Child MARRIAGE or Child PROSTITUTION? PLEASE MIND YOUR LANGUAGE(2)

Compliments of the season to you all…Sure you had a great Christmas and Boxing Day, unwinding and letting down your hairs…This being the last Sunday of the year and my last piece of the year, permit me to wish you dear highly esteemed readers and believers, an unprecedentedly prosperous New Year in advance.

Back to my advocacy adventure, I embarked on last week asking us to mind our language about what we call, ‘Child Marriage’ and ‘Child Prostitution.’

You will recall that last week, I coined ‘Domesticated Child Sexual Abuse or Molestation,’ as the real description for what we today refer to as ‘Child Marriage.’

Kindly note that this is not a battle of semantics…It is a call for a review of the use of nomenclature, which waters down or hides the monumental evil and insurmountable consequences of a practice.

You see, to agree that forcefully giving out a child to a man or woman is ‘Child Marriage’ will mean to say that a paedophile is a husband, a sexually molested child is a wife, and the suspects, who forcefully joined them in ‘crimetrimony’ are in-laws.

I think I have done considerable justice to the first part of this discussion, largely last week and briefly this week. My focus this week is what is generally called, ‘Child Prostitution.’

I think this industry doesn’t exist as we describe it today. Prostitution suggests a voluntarily involvement in commercial sex for material gains. It suggests voluntary capacity to negotiate sex for commercial benefits. The phrase ‘Child Prostitution’ as it is used today may suggest that children voluntarily gets involved in prostitution and therefore could be referred to as ‘Children Prostitutes.’ Please note that the precious children, who are today referred to as ‘Child Prostitutes’ are Child Sex Slaves, who are being mercilessly robbed of their God-ordained innocence and dignity of human person. This kind of brazen robbery of our precious children of their virtues earn the robbers huge pecuniary gains. This illicit trade of Child Sex Slavery fetch the perpetrators billions of dollars. The robber has everything to GAIN for it and our precious children have everything to lose for it.

These precious souls are held in the captivity of sex slavery with fear, intimidation and all kinds of threats. Apart from the fact that their lives are threatened by their slave masters, their being used as sex slaves is a threat to theirs precious lives. Many have actually been killed in the process of being used as sex slaves.

In signing out today, I will like to submit that we live in a perverted world, where our precious children suffer bloodcurdling and almost irreparable legion of abuses and yet our insensitive world hold the children responsible.

Our precious children suffer double jeopardy. They are ABUSED and ACCUSED. The abusers do not take RESPONSIBILITY not to turning a new leaf. Deliberately or by default, they come up with narratives, shrouded in misleading labels like ‘Child Marriage,’ ‘Child Prostitution’ and many more.

Unfortunately, some of the genuine defenders of the rights of our precious children, both individuals and institutions, in some cases either use or coin these labels, which agree with the narratives of the abusers, without carefully examining same and its impact.

This two-part series is an attempt to expose this subtle game of abusing our precious children and finding convenient narratives to distract the best of us and the rest of the public from the real issues. This subtle tricks present our precious children as the ABUSED and the ACCUSED, thereby sealing their fate and sentencing them to a life of unchecked and perpetual abuse.

In the year 2016, by the grace of God, to take this discussion further, our Child Protection Culture Academy will hold a session of its Basic Classes, discussing Building A Culture of Child Protection in Africa: Minding Our Language…We hope to keep you posted.
Do have an INSPIRED week and New Year Celebrations with your precious family members.

I am Taiwo AKINLAMI and I remain Sober on my knees on this LORD’S day.
W: http://www.taiwoakinlami.com T: 08033620843 T: @taiwoakinlami B: http://www.taiwoakinlami.wordpress.com

 

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CELEBRATIONS OF THE GREATER & HIS GREATNESS

Today, my family and I celebrate a solemn CHRISTMAS…
Retreating from the crowd to REFLECT and to be GRATEFUL to HIM, Who so LOVED the WORLD and GAVE His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON…
Today, we count our BLESSINGS by what we GIVE…Not necessarily by what we RECEIVE…
The REASON for the season is to GIVE…
God showed the way and He GAVE HIS BEST…HIS SON…
He says it is MORE BLESSED to GIVE than to RECEIVE…
The LESSER is BLESSED by the GREATER…
The GIVER is the GREATER…
Our FATHER in HEAVEN is the GREATER…
Today, my family and I celebrate GREATNESS…
We celebrate CHRISTMAS and wish you and your family an INSPIRED SEASON of GREATNESS…
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI
I Preach the Gospel According to Childhood Protection & Preservation

Child MARRIAGE or Child PROSTITUTION? PLEASE MIND YOUR LANGUAGE(1)

COMPLIMENTS of the season to you, highly esteemed primary and secondary caregivers and our precious children, who may sneak in to read this piece.

