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Talking Law with Ivie Omoregie: So, I Guess Pretty Mike Likes His Women in Chains

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A few days ago a man called “Pretty Mike” (not sure if that is what his mother calls him) decided to attend a wedding. I’m presuming he wasn’t content with his general swag getting him the desired attention, and so he decided to put some women in dog collars. These women walk several steps in front of him as he makes his grand entrance. Of course, tongues begun to wag. Social media was set ablaze and the incident made several headlines.

Well it seems like the news reached the doorstep of Governor Ambode of Lagos State and a few days later, Mr Pretty, or is it Mr Mike, was picked up for violating Chapter 21 of the Criminal Code which deals with Offences Against Morality.

As you can imagine, Nigerians have come out in their masses to question the validity of this law and many have brought Bobrisky’s open conduct into the mix.

This article aims to highlight the key elements of the law and distinguish Bobrisky’s conduct from Pretty Mike’s conduct.

What does the law say?
Chapter 21 of the Criminal Code mostly deals with :-

  1. carnal knowledge against the order of nature (same sex sexual acts and sexual acts against animals);
  2. sexual contact with underage or incapacitated persons;
  3. persons in care of such persons, cited in (b) above, found guilty of encouraging these persons to engage in sexual acts;
  4. persons who attempt to have sexual contact with a woman against her will; and
  5. persons knowingly supporting prostitution or operating brothel like establishments.

The majority of this law is not applicable in this instance. However, Chapter 21 (231) of the Criminal Code goes further to say:

“any person who

  1. wilfully and without excuse does any indecent act in any public place; or
  2. wilfully does any indecent act in any place with intent to insult or offend any person;

is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for two years”

I believe Pretty Mike would fall into the category of such persons.

Moral obligations and citizens of the Nigerian society
Many people have described this law as vague and have questioned the rate at which it has been successfully enforced. These people have stressed that morality and indecency is a subjective matter, which often varies from individual to individual and place to place. However, I must stress that although true, there are many principals governing right and wrong behaviour which are generic and applicable to all societies. Generally, where a term is truly ambiguous the Courts will apply the reasonable man test (i.e would the reasonable man behave in such a manner if placed in the same circumstances).

An individual’s private conduct is not deemed as the concern of the government or of society at large. As Nigerian citizens, we are protected by Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution which deals with Human Rights, specifically the right to privacy of all citizens and their homes. Thus, when morality is discussed it generally refers to an individual’s moral conduct as it affects the society at large. Many societies have ethical standards which, although varying from place to place, are valid and enforceable by either law, religion or social pressures.

Thus, based on this premise, as Nigerian citizens, it is established case law that we have a moral obligation to the society in which we belong to desist from conducting ourselves in a manner which might be deemed as being offensive to the people around us.

Bobrisky vs Pretty Mike
As a fallout of Pretty Mike’s conduct and his subsequent arrest, many people have exclaimed and questioned why Bobrisky has not been picked up for the same violation of Chapter 21 of the Criminal Code – Offences Against Morality. (for those who might not know, Bobrisky is heavily bleached young man who likes to dance, fixes artificial nails and wears heavy makeup)

These people are of the belief that his conduct on social media is grossly offensive and goes against the unwritten moral rules of Nigerian society.

However, here I must stress that a person’s constitutional right to freedom of expression supersedes their moral obligation to an unwritten societal rule. I know you’re probably thinking: “what about the Anti-Gay law?”; well, Bobrisky has on many occasions specifically claimed that he is not indeed gay and that his conduct on social media is purely for the pleasure of his audience and to sell his skin care products. He has emphasized that he likes wearing makeup and fixing his nails, and in many societies, this will be deemed as a way of him expressing his creativity.

To those who believe Bobrisky is gay, the onus is on you to prove it by providing evidence to support your claim.

In the case of Pretty Mike on the other hand, there is photographic and video evidence of him behaving in a manner which might be deemed by many as being highly insulative and offensive. The truth is Pretty Mike put dog collars on fellow human beings, and this act was deemed by the Lagos state Government as dehumanising. I am sure if Pretty Mike had worn the dog collar on himself I would not be addressing it right now.

Conclusion
A general rule in Public Relations is that there is no such thing as bad publicity; because of this, around the world we have seen people doing outrageous things for want of attention and social recognition. There is no question of a doubt in my mind that Pretty Mike is just trying to be sensational, in order to make his night club more popular. Bobrisky, too is trying to sell his creams. Guess what? We are all talking about both of them, so I think it worked.

