In spite of stopping the killing of twins at infancy in Nigeria in what seems like centuries ago, an investigation carried out by the News Agency of Nigeria shows that some communities in Abuja still indulge in the practice.
The communities are: Gbajingala clan of Basa Komo, Chukuku, Gaube, Chibiri, Kulo, Kiyi, Gawu, and Sabo in Kuje Area Council. Also Dogon Ruwa, Fuka, Gomani, Lapa, Gurugi, Sadaba, Kwala and Keru communities in Kwali Area Council also engage in the evil act.
The culture, which was practised by the people of Calabar many years ago, was stopped by a Scottish missionary, late Mary Slessor.
It was the belief in Calabar at the time, that if women had twins, one of them was a devil, and so the twins were left in the jungle in clay pots to die.
Aside rejecting or killing twins, the FCT communities also reject multiple births such as triplets, quadruplets, babies born with Down syndrome, and any other form of deformity.
It was also discovered that the communities also reject children who grow the upper tooth first.
They view them as mysterious, evil babies and a bad omen, which was not acceptable and should be killed. While some of the communities engage in the barbaric practice in the open, others do it secretly.
Though, NAN sought to speak with some indigenes of the communities, they declined comment for fear of being found out, but for one Zaka Musa of Kiyi.
Mr. Musa confirmed that the culture was still being practiced, but was being done without the knowledge of the community leaders.
Mr. Musa said families who engaged in the practice had yet to embrace civilisation, in spite of the level of awareness by religious leaders.
Leaders of some of the communities were also contacted. While some denied knowledge of the practice, others claimed it had been stopped some years ago.
Jibrin Sarki, the community leader of Chukuku, said he had not received any such case. He, however, noted that he had passed a message through the town crier to his people to report any family involved in the practice. Also, the community leader of Guabe, Zaki Tanko, told NAN that the culture had been long abolished in the area.
A missionary and founder of Vine Heritage Home, an orphanage in Kuje, Stephen Olusola, who confirmed the evil practice to NAN, frowned at the culture.
Mr. Olusola said that his Foundation had received cases of rejected twins, triplets and multiple children from the communities.
He noted that in spite of the abolition of the barbaric tradition many years ago, it was worrisome that some communities in the nation’s seat of power still indulged in it.
Mr. Olusola said the communities that engaged in the practice believed that twins and triplets and multiple births were evil babies, and should be put away from the people.
“While doing my duty as a missionary, I got to know about the story of certain category of children whose lives are being endangered by some cultural practices within the FCT.
“The major ones we started confronting were children who came as twins or triplets or multiple births.
“The people involved in the practice are the Basa Komo with special reference to the Gbajingala clan in the FCT.
“In these communities, children who come in multiple births are not accepted.
“They also reject children who lose their mothers at birth and children who are born as albinos.
“Children who are born with deformities, such as Down syndrome, and other forms of deformity are also not acceptable to them.
“We discovered that they also reject children who grow the upper tooth first, because they see them as a sign of bad omen.
“Such are the practices we are confronted with and as a missionary, God challenged us not to turn the other eye to the plight of these children,’’ he said.
Mr. Olusola said that the case was once investigated and facts were established by former Minister of the FCT, Bala Mohammed.
He said there was the need for the National Orientation Agency, NOA, to begin an aggressive enlightenment and awareness creation against the evil practices in the communities.
Barnabas Joshua, based in Kuje, described the practice as “ungodly and primitive’’ and wondered why people would still indulge in it.
He said many twins were being celebrated in Nigeria such as the famous P-Square.
Mr. Joshua said that such twins should be engaged by NOA to lead the campaign against the barbaric act in the communities.
Musa Bawa, an Islamic cleric, also in Kuje, said twins were a gift from Almighty Allah and should be accepted in good faith.
He said rejecting or killing twins was not in the interest of human existence as life was a free gift from Almighty Allah to mankind.