Recent reports have shown how violent children have become in Nigeria, to the extent of killing their parents. Ayodele Samuel in this report writes on the increasing case of Patricide in the society.
Charles Ajayi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, and top pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God RCCG, would never have thought his son, Tolani would send him to an early grave.
Tolani, a 21year-old 300-level undergraduate of History and International Relations of the Redeemers University on July 3, however butchered his father before dumping his remains into the bush inside the camp ground of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), along the Lagos-Ibadan Express road.
According to the police, Tolani confessed that his slain father provoked him by slapping him when he refused to respond to the prayers he raised during devotion. He later got angry and dashed for the kitchen where he took a knife and stabbed his father.
"The incident happened around 1:00 a.m. when the Church community was probably sleeping. It was in anger that I did it. My father just bit me repeatedly with his teeth. There was an argument between us and I stood up to him. He beat me with a stick and bit me with his teeth. Just the two of us were at home, my mother was in Abuja.
"We live in Abuja but I school at the camp (Redemption Camp). He came for a programme then, my school was on break. So, I went to meet him, we were to go back to Abuja together, then the incident happened and here I am now," Tolani said.
While narrating how the incident occurred, he disclosed that his father first hit him repeatedly with a wooden stick, which he took from the kitchen.
"My father went to the kitchen and took a stick (wooden spoon), he used it to beat me repeatedly and I tried to defend myself, then he bit me on my shoulder and I got angry. I used a small kitchen knife, later, I used cutlass to attack him. I regret the action."
Tolani is not the only perpetrator of patricide in recent times, Ikenna Onu in Ugwuoba community, in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State, also reportedly, brutally murdered his father Mr. Christopher Onu, over an argument on drug use. Ikenna allegedly hacked his father to death with an axe.
Christopher, a farmer by profession, allegedly called his son, Ikenna into his room on July 4, 2014, after returning from the farm and advised him to stop taking hard drugs suspected to be Indian hemp.
According to Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, the State Police Public Relations Officer, the fatherly advice did not go well with Ikenna, who was believed to be under the influence of the hard drug at the time his father was giving him the piece of advice.
Amaraizu disclosed that Ikenna angrily took an axe and cut his father's head wide open, adding that the deceased immediately slumped and bled to death before help could come.
Although Ikenna is currently in custody at the Criminal Investigations Department of the State Police Command in Enugu, the Onu family is still mourning death of their breadwinner.
Also earlier in 2013, 65-year-old Felix Atta, a native of Umuonu Umuida community, Enugu Ezike in Igboeze North Local Government Area of Enugu State, was also killed by his son, Ejiofor.
Ejiofor, according to the police used a machete to slaughter his father after murdering his mother about six years ago. The boy was said to have gone into hiding after committing the crime and security men and family members had commenced manhunt for him till date.
For 25-year-old Kamilu Yusuf of Mortgage Area, Gusau, Zamfara State, his mother, Hajiya Hafsat Yusuf, and his two younger sisters, Amina and Maryam were his victims.
Yusuf, a student of Computers studies at Abdul Gusau Polytechnic, Talata-Mafara, was said to have slaughtered to death the trio on the fateful night.
A family source said, Yusuf accompanied his late mother to a Commercial Bank where she withdrew N800, 000 on the fateful day.
The source said that Yusuf, who was his late mother's favourite child, demanded for unspecified amount out of the money for private use but she turned down the request.
He said that Yusuf, who was unhappy with his late mother for her refusal to give him the money, mobilised three other friends to commit the heinous crime.
Just like Yusuf, Tolani is also said to be his parents favourite, his friends, however disclosed that both the school authority and his parent knew of his weird character, which they have been trying to manage and see if he will graduate from his degree programme.
Tolani's parents, both Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), his friends disclosed, were responsible for his misdemeanor due to the outrageous upbringing they gave him, something they affirmed contributed to his wild behaviour, which, according to them, his parent had been having running battle to contain.
