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Wole Soyinka Criticizes Sexual Offenses Bill in Open Letter – READ

BellaNaija.com

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Wole Soyinka - July 2014 - BellaNaija.com 01

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, is known for being very outspoken when it comes to political and social issues.

This time, he is speaking out on the controversial sexual offenses bill recently passed by lawmakers in Nigeria.

Here is Soyinka’s open letter on the issue, as reported by PM News:

Dear Friends and Comrades,

Regretfully, I am unable to be with you tomorrow morning. However, I extend a warm embrace to you in your resolve to keep within Nigeria’s short memory the events that have been central to the attainment of our democracy – warts and all – enjoyed today by you and me. June 12 remains the true Democracy Day despite the unprincipled efforts of some prime beneficiaries of that struggle to expunge it from a people’s chronicle.

If I had been able to join you, I would most certainly have asked you for help. It has to do with the nation’s latest alleged legislative stance against sexual abuse – molestation, rape, paedophilia etc etc. I am only a layman, not a “learned brother”, so any help from the learned is earnestly solicited. The question on my mind is this: is that legislative reinforcement not merely a case of rubbing vaseline on leprosy?

In this supposedly progressive bill, sponsored by the respected Senator Chris Anyanwu. I could not help but notice a reiteration – as if to ensure that there is no ambiguity – of the word “child”,  near superfluously. Well, we understand “child” as defined in most dictionaries.  There is however also child as defined by the Nigerian legislature. This  definition is contained in a prior Bill, sponsored, no less, by a notorious serial paedophile  and cross-border sex trafficker, yet lawmaker – one Ahmed Yerima.

Does Yerima’s Bill, gleefully assented to by his peers, not simply vitiate this latter, supposedly humane concern for the protection of the child? Again, I confess to being only a ‘bloody layman’ in such matters. However, reading both bills, it strikes me that all the new bill does is empower the clique of paedophiles. All you need do is “marry” even a six-year old under any local laws, and do whatever you want with her. Through marriage, she is already an “adult”. Her “defiler” is now fully protected by this law. She is not. The current Bill is the ancient story of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.  End of story? Yerimah and his fellow perverts are having the last laugh.

This issue of child protection looms large all over the world – including bills passed or under debate. It is one that defines us in our own estimation and in global view as worthy to be counted among humanity, or as the basest kind of living species that exist solely for their sensual gratification, even at the cost of the emotional and physiological well-being of the weak and vulnerable of society. Our lawmakers have betrayed our children.

This latest addition of insult to social injury was tucked within a last-minute avalanche of bills that were passed at lightning speed during the tail-end of the last legislative assemblage –  47 bills in  under 3 hours – surely one for the Guinness Book of  Records. An accident? Or by design? This bill, subjected to wrong arguments, merely consolidates the reduction of female minors to sex objects.  As long as you can afford a bag of rice or – as in the case of cross-border tastes such as Ahmed Yerima’s – ten thousand dollars, you are free to rape a child to death.  This, surely cannot pretend to represent the will of a people who care. Once you re-define female adulthood as marital status, all subsequent protection bills for the girl-child are worthless, cynical.

Neither culture nor religion is at issue here. It is, quite starkly, an issue of science, the science of the human body, one that demonstrably instructs us when the female human body is still at risk from conjugal rites. We should therefore call upon the Medical Association to take the lead on this, a human issue that affects all men and women of conscience. A nation should not be founded on the sexual exploitation of the fragile, and innocent. The debate must remain open.

President Buhari – and here I make my first imposition on his presidency – should never place his assent on such a nefarious distraction. Its implications doom the victim to afflictions that churn the stomach even to think of the human toll. Perhaps those legislators think that vaginal fistula is something thought up arm-chair critics with nothing better to occupy their minds. No matter, let those who profess a genuine concern declare their stand on this. On my part, I find unacceptable any effort to build a nation on  perversions that merely minister to man’s sexual appetites. This is a sordid appeasement of a minority who actually require psychiatric help. President Buhari should not give his assent to the Bill without amendments that address the earlier Yerima gift to the nation. It’s a trap!

Let us learn from the heroes of June 12.  Few people have done more for the cause of liberation than the Hero of this day.  M.K.O Abiola was an open polygamist. None of his wives was ever found to be below the only age of consent that is now needlessly under contention  – the scientific. We cannot substitute science and observation for any spurious alibis that sacrifice the child to private lust!

The debate must remain open until resolved in favour of the child.

25 Comments

  1. corolla

    June 12, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Well said prof.

  2. le coco

    June 12, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Well said sir… the bill was definitely not reviewed as well as it should. . Much lile the 47 bills tht were rushed… PMB do something

  3. bruno FIERCE

    June 12, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    let me ask u heterosexuals. what is ur fascination with underage kids? must u heterosexuals molest underage children? pls leave children to grow up and mature.
    the most perverse group of people are heterosexuals. bunch of sexual deviants. alway ready to take a child’s innocent away. pigs.

    heterosexuals this is ur agenda, to have freedom to molest and violate little children. the standard age of consent is 18 and it is going to remain that way.

    wole soyinka than you, especially for this statement

    ” We cannot
    substitute science and observation for
    any spurious alibis that sacrifice the
    child to private lust!”

    pls nigerians we need to separate religion from state. laws shouldn’t be passed based on ur silly religious beliefs. wole soyinka the debate will remain open don’t worry.

    heterosexuals pls leave the children of nigeria alone.

    bellanaija if u like don’t post my comment cause I know u are heterosexual also.

    • nnenne

      June 12, 2015 at 10:39 pm

      @ bruno…You think underage boys are not molested too?
      Why do think some men enjoy making out with their fellow men?
      Because they were sexually abused as boys.

