake e.t.c. Emmanuella Lekwauwa writes

 

The rising unemployment rate, perhaps forced many men, mostly graduates to embrace different vocations aside white-collar jobs. They now venture into vocations that were aforetime presumed as female jobs.
One of such men is an executive chef of a hotel, located somewhere in Ikeja, Mr. Raymond Alabi.
Alabi, who moved into catering due to his passion for cooking, said he studied Sociology at the university and later enrolled into a catering school to acquire the needed skill. He averred that his passion for cooking led him to the hospitality industry since 1989 even before he enrolled to study Sociology. “As matter of fact, I have gone through all kinds of training in hotel management. I am also a hotel consultant and manager. I know that the job of a chef goes beyond mere cooking. It involves knowledge of continental and local dishes, and being good administrator who can manage the kitchen.”
He described catering business in Nigeria as lucrative, that the only shortcoming he had discovered in his career was the difficulty he had in convincing big companies to award contracts to male caterers, “However, my clients have since become convinced of my capability because of the quality of my services and cooking skill,” he said.
Alabi asserted that men are now taking over the chef works in most Lagos hotels. This is because, “men have more energy and time than their female counterparts. And this is because women have more demands, beginning from the home front.”
Another male caterer, Mr Oluwasesan Olaibo, who works with a catering firm in Onipanu, area of Lagos state, for almost a year now, said that most aspects of catering service deal with a lot of cooking and requires a lot of energy. Before now, Olaibo had been into screen-printing for seven years, but later opted out of that business because of low turnout of customers and poor income.
Speaking on what led him into the trade, he said that he went into catering because of finance. He averred that he had not really wanted catering as a profession but after his Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in 2014 he went into catering to raise money to obtain the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) form and to sponsor himself in the higher institution.
Another caterer at Ibile Foods and lounge, Ilupeju bypass, Lagos, who simply identified himself as James, said that men going into catering business tend to do so carefully to avoid refusal of which could lead to loss of customers.
“As a caterer, who has been privileged to work in various organizations, I had to learn how to prepare local and continental dishes of different tribes and countries. This makes one exceptional in the business.”
He stated that most organizations employ male caterers based on their house policy and previous experiences with female caterers though; there is the challenge of getting clients convinced on the efficiency of male caterers.
James said that he realized the lucrative aspect of the business while working at a hotel where he discovered that only men were allowed to do the cooking, while ladies serve drinks and attend to customers.
Smiling, he said: “Men are putting more time into catering than women. When you go to restaurants, you will notice that ladies like it when men attend to them. Most ladies used to beckon on me serve.”
Another caterer, Mr. Tobi Davis, who works at a branch of Sweet Sensation, a popular eatery had been into catering business for four years. He disclosed that he ventured into catering business because of his keen interest in cooking. Davis said: ‘It amazes people when they see how well a male caterer handles cooking. People are eager to see how well a man can cook and bake pastries, amongst others.” Davis said that before now, when it comes to catering and other skills, people always look at the direction of women. He said that things have since changed in the 21st century. He said that men joined the moving train and were performing beyond expectations. “Not all women can make sausage rolls. In preparing snacks, men take the prize because of the difficulty involved in handling the machine.”
He complained that the socio-economic situation in Nigeria was influencing negatively on catering business and urged the government to encourage male caterers. He said that there are set of young people who are motivated by what is happening in the catering industry. “The most important thing is interest. For instance, not all graduates would be opportune to work with his/her certificate.”
Another caterer, Mr. Kenneth Agbamuche, working with Sweet Sensation, around Ketu/Ikosi area of Lagos, believes that catering has a lot to do with passion and claims that men are the best in whatever profession. He described himself as coming from a family of caterers. According to Agbamuche, he had been into catering business for 18 years and still counting. He learnt the trade from his late mother, because of his interest in the trade. “Besides, my elder brother is a chef at Eko Hotel, while my two other siblings are also caterers in other reputable companies. Passion is what brings out the best in a thing. Without it, you will not be able to accomplish your mission. Catering job is sensitive. It’s like hospitality in the sense that you are giving out life to people. It’s all about food and it has to be tasty.”
He stated further that if he had his own restaurant, he will employ male caterers who will assist in serving the guests. According to him, many men are working in big hotels, than eateries and fast food joints. This is because the way the fast food joints operate is different from the hotel. The male professionals are better than the female in the area of cooking.
Mr. Amadi Uche, who works with catering firm, shared his experience in the field. He said that having worked with the catering firm for more than four years; he had come to understand that catering is something young men can venture into because it is something that gives the opportunity to do other things. According to him, “catering goes beyond preparing local dishes because one has to also learn how to prepare other meals. In catering business, men are preferred because they are focused and disciplined. And when it comes to working, they are not easily distracted.”

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Mum & Parenting

As a mum, do you hand up or handout?

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Children are born naturally desiring to have all their needs met, all the time. When a child cries we ask, ‘What do you want?” and they are always so glad to tell us to go get the moon, and minutes later they have had enough of it and want something else. Kelly Nault is one of the mums who have inspired me with her ideas on good parenting. She co-parented two blind brothers for seven years. When describing them she often stated that when they weren’t bouncing off the walls, they were literally pounding on them and no one would work with them.

They both had a deep sense of entitlement – a sense of “I am blind so therefore everyone should serve me” and many people would due to their physical disability. People felt sorry for them and would give them handouts for no reason other than their blindness.

The owner of a corner store in the neighbourhood, for example, would refuse to take the boys’ money and instead gave them their candy for free! This entitlement mentality ran deep in both of them (as it does in many children today) and affected everything and everyone around them.

I will share the rest of the story in Kelly’s own words: ‘While at the skating rink one day, Grant (the youngest) refused to take his skates off by himself. He cried that he just couldn’t do it (even though I had seen him do it before). Frustrated, I encouraged him as best I could, and then left him alone to sulk as I went to take off my own skates. No sooner had I turned my back than the rink manager appeared and started to take Grant’s skates off for him. I could tell by the smirk on Grant’s face that he was pleased with this arrangement.

Quickly, I walked up to the rink manager and said, “I know you want to help Grant and I am sure he appreciates it. But the best way you can help him is to help him help HIMSELF so he can learn how to take his skates off. There might not always be someone around to help and, therefore, it is important for him to learn how to do it on his own.”

The rink manager shrugged, gave up and walked away. Grant finally did take his skates off…after a painful 35 minutes! We left the rink that day and the memory of this frustrating event faded from mind. But unbeknownst to me, this memory stuck with Grant.

Over a year later Grant said to me, “Remember how that guy at the skating rink didn’t think I could take my skates off ?” I slowly remembered. He continued, “Well, a lot of people don’t think I can do very much on my own because I am blind.” To which I smiled and replied, “Yes, but we both know better don’t we? And I can’t think of anyone better than you to teach the people just how capable you truly are.”

You may find that it is just easier to do things for your family than to fight about it or to see that it just doesn’t get done. As moms, we are generally quicker, cleaner and don’t protest to doing those simple tasks! Yet, I have learned the hard way that the ONLY way to build ANY child’s self-esteem is to help them feel capable – to give them more responsibility. So they don’t end up always looking for what they can TAKE, rather than what they can GIVE.

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