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Concerns over rising number of children killing parents

When Malama Jummai woke up on May 5, 2023, she never knew she would die on that fateful day as she was healthy and hearty…

When Malama Jummai woke up on May 5, 2023, she never knew she would die on that fateful day as she was healthy and hearty doing her normal daily routines, her neighbours said.

Not only that, the 50-year-old woman had no premonition that she would be killed by her own biological son. She died after being stabbed several times with a knife across parts of her body until she stopped moving.

Malama Jummai of Rimin Kebe Quarters of Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State metropolis was allegedly killed by her 22-year-old son, Ibrahim, also known as Kwarangwal.

He was alleged to have killed her under the influence of drugs, after which he ran away. He was later arrested by the police in Kano State.

A female resident of the neighbourhood who did not want to mention her name said the whole community was thrown into mourning when the incident happened, especially as the young man was hitherto separated from his mother over the fear that his habit of drug abuse could affect her. Daily Trust Saturday was told that on that fateful day, he forced his way into the house and committed the crime after an argument with the deceased.

I was standing outside my house when I suddenly heard screaming from the deceased’s residence. When we rushed in for a possible help, we found her dead. She was stabbed severally with a knife while she screamed for help,” she said, adding that the suspect fled the scene of the crime.

Similarly, a teenage boy had in 2022 attempted to kill his father in the state by putting rat poison in his food. He confessed that he deliberately wanted to kill him to inherit his wealth. The man was rescued by doctors in a hospital.

These are only two out of many cases of children killing or attempting to kill their biological parents for several purposes.

While some of the culprits killed their fathers, others dealt with their mothers, and some committed the crime on both parents.

Daily Trust Saturday reports that 47 parents were reported to have been murdered by their biological children between 2020 and now. Twenty-nine of them were reported to be fathers while 18 were mothers, which showed that among the most affected of the tragedy are fathers.

According to statistics generated from a data on such crimes, states like Kwara and Niger are in the lead with four cases each, followed by Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Ebonyi states with three cases each. The rest are 12 states with only one case each.

These cases, which cut across 25 states, are the ones reported in the media. Daily Trust Saturday gathered that many cases were not reported as they were settled locally or at the family level for the fear of the consequences that may follow, or other factors.

Major reasons behind the crime

It is believed that the majority of the crimes were committed under the influence of drugs. And they are majorly linked to quick moneymaking rituals, and fights between or among relatives while parents take sides.

According to a report by the National Drugs Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), drug abuse is increasing in Nigeria as over 14.9million people between the ages of 15 and 64 engage in it.

While drug abuse takes the front row in the reason for the crime, most of the cases were said to have been influenced by the rush for material things, leading many to consult ritual killers who convince them to sacrifice their relatives, mostly parents. Some murder their parents and trade their body parts.

In Kwara State, a young man was arrested for killing his father and selling parts of his body to ritualists. Another boy was caught for killing his father in Ekiti State after conniving with his friends to kidnap him and get his money.

There were rare instances where both father and mother were killed by their children.

According to our findings, a 21-year-old boy from Anambra State and another one from Jigawa killed both parents under the influence of hard drugs.

Upbringing, trauma strong factors – Psychologist

An educational psychologist, Muhammad Adamu Kwankwaso, a lecturer in Kano State College of Art, Science and Remedial Studies, said most of the problems were rooted in the way children were raised and the traumas they were facing in the society. He said such cases were as a result of adolescent disorder, parental style of upbringing and broken homes, grudges among families, as well as oppositional defiant disorder.

“The root cause of all is how we raise our children and what we teach them to do. If we raise them in a way they don’t feel included, they will feel abandoned. And they are bound to cross boundaries and sometimes even affect their parents.

“Growing up in a broken home, strict environment or where parents don’t listen to their children, where mothers are not in the house or either mother or father is dead contributes to the crime immensely All these have bad influence on children, making them to engage in unwholesome activities like thuggery, drug abuse and even rituals. Some parents don’t even care to feed their children, so how do you think they would have pity on them,” he said.

Some relatives of those murdered by their children who spoke with Daily Trust Saturday said they were traumatised.

Habiba Lawan, one of the relatives of the young man who recently stabbed his mother to death in Kano, said the incident had seriously affected the entire family.

“We have been coping with this challenge, but we don’t know how we would be perceived by the world. The story will remain damaging to our family.

“We can’t forgive him although he is our relative. We want him to be punished for killing our sister and damaging our reputation,” the younger sister to the deceased said.

Kwankwaso, the psychologist, further said the only way out of the menace was for parents and the society to understand their roles in the successful upbringing of children.

“Until people understand what it takes to be a father or mother, we are bound to continue having these issues. Parents are the root here, so they should always bring their children close, listen to them and give them all the necessary education and mentoring needed. They should show the children love so that they would love them to the level that they cannot even attempt to slap them, let alone kill,” he said.

He also said there was the need for people to unite at the community level and ensure a uniform upbringing of children.

“What obtained in the olden days when every child belonged to all is what will end the problem. Unfortunately, nowadays everybody is after his child. But if you stick to your child he will eventually come out and meet the one you are portraying as a bad one. We must have unity, even if it is on proper upbringing of our children,” he added.

How to end the menace – Cleric

A popular Islamic cleric in Kano, Shiekh Abubakar Lawan, also said these behaviours had to do with changes in the way people associated themselves with religions.

“People have abandoned the teachings and guidance of their religions; hence these behaviours.

“Islam has taught us how best to raise our children, but people have abandoned the teachings. For us to see the end, we have to go back to the teachings of Islam to learn the value of our parents,” he said.

On his part, the spokesman of the police command in Kano, SP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, said the security of lives and property was the business of all. He said the command under CP Muhammed Usaini Gumel was making efforts to address the problem.

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