    • EllesarisEllendil

      June 13, 2015 at 1:56 am

      Hilarious considering a greater percentage of pedophiles are gay. Calm down abeg.

    • bruno FIERCE

      June 13, 2015 at 8:39 am

      dey there dey decieve yourself.

      a study of 300 cases of child molestion, only 3 cases were the child was molested by a gay adult, the remain 297 cases, the children where molested by straight heterosexual males and females adults.

      studies and research don’t lie. thats a proven fact.

      after all isn’t senator yerima straight.how many little kids has he married.
      the american rapper tyga isn’t he molesting underage 17 year old kylie jenner (allegedly) nonsense.

      continue decieving your selves. bunch of perverts. I deal with facts and figures and research not myths.

      heterosexuals= perverts.

    • Gerald

      June 13, 2015 at 5:55 am

      bruno, you are gay, lovely for you bro, but the apparent hate against heterosexuals is quite frankly amusing, you are talking as if most of the molestation done to boys are not from in closet homosexual males, the catholic priest, the nasty uncle, and if i were so crass as to engage in your way of thinking i might push to say you have assaulted a young boy, but please if ever you are critique something, be moderately educated about it and stick to the topic

  4. jessy

    June 12, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Well said. You need to write more plays prof for my kids and grandkids pleaseeeee.

  5. mx

    June 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    nigeria politicians r perverts.How can a nation pass a bill that allows child sex,those politians r evil they state that an 11yr old girl is under law good fr marriage.chai nigeria what a sick nation ruled by perverted rapist

  6. nene+

    June 12, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Well said as usual!

  7. ednutey

    June 12, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    And here I was thinking the whole matter of the very daft bill had been swept under the rug…God Bless Soyinka’s wisdom

    If Soyinka says he’s a bloody layman,I wonder what I’ld call myself…Lol

  8. UGO

    June 12, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Please do get a copy of the bill and read before you criticise. Nigerians are fast losing their reading culture. The bill covers defilement until the age of 18. Here is link to it http://www.nassnig.org/document/download/1347

    • Lady Bee

      June 14, 2015 at 4:55 am

      “A person who commits an offence of defilement with a
      child between the age of sixteen and eighteen years
      old is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for life.”

    • Oluwalorami

      June 14, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      @Ugo Thanks for the link. I think that giving the option of fines of =N=20,000.00, or =N=500,000.00, or =N=3m, in lieu of imprisonment in various sexual offense cases is ridiculous and not equivalent to the crime in Nigeria of today. Especially the =N=20,000.00. What with the pervading lifestyle of gross affluence and the fat bank accounts of the worst offenders coupled with the vastly depreciated buying power of the naira, some other measure should have been found, perhaps a proviso that where the annual income of the offender is close to, at, or above the range of the stated amount, then a minimum of three years gross (i.e. before taxes) annual income must be paid as a fine and a minimum of two-thirds of it given to the victim, which payment must not preclude the victim from seeking further damages in a fresh suit if he/she/they so please.

  9. eyong

    June 12, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    I love this article. SO MUCH WISDOM AND TRUTH being shared to the masses! I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Nigeria needs to understand the difference between church, human rights, and state. I love that Mr. Soyika called out Yerima by name for being a sex offender. Sick people in high places keep the masses blind and bent.

  10. nnenne

    June 12, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    FFK was the first to blow the whistle but people were abusing him.
    Thank God Soyinka is addressing the issue.
    Hope Buhari stops it when it gets to him.

  11. EllesarisEllendil

    June 13, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Buhari will not sign. Shikena!

  12. bruno FIERCE

    June 13, 2015 at 8:38 am

    dey there dey decieve yourself.

    a study of 300 cases of child molestion, only 3 cases were the child was molested by a gay adult, the remain 297 cases, the children where molested by straight heterosexual males and females adults.

    studies and research don’t lie. thats a proven fact.

    after all isn’t senator yerima straight.how many little kids has he married.
    the american rapper tyga isn’t he molesting underage 17 year old kylie jenner (allegedly) nonsense.

    continue decieving your selves. bunch of perverts. I deal with facts and figures and research not myths.

    heterosexuals= perverts.

    heterosexuals leave nigerian children alone

    • EllesarisEllendil

      June 13, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      A “study” also shows climate change isn’t real, that evolution doesn’t exist. So go figure.

    • krasavitsa

      June 13, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      @ bruno fierce, We get that you are fabulously gay and frankly, I’m pro-choice – it makes for diversity. But you can’t honestly believe that all heterosexuals are perverts; just like I don’t believe that being gay makes you a perv. Plus, you are probably the product of a strictly heterosexual union (except if you’re an IVF baby then pardon me). So, are you tryna infer that your possibly heterosexual parents are perverts???

  13. cornell

    June 13, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Well said prof……..Nigeria really need changes…..

  14. max

    June 13, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Gbam!

  15. Sandie

    June 13, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    @UGO,I haven’t read d link yet,but I think that if there isn’t a law that says marrying a girl b4 18 is illegal,then making a law dt condemns ‘defilement before 18’ is hypocritical and ironic. Those lawmakers should stop disrespecting Nigerians. Ambiguity should be cleared up and laws should be made plain.

  16. phoenix

    June 13, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    May you live long prof.!PMB will not sign such a crazy bill but I still keep wondering what the lawmakers are taking Nigerians for.a change is imminent and I don’t see it in these crop of people.revolution will come someday…….

  17. Anon

    June 14, 2015 at 12:29 am

    There are a couple of grammatical errors in this piece that make me doubt its authenticity.

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