I was shocked to the marrow a few months ago when I got home to a strange news, the type I’d never heard of before in my area in history, past or my growing up years (I am not assuming such never happened though). I only asked why Femi (not his real name) a young 19 years old boy operating a barbing salon just outside my house didn’t open, and to my surprise, I was told that Femi, and his friend Drogba (nick name) my neighbour’s son who was 18 years old and a third person who probably was as strange as the dastardly act, raped two teenage secondary school girls, recorded it with their phone unmasked, and shared it with friends. It was almost unbelievable because I watched two of the three accused grow up, and I sometimes do the long journey of driving home, just to have a haircut in his shop to encourage him. I dismissed allegation until I was confronted with the video. I busted out with rage, my blood boiled and I would have committed another crime if any of those kids were 100km near me when I saw the video. They were lucky to be far beyond my reach. Femi was in police custody cooling off while he awaits trial, and his gang members had absconded before the law enforcers could lay a hand on them. The sad reality of this event was that the video was in circulation for months, people watched it and passed it, nobody was going to report it because they knew the criminal kids involved and their parents, it was wrong but it was acceptable because of some stupid communal bond (family syndrome). It took a real mother, one great woman to report the case. She discovered that the girls that got raped were her daughter’s classmates, she felt it could have been her daughter in that room crying, begging and screaming for help and mercy, she dragged the bull by the horn ignoring whether it kicked or not, without fear of the communal stigma and danger involved, she went to the police and took them to the home of Femi first, but the news of the arrest broke and the two others fled before the law could catch up with them.
Eight months later, 20 years old Femi has been sentenced to spend all of his youth in prison and should probably be out before his 40th birthday if he lives long enough to complete his 19 years sentence. His fleeing compatriots were also found guilty in absentia and given a longer sentence which they’d start anytime they are found, anywhere in Nigeria by the law enforcement agencies. I am saddened by the fact that this young boy will lose his youth and perhaps his co-criminal will someday be found and led to prison too.
But hey! Who will stand up to lead this few public office holders and corrupt politicians that rape Nigerians by the million everyday to the altar of justice so we can send them to a pathetic sojourn within the walls of the very desolate prisons across Nigeria.
Nigeria is built on the immoral and feeble threads of diverse communal connections along different variation in the name of ethnicity, tribe or religion. And the stench of the decay in our society, we cover daily with the torn umbrella of being our brother’s keeper. The hypocrite in us has grown so huge that we can no longer act or pretend. It is as seen on TV, unscripted like the pages of the scriptures. An Edwin Clarke supports the lackluster performance of the presidency not only because he’s being enriched by it, but because he’s an Ijaw man, a Dokubo is far more outspoken with is alienation. The North will only hear of it if the man is Hausa or Muslim no matter how light the weight of his credibility is, the Easterners will not even bother about whether their brother or sister is a saint or sinner as long as he or she is “Ndigbo” and the Yoruba’s have a lewd expression for supporting this mediocrity that has brought Nigeria to her knees “Omo wa ni, eje o se” (He’s our son, let him do it irrespective of his standing), I just hope this syndrome doesn’t cripple Nigeria and keep her lame before we break out of it.
Perhaps the only people that had sent their own to prison is OBJ and the ex-convict is Bode George and it was all as a result of personal beef and not essentially because of the good of Nigeria.
Nigerians are being raped and sodomized every second of every day and night by her own government and people. We wash in horror but instead of calling the law to act, we sympathize, even enjoy it and share the misery with the next man, woman or child just because the culprit is a kin by ethnicity, tribe or religion. But we are quick to scream if the rapist is from the other side of town, screaming for his head or tail in atonement for the sin that happens recklessly and endlessly within our own court that we do nothing to control, end or punish the culprit or heal the victim. It is one of those things when the criminal is one of our own, we do everything to cover the dust and mop it up, but we scream till we convulse when the culprit is of another tribe or religion. I hope the mothers (male and female) amongst us will awake to the danger this anomaly potent within, let’s not wait till the victim is our son or daughter, let’s squash our stupidity in supporting mediocrity. We can end corruption by exposing it within our walls and household, end the menace of Boko Haram by pointing our sons that are in the sect, build a new Nigeria by ending the stupid protection policies that God did not ordain us to observe.
I doff my hat for Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, the father of the “Xmas Day Bomber” who reported the extremist tendencies of his own son before that fateful Christmas day episode. We must quit pointing fingers and win the war from within before it wane us down to the lowest ebb and win us from within and without.
I am Abidemi Babaolowo Oderinlo
iThink, iWrite and iActOnIt
The views expressed above are solely that of the writer and not of Omojuwa.com or its associates.