14 Year Old Child Bride Murders Husband

“She was married to a man that she didn’t love. She protested but her parents forced her to marry him,” – Zubeida Nagee

Its the 8th day of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Joint Campaign.
Beyond the fun fair, and the orange your neighbourhood initiative that coloured the campaign; real life issues that women experience and struggle with continue to stare the world in the face.

The news about a group of men in Kenya who attacked an indecently dressed lady heralded the commemoration of the event this year. And then global icon, Bill Cosby made the rounds on allegations of rape which took place some years back. The state government in Lagos, Nigeria is presently campaigning, and justifiably so, against rape as a form of violence against women.

Meanwhile tucked somewhere faraway from headline news is another child bride case which is brewing presently in Northern Nigeria and tending slowly towards the horrific. And the world seem almost oblivious of it.

In Gezawa, 60 miles from Kano, Wasilat Tasi’u is presently standing trial for the murder of her 35-year-old husband, Umar Sani. The man died after eating food that Tasi’u is purpoted to have laced with rat poison. She is alleged to have killed her hubby two weeks after their wedding in April, earlier this year.

Three others died from eating the food according to reports. The prosecution, led by a senior state council from the Kano State Ministry of Justice is seeking the death penalty

The case is dire in two ways. First, the legality of trying a 14-year-old for murder under criminal law. The scond borders on the rights and plight of child brides in Nigeria.

Child rights activists like Zubeida Nagee Zubeida quoted above argue that Tasi’u was a victim of systematic abuse endured by millions of girls in the Northern region. They say the blend of traditional customs, Islamic law and Nigeria’s constitutional law pose a challenge when advocating for the rights of young girls in Nigeria.

Although there was a protest about Wasilat’s predicament, nothing progressive has been achieved.

The High court judge, Justice Mohammed Yahaya has adjourned the court until December 22 while Tasi’u will be in state juvenile custody till then.

Perhaps there are just “so much trouble in the world”, echoing the words of a notable reggae artiste. World leaders are rather preoccupied with the horror that IS has continually unleashed in recent times. Or could it be that child advocates have grown weary, of an unsuccessful campaign for the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls?

Wasilat Tas’iu’s plight as a girl child in Nigeria is under reported. She is a minor who was thrown into a form of modern day slavery, who wanted out by all means.

Is killing one’s husband justifiable under the law? No. Is it justifiable within the Nigerian constitution to marry a minor? No. Will justice be served in this case? It’s over to the court of public opinion.

Please don’t let Wasilat die.

Equal Pay for Women: Consolidating the Beijing Vision

“Only 4 countries in the world have a higher proportion of women at work than men. All are in Africa: Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Burundi”.

That was a random tweet I found on my home page on Twitter. I sent a reply to the source to verify her claim and she obliged. What I discovered was stimulating as I dug deeper, taking off from her lead, Mail and Guardian Africa.

I thought Rwanda had truly performed remarkably in political empowerment with 64 women in its 100-seat lower house. In a world where 21.8% of national parliamentarians are female, Rwanda is the only country in the world with more women than men in parliament. What caught my eye was that while South Africa and Senegal made the top 10 in the global ranking, Nigeria did not.

a broadcaster at work in a studio

a broadcaster at work in a studio

Three days earlier I had posted on my fan page a report about the gender gap in the US. I went back to it and hit another statistics about gender pay gap, “Currently, there’s no country in the entire world where a woman earns as much as a man for doing the same job. And it’s going to take another 81 years for the gender gap to close”.
Just what is going on with women and men in the workforce? Why are women paid differently from men when they have the same qualifications? A colleague said to me that in the Nigerian civil service, women are given less money as transfer allowance compared to men who get enough to move a family while a woman gets an amount only for her own travel. In some universities in South Africa, women lecturers earn less than their male counterparts.
I am stunned therefore that 20 years after the Beijing Conference and with so many civil organisations, pressure groups, consistently seeking equal rights for women and the United Nations creating gender supported initiatives including the UN Women, women are still so discriminated against in the labour market.

