Some families in Nigeria shocked other Nigerian citizens after it was discovered that some of these families lock up their siblings. Many cases in which mentally ill people have been rescued after being locked up for many years came to be discovered in Nigeria.
Other reports brought to light revealed that children get treated violently by their stepmothers or relatives. Some children are left under the care of their stepmothers or relatives, only to end up undergoing torture. The discovery of such cases shone a spotlight on both the lack of mental health provision and parental neglect.
Adults and children rescued were found with iron chains around their ankles. It was discovered that most individuals rescued were being forced to eat, sleep, and defecate within the same confined space. Such stories, reports, and images of this inhumane behavior have caused outrage amongst the people of Nigeria.
Mentally ill Mistreatment
In one case revealed to Nigerian citizens, a man was rescued in north-western Kano state, which is the biggest state in Northern Nigeria. The man a 32-year-old was found in his parent’s garage chained up for at least seven years. The man it was stated had been locked up for seven years for allegedly being mentally ill. When he was found he could barely walk and his limbs were bent at his awfully callused knees and too weak to support his severely emaciated body.
Child Mistreatment: Mentally ill Cases
In another case, a report of a child being allegedly battered to death was revealed to the Nigerian citizens. In the case reported in September, a seven-year-old boy left in the care of his stepmother was supposedly beaten to death at his house in Kano. The stepmother, in this case, was arrested but is yet to be charged and she hasn’t provided any comment on the case.
A lot of cases of child mistreatment seem to be happening in the northern part of Nigeria. With this being the situation, a lot of the focus went to this area. The effort was undertaken to try and rescue as many adults and children locked up in this area. All across Nigeria, however, there have been cases child mistreatment, but the decision to focus most efforts on northern Nigeria came about due to a story released in mid-August.
The report revealed that an 11-year-old was being locked up in a chicken coop in Kebbi state. The boy’s father and stepmothers were living comfortably in the house. The child with unkempt hair meanwhile lived next to a chicken and turkey. The child’s father and stepmothers were arrested and charged in court. Pictures of the child squatting next to a chicken and a turkey were revealed later on. A lot of people were outraged by this, and this triggered the main focus on northern Nigeria.
Measures to Solve Mistreatment Issues
The Nigerian government is trying to solve the problem of childhood mistreatment and the mistreatment of the mentally ill. For instance, the Nigerian Government introduced a 2003 federal law protecting the rights of children. This gives the state the right to take away a child suspected of being “neglected or ill‐treated”. 11 northern states, however, including Kano, are yet to pass the law.
To try to solve mental illness, the Nigerian government has been trying to establish more mental facilities. Most people in Nigeria, however, still see mental illness as a spiritual problem. These individuals end up seeking help from spiritual leaders and traditional healers, hoping to exorcise the evil spirit responsibly.