Funke Egbemode

This growing clan of sick men

Right now, this very minute, I am not feeling very Christianly. Maybe later in the day, one hour from now, I would feel better. But as you read this line, all I can feel is anger, white hot anger against Inuwa Dahiru Bala (aka Yinusa) and his father, Dahiru and his entire household and indeed, all the people who could have prevented this angry thoughts running round my brain and pained heart. I won’t tell you in black and white what I’d like to be allowed to do to Inuwa. I will use the last drop of restraint in my being to stop the words from flowing through my fingers on to this keyboard . I’ll take a deep breath and a sip of coke to further keep the angry words from appearing here. But I am one of those who think that all rapists should be castrated. Imprisonment is too easy, too little punishment.
What kind of 25-year-old man hypnotises, drugs, sweet-talks and convinces a 13-year-old girl from under the nose her mother in down south Yenagoa and takes her all the way to Kano? What kind of 25-year-old male actually carries out his sick feelings for a 13-year-old and spirits her off to his chambers hundreds and hundreds miles away from where anybody knows her or can speak up for her? What kind of man is it who steals a child from her mother’s bosom and still has the audacity to call and threaten the distressed woman that she would never see her daughter again? Since August 2015, this sick joke of a male took what didn’t belong to him. What kind of man looks at the naked body of a 13-year-old and is aroused for God’s sake! And then he went ahead to sleep with her, probably, most likely, many times until she missed her period…. Oh God, help me not to carry out what is in my angry head. I need another sip of coke.
If Inuwa, 25, planted a seed inside a 13-year-old, 13 years from now, that child will be 13 and Ese will be 26, about the age of Inuwa. In other words, in the clan of sick men who impregnate children, Inuwa is old enough to be Ese’s father. I’m trying not to throw up here. I’m desperately hoping Ese’s pregnancy is a rumour, that somehow all the assault did not result in pregnancy.
For too long, we have lived with stories of men, old men who prefer young girls in their beds. In decent climes, men who defile little girls go to prison and return to a life of eternal societal stigmatisation. They are profiled and quarantined as ‘sexual offenders’ . after conviction, they are not allowed back into normal relations. Paedophiles are closely watched when they are around children and parents are wary of them. But in Nigeria, we find convenient definitions for paedophiles. Some say it is some peoples culture. Others say it is about religion. Yet this culture and the religion they refer to only apply to the poor. Children of the rich in those cultures and religion attend the best schools. They are allowed to grow, mature and become computer analysts, engineers and accountants. Nobody whisks them off into the chambers of sick old men until they are good and ready. Their fathers stage grand weddings that last days for them and then send them off to their fine husbands’ houses.
So, I ask, why do the uneducated, poor have to be more religious, more culture-compliant than the rich? Is there a section of Paradise reserved for the rich or we are just supposed to let them pretend to be holy on Fridays and evil on the remaining six days of the week? Are we just plain weak or totally wicked? Why do we, you, me and those who call themselves leaders, law enforcement agents, royal fathers and law makers, look the other way when children are forced to grow up overnight in the laps of old men? Why is it that those royal fathers and law makers and law enforcement agents that the people look up send their children to schools in America and Europe but supervise the rape of children in their domains? Why do we block our ears to cries of anguish coming from the chambers of sin? Do we not know that we will all pay a price for the destinies of children that are sacrificed for the pleasure of men who ordinarily should be in psychiatric wards? Do we think that as a people, as a nation, we will not account for this national sin? Because that is what it is.
Every time we can do something about a child being defiled and we don’t, God notes it. Every time we rationalise our indifference, there will be consequences.
Section 11 of the Nigerian Child Rights Act is about the dignity of the child. It says very clearly that
Every child is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly, no child shall be
a) subjected to physical, mental or emotional injury, abuse, neglect or maltreatment, including
sexual abuse; or
b) subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or
c) subjected to attacks upon his honour or reputation; or
d) held in slavery or servitude, while in the care of a parent, legal guardian or school authority or
any other person or authority having the care of the child.
Yet, because the poor are voiceless, this depravity is fed by our indifference. Only God knows the number of girls that was bundled off into sexual slavery today and the number of prospective VVF patients that will be made tonight. The Bible says children are God’s heritage. Do we then think we will o scot-free if we squander his heritage? Do the societies, states that protect sick men and allow them to truncate the destinies children expect to prosper?
A nation that rationalises crime and finds fancy names for paedophilia is a sick nation. The reason a 25-year-old abduct a 13-year-old is because we explained away the abduction from Egypt of a child by a serving Senator. If the young man saw his uncle romancing a 14-year-old, why won’t he think he can do better? For as long as we reward sex offenders with chieftaincy titles and political positions, for that long we will be guilty of a sin against God.
The elders in a good society are supposed to protect the young but in our case, we have elders who’d rather eat the young ones for dinner. Or how do you explain what Inuwa Bala’s father did? His son suddenly returned from Yenagoa, where he was supposed to have gone to ‘seek greener pastures’, with a 13-year-old girl. The old man did not think he should look for his ‘in-laws’. He simply prepared a bed for his son to start reaping from an unripe harvest. If I didn’t have friends from Kano who paid bride price and married their wives properly, I would begin to think Kano people like to marry on credit. But I know that Dahiru Bala is not a representation of Kano men or Kano fathers. He is an accomplice in this case and he should not go unpunished, he and everybody found culpable in this matter must face the full wrath and force of the law.
Has it occurred to you, dear readers, that the uproar that greeted and sustained the public outcry in the Ese Oruru matter was because she is from the South? Do you think anybody would have heard if Ese had been a 13-year-old northerner victim of a sick old man who sees nothing wrong in ‘na yi ma ta goge’? Both the girl’s parents and their new son-in-law would have joined hands to supervise her defilement. The conspiracy of sick silence would have drowned out her cries for help.
On a final note, let us say this payer together: Oh Lord, every time any man attempts to use his staff of office to defile a minor, strike him with impotence. Amen.

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