Olusola Steven, coordinator of the Vine Heritage Home, Kuje, Federal Capital Territory (FCT, yesterday said 115 children rejected by their communities have been saved from being killed.
Steven, who is also a missionary, made this disclosure during the graduation ceremony of 15 girls of the home trained in fashion designing by the Latiwa Development Foundation in Kuje.
The missionary told newsmen that since the inception of the home in 2001, 115 children had been saved from the practice of infanticide by 60 communities in the FCT. Infanticide is the practice in some societies of killing unwanted children soon after birth.
Steven explained that there were some tribes that did not accept the birth of twins, albinos or children with deformities because they were believed to be evil.He said: "They also believe that if a mother dies at childbirth or if a nursing mother gives birth and dies, as long as that child is still suckling, it is believed the child killed the mother.
"Usually, when the mother is to be buried, the living child is placed on the mother's chest and buried with her; in some other communities, those children are abandoned in a room.
"They also believe that a teething child that grows the upper teeth first is evil; such children are also killed. These children are sometimes poisoned with some local herbs, some others are suffocated to death."
We started approaching the people; at first, about 10 to 17 years ago, it was not easy because we had to try to convince and plead with them."He also said that a few communities were gradually becoming aware of the need to stop the practice and added that some missionaries lived in the communities to help retrieve such children.
Also speaking, Cathy Amato, Founder of Latiwa Development Foundation, said facilities in the home were being renovated and expanded to accommodate the children and their caregivers.Amato said that the facilities and equipment would be made available to empower the 15 girls trained in fashion designing.