Against the background of apparent rising cases of pedophilia in the country, a cross section of Nigerians told LIMAN DORCAS that "Haute Couture" or "High Fashion" might be fuelling this crime with the sexual overtone of children's clothing line, which undiscerning parents, especially mothers, appeared to have embraced.
Wearing cloths is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of most human societies.Anthropologists say humans started wearing cloths for practical reason, mainly to protect themselves from the element - cold, heat and rain.
While that primordial reason still holds true today, "Haute Couture" or "High Fashion" seems determined to go against it, especially with female fashion, and lately children's clothing. The Mantra today, it seems, is that if it does not ooze sex, it is not fashion. Even if it is to be worn by a two-year-old girl, the scantier, the better.
Thus, the norm at children's parties in Nigeria these days is for many attendees to turn out in the latest creation from Paris, New York and London - Chinese-made, Dubai-sold fakes, really - with the girls' outfits crassly competing for the Queen of Tart crown, highly coveted, it seems, by their mothers who dressed them up and chaperon them to the bacchanal gathering.
Steamy pictures of these three, four-year-old girls in sexually provocative postures are intermittently twitted or uploaded on facebook by their posse of pox mothers, right from the orgy pit - to the delirious delight of paedophiles trawling cyberspace!
A father of three who simply gave his name as Mr Harrison is appalled by the way young mothers in the country dress their children, especially the girls.
He said: "It is uncalled for. Dressing kids inappropriately sow the seeds of immorality in them early in life, which spirals out of control later on. God hates indecently dressed people. My children dress decently; I see to that in my household. I blame this ugly phenomenon on mothers who do not have time to take care of their kids because they are after money and fame. I also blame movie makers for the kinds of films they make, which children watch and influence the way they dress. These do not help parents who make spirited efforts to make their children dress decently."
"I believe that children should be brought up in the way of the Lord and kids should be God fearing. One manifest way of knowing children brought up with the fear of God is their mode of dressing. Now that the festive season is here, I urge mothers to dress their children in a way that will please God for the Christmas and New Year celebrations," Mr Idiongo Goodwin told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND.
Also, a senior citizen, Mrs Bridget Omini, said: "Young mothers dress their kids like celebrities dress. They watch television and think that that's how they are to dress their kids. During our time, for example,when the weather was cold we wrap our children in thick clothes to protect them from the weather. But today, young mothers expose their children to harsh weather conditions in the name of fashion. I urge mothers to protect their children by wearing appropriate clothes for them at the appropriate time."
"When I buy clothes for my children, I buy them to make my kids beautiful and to be admired by people," says Mrs. Esther Onotu.
"I do not encourage indecent dressing though but I buy them clothes that will fit and last. I am cautious of what I put on my kids because men can't be trusted with children, especially today. I blame parents who do not make time for their kids for the rise in child rape in the society."
A young woman who gave her name as Miss Cynthia, said: "Mothers play a vital role in the way their kids dress because it is their duty to raise children, but some forget this fundamental duty. They are unworthy of being called parents. I think the problem is deeply rooted in the fact that many youths go into marriage with youthful exuberance, including the way they dress, which extend it to their children. That's why you see kids at a tender age dressed scantily and provocatively."
She advised"parents to dress well themselves and then tell their kids to dress accordingly. Dressing counts before attitude and I think that if we bring up children well, they will dress well."
An expectant father, Mr Odinaka Ephraim, said dressing children sexually "make them look wayward. Though the child is good and very intelligent, the outward appearance sends a different message, which is wrong in the sight of God".
He pleaded with parents "to endeavour to dress children appropriately because they are the future leaders and should be taken care of for the society to be better."