While Nigerian historians have largely credited Mary Slessor, the
Scottish Missionary who lived in Nigeria in the 19th century, with
helping to eradicate the killing of twins in southern Nigeria, it is
heart-breaking to note that infanticide and other dangerous
practices are still prevalent within rural communities adjoining the
The efforts to rescue infants from deliberate killing by tribal
Bassa community within the FCT started in 1996 when the family of
Olusola Stevens, who are missionaries, was called upon by a native
woman to help in rescuing her child who was to be killed as a
sacrifice to the local deity to ensure a bountiful agricultural
harvest. The missionaries indeed intervened, and that child, Aishat
Ruth Garba was rescued and is now a 20 year old student at
Government Day Secondary School, Gwagwalada, F.C.T. Since that
eventful intervention, these missionaries went ahead to establish a
rehabilitation centre named Vine Heritage Home in 2004 to take care
of such rescued kids. All the rescued children were transferred into
the Vine Heritage Home within the age range of a few hours after
birth to 5 months old, and have remained in the home with some of
them now in their teens.
There are several reasons why children in
those communities stand a chance of being deliberately killed.
Within the F.C.T., the native Bassa-komo, Gbariyamma, Ganagana
communities have this unusual traditional belief that if a mother
dies from child birth or while nursing a baby, the baby is evil and
must therefore be killed by being buried (alive) with the deceased
mother. Over 70% of the children currently living in Vine Heritage
Home were rescued for this very reason.
Other reasons why some infants are being killed in these communities
include the belief that twins and other multiple
births are abominations and portend evil and as such all such
children are killed shortly after birth by being left to starve,
poisoned, or buried alive. Around 97% of the 72 children currently
residing at the Vine Heritage Home belong to this category.
Other traditional bases for infanticide in these native communities
• Growth of the upper teeth before the lower teeth in infants.
• Sacrifice of infants unto the local deity so as to have a
bountiful agricultural harvest.
• Children born with defects.
After several attempts to register the Vine Heritage Home with the
Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) which proved unsuccessful, the
name VINE HERITAGE HOME FOUNDATION was finally approved and
subsequently registered as a Non-Governmental Organization in
Across Gurara, Abaji Area Council:
Kpago, Gulida, Baragada, Kwakwa, Suhoipogokolo, Paiko, Bassa,
Gbangede, Shadadi, Baribari, Ruga, Nasarawa, Kutara, Zuhi, Gwaja,
Kasha, Adagba, KafakoKpando, Lapaihulohuwo, Shipukamdu
Gwagwalada Area Council:
Tsoho-Kaida, Dako, Dawaki, Pete, Kwalita, Ashara, Tsako, Wuranbi,
Kuturpo, Jabili, Alonwama, Wuyewuye, Kasanki, Shipipikidi, Balaki
Across River Usman, Kuje Area Council:
Dodo, Awana, Tepese, Makana, Gwara I, Gwara II, Deshi, Kalagba,
Gwuin, Kulo, Sauka
Kwali Area Council:
Tungbudu, Gomani, Fuka, Golo, Lapa, Tsulogwo, Tepese, Gurugi, Sadaba,
Keru, Gberegi, Kwala
:: Our Mission
Saving God’s Heritage (Children) for A
:: Our Vision
To rescue and foster babies and children
who have been saved from evil cultural practices in some of
the interior villages in Nigeria.
2 To give quality education that will enable
them live well and contribute highly to the
development of our dear nation and the world