Since last week, the press has been agog with the launching of operation Amotekun by the 6 governors of six states in the south-west geopolitical zone of Nigeria.
A lot of discussions is going on about this new security outfit. Expectedly, there is a divide and people are standing on different sides, putting up justifiable arguments. I have read a few articles about this step, and I have listened to different sides of the arguments on the radio and TV. Of interest to me is the opinion of those who support it. My understanding is that operation Amotekun is a channel through which a group of people with a common problem intend to provide the solution to their problem. With this understanding, I cannot stop thinking of families of children with disabilities, particularly those with children with Cerebral Palsy (CP), and wondering why they have not thought of launching “Operation Amotekun” in favour of their children.
CP is as old as life itself. The Massey children’s hospital in Lagos Island is almost as old as Nigeria. When we look at the causes and risk factors of CP, we will see that they are nothing new, thus there is little or no doubt that we would have been having children with CP since the hospital was opened.
According to Prof. Afolabi Lesi, 10 out of every 1000 live births in Lagos results to CP annually. In simple terms, what this means is that, if 100 women give birth in Lagos every year, 1 of them will result in CP. To put this in perspective, it is estimated that the current population of Lagos state is 14 million. Using the reported 2017 birth rate, which estimated approximately 37 live births to every 1000 persons, it means that about 518,000 babies were born last year and about the same will be born this year. Therefore, working with Prof Afolabi Lesi’s data of 1 in 100 live births in Lagos results in CP every year, it means that 5,180 babies born this year in Lagos will have CP!!! That is, there will be 5, 180 families whose lives would be turned around by this diagnosis this year. CP is a permanent condition; this means that 5,180 Parents will receive permanent membership cards to the club of Families of Children with CP! What a large club!
One of the things I like about CP is that it cuts across all classes, all tribes and all religion.😊
Now, the question that should readily come to mind is, where are the babies? What is happening to them? What will happen to them?
CP affects every child differently but there are common threads that run through all of them. In the same vein, the problems faced by families of children with CP are different, but there are common threads that run through all of them, particularly here. So why are they not coming together to solve them? Problem is often better solved by those it affects. Is not said that it is he who wears the shoes knows where it pinches? An Aesop says; “In union, there is strength”. Even animals now that, look at the buffalos, they know that when they stick together, the lion runs away. And I tell you, there are so many lions masquerading as all sorts of “helper” to and for our children when in the true sense they are Shylocks and exploiters.
In my subsequent posts I will talk about the benefits of “operation Amotekun” for families of children with CP and how their coming together will help them take better care of their children and themselves and send the vultures that feast on them away. (help me God😁😁)