I appeal to my readers for understanding and not misunderstanding of this piece. It is very petrifying the rise in number of children out of wedlock. Children from un-solemnized matrimony carry despicable identities, though divinely innocent. The act is provocative. It is becoming an accepted norm in many societies. In short, some societies especially in the far southern geopolitical zones accept that it is the only means of the assurance of the fruitfulness of the female folks. There is the traditional belief that the female are predominately married to the “marine spirits” which makes them barren in the physical world, though they bear children to their spiritual husbands. Over there, the stories of witches and wizards are quotidian.
The informal meaning of bastard is an unpleasant or despicable person. Its synonyms are scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, brute, animal, monster, ogre, wretch, devil, good-for-nothing, reprobate, wrongdoer, evil-doer and more. In another explanation, bastard refers to something or a person who is no longer in its pure or original form; in debased form. I am convinced that no reasonable person can bet that none of these categories of mankind is not predominant in our societies. Who can bet? But most conventional dictionaries explain bastard as an illegitimate child, an unpleasant or despicable person, a person born of parents not married to each other.
This act is inimical to orthodox religious beliefs. Even if the children from such acts are free, the act builds a faulty foundation which divinely affects the society. It is unarguably that rottenness begets nothingness. God is angry with the acts of producing bastards, having made lawful to mankind the legitimate ways to procreate. God is angry with the procreators of such species of mankind. God cannot be happy with such societies which allow such acts to prevail.
Bastards are too many in our societies. In Nigeria, it can be argued that a good percentage of the population is from questionable relationships. Premarital and post-marital illegal relationships have become as common as the alphabets the children recite daily at schools. Around our homes, on the street we pass daily, in markets and everywhere. There is frequency of rape cases across Nigeria. Induced sex on the less privileged is prevalent. Teenage pregnancy in villages is commonplace.
Infidelity amongst married couples which lead to production of illegal children is also becoming prevalent. Sexual promiscuity in schools, offices and worship places is on the rise. And stories of kidnappers and men of the underworld victimizing their female captives are also increasing.
I cannot even control the prevalence of “illegal” children in my own extended family, how much more those who do not take it to be anything. Most members of the young generations think it is a civilized way of life. Some go into relationship without any sex education only to get pregnant and give birth when abortion becomes impossible. If not, young girls in cities commit so many abortions with modern pills while those in the rural areas apply local concoctions which often damage their wombs. That is why some young men will not take their wife-to-be to the altar until they are sure of pregnancy. Alternatively, the young men would prefer to go back to their villages for a less risked life partner. That is after some of them have rubbished some girls in the cities. I will labour to explain each with possible instances.
But before then, I must confess that I have found the case of the almajiris in the northern part of Nigeria very intriguing, yet confusing. I do not want to believe that any of them is a product of illegal intercourse. But it is also difficult for one to believe that all of them are. They are too many to count. It beats imagination how legitimately born children could be left to the hard open air to survive in the name of seeking religious knowledge. I also feel that the government of states of the north are overwhelmed by their inability to give accurate census of the nomadic “knowledge” seekers. And one wonders the controversy over the proposed training of 10 million almajiris by an anti-Islamic evangelist, Reverend Matthew Kukah’s center.
An elder patriot in an argument on this matter postulated that the idea conceived by Kukah, whether altruistic or not, is a manifestation of the failure of Muslim leaders at the community, business and political levels. Recalling that 99.5% of the millions of contemporary war refugees are from Muslim countries, he said it was the Christian countries of Western Europe that accommodate them while neighbouring Muslim countries reject them. According to him, there are many Muslim billionaires but who have been indifferent to use their wealth to project Islam and Muslims of Nigeria. “Therefore, Muslims should wake up and keep their own houses in order to make it impossible for the like of Kukah of this world to poach on Muslim children for conversion to Christianity under whatever guise”, he squeaked. A Muslim analyst partly concluded that Muslims should thank Kukah for his foresight and proposal.
Sex on the less privileged, especially the female hawkers also lead to unwanted pregnancy that often produced children without fathers. Sometimes, the female hawkers willingly engage in such acts to make up for themselves or for their parents. Such stories have been recorded where female children abandoned by their parents face the hazards of lousy male grownups. Baby factories abound in many places. Once the babies produced from these factories cannot fit into the cause of its breeders, they are thrown into the streets. Motherless babies also abound in many places. But not all of the babies can make it in life, after all what is there to struggle for a child who has no body in life. With the predominance of this category of children, how many can be catered for when a population of legitimate children under their parents grasp for life. The world is really too much with us.
A story of Fulani kidnappers has been trending. A victim of kidnappers along a major federal express roads narrated what he was told by his kidnappers. According to him, they were seized from the main road and taken into the forest to face the kidnappers’ master after nearly three hour journey. Thinking death was nearby, he was praying for God’s intervention. They collected peoples’ phones, checked the numbers and if they identified any “big man” or a very known personality on the phonebook, then the ransom to be demanded will be high. They will ask for the relationship the victim has with the “big man”.
Unfortunately, the master interrogated the six victims and asked what they wanted. The narrator said that while they could not remember anything out of fear, he sought to be allowed to perform a prayer. The master of the kidnappers, surrounded by hefty armed youngsters burst in wild laughter: “So you are believers. You believe in God”. The narrator told him they were and he became very upset and bellowed: “O, why then do you people do bad; why do you perpetrate atrocities against the less-privileged?”
At the long run, the master became mild and allowed them to pray under stern watch. He ordered that the phones be handed over to the victims and asked one of his boys to take them out to a distance through a very zigzag route, so that they can find their way, a distance they had to trek for over an hour to reach the main road very far from where they were actually abducted. Before they left, he had tutored them on the wrong happenings in our societies. He handed a message to him that the level of rape and illegal children being produced in the country is a time bomb. He gave instances of Fulani female hawkers, including married ones who come from the bushes into villages, towns and cities to sell “nono” and all their local products but are subjected to daily rape. They cannot stop their females because they cannot live only on their animal produce. The master confessed that he and his men were products of such rapes because they did not have fathers and their mothers were unable to care for them.
Furthermore, the frequency of adultery and fornication is rising in our societies. Teenagers gang-rape their peers. Teenage pregnancy in villages is also on the rise. I cannot imagine the type of life children are living now. Parents are often overwhelmed when they insist on the right pattern of life for their children who describe their parents as “old school or old-fashioned”. In villages, it has become an accepted norm that a girl of ten years without a boy friend is possessed. Before maturity, girls begin to experiences sex and temper with their wombs. Some of them get spoilt and rotten and date many boys at the same time. Some give birth to children without knowing exactly who is responsible.
What about sexual promiscuity in schools, offices and worship places. Many homes have been broken from such unholy acts. Fathers have come for their “illegal children” from women who are married and living with men they call husbands. Women, on the other hand, have declared “illegal children” before their presumed husbands whenever there is serious misunderstanding. And there are really misunderstanding, misfortune and maladministration in our societies because of the predominance of the products of illegal acts from parents, from the male and from the female folks. Some of the leaders and the led find themselves from such circumstance. Is God’s anger on the parent(s) transferable to the children? What hope should be expected from any leader of that accident?
*** Muhammad Ajah is an advocate of humanity, peace and good governance in Abuja. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.