Notable People praise Memories of Grandma

The New Look, Memories of Grandma

The New Look, Memories of Grandma

“As young Funke earns promotion from Primary Four to Five her parents decide to send her to the rural village to spend her long holidays. It proves to be a life-changing journey in magical discoveries. Funke makes the emotional transition from the cement house in Ijebu-Ode to the rustic mud and farmhouses in Ode-Omu, Gidi, Dagbolu and sundry villages of Southwestern Nigeria. Memories of Grandma is a treasure-trove interweaving farming, hunting, going to the market, telling stories and sharing songs. Every new page contains surprises, new vistas, such as finding out that Grandma’s bank happens to be a cloth, and mistaking cocoa pods for the biggest okra ever seen. Funke Treasure Durodola’s Memories of Grandma takes us deep into an enchanting world in which all things are fresh and new even in their oldness. Life throbs in this well-told story of tropical rapture, a book for all time”
– Maxim Uzoatu -Poet and Art Critic.

“How kind of Funke -Treasure Durodola to let us into the private places of her wonderful childhood, sparking our memories of how great our lives have been. She reminds us in this telling, that there was safety and wisdom at grandmother’s knee. We love the memories of food, language and sounds and smells from our family homes that assure us that we are really worthwhile and special. Treasure, lovingly gives us the contrast between the traditional and the modern as we see the generation move forward through the eyes of a little girl. I did not want the wonderful stories of grandma to end. This is an excellent book for youth and adults alike and I will thoroughly enjoy reading it with my grandchildren”.
– Princess Carroll Ayo Durodola – Author (US)

 

“This enchanting little book for children spoke volumes to me, read to my inner child and took me places in the heart I had forgotten about. Funke-Treasure Durolola is a master story teller, an owner of beautiful words and stories that will keep every child and adult entranced.”
– Ikhide R. Ikheloa – Literary Critic and Columnist (US).

“I keep reading ‘Memories of Grandma’ by @Funke_Treasure and I keep seeing a new TV show targeted at children but that will be enjoyed by the family; I keep hearing a new radio programme on culture/family/educational broadcasting; I keep seeing a documentary on growing up in the country side; I keep seeing a literature text for pupils in Western Nigeria (and who says it can’t be used in any other parts of Nigeria); I keep seeing a new comics magazine; I keep seeing an entire enterprise that can rise from this lovely book. And I have never been more serious…”
– Taiwo Obe – Founder, Everything Journalism Group on Linkedin (Nigeria)

“We will buy five copies to distribute to kids for review and discussion at the Kiddies segment of the Lagos Book and Art Festival, scheduled for November 15-17 (2013) at the Freedom Park in Lagos”
– Toyin Akinosho – Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), Nigeria

More about Memories of Grandma

Grandmothers symbolise different things to children. For young Funke, Grandma could never do wrong, Grandma meant travel, variety of traditional meals, entry into the wisdom of the aged, folk tales, songs and an excursion into the strange world of adults, who ‘always have a reason for everything’. Grandma was generous with folktales on demand, each merry with its own song!

Memories of Grandma is about a lived culture of the Yoruba ethnic group in Western Nigeria. It is about the author’s personal walk with her maternal grandmother and her perception of her other grand parents. It is the transfer of norms and values from a generation to another , the ideology of culture, a ‘lived’ experience. The celebration of that inter-relatedness. Grandma signified all of these and more.

The setting is Western Nigeria of the early 80’s, when most Nigerians maintained vegetable gardens close to their homes, men rode Vespar scooters and motor cycles for leisure; when Peugeot 404 was the cool car for mid-income families, when seeing a corpse on the street was rare and close to an abomination; when public schools were as good as the private ones. It was the days of Kingsway and Leventis stores and Odutola stores in Ijebu Ode. The days without traffic gridlocks, when parents returned home early enough from the office, to be involved in their children’s development and upbringing.

In the book, Funke visited Grandma on two major holidays; one was in Ode-Omu, the other was at the farm house in Dagbolu. The book also covered periods when Grandma also visited Funke and family in Ijebu Ode. In reality, it is a compression of several visits and holidays into a manageable and sequential bit using the short story format.

An illustration from Memories of Grandma

Memories of Grandma is particularly written for teenagers in this generation who are caught in the ‘crossfire’ of the old and modern styles of living and who continually struggle to define their identities in a rapidly changing world.

Funke Treasure’s first book is finally out

Funke-Treasure speaks about her debut book, Memories of Grandma.

In  a world that has increasingly swallowed the African culture in the guise of globalisation, there is a need for books  that  target a return to African cultural heritage and also kindle a cultural awakening. This is what I tackled in my debut book , Memories of Grandma, which is a child hood memoir. Here are my thoughts.

What is Memories of Grandma about?

