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EXCLUSIVE : Mothers Resort To Poisoning Children With Intellectual Disabilities In Ogun Amidst Hardship

Talks Have Begun On It - OGSG

… Intervention Underway – PCRC Chairman

Daud Olatunji

In a heart-wrenching turn of events, it has been uncovered that distressed mothers in Ogun State are repeatedly resorting to poisoning their own children with intellectual disabilities due to overwhelming hardship and a lack of assistance. 

PLATFORM TIMES reports that the dire situation has left over 50 mothers stranded, desperately seeking specialized schooling for their children amidst a landscape devoid of support in the state. 

Phebean Abiodun, a mother grappling with the challenges of raising a child with intellectual disabilities, shared her ordeal during the recent peace summit held in the state capital. 

Abiodun, also an NGO worker dedicated to supporting children with disabilities, expressed profound frustration over the glaring absence of provisions for these vulnerable children in Ogun State. 

In a chilling revelation, Abiodun disclosed instances where mothers, overwhelmed by financial constraints and societal stigma, resorted to extreme measures such as deliberately poisoning or even attempting to harm their children.

 A parent was also said to have deliberately thrown her child with intellectual disability from a three-story building, but the child miraculously survived. 

PLATFORM TIMES further gathered that despite the resilience of some parents who have managed to enroll their children in schools outside the state, the majority remain trapped in a cycle of despair, unable to afford the exorbitant costs associated with caring for children with disabilities.

 It was also gathered that the lack of inclusive education compounds their anguish, as regular schools in the state reject these children, leaving them with nowhere to turn. 

Abiodun says, “Challenges with parents of children living with intellectual disabilities exist because I think there is no plan for them in this state at all.

 “It’s only Ogun State out of all the states in this southwest region that does not have any provision for children with intellectual disabilities, and we have them in large numbers. 

“Though we have a school for the blind and one for the deaf, some of these children can attend school, while some cannot. For those that can attend school, there’s no inclusion in education for them. 

There is a child rights law in other states where they practice inclusion, but it’s only in Ogun State that this is not practiced.

 “In fact, when we take these children to regular schools, they reject them, saying this is not a school for children with disabilities, and ask us to find somewhere else.”

 While speaking with chale going facing the parents to enroll their children in special schools in the state, Abiodun said, “In fact, the child that I was talking about is now in a school in Moniya, Oyo State, and she was warmly welcomed.

 “She’s now in SS2. She was taken from Abeokuta to Oyo State, and we have about three government-owned schools like that in Ibadan, but there’s no such thing in Ogun State, so we are pleading with our government to look out for these children.” 

While speaking on the statistics of the parents with intellectual disability, the mother of nine-year-old with intellectual disability said, “We have over 50 mothers registered with us, but due to stigmatization, they cannot bring those children out. 

“They’re ashamed of the children’s condition because catering for children like that is very expensive. 

Even for me, as a civil servant, when I first took my child to the Neuropsychiatric Hospital Aro from the Federal Medical Centre Abeokuta, I cried. I left to look for money to register her because back in 2017, to register a child in the Neuropsychiatric Hospital Aro cost N6,800.

 “I still have the receipt with me. So, if in 2017 I registered my child with N6,800, for registration alone, how many parents can afford that? I don’t know how much it is now, but back then, as a civil servant, I could not afford that. So, many of these parents have been thrown out of jobs. “What do we expect? 

“That’s why so many of them are poisoning their children. “I had a clergyman advise me, asking why I was holding onto a nine-year-old child with cerebral palsy; by now, he’s supposed to be dead. “The general belief is that taking care of those children is like only giving yourself problems.

 “While some of them are doing okay, we have a child with cerebral palsy who is popular for singing. If his mother had poisoned him as a child with cerebral palsy, he would not have become known now. 

“The parents who are taking care of these kids are not doing it with joy because it is expensive, and there are no schools or vocational centers for them to attend, neither government-owned nor privately-owned.

 “We advise the government to come to the aid of these children. It does not cost much; they can start with a three-bedroom apartment in a compound.

 “My daughter can cope in a public school once she can communicate. It’s just about getting a wheelchair for them and a caregiver who can assist them, particularly with using the toilet. Their brains are functioning; it’s not all of them whose brains are totally damaged.

