Friday, September 17, 2021

OP-ED: The Dilemma of Missing 14 Year Old Janet, The Involvement Of Kaduna State Commissioner For Human Services And Social Development And The Role Of Child Advocacy Groups, By Mzee Mwalimu

We cannot refute the outstanding and beautiful works carried out by the human right groups. Unfortunately, I have observed some wrong activities done by these groups in the name of seeking justice. The story of Janet is one of such.There is no limit to setting the records straight especially when it is built under the false pretense of promoting human rights, clearly with the intent to formulate and change the face of stories and to turn them into an avenue for character assassination and financial sourcing.

Janet, a 14 years old came under an avoidable incident of being burnt by hot water. This was birthed out of a so called anger by another 14 years old boy who happens to be the son of Janet’s guardian.

As the story goes; on the day of the incident, Miss Janet was home with the 14 years old son of her custodian. Her custodian is a responsible mother who works with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC). Janet who was tasked with the responsibility of warming a pot of stew for both kids to feed on while mum was at a church program fell asleep while the pot of soup was still on fire, therefore burning the soup and displacing every opportunity of having lunch or dinner for the family. On her return from church in the evening, the entire house was still consumed by the smell of burnt soup; she asked and was told exactly what happened, and out of anger, she disciplined Janet just like any other would do and decided to quickly set up something for the family to eat as everyone was very hungry. Madam quickly fetched another ice cold stew from the refrigerator and sourced for hot water to melt it down a bit before putting on fire. She then went to her bedroom to quickly change and fresh up, leaving both her son and Janet in the Kitchen; few minutes later, both kids began a heated argument –it was at this point that the boy picked up the remains of hot water used in unfreezing the stew and splashed on Janet’s face.
Madam rushed down to the kitchen after hearing a loud cry, only to find out that her son had committed a very cruel act. She tried all she could to get on top the matter as any mother should. However, the news was quick to move as a neighbor had already visited Janet’s school the next morning to tell why Janet won’t be resuming school anytime soon. This became the beginning of the twist to the entire story.

Janet’s school wasted no time before calling on an organization known as “Edu. Marshal” otherwise Educational Marshal whose job is to address issues of child education in Kaduna State. Immediately, the issue was termed as a human right issue, and the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), was invited into. The twist into a case of human right and child trafficking was falsely used to implicate one Hon. Maria Dogo who was instrumental in bringing the Janet over from her village to have an education and to grow her exposure. Investigation shows that she has successfully groomed over 15 young people who were all trained right from tender ages –some of whom had long graduated from the university, and to become useful members of society. After further investigations, NAPTIP found no case against Hon. Dogo, hence putting it to a close.

At this juncture, one Barrister Toyin Ogbujie, a child advocate who serves as the Deputy Chairman of the NBA, Barnawa branch is believed to have hitched with the Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hafsat Mohammed Baba, insisting that Hon. Maria Dogo (who brought Janet from her village) press charges to the tune of Ten Million Naira on Janet’s custodian.

The turn of event that suggests child trafficking or human right abuses is clearly a case that holds no water according to both the Kaduna and Kano state branch of NAPTIP, so the endless attempt by the Commissioner and the child advocate to use Hon. Dogo as a tool to extract money from Janet’s guardian is totally absurd. This in fact, doubts the integrity of this course and here are the reasons:
 
-Hajia Hafsat and Barrister Toyin have continually pressured Hon. Dogo to press charges to receive the sum of Ten Million Naira despite haven settled on mutual grounds with the full knowledge that the real offender is only a minor. Clearly showing that their priority isn’t even about Janet but their financial gains.

-Janet’s custodian and her 14 years old son (the offender) were kept in detention for three days (unlawfully) whereas they are only allowed to be detained for not more than 24 hours (by law).

-At a point when Janet was completely healed and okay, it is gathered that the Commissioner mobilized media houses and travelled all the way to Janet’s village to meet up with her biological parents, so as to facilitate the table charges of Ten Million Naira, after Hon. Maria Dogo refused to table any charge. Also, showing photos of Janet when she was at her critical stages, therefore, giving a very wrong note and misinformation and placing them in a very critical state of mind.      

-The so called lawyers/ agents have also continually claimed to be representatives of Hon. Maria Dogo which she had denied and insisting that the case is already settled. Further making it clear that the offender is only a minor and ordinarily, the custodian has little or no case to answer.

-The Commissioner, Hafsat Mohammed had kept Janet in custody for over a month even at the time of writing this report, insisting that Hon. Maria Dogo press charges despite having a Federal Court ruling that Janet be returned to her rightful comfort. This action shows that she has no regard for the law.


With all the above in consideration, it justifies the fact that Barr. Toyin as well as the Commissioner have no genuine intent for a just cause of human right. It is therefore very clear that this is a pursue for financial sourcing and nothing more. More so, Young Janet hasn’t been with her parents, her big mummy (Hon. Dogo) or even her custodian for over thirty days now. This is in other words putting the young girl in an unimaginable psychological trauma.

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