BEFORE embarking on this journey of serious advocacy(as my calling and nature has been for the better part of my adult life), at this time of the year, I was caught between two opinions: The first is to refuse to interrupt your well-deserved festive mood and give rest to the burden of my heart to plead the cause of the group of children, whose immense suffering has occupied my conscience and consciousness in the past weeks. The second is to go ahead and do this advocacy all the same despite the peculiarity of the season.

I chose the latter because this Gospel According to Child Protection must be preached in season and out of season. There are many precious children, who have never celebrated any festival since they were in the womb and who will again not celebrate this next one. Many more are not even aware that there is anything called festive season, not to talk of celebrating one.

I shall be closing out on my advocacy for the year, spending this Sunday and the next to call attention to the plague of ‘Child Marriage’ and ‘Child Prostitution.’ 700 women alive today were said to have been ‘married’ before 18 and more than one-third are said to be less than 15 years old when they were ‘married.’

My advocacy today touches more on the use of terminologies, known as ‘Child Marriage’ and ‘Child Prostitution.’ I strongly believe that the use of the foregoing terminologies shields the evil of both practices and gives a sense of legitimacy to the practices.

I beg to submit today that by the universally acceptable definition of marriage as voluntary union between a man and a woman, it is impossible for a child to marry or be married. Therefore what we all erroneously refer to as ‘Child Marriage’ today is nothing but what I call ‘Domesticated Child Sexual Abuse or Molestation’

I am aware that there is a minority of people, who for personal gains or parochial argument from the perspective of religion, who are of the view that a child(any one below 18) could marry or be married. But it is high time we make it clear that such position does not pass the test of universality of the age-long description of the sacred institution of marriage. Besides, considering the dire and bizarre consequences of the practice forcing a child into sexual relationship with an adult in the name of marriage, it is clear that such is against natural order of creation.

I am also aware that the campaigners against this practice may use the terminology of ‘Child  Marriage’ for ease of understanding. But my challenge is that we cannot sacrifice truth and universal definitions on the altar of ease of understanding.

A child cannot be said to have married. Every child, who is in the house of a man or woman today is not in marriage. She or he is suffering from what I have chosen to refer to as ‘Domesticated Child Sexual Abuse or Molestation.’

Permit me to conclude today by pointing to the basic ingredients of a proper marriage: The first is capacity. Capacity here refers to age or maturity. In this instance, this is a function of number. Any body below 18 years doesn’t have capacity to enter into marriage. It is important to note that though capacity is measured by age, it also speaks to psychological and physiological development of the parties. The second ingredient is Consent. This refers to mutual agreement to enter into a marriage relationship. Even where parties pass the test of capacity, they must of necessity consent to the relationship. Consent here must be an informed consent and not coaxed or induced. Upon contracting a marriage, there is what is known as consummation of the marriage. This simply refers to sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, who are married. Under the law, a child does not have capacity to give consent to sex voluntarily or induced. Therefore a child cannot consummate a marriage and consummation goes to the root and validity of a marriage relationship. Any sexual relationship with a child in the name of marriage is nothing but blatant abuse and violation of the innocence of the precious child, girl or boy.

Permit me to conclude today that it is high time that we who campaign for the protection of our precious children from all forms of abuse go back to the drawing board, with the aim of defining the scope of our social interventions and most importantly, the right language with which to accurately capture same. It is my belief that traditional definitions cannot help to do justice the cause of protecting our precious children.

Permit me to wrap up my thoughts today by declaring once again that there is no such thing as ‘Child Marriage.’ ‘Domesticated Child Sexual Abuse or Molestation,’ my coinage, in an attempt to name this practice for what it is, may not describe same fully. But it is a call to all genuinely interested defenders of the rights of our precious children to take another but careful look at our noble causes and the terminologies we employ. My challenge to us today is that we must not rest until we find terminologies, which are in compliance with the BEST INTEREST OF OUR PRECIOUS CHILDREN. Marriage is a sacred and spiritual relationship and it is not meant for children.

Next Sunday I shall deal with the issue of ‘Child Prostitution.’

Thank you for reading…Do have an INSPIRED week. I am Taiwo AKINLAMI and I remain Sober on my knees on this LORD’S day.
W: http://www.taiwoakinlami.com T: 08033620843 T: @taiwoakinlami B: http://www.taiwoakinlami.wordpress.com

SOBER ON MY KNEES ON THIS LORD’S DAY, I SHARE WITH YOU THIS PIECE PUBLISHED IN THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER OF WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27,2006…Bimbo Odukoya: In remembrance

Bimbo Odukoya: In remembrance
By Taiwo Akinlami

OUR culture preaches that you do not say evil about the dead even if or her deeds were evil. It is a culture that if historians had used as the compilation formula of the life and times of Adolph Hitler, he would have been given a clean bill of health despite his many atrocities. It is a docile culture that is not conscious of history and posterity. I daresay that it is a culture that must be discarded by every true and conscious chronicler of history. For me an article about a departed soul or any other subject (at all) is a historical document and a writer of integrity and truth must make sure that whatever comes out of his pen must stand the test of history. Thus, I always consciously swim against the tide of our culture in the foregoing respect.

