(My sincere apologies to my loyal readers and the hiatus that occurred in May. May came with characteristic demands, but I am thankful you guys did not break contact. May was great. Cheers to a jubilant June! 🥂)
In case you missed it, we started here https://rantings.net/2019/05/20/a-woman-with-no-honor-1-2/
…. I was overcome by a wave of embarrassment. I could not steel up at this point. I rolled my eyes in their sockets, hoping to wheel back the gathering stream of tears. My friend saw my struggles. In her kindness, she guided me through the crowd, away from any audience.
How could I be wrong?
She was not the most couth lady, but I chalked it up to the typical gritty behavior of NYSC officials when relating with corps members. I understand that some of them see it as a way to demand respect from corps members- you are down there, while they are up there. It was somewhat understandable because many of the people at the secretariat did not pass through the university but are empowered to harass you and the 4-6years you spent in the university. I never saw my Coordinator in that light. Believing the best of people until otherwise convinced, I saw her as a lady. Nothing less than a university degree. Pretty and presentable with a decent sense of fashion. I mean, she rode an SUV, it was easy to assume some class and a certain degree of exposure.
Why do I still remember her so vividly?
24hours after the news broke that police officers stormed some clubs and lounges in Abuja, arresting women and girls, while leaving the men alone; I ignored as I watched people go on rampage in the media. My natural expectation was that the outrage would make the government intervene in the brouhaha. Was I wrong? Yes.
48hours later, we got updates that some of the ladies were raped by these police officers. Some raped without protection, some raped with pure water satchet (pure water is water sold in satchets in Nigeria http://ejbio.imedpub.com/parasitological-evaluation-of-sachet-drinking-water-in-areas-oflagos-state-nigeria.php?aid=19001). Some of the ladies secured their bail with sex. Some were released after they had proven their marital status, others were to be charged- for prostitution. I lost it!
Are you kidding me?
No word from the inspector general of police.
No word from all the elected female politicians.
No word from all the First Ladies of the federation.
No word from any female celebrity.
No word from any female pastor.
Not a whisper from any pastor’s wife.
For succor, a self-acclaimed “ rehabilitator” of prostitutes underscored the sacrilegious activities of the police. The PRO of the Police, Yomi Shogunle, gloated and taunted the people to anger, saying prostitution and indecency were alien to the two dominant religions and culture. Many men fell silent- the graveyard was louder. The few ones who had a voice were insulted by the larger majority who are in silent support of the barbaric acts of the police against women. These are men that scream down the world in rage whenever the Police attacks one of them; but now that ladies were arrested while the saintly men at the bars and clubs were left to party on, it became none of their business, it was a woman’s fight. Did I say silent support?
Many men, especially of intense religiocultural extractions retweeted and hailed on the inciting utterances of the Police spokesperson. It was shameful. It was condescending. It was dehumanizing. It was hurtful.
Excuse me for a second!
Some of the ladies arrested were just passers by. Imagine walking on your street at night to buy noodles and getting thrown into a Black Maria and raped behind a certain war college? Imagine your rights as a human being and as a citizen of a nation stripped away? There is nothing to be imagined. It is common knowledge that the police rounds up innocent people just wherever they are unfortunate enough to be present where the police decides to wreck havoc. Nigerian men know this. A number of boys are sometimes just picked on the streets without any offense around Christmas because the police needs you to pay some cash for bail which translates to Christmas money. In 2008, our neighbor’s brother was bailed with 10,000 naira. The police came to our environment and filled up two Black Maria vehicles; some boys were only guilty of standing in front of their homes and above 14years. So we know these things. But because ladies were the ones involved here, they were automatically prostitutes and deserved to be arrested, raped, and dehumanized.
Is prostitution a crime?
This is the same Nigeria where fulani terrorists have sacked villages and sacked even government officials from plying some roads. Reports of their progression and conquest southwards fills the media, but the police can not be bothered. The city of Abuja is becoming notorious for night crime. Everybody knows this except the same FCT police that went about arresting prostitutes. Oh! Boko haram! They are still ravaging the North East, and Zamfara has been the newest casualty. The military is gallant and fighting hard, but the Police only paints CTU on their vehicles and parade town. It is not their business. News has them saying they are not equipped to face terrorists. But they can terrorize citizens.
If prostitution were to be a crime freshly injected into our laws, why did the Nigerian police arrest just the ladies and not a single man? Is there a seller without a buyer? Should not he accomplices in a crime face some consequences as well? Is RAPE the penalty for prostitution? I have repeatedly seen uncouth men, socially maladjusted celebrities, and dead beat celebrities say prostitutes deserve to be raped. They do not believe rape as a crime could be committed against a prostitute, afterall, she lives to have sex. You would think these men are sanctimonious and morally upright. But no, they gawk at, thirst, and lust after everything that has the appearance of a woman, be it a 4year old. The same men who shamelessly berated parents for dressing up 3year olds in shorts because the babies that have some bum (be it diapers), look appealing in shorts. Damn! I was driving home the day three men sat on a popular radio in the city to discuss this nonsense. I was so upset, I wish I had wings to fly into the studio and flog then out.
Whilst the dehumanization of the arrested ladies lasted for days and they were going to be prosecuted, the outrage grew against the backdrop of silence of the women in office and power who did not desire to have their satin reputations tarnished by association with prostitutes. But there was a voice. A voice notorious for her full flowing hijab and activism. The voice that withstood the harassments and attacks from vicious elements who harassed her for speaking up for the Chibok girls. This voice, Aisha Yesufu, barked at the elements of power at the Force Headquarters in the heart of Nigeria, demanding an end to the systemic oppression of women and sanction of the sitting government on this barbarism. The voice told them what they hated to hear:
that the hijab clad woman has the same rights as the lady in straps, and same rights as the man on a tie.
That a woman should be free to express herself devoid of harassments and intimidation.
Oh! The best part was that the protesters were women across generations. It was not a fight for young women. Mothers and grandmothers, with a sprinkle of some men of honor, trooped out to protest the rights of the Nigerian woman. The good people of Lagos did not abandon Abuja ladies in the struggle. Protests held in Lagos as well. Female lawyers took up the case of the ladies. NGOs stood their grounds to withstand the oppression. Yet, amidst this, the nature of the Nigerian Police Force shone through- inciting the men on the protest by calling them derogatory names and making efforts to arrest them, boasting that they could shoot them dead and the government would do nothing about it. Nigerians will only shout for a while and keep quiet. The government responded by announcing the transfer of Yomi Shogunle. The rapist policemen are yet to be identified.
“We are all prostitutes!”
The voice of Aisha Yesufu reverberated as she concluded her powerful speech.
“We are prostitutes!”
The crowd chanted.
I agree, I am a prostitute as well.
I am sure you are curious.
Who is a Nigerian prostitute?
(…….to be continued)