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Square Pegs and Round Holes

Month

November 2015

#Sugarbelly, the Nigerian Child, the Law and Us

I empathize with her. I doubt that she would want to come out just to destroy those folks. Yet, she loved him and you never know how these things turn into a backlash. Love or even marriage is no excuse for rape or abuse. I also read the sordid details of the (non-consensual) group sex. And she kept going back? What can I say… it also comes down to her age, a state of mind and whatever hold they had on her.  Many people have been known to maintain an attraction to monsters. I’m not sure why or how this happens. They like racy guys with powerful and controlling personae. We saw a lot of this in school between dangerous cult guys and naive babes. Some of those babes were also below 18 and in year 1 or 2. But during the period of this madness, you cannot tell them anything. “It’s crazy love”, they say. No doubt, the burden of responsibility lies with the one who is over 18 in these relationships/affairs. They are supposed to be the one who should take control and prevent an escalation, etc. Again, I do not judge her or even the Audus. I don’t know them or have proof of what really happened. Just speaking to the issue.

Now will anything happen to these guys, even if there is proof of these sexual encounters? Since she was 17 at the time, one main concern here is proving statutory rape and making it stick. Now my question is: do we have a legal age of consent (regarding sexual relations) in Nigeria? What is that age? If it is indeed below 18, how come people are able to marry “under-aged” girls  and we have not heard of anyone being charged, even as some of these same girls will go on to be pregnant and have babies before 18. Apart from being sorry for Sugarbelly and wishing her the best, I am hoping this sends out a clear message to other young people out there, that they should not settle for an abusive relationship, under any guise.  Also, grown-ups must behave responsibly and with due consideration for the disadvantaged party. Sadly, even married folk and adults in relationships endure all these things she said happened to her. These are the issues for me.

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Epilogue – November 28, 2015

So there is a Nigerian law that prohibits persons from having sexual relations with minors/children? The law defines children as people under the age of 18. Yes, EIGHTEEN. Yet, scores of thousands of children deliver babies every year. As we sit here, there are 16 year old girls in Abeokuta, Damaturu and Ogbe-Ijoh writhing under labour pains in a hospital or native delivery home. More than likely these girls would have been impregnated by men over the age of 18. Even 70 year old men. And what happens after that? NOTHING. What more proof is there that a crime has been committed? What of the ones that will be married off at 14 and start birthing babies at 16? Don’t question our culture and beliefs is the refrain here.

Today the discussion is on #Sugarbelly because she has a voice and her defilers are men of means. I feel nothing but empathy for her and would never trivialize her ordeal and suffering. However, what happens to the thousands of Jane Does? The Onomes, Bukolas and Basirats all over the Ostrich Republic that is Nigeria? Which case has ever been taken to the courts to seek redress for these ones? Which hospital has ever reported these crimes to the Police? What about the aiders and abetters? The parents who hide under the shield of poverty and ignorance to betray their own offspring?

Woe is us as a country because we do not enforce laws that affect the most vulnerable among us.
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Child Right Act, Section 31.
Unlawful sexual intercourse with a child, etc.

1. No person shall have sexual intercourse with a child.

2. A person who contravenes the provision of subsection (1) of this section commits an offence of rape and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.

3. Where a person is charged with an offence under this section, it is immaterial that –
(a) the offender believed the person to be above the age of 18 years
(b) the sexual intercourse was with the consent of the child.

SAN

Of Presidential Mind Readers and Vuvuzelas

President Buhari is fast becoming the luckiest president Nigeria has ever had. While he’s definitely one of the most taciturn, he manages to  get an unending league of social media commentators divining his every move, what he’s thinking, why he would do this and when he would do that, telling us about his (secret) economic policies and vision for the country, etc. All this from his body language. The reading of silence is a skill that has now been mastered by Nigerians.

Even the minister of petroleum, his deputy and the spokespersons for the relevant petroleum product distributing agencies have had their jobs usurped.  Folks are now telling us the root and immediate causes of the protracted fuel scarcity and when it’ll be resolved. Even the usually vociferous Lai Mohammed has now lost his information portfolio to these same folks.  It has been taken by fire by force.

If I were the president,  I would fire Garba Shehu and Adesina. He has more than enough willing spokespersons who are already working for free. After all, we are in a cost saving season, abi?

One question for the Ototas, when are we selling the jets? “The jets? use your sense na, that’s why he traveled to Iran na…private jets now have strong market in the Gulf because of the….”

Phew!

SAN

Woe is Me


Woe is me who spends 1 hour running/walking, burns 310 calories, only to go and hydrate shortly after and quaff two Heinekens mixed with two shots of Campari.

You see, each can of Heineken contains 150 calories while a shot of Campari has 80 calories. This brings the total count to 460 calories consumed and 310 burned. So, I’m off to bed with a gain of 150 calories because I got thirsty after running,  from wanting to burn calories. Confusing, uh?

Think what would have happened, had I just quenched my thirst with water after running and and gone to bed…or not even run at all and still be without the 150 added net calories.

Phew!

