By Ofonime Honesty

It is despicable and irritating. Tales like this are so bitter. It makes sane hearts wrench. I am sad today! Sad because the life of a fellow youth has been grossly jeopardized by no other person than her biological father. A father who has confessed to have had carnal knowledge of her daughter on five occasions. A father who despite medical evidence proving that he is responsible for the pregnancy, has bluntly retorted: “I am not the only one she is sleeping with.” What kind of father is this?

His name is Taiwo Oyelabi: a 50-year-old private guard who hails from Ogun State but resides in Lagos State. He is currently singing like a canary bird, infuriating the police and everyone with stories about his libido. A libido that is seemingly higher than Nigeria’s electricity grid.

There was joy twenty one years ago when his daughter (name withheld for ethical reasons) arrived planet earth alongside her twin sister. Methinks a great feast was held in tandem with Yoruba tradition. Records have it that the Yorubas boast the highest number of twin births in the world, with about 50 sets of twins for every 1,000 live births. Twinning is a cherished legacy in Yoruba land. Dear reader, even the randy Pa Taiwo is a twin.

At birth, he probably carried his hitherto fragile daughter in ecstasy. He welcomed two lovely infants to his family amidst pomp. Twenty-one years ago, he probably donned superfluous agbada and danced wildly at the christening ceremony. He must have mouthed ‘Amin (Amen)’ severally even as the elders pronounced blessings on the kids. Joy was aplenty, I think!

Did any of the aforementioned moments pierce his opaque mind while his evil game lasted? Did he remember her innocent infant smiles, cries and nags? Why should a father deliberately hang a pendant of shame instead of a medal of honour on his daughter’s neck?

As per The Nation Newspaper, “preliminary investigation by policemen at Igando Division revealed that the suspect, Taiwo Oyelabi, had been sleeping with his biological daughter since November 2017. Trouble started for the girl, who is a twin, after her parents separated. Their aunt, who resides in Cote D’Ivoire, took custody of the children until they returned last year.”

The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Imohimi Edgal, was quoted: “Sometime in November 2017, the suspect took the now grown girl from his sister and brought her home to live with him in his house at Iyaba-Oba. Since then, the suspect had been having inappropriate sexual liaisons with his daughter and the unholy liaison between father and daughter resulted in pregnancy.

“Investigation into the case revealed that the suspect is a security guard. But the strange part is that whenever he was going to work, he went with his daughter. This strange behavior attracted the attention of the community and they reported it to the Police”, CP Edgal relayed to newsmen.

Edgal added that the case has been filed at the Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos.

Physical attributes present Pa Taiwo as a matured man –his age, wrinkles-ravaged face and grey hair. However, his utterances and actions betray these attributes. He sounded more like a loose cannon. Listening to him isn’t fun. He was in great pains to justify his weird lust. He tried albeit futilely to validate it. Dear reader, worst still, he showcased disdain by placing the blame on her daughter.

“It is the work of the devil. But my daughter is also to blame because she seduced me, she started by kissing me. The first time she did it, I was sleeping. I woke up and beat her and told her to stop it. We did it five times. By the time she realised she was pregnant, she was over three months gone and there was nothing we could do about it”, Pa Taiwo narrated without hiding his face in shame.

“I am not the only one sleeping with her”, he later barked at newsmen.

His grilling continued: “Asked why he always went to work with his daughter, he said: ‘She said she could not stay at home alone, as her twin sister is married and my second wife left me when my children came back. Besides, I am not the only one she has slept with. She also has a boyfriend.”

What a tear-jerker! It was on the facebook page of The Nation Newspaper that yours truly got wind of the news. I later read the comments. Comments of lamentations. Comments with deep connotative and denotative meanings. Everyone sounded more like philosophers. Everyone condemned his forbidden passion – a passion which has violated legal, cultural and religious principles. He did to his daughter what a random guy on the streets could do. And one might argue that, at twenty one, the victim was mature enough to avoid falling prey, but it is a father’s duty to chastise his child, not otherwise.

Dear reader, beware of everyone. Parents, siblings, colleagues, friends, et al, can become destiny killers. Beware because many are out to satisfy mysterious lust. We are so fragile, once broken, we might be unfixable. We are living in bad times.

It is annoying and embarrassing that this has happened, but at a time like this, what should we do? Can’t we just say a prayer to God? Mothers, pray God never to allow your husband and children be involved in a parade of shame on television and newspapers. Pray God to reward your pains with glory. Children, pray for destiny helpers. Pray God to crown your future with success. Tell God not to allow a seed of shame to be planted in you. Tell God something, He is listening.

In all these, my heart rends for the unborn child, a product of incest. A child who would suffer the stigma of an act he didn’t commit. A child who would probably struggle with low self esteem. A child who, without proper mentorship, would be worse than the father, character-wise. That is the conundrum at hand.

The Law must take its course on this, but that alone won’t eradicate this malady. Several underlying issues must be addressed. There are many Taiwo Oyelabis in Nigeria today. A Taiwo Oyelabi can be a father, brother, uncle, teacher, family friend or a random stranger. Proper awareness, counseling and other approaches should be adopted. Improved healthcare delivery can improve the mental health of many Nigerians, though I am not insinuating that Pa Taiwo has mental issues.

This trend has to be curbed. It is high time we halted this epidemic before it becomes malignant.

(Ofonime Honesty is a journalist. He writes from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. +2348025286082)

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