If strange and unusual things occur frequently, and the abnormal starts to wear the toga that is normal, it’s time to raise an alarm. In addition to informing, educating, and entertaining us, media also help society set its agendas and fulfill a vital surveillance function to protect the society.
The lines between fiction, reality, and politics are blurred in our political world. Everyday life is similar. It is our responsibility to insist on the fact that, no matter what temptations we have to normalize anomie and to let it go, we must maintain social control to prevent a return to the neanderthal age.
High-ranking government officials have been accused of stealing billions of US dollars. They will soon reach trillions of Naira if they are given free rein to follow this trajectory. There is no limit to how much you can steal. But no matter how big their heist, nothing can compare to stealing an individual. To steal another human being is the ultimate act of degeneracy.
The environment is full of stories about depraved humans stealing from their fellow human beings. The motivating factor for most people is money. If we consider how some people’s destinies have been altered or negatively affected by such occurrences, we will appreciate the need for urgency in arresting the monster.
Every human being has the right to choose his/her parents and nationality. Fate has all the power. A human being should expect that he can make the correct entry and exit, without any confusion about his biological parentage. This is no longer possible in today’s corrupt society that has a thriving underground baby trade market.
A couple from Ogbunike, Anambra State, Prof and Mrs Okwudili revealed to the world that their 20-year old son was a twin. The twin sister was stolen at birth and sold by the medical staff for financial gain.
Juliet Agulanna was the twin female. She was allegedly taken at birth by Dr Oguannua, the owner of Madonna Infirmary Hospital. He also sold her to his nurses. Juliet, who was a student at the Alex Ekwueme Feder University, Ebonyi, then went to a nearby shop to learn hairdressing. It turned out that her biological parents owned the property where the shop was situated.
Juliet received numerous questions from customers about her mother shortly after her apprenticeship began. The same question was also being asked of Mrs Gloria Okwudili —whether she was Juliet’s mother because the resemblance was uncanny. Concerned customers asked the girl about her date of birth and were shocked that it coincided with the date of birth of Mrs Okwudili’s son — July 18, 2002. It was a freak of nature that the girl shared the same birthday with a boy who looked exactly like her male counterpart.
Juliet confronted the foster mother about these developments. She told her it was a mistake, and that she was born June 14, 2002. The woman then gave her one after another name when she asked Juliet for the name and address of the hospital in which she was born. Juliet soon realized that her foster mom was lying.
Juliet wanted to know her parents’ identities at the age of 20. She had noticed too many similarities between Mrs Okwudili’s son and herself and the word in town was that they were twins and that the female child had been sold to a childless couple by the doctor who took the delivery having lied to the mother of the twins that she delivered one male child. She felt a strong pull to discover the truth about her paternity as she interacted more with the Okwudilis.
The Agulannas, her foster parents, tried everything to convince Juliet that she was their biological child, but their contradictory stories made it impossible. Juliet approached Mrs Okwudili on a fateful morning, asking for a DNA testing to verify her true family. The Okwudilis gave samples to Juliet for the DNA test last July. The test result was published in September and revealed that the Okwudilis are Juliet’s true parents.
This matter will likely go to court. Because, once Juliet’s paternity has been established, the ghosts of her childhood crimes cannot be buried until an investigation and judicial intervention are done. In Nigeria, there are established procedures for adopting children. It will be fascinating to see if the courts question whether these procedures were actually followed, if so.
That young girl would not have believed she was what she was if it wasn’t for Fate. What is the point of denying a human being her rightful heritage? An innocent baby should not be sold to satisfy the greed or inhumanity of other men.
As if the trauma of the Okwudilis wasn’t bad enough, the society was further shocked by revelations that unidentified gunmen recently attacked a maternity hospital in Nkpologwu in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, taking away four newborn babies.
According to reports, one local told journalists that the attackers didn’t steal anything else like it usually happens when armed criminals raid a community. “No one was injured, and no one was killed in the attack. Other than the stealing of the babies, the motive for the invasion of the hospital is not known”, they said.
There is speculation that there may be a black market in which babies are sold to childless couples. This is due to the stigma associated with childlessness. Some of the babies could be sold to ritualists for their organs as occult sacrifice. This is the more bizarre aspect of the revelations.
Concern was also expressed over the high rate of kidnappings involving ritualists, especially in the lead-up to elections. The word in town is that desperate political foot soldiers procure human body parts for voodoo purposes in aid of their principals’ political ambitions.
No matter what, the society is still at the mercy these demons. Only the police, along with their sister security agents, are licensed and equipped for interdicting them. And the mass media, in carrying out its surveillance function in the society has to continuously draw the society’s attention to these sacrilegious occurrences which have the effect of eroding our humanity.
It is troubling to realize that even babies who are helpless are kidnapped. This makes it difficult to imagine how low we can sink before we become sufficiently scared to stop this terrible fate. Is there anything more sinister than stealing a baby’s life?
The exit is what is most certain about the path between life and death. No matter how one makes one’s entrance, what matters most, say the sages, is how one finishes. Does the person have a lasting impact? If you answered yes, then you are eligible for immortality. These doers will never die. And that is why Sam Nda-Isaiah’s legacy endures and his memory remains evergreen.
“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?” asked novelist Garth Nix.
Sam chose his path, and he walked it admirably. In spite of life’s seeming futility, the greatest prize at the end is to have made an indelible footprint as Sam Nda-Isaiah, founding Chairman of the Leadership newspaper group, has done. It isn’t something that most people can do after they die to make a difference. In Sam’s case, it is as if he never departed. His legacy endures.
All the Heavens grant him peace. Complete peace.
Wole Olaoye is a public relations consultant and veteran journalist. He can be reached through [email protected] Twitter: @wole_olaoye; Instagram: woleola2021.
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