SAN

Brothers in Arms – Our Troops


Read the picture caption, showing how this brave Nigerian soldier chooses to rationalize life in the North East war front against BH insurgents. I have erased his name in order to protect his identity. The picture was shared from the soldier’s wall by a Facebook friend.

This shows you the caliber of men we have in the Nigerian army. They are not only well trained, brave and capable, they also endure the horrors of war whilst managing to keep their mental health in check with the simple things of life.

With all that’s going on around them, this young soldier also appreciates literature and uses the simplest of words in describing deep emotion, battle weariness, sacrifice, camaraderie and courage. My heart goes out to him and his colleagues.

#GodBlessOurTroops

SAN

What Did You Do on Your Vacation?

When you have that colleague that always has a great time when they’re on leave and ensure they share with you when they get back.

Here goes.

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“Hey bud! How’re you doing?” *firm, animated handshake.

I’m doing OK Mike. Welcome back!

“Thanks man! Everything ok here?”

O yea. We’re good. Everything’s on plan. How was your time off?

“Aw mehn! It was good. It was the last days of the fall and the weather was just right.  We took out the RV, went to the Oregon hills and camped out. Walked the park trail, the trout were biting, caught the Salmon swimming upstream on their return to the creeks for spawning season, hunted some mountain deer and pheasant, taught my daughter to shoot…  Just before coming back, I and my sons completed the renovation of our new guest lodge…did I tell you we bought the house next door, pulled down the fence and we’re turning it into a guest house for family and friends? You and Gladys should visit soon.

camping_0
Image source: camping-indigo.com
King Salmon Fishing
Image source: Alaska Fisherman (with king salmon, spawning. MR.)

“What about you bud? How did you spend yours?”

Oh me? Well, I was real busy. Spent a lot of time in traffic. Was indoors quite a bit too. My reading kept getting distracted by NEPA, diesel runs and real Nigerian problems. One of the guys was kidnapped in Warri. Oh, you heard? Well, that took a week of phone calls and worrying. No, I did not make it to my dad in Shagamu, even as it’s right next to my “Cameroon” locale. More traffic and pit stops to hydrate at Slicks, Zovar and Wind Bar…yes, I was in those places biting trout and grilled catfish. Yep! I also have some fish tales for you Mike!

grilledtilapiatomatoescilantro21
Image source: Townetworks
xovar-lounge3
Bunnies from Xovar Lounge, Lekki, Lagos

(This discussion will be repeated with some slight variation in a few months.)

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Folks, I need to go somewhere local and adventurous. Igbo Irunmole, Mambilla plateau, Olumo rock, Yankari, Oguta Lake, Abraka  resort, see the Argungu and catch a Durbar, the Osun festival and see a parade of sparkle dusted bodies at the Calabar carnival, mix with my brethren at Ojude Oba and Sagamu day events.

Why do I think none of these matches Mike’s nature holidays?

Hmmm…maybe I should get the naija version of a RV and camp out somewhere? Anyone on my list ever done that in naija? Ojuju, ritualists, kidnappers and bushbaby no catch you there? Is there any proper game reserve one can go to in the Sahel Savannah without the threat from terrorists and insurgents?  Is that part of our national life gone for good? What do we have left?

Pix showing some Nigerian tourist locations.

SAN

 

Photo credits:

http://www.thegreenwhitegreen.com, http://www.afemaipeople.com, http://www.urbaniverse.com/, Yankari National Park, kethel85blog.wordpress.com, http://outdoorstour.com/, http://www.vanguardngr.com/, http://www.manswersonline.com/,

Classic Alert: 1991 560 SEC

1991 Mercedes Benz 560 SEC

This is the W126 series 560 SEC. This car was built from 1985 to 1991. A flagship wide body icon, with a 5.5L V8 engine. This one shown is with the AMG body kit. This car was originally priced at $145, 000, but can now be had for anything from $5,000 all the way to $30,000 depending on the condition and if it’s an original AMG model. I would buy this car, even in 2015, if just to have it sit in my driveway and constantly take me back to the late 80s / mid 90s, when all I could do was watch it drive past on ‘A’ list locations like Allen Avenue and Opebi. How we would tell ourselves that it had to belong to a drug dealer, even if we did not know that for a fact.

My cousins had a very neat 500 SEL that I drove a couple of times, circa 95/96 (actual pic below). While you would find the old money crowd and foreign missions use the SEL, the SEC was for the young cats. We saw Bobby Brown pull up in this, with a loud screech, in the “My Prerogative” video and we were sold. This car was for the dude who would not wait until tomorrow. The one who just made good from his latest deal. The long throat new money rich boy who would eat his future today. The one who did not want to delay gratification. So many times I wish I was that one, just so I could drive the 560 SEC.

500 SEL, Campbell street, Lagos Island. (Eid al Fitr, 1995)

Watch this video from another passionate enthusiast and understand what this car meant to us.

 

SAN

Photo credit: ebay.com
Video credit: Youtube.com/Electricfederal

Kollington, Akala or who?