This piece therefore is not an exercise in the direction of an unproductive culture. It is an exercise in enriching history and posterity on the information available to it on this personality that touched every arena of our lives for good as an unusual wife, a caring mother, a dedicated minister of God, an uncompromised nationalist, a hold-nothing-back philanthropist, a rare mentor, a hardworking social engineer and above all a woman, who feared and lived for God and served humanity. This piece is in remembrance of a woman, who was an eye to the blind, a leg to the lame, an ear to the deaf, a voice to the voiceless, a mother to the motherless, a friend to the rejected, a hope to the hopeless, a light to a world enveloped in the darkness of sin, a salt to a decaying earth and most importantly an ambassador from heaven to introduce many lost souls to eternal life. All these she did creditably well and to the applause of man and God! The response of our world to her demise bears eloquent testimony to the foregoing. That our world stood still in honour of this heroine of faith in God and service to mankind on Saturday, December 10, 2005 is no news. In fact the dusts are yet to settle in the horizon of human memory.

My relationship with Pastor Bimbo Odukoya spanned a period of a decade. I first encountered her when I joined the Fountain of Life Church, a local assembly, she co-pastured with her dear husband, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, the Senior Pastor of the church. From my first meeting with her, she stood out not just as a co-pastor or pastor’s wife but as a woman on a mission to positively impact her world. On and off the pulpit boisterous Pastor Bim, as she was fondly called, palpably radiated the unconditional love and compassion of God to humanity.

I had closer encounter when a few years ago, I picked up an appointment with Pastor Taiwo Odukoya and I was posted to work from the home office. It was an opportunity to discover the real personality behind the well-known Pastor Bimbo. There I found out firsthand that she was a practitioner of every principle she preached. She was a woman of many inspirational words; I must quickly add that as much as her words were, her actions were more and deliberate. She would never share a principle without providing a platform for its practice. She was a protagonist of practical living and effectiveness in human existence. Her principle was simple, I must not leave you the same way I met you.

She would not teach the singles how to choose a life partner without creating a conducive environment for them to meet and mingle. She would not encourage singles to get married without empowering those who did not have the resources to do so. She would not point you to God without paying attention to your immediate needs. She would not tell wives to honour their own husbands without showing consistent examples in her relationship with her own husband. She would not promote a healthy family unit as the foundation of nation building without building her own family as a shining example. She would not talk about the love of God without first showing it abundantly in her dealings with everyone that came her way.

In fact she believed she was a conduit through which the unconditional love of God was to be savoured by a neglected world. She would not tell you that you were valuable to God without treating you as a man and a woman of value even in her choice of adjectives. She would not tell the youth that they had a future without a readiness to personally raise funds within her rich network to foot the school bills of those who were indigent. She would not teach you that it was more blessed to give than to receive without emptying from time to time her wardrobe and bank account in pursuit of worthy causes. She would not teach against discrimination and rejections without opening her arms of fellowship and generosity to men and women from every cadre of life.

Did she have any weakness, I was aware of? Like every human being, who was subject to human foibles, she definitely had her weaknesses. But I must quickly say that she was a woman that perfected the rigorous and uncommon habit of pricing her service to God and humanity over and above the dictates of her human foibles. Thus, she was unimpeachable in the discharge of her duties to God and humanity.

For me it was a privilege of a lifetime that I did not only read about her, I saw her on the pulpit and that I did not only see her on the pulpit I had the rare opportunity of firsthand relationship; and encounter that changed my life and destiny forever. I got married recently after a long wait and one person whose presence my wife and I missed dearly was Pastor Bim. The relationship that culminated in our marriage is an undiluted product of her ministry.

This piece will be incomplete, if I do not thank Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, her dearly beloved husband, a vessel of honour, used by God to nurture and launch her into an unalloyed service to God and humanity. A man she did not fail at all times to acknowledge and aptly refer to as her ‘husband, best friend, pastor, mentor and bishop’. As I remember her today I find solace in the words of Tobi Odukoya, her last child at the burial service held for her at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos that we all have a responsibility to honour her mother by ensuring that we all continue the good works she lived for. Shalom dear mother and keep resting at the blissful feet of our Lord and Master till we meet again on the day of resurrection.

Akinlami, a legal practitioner, is based in Lagos.

