FCTA to prosecute residents guilty of infanticide
The Minister of State for the FCT, Ms Olajumoke Akinjide, Tuesday, said the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) would, henceforth, prosecute residents found guilty of infanticide in the territory.
Akinjide made the announcement in Abuja during the presentation of reports by the committee on the investigation of the alleged practice of infanticide in the FCT.
“The FCTA will make sure it brings to an end such an evil act. We will ensure the practice comes to an end in the FCT and Nigeria,’’ she said.
The minister said the FCTA would no longer condone the crime as its core mandate included the delivery of maternal and child care.
Akinjide said all recommendations by the committee would be implemented immediately, to ensure that such practice was erased completely.
She commended the media for exposing such acts and called for more synergy between the FCTA and other organisations to bring such evil acts to an end.
Earlier in his report, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Shaban Isiaku, said the committee’s investigation showed infanticide was being carried out in some communities.
“In the course of the committees’ interaction with the targeted communities, it was revealed that indeed the crime was being practised.
“The harmful practice has however ceased to exist in most communities of the FCT,’’ he said.
The 30-man committee formed in September 2013 revealed that infanticide was being practised in 22 communities in four of FCT’s Area Councils.
The committee listed the Area Councils as Abaji, Gwagwalada, Kuje and Kwali.
The practice of infanticide in the territory was first reported by the media in 2013.
Ishaku said the committee’s other findings include the absence of basic social amenities such as potable water and healthcare facilities in the communities.
“In some scenarios, some pregnant women, without access to prenatal care, do sometimes give birth to malformed babies.
“The wide use of herbs not prescribed for pregnant mothers, killing and abandoning of twins and other babies due to lack of proper medication or due to religious beliefs have all contributed to the practice of infanticide.
“In such cases, the babies are usually handed over by the community elders to the village deities or masquerades to be ‘taken care of’,” he said.
The committee’s report also showed that the lack of potable water was identified as a major cause of “bilharzia’’ which is described as the passing of bloody urine in some communities.
The committee said the report was structured to serve three basic purposes, which include serving as a useful guide to address identified cases of infanticide in the affected communities.
“It is also to serve as a community needs assessment document for the communities visited, with a view to bringing to the fore the infrastructural and social amenities gaps therein.
“Also, it is to serve as cultures, values and traditions’ reference document on the researched communities,’’ Ishaku said.
He urged the FCTA to study the observations, findings and recommendations highlighted in the report carefully so as to effectively address the harmful cultural practices in the area councils. ( NAN)