“This barbaric act must stop. National Identity card is enough to identify where individuals come from. Support my bill to stop this ….”
This is the tweet of Nigerian Senator Dino Melaye which was accompanied by a picture of a baby with four long unhealed tribal mark cuts stretching from the head to the left cheek and another diagonal cut from the baby’s nose to the cheek.
This barbaric act must stop. National Identity card is enough to identify where individuals come from. Support my bill to stop this …. pic.twitter.com/3He9PEKCER— Senator Dino Melaye (@dino_melaye) November 13, 2016
The Kogi West senator is strongly against the use of tribal marks to identify people and proposes the introduction of a national identity card as an alternative.
This call was heeded by thousands of people in a few hours generating a lot of support for Senator Dino Melaye’s cause and sympathy for the child.
Distinguished Senator Sir , I support your bill 100% .God bless You https://t.co/dES0vSgQot— Abdullahi babayo (@abdull_babayo) November 14, 2016
— itoro (ElitukItoro) November 14, 2016
dino_melayeI say yes to ur bill Sir
— OLUWATIMILEHIN (skippotee) November 14, 2016
dino_melayei support u Sir
Others were shocked that the practice is still ongoing in Nigeria.
Such nonsense https://t.co/OrWEp4xLhC— paa sakyi (@paa_sakyi) November 14, 2016
— Sam (saminterpreter) November 14, 2016
dino_melayeThis is callous. Old era!
This is inhumane,all this those is to make a baby born handsome now ugly… https://t.co/Ttd7EwYD7D— Iam▲dedig•ld (@Adedigold) November 14, 2016
Gaskiya this kind of act is cruel. The kids suffer a lot cause of this. It has to stop. You don't need any mark to identify who you are. https://t.co/aubKXw8vwH— Maimuna (@EL_Maimx) November 13, 2016
— Chuky Unadulterated (ChukyUnfazed) November 13, 2016
dino_melayeThe people that need this need to be punished . Whether they are the parents or not
— Kolawole Saidu (kolasaidu) November 13, 2016
dino_melayeChild abuse. Pure and simple.
Many prominent Nigerians have tribal marks including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, traditional ruler Lamidi Adeyemi III, Governor Ayo Fayose, traditional ruler Adegboyega Dosunmu Amororo II, and former Chief Justice Salihu Moddibo Alfa Belgore.
Tribal marks are deeply rooted in Africa’s history. They are used for identification purposes as well as for beauty and medicinal purposes.
The marks are usually inscribed, burned or cut on children’s bodies or faces.
The practice has been widely condemned in Nigeria recently as there is a countrywide petition to ban the act.
Some states have however outlawed the practice including the Osun State government which has introduced a law banning the act of “tattooing or skin marking on children”.