WHEN MY LIFE FLASHED BEFORE ME: WHAT IS MY LIFE? A VAPOUR? (2)

Let me begin on a GRATITUDE note. I am grateful to men,  women and children, who visited and called to express their concern over the experience about health I shared last week. I value your kind words of encouragement and advice. Words fail me to expression my most profound gratitude and space fails me to do a roll call.

Of important note to me is Seyitafe AKINLAMI, my 8 year old nephew. His father, my twin brother had been called and headed for my place. Seyitafe, who had gone out on a brief errand returned home and her mum told him of the situation. Seyitafe, thinking his father was still outside, ran out to follow his father to come see me. Getting outside and not seeing the father, he headed out to my place, which is like 25 minutes walk, without informing the mother that he didn’t meet the father outside. He walked to and fro my place desperate to know the state of my health by which time the mother had discovered he wasn’t with the father.

Seyitafe had never come to my place alone before that day. I was not only marvelled at his concern and bravery, I am in awe of the goodness of the LORD, who preserved him from all possible evil on that very busy and volatile road under the shadow of emerging darkness of the night. Please rejoice with us.

Now, to my lessons, as i promised last week. First let me point the fact that I am self-driven person. With me there is no idle moment. There is always something to get busy with and I am fanatical about results and can be very fastidious in my work life. I think I can be loyal both in the present and the absence of those to who I make  commitments, knowing that I do not owe anyone performance but myself, my conscience and personal dignity. For me, I think half measures are no measures and are abominations.

The fact again is that I am a man of many concerns. I think I also nurse a deep-rooted holy indignation against many ills in our society, not by being judgmental or being unconscious of my own personal failings and foibles as a man, raised in the dark side of the Third World.

Above all I am energetically passionate about everything I am involved in. I was not surprised in 2005, when my host at a program considered my views too radical and accused me of being ‘too passionate.’

I would rather not be involved than to be involved and not be passionately involved. I use a lot of energy and always put my sugar level to seemingly insurmountable task.
I live passionately
I love passionately
I serve passionately
I follow passionately
I lead passionately
I befriend passionately
I support passionately
I oppose passionately
I converse passionately
I speak passionately

But there one thing I do not do passionately…I do not rest my mind and body passionately. I work physically and also in my dreams. Taking things easy looks to me as if it is an abandonment of faith and fate and acceptance of defeat. I always think I am needed by those to who I have made commitment and I must show up at by all possible means even when I get signals from my body that it is overworked and threatens to go on an indefinite strike. I dared my body so often, instead of encouraging it by putting it to first-needed-and-now-demanded rest.

I pet my body with the talk that there is much to be done and there is only a short time do it…I tell those around me, ‘ojo iku lo jo isimi.’ It means ‘the day of death is the day of rest.’ I have this undisclosed but work philosophy that since there is rest for man in eternity, we are here to work as the world is nothing but a marketplace and heaven is the place of rest. People call it being workaholic, I call it an unalloyed commitment to a cause and people.

These things are so deep-seated that they rebuff warnings from the dearest of people to me.

I think my experience of Wednesday, November 25, 2015 seems to have upset my perspective. I guess that I overrated my importance to my concerns. I now feel health is wealth and I can do much more with rest. I find that the challenge is not with my concerns and the passion, with which I express it but it with my work approach. These concerns and the passion they draw out of me are of God but failure to take it easy isn’t of Him. Adequate rest, exercises, recreation, healthy eating habit are all of God as natural rejuvenating mechanism for the human spirit, soul and body.

Since Thursday, November 26, 2015, I embarked on period of deliberate laziness. I have refused to have to-do and I shut down my schedule until further notice and I am careful about the commitments I make. Since that day, I have not reported to my office not to talk of sitting on my hollowed seat in the office. I am shutting down the old work style and I hope to create a new one, which agrees with divine order. I am looking at every possibility to reduce my workload and focus on only that which is critical. I am praying for direction and yet I full of hope to fulfill destiny and achieve the mandate of heaven over my life.

Now I remember a story I read years ago while in the Law School. It was the story of  Robert Murray McCheyne. He graduated from Edinburgh University at age 14 in 1827. At 23, he was leading  a Presbyterian congregation of over a thousand.He worked so hard, paying little or no attention to his health until same finally broke down. On his death bed at the age of 29, he wrote sadly, “God gave me a message to deliver and a horse to ride. Alas, I have killed the horse and now I cannot deliver the message.”

I hope I have learnt these lessons. I hope these are not heat-of-moment decisions…Anyway time will tell…Yet I feel I have learnt my lessons.

Thank you for enduring my so-long treatise, 2 weeks running. I promise to repent from this, at least till the end of the year. Do have an INSPIRED week.

I am Taiwo AKINLAMI and I remain sober on my knees on this LORD’S day
http://www.taiwoakinlami.com
08033620843