On another note, whilst researching for this article I came across a clause in the Criminal Code which states

“Any person who conspires with another to induce any woman or girl, by means of false pretence or other fraudulent means, to permit any man to have carnal knowledge of her is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years

It got me thinking about the various “Yoruba Demons” and the things they often do… but, abeg that’s another article.

Ivie Omoregie is the Founding Consultant at Skye Advisory. Skye Advisory is a boutique business advisory firm with locations in London, England, as well as Lagos, Nigeria. Skye Advisory offers bespoke Legal, Financial and General Business advisory services to small and micro businesses.  Ivie is a duly qualified lawyer with years of cross border experience in the areas of Corporate Advisory, Energy and Projects, Finance and Litigation.  Ivie is also an active member of the Nigerian Bar Association as well as an avid Business Advisor, Political Analyst and Human Rights promoter.  View more details about her at www.IvieOmoregie.com. Follow her on Twitter @Ivie_Omoregie and Instagram @Skye.Advisory "

21 Comments

  1. Ify

    January 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I love your articles because you always make law interesting and understandable. You don’t speak too much legalese

    • Tina

      January 16, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      I second this comment. Love this babe I swear. She has completely torn my office upside down with debate.

  2. Dr. N

    January 16, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    In my other life I was a lawyer. Lol. Pikin wey go school
    I enjoyed this
    Ehen…I saw what u did there with Yoruba demons and all
    Hehehe

  3. KB Davies

    January 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    This is simply an extra judicial arrest without any basis in law. Note that whilst the chap has been arrested under Chapter 21 of the Criminal Code (article 231), he is yet to be charged. Why? Because the courts know it will be impossible to secure a conviction under this law, and if they did, it would certainly be unconstitutional. This is why he was let off with a warning.

    And on the issue of case law, please read the following:

    “I refer you to the following authority of the Court of Appeal, where a number of Supreme Court decisions were cited with approvals. In Alhaji Mansur Salisu & Ors v. Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar & Ors (2014) LPELR-23075(CA), the Court of Appeal, per Abiru, J.C.A., at page 59, paras. A-F, held as follow:

    “There is a saying in jurisprudence that law and morality are not synonymous. Hence, an act that is morally reprehensible may not be legally punishable – Attorney General, Federation vs Abubakar (2007) 10 NWLR (Pt 1041) 1. The Supreme Court has stated over and over that the Court is for espousing the law and not a place for sentiments and that sentiments command no place in judicial adjudication – Ezeugo vs Ohanyere (1978) 5-7 SC 171; Onjah vs Onyia (1989) 1 NWLR (Pt 99) 514; Mbachu Vs Anambra-Imo River Basin Development Authority, Owerri (2006) 14 NWLR (Pt 1000) 691; and Udosen vs State (2007) 4 NWLR (Pt 1023) 125.”

    To re-echo, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has laid it down that “the Court is for espousing the law and not a place for sentiments and that sentiments command no place in judicial adjudication”

    However, I’ll tell you what constitutes an “indecent” act – the lynching and burning to death of those suspected of committing a crime. Now tell me, how many people have been arrested for that? And what were they charged with?

    This is simply a case of the government pandering to social hysteria and a misuse of police powers. I have also written on the social hypocrisy and duplicity concerning this incident on my FB page – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154892423944948&set=a.10151561921979948.1073741825.631369947&type=3&theater

  4. Geraldine

    January 16, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Brilliant article. Bobrisky is a joke. I never take him seriously and his mannerisms don’t offend me. I just pray his bleaching does not give him skin cancer.

  5. Bade

    January 16, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Love what ivie did at the end about the Yoruba demons. They need to all be picked up.

  6. ogeAdiro

    January 16, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    “Wilfully does any indecent act in any place with intent to insult or offend any person;” with this law, I can bring a case against my girlfriend for wearing those bum shorts that were intended to make my mom mad. And she could be imprisoned for two years. These laws are plain stupid.

  7. Uloma

    January 16, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    very insightful. Thoroughly enjoyed this article.

  8. vikai

    January 16, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    The prosecutor should at least attempt to catch Bobrisky with Chapter 21(5) of the Criminal Code, “persons knowingly supporting prostitution…”. As a vocal and ardent whore, the degenerate is an exponent of prostitution. Let them just throw the book at him for the hell of it.

    • Omolara

      January 16, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Something needs to be done about Bobrisky. He is sends out the wrong message on soo many different levels. The guy worships money and is encouraging young people to do anything for money. He is a complete social deviant.

