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US Court Sentences Nigerian to 15-Year Jail Term

A Nigerian mother, Mrs. Oluremi Adeleye, whose actions led to the death of an 8-month-old baby in Maryland, United States, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Adeleye, 73, broke down crying in court as she spoke through an interpreter, saying, “It was a mistake. I did not want to kill that child.”

Adeleye was found guilty in a bench trial in February of child abuse and second-degree murder.

The US Prosecutors said Adeleye forced milk down the throat of 8-month-old Enita Salubi in Glenarden in October 2016, suffocating the child.

The incident was captured on a nanny camera. The defense had argued that force-feeding was a common practice in Nigeria from where Adeleke came from.

The presiding judge Karen Mason said while she did not believe Adeleye was an “evil-intentioned baby slayer,” Adeleye knew or should have known her actions could result in the death of the child.

Prosecutors said Adeleye was a live-in nanny at a couple’s home in Prince George’s County when one 8-month-old Enita Salubi died on Oct. 26, 2016.

Adeleye was asleep on a couch inside the house when the baby, who was in a walker, began crying and woke the nanny, police said.

Police said a video surveillance camera shows the nanny tried to feed the baby, but without success.

Adeleye then pulled the baby from her walker, removed the nipple from her bottle and forcefully fed her, police said.

Adeleye poured “eight ounces of milk down the child’s throat in less than 30 seconds, essentially drowning her,” the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

The baby appeared to squirm and resist while being fed the first bottle, and then Adeleye forced the contents of a second bottle into her mouth, documents said. After the baby became unresponsive, Adeleye called the baby’s father, who dialed 911 as he raced home. Enita Salubi was rushed to a hospital, where she died.

Clifton Wanzer, a neighbor, said he saw the little girl’s father carry her to an ambulance. She was rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Speaking on the incident, Susan Jeremy, a child expert based in Washington said Forced feeding is a widespread childcare practice in Yoruba culture.

Adeyeye is a Yoruba woman. The practice is learnt by females through socialization process and practiced as an expected role of a responsible mother.

The desire to feed children forces women to engage in forced feeding practice. Just like the judge said Adeleye did not intend to kill the baby. She added that it was unfortunate the baby died from the incident.

According to her, I did not expect the sentencing. I thought the Embassy of Nigeria should have also added their voice and try to get a light sentencing for her.
Disadvantages of sending modern African grandmothers to Europe and especially America and Canada to do babysitting business. Very risky. One Madam Esther Ejiofor, a wonderful woman, force fed every child she babysitted. Nobody died. Why? Because she was doing what she learnt that came through generational experience. American based African grandmothers cannot be Madam Esther Ejiofor. Never. Madam Esther was carrying an experience of over 50 years in babysitting …. This is my contribution! We must examine this scenario and learn a thing or two from it. Many of our ladies come to the US to become nannies but would not be tutored by their sponsors on the rules of engagement in this foreign land.US court system has no time for ignorance as the system is so clear cut on crimes and it is a matter of committing the crime and invariably serve the time. I was as many Yoruba toddlers as possible of my time force fed by our mothers, and it is what it is. Peradventure some may have chocked to death but the mother or whoever will not be accused of deliberately killing the child. This type of feeding is alien to the Western world and the onus of ensuring that everything is done in consonance with the practice here lies with those who sponsor these women to the US. The sponsor is obligated to orientating them on all the dos and don’ts in the workplace. This is a place that is alien to where they are coming from in terms of weather and living standards. Most of those in these categories of workers are less privileged even from Nigeria where the electricity is not constant, and they live through hard times. That notwithstanding this lady in question is way too old to be thrown into a labor market where the skill of communication is totally different from hers. Granted they make money but the dilemma she now finds herself preponderates any reason for her to do that job. Our embassy too should have intervened since this incident happened in 2016 and a ruling on the case was recently made about a week ago. At 73yrs to serve 15 years in an American jail is bad news. This also speaks volumes of the subtle trading of people as slaves to make money by those who could help secure visas for these women. It is sad !!!!!Soji Otuyelu snr

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