 “So, for those who cannot attend school, they can do well with vocational skills. It’s just that a special teacher will need to identify the area of concentration for each child and help them towards achieving their goals. 

“My daughter will be nine this year, and there’s no school for her to attend. When you take them to school, no school wants to accept them. 

“We are still hoping and pleading for the state government to come to their aid so that once there’s a school, we’ll take her there. She’ll do fine in a special school. 

“There are 50 parents registered with us. There was a time we registered a group of them with Abeokuta South Local Government through the Dayomi Foundation, where we bring those children with their mothers together. So, we seek support from NGOs. “In fact, there’s an NGO in Lagos, the Child Development Center (CDC), owned by Dr. Akindayomi, but she’s late now. 

“I know a woman with two boys, one with cerebral palsy and the other with Down syndrome, both grown-up boys, around 21 years old. Asking such a woman to come to a meeting when she probably does not have enough to eat at home is one of the limitations we face now. 

“Had Ogun State been like Lagos State, where there are many NGOs supporting children like that, it would have been better. 

“We have reached out to the Ogun State government in the past, but during Senator Amosun’s regime, there was no response. “That’s what made me join JONAPWD (Joint Association of People With Disability) in Ogun State. 

“The agony is real. The woman I mentioned who has two children with disabilities was sent packing by her landlord. I gave birth to my child at FMC, and I’ve been taking care of her since then.

 “When you meet those mothers and hear their stories, it’s heart-wrenching. There’s someone who said she had thrown her baby from a three-story building, and the baby didn’t die.”


… OGSG Begins Talks With Affected Mothers


When contacted, Ogun State government expressed shock over the development, promising to address the issue. 


The Director of Rehabilitation Services, Funminiyi Olekama, expressed shock over the development. Olekama spoke with PLATFORM TIMES on the phone, saying the woman had reached out to her on Wednesday and that an appointment had been made over the issue.


She said, “One of the things I got to know about them is that they’re having that issue, and the coordinator for Ogun state, who is coordinating this intellectual disability cluster, we spoke today.


She told me she wanted to see me concerning this issue, and what I told her was that we would need to discuss first, and we would go to my commissioner to table their request there. I wasn’t aware that they wrote a letter to that effect.

“The special school I know of is Daniel Akintande, which is at Adigbe. That means we still have so much work. That is why I said the woman should come; we would go to my commissioner, we would look at it, then they would have to contact the ministry of education as well.

“You know it can’t be done on our own level. It would have to be done on the level of the commissioners; that’s the bottom line.”


OGSG has been Briefed – JONAPWD 


Contrary to the claim by the state government on the issue, the chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities in the state, Dr Michael Eboho, said the commissioner for Women Affairs Hon. Khadija Adeleye-Oladapo  had been briefed about the situation.

Eboho lamented that no response had been received from the government since.

 He said, “They normally go to Lagos or Ibadan, but as it is now, at the point when we had this discussion with the commissioner for Women Affairs, we made mention of it and even at last year’s International Day for Persons with Disabilities, it was part of my speech. But up till now, there are still no concrete things that have been done.

 So that is what we are asking for, it  is setting up schools, like this one, it would be well captured, but now that there’s nothing like that, we take whatever the ministry of affairs and social development gives us, whatever ministry of education does order special education unit.

“ The ministry of special education caters for children with blindness; we have a school for the blind at Ijebu Igbo, we have a school for the deaf at Sagamu, Ijebu-ode, Ilaro. 

“We have a school for special needs, but the one we need within this Ogun Central area, so that children of that nature will not be going to Lagos or Ibadan.”


 … Intervention Coming Soon from Abroad – PCRC Chairman


 The state chairman of the Police Committee Relations in Ogun state, Venerable Samson Popson, described the situation as worrisome. 

Poopola, who granted an interview on the sideline of peace summit, said some parents abroad have shown interest in helping the children in the state. 

He said, “There is a foundation coming up from Miami, the foreigner in the USA is been spearheaded by Mr. Abiola Sogaolu to establish a skill that will cater especially for these children, at least I was not talking about the blind; we’re talking about those ones that have intellectual disability challenges. 

“I think by next we must be talking about the school…even if it is about 10 or 20 of them they can accommodate, we would have done our part giving back to society.”

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