  9. Sibo

    January 16, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Indecent act iin this content s subjective. The laws got to be objective , relying on facts in order for it to be enforcceable . In other words one mans indecent act is another’s decent act. Take for instance in Certain parts of Nigeria women are expected to cover up. Women Wearing shorts is then an indecent act in the eyes of those people. Should we then arrest girls who wear shorts. Because we FEEL it’s indecent. And there is a law somewhere that says “indecent act”The girls in chains didn’t look like they were VICTIMS. (Fact) They seemed to me like willing participants of a staged scene (fact) . They didn’t look uncomfortable (fact) They were leading, the chains were not taunt ( fact) dogs don’t lead (fact) Who exactly has the display offended ( people’s feelings) that is subjective not fact. People can’t just impose Their own moral standands on others and then find some obtuse, ambiguous law to enforce it. Public condemnation is as far as this can go. Yeap condemn it loud, in churches, mosques, blog sites prayer time with the kids . Spending tax payers money on this is an absolute waste of resources and time. Resources we don’t have. This is 2017 we need to be able to get our Laws right and spend tax payers money on important issues that would actually benefit people. This is a country not some banana republic.

    • Anon

      January 16, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      I enjoyed reading your analysis. I’m actually writing my thesis on objective and subjective law. My take is were people are left to determine what is indecent were do we draw the line?. Whose moral authority is greater?. Nigeria is such a country were laws are like make shift buildings they are erected to serve the purpose of a FEW and then quickly dismantled and put away once it has served its purpose. For me an indecent act would be a politician who spends allocated funds building a white elephant hospital and then when they have a headache they travel first class to a western hospital. To me that is the worst sort of indecent act a treasonable offence. Another indecent act are cultural heads who take underage children as brides that is a dispeakable disgusting indecent act. What about religious heads who collect funds in the name of God and build empires for themselves? All these indecent acts happen every nano second in Nigeria in broad day light, people have noting to say about these things which endanger the life of Nigerians everyday. Bobrisky advocates skin bleaching evidence suggest skin bleaching is cancer causing. He also advocates prostitution. Yet he is working freely because he services a top notch untouchable and makes people laugh so we shelve the moral thing when it comes to Bobby. Oh I tire sha. The double standards is real. I don’t agree with you on your last point. Nigeria is esencially a banana republic. Bob

  10. Chioma

    January 16, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    The criminal code is not applicable in northern states. Thus this law is only applicable to southern states. I believe the issues in Nigeria are soo vast that if we start to examine where the government revenue is going, there will be many other things that would be a greater red flag than this incident. I think the governments decision is right. The government is trying to curb reckless behaviour and I believe pretty mikes arrest was more an act to deter further displays by either himself or third parties as opposed to a concrete intention to imprison him. Today ladies in chains. Tomorrow what next. A lot of people found this thing funny and I saw a has tag on Instagram where people were imitating the horrific act. I personally did find the conduct nauseating and would not want my son to see it and think it’s ok.

    • obiageli

      January 16, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      If your son saw this and thought it okay. It has a lot to do with your parenting. Children see loads of stuff on the internet these days if you do not do ground work uour children will befall to anything even peer pressure.

  11. Linda

    January 16, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Ivie ooh. Abeg i need to arrest my ex boyfriend and all his foolish friends who encouraged him by calling me “our wife” knowing the clown was engaged.

  12. molarah

    January 16, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Hahahaha …very interesting reference to demons at the end.

    In all, this was a really informative article. I was one of those questioning the need for government interference on Pretty Mike’s actions but now it’s clear to me why that had to happen.

  13. Crazy

    January 16, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I just think it’s crazy that Bobrisky hasn’t been picked up and tested for insanity.

  14. Crazy

    January 16, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    I can’t help but wonder if Bobrisky sought legal advise before starting out. He seems to know what he is doing and from all accounts doesn’t seem to be culpable for his conduct on any level.

  15. Ibk

    January 16, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Many questions apply here- e.g. were the women ‘underage’ and, if not, did they willingly consent to being put in dog collars to entertain the wedding guests and, if they did – have they also been charged?

  16. Kerry

    January 16, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Well done ivie. Love your work.

  17. gbenga Odugbemi

    January 17, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    The only fallacy in your argument is: “Generally, where a term is truly ambiguous the Courts will apply the reasonable man test (i.e would the reasonable man behave in such a manner if placed in the same circumstances).”

    This idea does not apply in criminal law discussions. If the law is ambiguous, that is it, it can’t be used to incriminate, (see GTB PLC v. SOLOMON (2016) LPELR-40342(CA); there’s nothing like the court using a ‘reasonable man’ test, It is not contract law, it is criminal law, a lot of fundamental right suspension would be involved. Criminal law favors the criminal more, and that includes when the law is vague or ambiguous.

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