Although 9,293 people have currently signed the ongoing petition against Anthonia Bisola Abayomi-Ojo, the United States Government insists that only a warrant for her arrest from the Nigerian authorities can achieve the desired impact. In June of 2016, cameras at the school of the child in question caught the physiotherapist severely abusing a toddler with cerebral palsy put in her care.

The petition was filed on the 31st of May on the renowned online platform for change, change.org, and directed at the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), Duquesne University, and the United States Department of Homeland Securities. The demands of the petition include the rescindment of the accused’s Mandela Fellowship Award and her extradition from the United States to come back and answer for her inhuman crime.

Last November, Abayomi-Ojo took off to the United States to participate in the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship without bothering to conclude the laughable punishments meted out to her by the Medical Rehabilitation Board, Yaba.

In exchange for the mother of the victim – Bukola Ayinde – dropping the charges against her, Abayomi-Ojo was to simply undergo psychiatric evaluation, work without pay at a general hospital for three months under supervision, and her license was to be suspended for the same duration of time. Prior to this incident, Abayomi-Ojo had been operating without a valid license for about a year.

The intriguing part is, not only did she flagrantly disregard the mild provisions of the bargain, the seemingly unrepentant offender actually received permission from the medical board tasked with ensuring that she did. And now, the Nigerian government is dragging its feet to do the bare minimum in what is barely reparation for the abused child and her family.

Abayomi-Ojo’s two-year long physical abuse on the Ayinde kid left her traumatised and withdrawn, thereby adding to the family’s responsibilities in improving her welfare. Yet, Mrs. Ayinde decided against drastic civil actions, thinking it more impactful to have the necessary authorities declare the physiotherapist unfit for care provision.

However, Abayomi-Ojo is on the verge of completing her Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) programme at Duquesne, which means the bodies directly and indirectly responsible for her continued training believe she is an outstanding member of society, despite the available disturbing evidence to the contrary.

It turns out Abayomi-ojo’s Fellowship is more valuable than the welfare of the Ayinde kid, as well as others like her who might unfortunately come in contact with or be placed under her care. The so-called physiotherapist was not having a bad day when that video footage was recorded – not that her actions would be excusable in the event of.

Rather she displayed a sinister behaviour over a lengthened period of time. This kind of behaviour is inherent, and a YALI fellowship won’t change that. Apparently, the United States won’t stop her if her own country is not “aware of the matter.”

So the question is, given the level of awareness generated by people who seem to understand the issue at stake, why exactly is the Nigerian government yet to arrange for Anthonia Bisola Abayomi-Ojo’s extradition?
Cynthia Okoroafor

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