Image source: @aganamike on twitter

 

Whoever he is, he should be making a video to a song called Kasabubu or Ijo Yoyo.
That’s a lot of “shains”… and his multicoloured epidermis…
Ibadan people won’t kill us sha.
SAN

Tackling Suicide Bombings – The 25 year Plan

Let us first establish that there is a difference between insurgency and terrorism, even as related as both are in some cases. I have written about this before. While insurgency can be tackled by a good military strategy, terrorism is more difficult to combat through physical means. Terrorism is characterized by instilling fear from mass killings, especially through “random” bombings and targeted assassinations. This is mostly executed by small cells of individuals who are well trained in the art of disguise and melting into a crowd. A chief tool of terrorism is suicide bombings or martyrdom through gun attacks in the open populated centers. It is very difficult to combat this element of terrorism. The battle is one of hearts and minds.

The real question is “what is it that makes an individual kill themselves in the quest to kill several other strangers who have done nothing wrong to this individual?” What is the motivation? What allows for the lack of remorse? What removes humane considerations?

Guys, it is false doctrines. Whether we agree or not, there is more than sufficient information out there that shows how people are brainwashed into justifying mass killings, wanting to go to heaven even at the nearest opportunity and especially in a manner that guarantees certain rewards. It is a well-established fact, so, let’s get real.

While one might read this and assume this is an attack or indictment on any religion, I would caution that what I propose are just pragmatic steps towards reorientation and mindset correction. Whilst religion is not the root cause, it does certainly act as a catalyst. There are those who will be used to achieve political ends using violence when they’re brainwashed to believe they’re doing it for God. Where the real failure lies is in the system that allows some preachers and authorities of religion to preach doctrines which provide shelter and comfort for those who will be coerced into performing inhumane acts against others because the “doctrine” directs or permits it and that it comes with with some reward in the hereafter.

So in response to a commentator on my previous post who asked for an outline of the plan that I called a 25 year plan, here are a few steps in what would be a deliberate program of state instituted and supported activities with appropriate collaboration from relevant civil society groups or stakeholders.

  1. Review the UBE act to do the following:
    • Extend the tenure to 12 years – full primary and secondary education
    • Uniform “basic” curriculum across the country – it should be relevant to national integration, current direction of the economy and promote self-sustenance after school.
    • The sections which deal with punitive actions for parents that refuse to send their children to “proper” schools should be reinforced with stronger sanctions and well communicated. Kaduna and Sokoto states are already leading in this direction.
  1. Religious teachings must be regulated and monitored by government, working with the different religious councils. Extreme doctrines that preach hate, disdain for the structures of state and our laws, dangerous isolationism, and false martyrdom based on carrying out heinous acts with a promise of a hereafter of comfort, should be criminalized. It must be made sufficiently clear that when a religious injunction says it is a sin to kill the innocent, that this includes all human beings. Not just believers. No one has a right to take life under any guise and there is no reward in heaven for killing for God.
  1. The real religious leaders should come up with a program for preaching the counter narrative (Javed Ahmad Ghamidi: 2015). There must be a deliberate, disciplined and sustained effort to tell the truth about what true religion is and discredit the false doctrine that is so prevalent and easy to believe. This needs to have leadership support right up to the recognized heads of religion in Nigeria.
  2. Ensure the rule of law is sacrosanct. Treat everyone the same way under the law. Avoid extra judicial killings or actions that may be deemed to be antagonistic of one group in favourof another. Do not engage in actions that would create the urge for revenge or encourage the deification of any individual or idea.

The reason this is a 25 year plan is that we have already lost one generation and the demographic that is most affected is in the age gap of 15 – 27.

So even if you solve the politics, poverty and non-inclusion in society and leave out the aspects mentioned above, it will continue to be a tool to be used whenever the need arises. Remember that so far as humans and nations exist, there will be conflicts, disagreements and political manipulations.

The real achievement will be that they are able to employ other means of resolving these conflicts that do not use humans as willing tools for committing mindless terror through mass murders, especially from suicide bombings. Life here on earth needs to be seen as having value. Expectations of the hereafter and what will merit one getting there, need to be in line with the “real message” in the religious books and not one sold by devious puppeteers.

SAN

The Ignorant Electorate: A Danger to Democracy

 

I have heard it said a population with low intellect may not be capable of making beneficial decisions.  We saw this played out in the last elections and previous ones before it.
Let us take a quick look at what happened in Kogi state, from party primaries all the way to the main elections. When a people are presented with more than a dozen candidates from diverse backgrounds, track records and political party affiliation and yet make the election one between the devil and the deep blue sea, then they have only themselves to blame. This is not just about Wada/Audu. Several others voted drug barons and failed governors to represent them in the NASS, past and present.
Until the electorate is largely enlightened and made to understand the real reasons for voting and what politicians are supposed to do for them, they shall continue to elect the most benevolent thieves and incompetents and not necessarily the ones with either proven (good) track records or with noble intentions.
The voter must be made aware that, by that singular act of selecting a candidate via the ballot, they have been offered a chance to determine the positive or negative outcome of the next four years of government intervention in their lives. They must also be mature enough to live with the consequences while basing their next voting attempt on the lessons learned from the last one.
To grow our democracy to where the impact will be felt in governance and national development, agencies charged with national orientation must make voter education an utmost priority.
An ignorant electorate is the Achilles heel of democracy.

 

SAN

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