It is often said that in life, what is wrong is wrong. True, I perfectly agree.
And that is why if a hungry person is caught stealing a bunch of plantains from someone else’s farm, poor and hungry as he or she is, the law must take its course, though in this case perhaps leniently.
So, if that principle must be strictly applied, then there are two men seriously abusing the right of a sick toddler which I find very wrong and I know any child rights activist will agree with me. Therefore, if the law must take its course, then the two and any accomplices thereof must be arrested and prosecuted.
I came across these two in a brief moment last Saturday afternoon in traffic on the George Bush Highway, near one of the busy traffic intersections. I witnessed a man carrying in his hands, a seemingly sick toddler with part of the body exposed to show an abnormally bloated stomach moving from vehicle to vehicle. The act quickly caught my attention from afar.
As I drove closer and naturally stopped by the traffic lights which went red, I noticed a second man with a megaphone appealing to people to assist with contributions to get the toddler the surgery that is needed to save his or her life. The traffic lights changed too quickly for my remote investigation so I could not ascertain whether the toddler was a boy or a girl.
Whatever the case, in my mind, the exposure of the sick infant, the abuse that the insensitive men were putting him or her through with that exposure in the sun was too much, I concluded. Does that not tantamount to child abuse and of course human rights abuse?
What I witnessed reminds me of a similar act encountered by an older boy of about six years who was also carried to the busy roadside some five or so years ago with a tube stuck in his side. ‘His caretakers’ were then appealing for money for his surgery.
I wrote an article about this condemning the act.
Some three months later, someone who read my previous article drew my attention to a similar occurrence in East Legon. I drove to the spot one Saturday and encountered the same man with the same child at the traffic island that forms near Emmanuel Eye Clinic in East Legon. Again, I drew security agencies’ attention in a second article I wrote.
The general problem is we are fast turning into a society where we do not seem to care about others anymore. It is becoming a society of each one for himself and so walks away from saying something to help others.
Otherwise, even with all the enlightenment about child rights, how could passersby watch on for these two men to come onto this busy stretch of road each day to do what I saw them doing last Saturday?
Assuming the attitude of minding one’s own business is what people passing by look at, each time they see the men at work, how about the security officers? Has no police personnel with the power of arrest ever come across the two at work?
I saw the wrong in it and so I am using the medium available to me to draw attention to the appropriate authorities of the state to get to action.
I believe the police have a children’s desk where trained officers on children’s issues are positioned to act. As I write, I pray that the officers would take up the issue and bring the men or the parents of the toddler to book for allowing this type of exposure.
For all one knows, under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), a toddler’s medical problem could be taken up for free in one of the public health institutions.
As it were, there are many interrogations that in a concerned society, the two men would be facing. One does not even know which medical centre did diagnose the toddler’s problem. What are they seeking for which reason these two gentlemen are there on the street with the toddler?
In view of the urgency of the case, could the medical establishment that first diagnosed the child not take up an appeal for funds with a media organisation?
Maybe, this article will prompt a media house to take up the issue and highlight it widely with an appeal to the public for funds. There are many philanthropists who may be touched by the condition of the child and consequently take up the case for medical treatment.
In the interim, one would like to appeal to the security agencies to trace, monitor and arrest the two men on the George Bush Highway for the sake of the toddler who is so dangerously exposed each day he or she is brought to the street side for hours in the sun and whose rights are being abused.