It’s a book for young adults  or if you like, children in their teens. Adults will equally enjoy it . It’s a delightful book about my life as a young traveller, a curious child who always asked the question ‘why,’ and in the process learnt a lot. It’s about growing up living in two different locations and being the better for it. Its a book about my ‘gogos’, that’s what South Africans call grandmothers and my interactions with my grandparents generally.

What do you intend to achieve with it?

In Nigeria today, many of our youngsters believe stardom is synonymous with being born with a silverspoon or that becoming a star is akin to shunning our customs and traditions. They also think it means making a conscious disconnect between themselves and their cultural heritage. They think its cool to deny your identity as the daughter of a fisher man for example, or someone born in a village or whose parents or grandparents are farmers.My intention is to show them through this book and given my humble but visible corner in the society, that there is nothing to be ashamed of if your parents are farmers, carpenters , palmwine tappers and so on. Who you want to be and how you utilise your background to achieve what you want is what matters in life. The best stories are always the grass to grace stories so my central message is “hug your background and embrace your future”.

What benefit is Memories of Grandma to children?

For parents who will be buying the book, your child will know more about the Nigerian culture especially the Yoruba culture. Importantly, what is exciting about the book is that no matter where you come from in Nigeria, you will find interesting similarities between the Yoruba culture and yours. There are fables and songs which are quite stimulating and different from the common tortoise stories. They will widen your child’s store of indigenous fables.

Children and food are inseparable, they start experiencing their first frustrations in life at meal times.   What they like is not nutritious and what they detest is what mummy says they must eat all the time. ‘Memories of Grandma’ celebrates food and meals of everyday people and their lifestyles from the eyes of a child. And yes, your children will also know more varieties of vegetables beyond soko, tete and ugu.

Reading Memories of Grandma will make your child appreciate her grandparents more and pay attention to what they say. It will make your child long to strenghten the bond between her and her grandparents.

What is  significant about your grandparents?

Every culture in Africa gives grandparents, especially grandmothers a pride of place. In many cultures across the world they are priceless. When parents struggle to raise a child and also cope with the demands of life and living, grandmothers always come to the rescue.

For me, I met my 4 grandparents and my maternal great grandma alive and grew up at their feet. The experience shaped my world view significantly. I had the privilege of growing up with women who had strength of character and went about their lives with dignity. My paternal grandmum was fierce, fabulous and trendy. My maternal grandma was virtuous, humble, elegant and soft spoken.

I however related with my maternal grandma more because she was around often. So she influenced me more, she lived a life of peace and told me a lot of stories. I believe I took after her as a story teller because all I do as a producer, presenter and reporter is tell stories in different forms. But essentially, one can say that I am a combination of both of them. Their legacies to me are hard work, dignity, courage and giving me a space to be heard, a voice, so early in life.

Your last word?

Memories of Grandma, is the ultimate gift for your child and your favourite boys and girls.

Back on the Blog

I am no stranger to blogging. Some years back, I blogged about my radio programme, Nigerian Pride, which aired on the Network Service of Radio Nigeria for a couple of years. Taking time off for a higher academic degree, however, redirected my writing away from creative, and issues based discourses to academic papers and arguments. I have struggled to return to writing articles. The state of the Nigerian media has however propelled me into action.

My blog will revolve around the media world; radio, TV, the internet, films and music. It will attempt to critically analyse the texts and people I encounter. It will capture the ‘oohs! and aahs!’ of my everyday life as a media professional who traverses both the academic world of media studies, journalism and the industry. It will traverse public and private broadcasting.

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It will encompass the encounter I have had with industry greats across Africa and the rest of the world. I am particularly interested in how issues of identity, language and popular culture play out in the media, these will reflect in my views as I paddle along.

With 18 years experience behind me in the media, I have a handful of stories and insights to share. I will share the wealth of knowledge, experience I have accumulated here and er…the mistakes too. My grandma says “if a child parades a rich and full wardrobe like the elderly, it cannot have as many rags as that elder”. Yes. Can the young catch up with the varied apparels that the elderly has used in the past? Experience has its place in everything.

My friends in the media across the globe will also share this space with me as guests. As Jacqueline Ogoh, a fellow broadcast journalist says, “Nigeria cannot be the Nigerian of your dream without YOU being the CITIZEN of Nigeria’s dream . . .”
Are your actions in the media promoting mediocrity or activating excellence?
Stay with me here.
Funke -Treasure Durodola works in the Corporate Development, Research and Strategy department of Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operations