They said Tolani was allegedly caught twice by the authorities of the university, and a panel was set up to interrogate him on the allegations of cultism and drug related matters before he committed the murder.
A female friend, who simply identified herself as Ola, disclosed that Late Tolani's father, Pastor Charles had on several occasions used his influence as a pastor in the Church to prevail on the school authority to allow his son remain in the school after been asked to leave having falled foul of the school rules and regulations many times.
Ola said "Tolani is someone we all know around and it is common knowledge that he has problem with drugs and been expelled from school on several occasions, but his father will use his connection with the high and mighty in the Church hierarchy to return him back to school. He smokes India hemp with some of his friends on the campus.
Also a close male friend, Femi said he had a chat on one of the social media platform on the day his friend chopped off his father's head, and even read out the chat he had with him where Tolani told him his father was at home.
Femi said when he asked why Tolani did not attend Church services on Sundays, he told his friends not to disturb him saying he does not believe in God.
Redeemer's University, Student Affairs Officer, Ademola Ipenko however ruled out the existence of cultist group in his institution in the patricide case.
"You can only talk about cultism when there is a rivalry fight, involving Tolani and some other persons. I think people can see or read a lot of different meaning to this incident, but that is unfortunate.
"As far as I am concerned, it could have happened anywhere. Besides it did not happen in the school nor when the school was in session; instead it happened in his father's house. It is not the fault of anybody."
Ipenko cautioned that acts like this could be the result of a morally sick society, which he said necessitates the need for a morally responsible society, stressing the need for families to uphold high moral standards.
"I believe in good morals, I believe that is exactly what we need in the society. As fathers and mothers, we need to go back to the values which our fore-fathers generations handed to us. We were taught in our days to respect our elders, to leave our seats for our elders to sit, either in the bus or anywhere. But what do we have these days? You see elders being pushed away by the younger ones", he noted.
"We should not see moral decadence as a problem of the Church or school but we should see it as that of the family. The family is responsible for inculcating good morals in the children", he argued.
Pastor Emmanuel Ajayi of the Christ Most High Ministry on his part said "we must know that there are external factors that act as influence on children beyond what we give them. It is not only true strict discipline".
According to him, beating or abusing cannot bring children to imbibe good morals or virtues.
"It must be a combination of a number of factors, dialogue through creation of conducive atmosphere through which parents can show their children possible negative consequences when they exhibit bad traits".
President of the Young People Africa, Ola-Abraham Emmanuel however blamed the decay in moral upbringing of children in the new generation
He also blamed 'too elastic parents' for the erring acts of their wards or children.
"indecency has eaten too deep in the moral fiber of our society, this generation has morally lost it and the blame goes to the parents, most of them believe it's all about wealth and money to be a responsible citizen in the society.
"Children are trained from childhood, even our Holy Books said we should train our children, but most parents are not having time to fulfill this duty, they are busy hustling for wealth and neglecting the homefront.
"Once a person is in the university, he or she is regarded as an adult regardless of the person's age. Some of the bad traits they exhibit in the university have been part of them from secondary school days, they misbehave right under the roof of their parents.
"Though I am not denying the truth that some, who are not strong willed in maintaining high moral uprightness can be easily influenced by peers or friends to succumbing to engaging in evil acts, I still believe the home has failed," Abraham said.
A school owner Akintunde Aliyu urged parents to always take time to consider possible reasons for their children's actions with a view to discussing with them as mature persons.
"As parents, we must know that those things that worked for us when we were growing up in those days may not be still applicable now, so we must always bear that in mind".
Also, teachers should also take more interest in their pupils, check on the influences around them and get to know them better. As parents, teachers, religious leaders and guardians, we should get to know our protégés better and take keen interest in them."
Ogun State Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Ikemefuna Okoye, appealled to parents to always show their children the right path to follow and train them to know our cultural values and morals. He said that it's incredible to hear and even see such a situation where a son would kill his father because of a prayer session or advice from parents.