When on October 23, 2010 Adebayo Nurudeen and Rashidat tied the nuptial knot after seven years of courtship, their joy knew no bounds. They were full of expectations. Their marriage was the envy of everyone. Like love destined from heaven, they were happy they became a couple at last. Unfortunately, Nurudeen and Rashidat’s world came- crashing when they had their first child, Mohammed-Ameer, on January 19, 2011.
The birth of of the baby was a turning point in their lives, an incident Nurudeen told Sunday Vanguard, left him in quandary.
Right from childhood, Nurudeen, from Oyo State, was loved by his parents being the first male child of a polygamous family until he decided to go against the wish of his father to pursue his own dreams instead of the profession the father chose for him.
However, the birth of Mohammed-Ameer, which seemed to have reconciled him with his father, soon snapped when it was discovered, a year after, that the child’s growth was retarded. Unable to explain the boy’s condition, the situation became disturbing to the family.
Nurudeen’s father was alleged to have threatened to strangle his grandson, claiming that his spiritual consultations revealed that Mohammed-Ameer is a curse to the family and evil.
The behaviour of Nurudeen’s father is not unconnected with the fact that many people in Nigeria depend on spiritualists to find answers to many mysteries of life. Consequently, many children with disability are taken as witches and evil. Such is the story of Nurudeen.
Narrating his ordeal to Sunday Vanguard, Nurudeen said that following the strange situation of his son, the boy was taken to a speech and language centre where he was diagnosed of autism. Mohammed-Ameer walked when he was almost two years.
“The disposition of my father had prompted my wife and children to seek asylum in Europe,” Nurudeen stated.
“We discovered that he (Mohammed-Ameer) did not always understand how he was feeling or how others were feeling about him. He never, ever felt at ease wherever we were. Because of this, he would go in search of some location where he could feel at ease.
“When we could not understand him anymore, we consulted medical experts, at Gloria Hospital where he was born, Ikorodu, Gbagada General Hospital and Lagos Island Maternity. They assured us that the problem was a mild situation of delayed growth.
“But in January 2013, when we couldn’t bear it any longer, we took him to a physiotherapist and a psychologist for help. After observing him, they told us to be calm and that, with time, he was going to outgrow the challenges.”
Meanwhile, Mohammed-Ameer always found it difficult putting his clothes on.
The father said: “He wouldn’t sleep at night, he would cry for everything. He was constantly drooling, flapping and screaming. He would bang his head against the kitchen floor and it won’t hurt him as much as it would hurt you or me.”
Efforts by Nurudeen and his wife to find care for him were not successful as every crèche they visited rejected him. That was the point the boy was taken to the speech and language centre where he was diagnosed as suffering from autism “This prompted our search for a safe haven, we wanted him to be useful to himself and, the society at large”.
urudeen father’s (Tiamiyu) disposition
Precisely, on January 2, 2015, Nurudeen’s father (Tiamiyu) paid the family a new year visit. The visit compounded Mohammed-Ameer’s case. Nurudeen told Sunday Vanguard that his father had threatened to kill the boy.
“My father (Tiamiyu) engaged me in a private discussion during which he claimed he had made his own spiritual consultations and it was revealed that the boy is evil, spiritually possessed and a curse to our lineage. That at age five if there is no appreciable improvement, he will strangle Mohammed – Ameer with his own hands,”Nurudeen said.
He further alleged that there had been serial assault committed against Mohammed-Ameer by his father which he kept away from his wife (Rashidat).
“On one occasion, during Sallah that we celebrated with my father at home, he locked Mohammed -Ameer up in a room for spiritual seclusion. He placed him on a spiritual stool. As Ameer was trying to find his way out of the room, he fell and broke a tooth.
“We decided to take Mohammed-Ameer out of his sight. We resolved to seek asylum in Europe since my father may not be able to reach our son there”.
In the process, Ameer’s mother was said to have given birth to another son, Mohammed-Ahmad Adebayo, because she left Nigeria with seven months pregnancy. She was delivered of the boy on October 31, 2015.
However, Nurudeen told Sunday Vanguard that the asylum granted the son in Europe may soon expire and may the boy subsequently be returned to Nigeria, saying this may threaten his life and bring back the stigmatisation”which he has outgrown”. ”The father added: “I see his pictures, and I found that he has found love amongst the people he is opportune to be with. Not only that, returning the boy to Nigeria will be risky to his improving state of health.”