Nigerians have commended the Federal Government for approving a 14-day paternity leave for fathers, with many canvassing that the same gesture be extended to adoptive mothers.
Some respondents who spoke in Lagos said that such a gesture would help the mothers to bond with their adopted child or children.
NAN reports that the FG had on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, approved 14 days of paternity leave for fathers and adoptive fathers to enable them to bond with their new babies.
The Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, made the announcement while briefing State House reporters after the virtual Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The paternity leave is for men who work in the federal civil service.
Mrs Dorothy Nyisom, a senior Civil Servant in the Federal Ministry of Information, told NAN that nurturing an adopted child is more difficult due to the peculiar challenges attached to it.
“ I have given birth to children and I have also adopted children; I can categorically say that tending to an adopted baby is much more difficult and tasking than tending to your own biological child.
“For a biological child, you breastfeed your baby and change their diapers among other things. You also attend to some manifestation with which you or your partner can probably relate.
“For an adopted child, you have to prepare food and some of these children react to artificial milk. You also have to look out for peculiarities in the child which you are not aware of because the child has not inherited any of your genes.
“There are so many things such mothers also put into consideration to ensure that the baby is well nurtured; so, same gesture should be extended to them,” she said.
On the paternity leave, Nyisom commended the government for the move, asking that maternity leave for mothers be extended to six months.
“It is a good thing that the government has come up with the paternity leave for fathers. It will go a long way to relieve some of the stress they also face before and after the birth of their child,” she told NAN.
Mrs Abimbola Badejo-Salehu, a Civil Servant with the Lagos State Government, said that adoptive mothers should be given the same privileges as biological mothers.
“An adoptive mother is new to the role, so she also needs to leave to get acquainted with her motherly role by going for maternity leave too.
“She needs to familiarise herself with this noble role to enable her to understand her new child,” she said.
Commenting on paternity leave, Badejo-Salehu said that she was indifferent about the leave for fathers.
“I still don’t understand how necessary it is in our African context. When we give birth, our extended families are always with us. So, what is his role as a father in nursing the mother or baby?
“Is it to breastfeed the child or help you press your tummy and body? I don’t understand.
“They can’t comfort the baby if the child needs to be fed but maybe, it can serve the purpose of preparation for the naming ceremony and other things,’’ Badejo-Saleh expressed her opinion.
Mrs Abosede Joseph, a School Teacher, told NAN that mothers, irrespective of being biological or adoptive, should be treated equally.
“If biological mothers are entitled to maternity leave, nothing stops adoptive mothers from enjoying the same.
“Being a mother goes beyond giving birth to a child or children. I know adoptive mothers who are far more caring than some biological mothers.
“So, both mothers should be given the same privilege to enjoy maternity leave and bond with their child, biological or adopted,’’ she said.
Airing his views, Mr Babatunde Olarenwaju, a staff of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), described the 14-day leave grant as a welcome development, which was long expected.
Olarenwaju said it would make the fathers to be actively involved in the nursing and upbringing of the children, including happenings in his house
According to him, the majority of men claim to be too busy all the time, thereby leaving all domestic chores for the wife irrespective of her condition as a result of childbirth.
“Lots of men do not monitor what is going on in their homes due to busy schedules; they come home in the night and leave very early the next morning.
“It is good news because it will create time for the fathers to be involved. Take part in pacifying the baby, change the diaper, monitor their homes, bond with his wife and children and also look inward to fix things in the family,” Olarenwaju said.
Commenting, Mr Raji Rasak, a Journalist, said that the paternity leave would enable the father to properly plan for the naming ceremony of the baby and other activities accompanying the birth of a newborn in the Nigerian setting.
“Among the Yoruba people, for instance, a baby is named after seven days of the child’s birth.
“Most fathers in paid employment would usually squeeze out time from their working hours to run around for the arrangements for the naming ceremony.
“But, the 14 days paternity leave will now give fathers ample time to prepare for the event and also support the mothers through the birthing healing process.
“So, the leave period is quite commendable,’’ he said.
Mr Kenneth Nwoba, a staff of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), applauded the Federal Government for granting the 14 days paternity leave for fathers.
Nwoba told NAN that it would even be more worthwhile if the paternity leave is extended to one month for fathers to fully “enjoy’’ the joys that come with a new baby.
“In fact, we have been short-changed a long time ago.
`Mothers are given approximately four months maternity leave.
“They stay at home, are nursed, given all the special meals that help them bounce back and they bond with the baby. Little wonder the children most times cling to their mothers.
“Fathers are being short-changed by giving them only 14 days.’’
Also, an Engineer, Mr Olusola Abegunde, said that the paternity leave approved by the FG was laudable.
According to him, with paternity leave, fathers will now utilize the opportunity to establish bonding with the child.
He also appealed that the leave is extended to adoptive fathers as well in order to create a bond between father and child.
He, however, posed a question as to what would happen in a scenario whereby a man has more than a wife and they give birth at different times within the year.
How many leave times would he be granted?