It has been an interesting but embarrassing few weeks for Nigerians. A rookie senator, Elisha Ishaku Abbo assaulted a lady at a sex toy shop in Abuja. The video was quite shocking and graphic and it was pure arrogance of power.
Thank God the uproar that this undistinguished “distinguished” has caused by his action will give him a giant headache he would never forget. He has been charged to court and he’s being investigated by the Senate.
Right before this odium, some of our men of God had been scratching their heads wondering why accusations of sexual assault were being brought against them. In Lagos, a pastor who calls himself Pope Paul was reported to the Igando Police Station for allegedly raping and impregnating a 15-year-old girl. Pope Paul was arrested by the police, according to a story by the Punch.
However, there’s a drama that has been more salacious. Busola Dakolo, wife of the popular Nigerian musician claimed that Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, “Gucci Pastor”, raped her when she was a teenager. Fatoyinbo is the founder of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, COZA, a fast-growing church that’s popular with the youths.
Watching Mrs Dakolo being interviewed by Jideonwo, it is clear to see how courageous she was to finally open up on this traumatic episode in her early life. It was probably cathartic too.
She alleged that Pastor Fatoyinbo groomed her while she attended his erstwhile fellowship programme, Devine Delight Club. He drove her around in his Mercedes Benz car, gave her books and visited her at home. Then one day, as she claimed, the pastor came to her house while her mother was away. He allegedly raped her in the living room. Here sister was asleep somewhere else in the house.
Then the pastor told her: “You should be happy that a man of God did this to you.” A week later, this scenario was to repeat itself except this time it was on the bonnet of Fatoyinbo’s car. Afterwards, Mrs Dakolo claimed the pastor said: “You’ll be fine. This thing is not a new thing. Men of God do it.”
Pastor Fatoyinbo has denied any of this happening; and he deserves to remain innocent until proven guilty. But if he did say “Men of God do it,” then he couldn’t be someone who’s learnt the lesson of history. Indeed, sexual trysts remain the Achilles heel of many a man of God, especially those of the Pentecostal persuasion.
Jimmy Bakker of the Praise the Lord, PTL, ministry in America had his holy house crash down on him in the late 1980s when his sexual trysts with his secretary Jessica Hahn became public. He paid the lady more than a quarter of a million dollars to keep quiet. But more revelations about his moral turpitude just oozed out. It was discovered that he had fleeced his flock of $158 million. In 1989, the law caught up with him and he was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Jimmy Lee Swaggart, another American televangelist whose weekly telecast: A Study in the Word had nearly 80 million viewers around the world, had his world crashing down on him because of his association with prostitutes. In his “I Have Sinned” speech on February 22, 1998, in front of his congregation, he confessed.
“I have sinned against you, my Lord and I would ask that your precious blood would wash me and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God’s forgetfulness, not to be remembered anymore.”
Even if God wanted to forgive him and forget the sin, he reminded Him by going back to prostitutes again. He was first suspended for sexual misconduct by the Assemblies of God; and later defrocked, although he did set up the Jimmy Swaggart Ministries. It is interesting that history has a way of repeating itself.
Nevertheless, it is good that Nigerians are now having a voice. Indeed, the social media is a powerful tool for them in their quest for a better society. Rape and sexual misconduct are quite prevalent. In Nigeria’s macho society, sexual peccadillos aren’t surprising or out of the ordinary.
Ours is a society that has scant respect for women’s rights and it is why we see them as sex objects. Practically everything today has to do with sex. In higher institutions, particularly in our universities, sex for mark is very rampant. This makes you wonder about the quality of students been sent out into the labour market.
That the sex for mark saga at the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile Ife, last year became public, is indeed an aberration. Aberration because universities and other higher institutions are really not ready to look at such matters. They ignore them.
The only reason why Monica Osagie’s case against Professor Richard Akindele at OAU, became a cause celebre was simply because the young lady had the common-sense to audio tape her conversation with the professor. Further, she had the common-sense to release it to the public. The professor unfortunately had his career ruined by his own actions and was eventually jailed.
Whether looking for a job, a favour or even trying to set up a business, our women are confronted by predatory men who only want to get inside their panties. Ask our women bankers what they face looking for deposits from the so-called high net-worth men!
Ours is a society where grown men marry 14-year-olds and boast about it because it is their “culture”, (that’s paedophilia). It is no wonder our women are under sexual siege.
According to Amnesty International even those who are supposed to protect women and the rest of us from harm, the police force, are reportedly guilty of perpetrating acts of rape and sexual abuse against women in public locations or while they are being transferred to police stations.
The statistics are grim. A study of 295 female students of Ebonyi State University in Abakaliki, found that nearly 11 percent had been raped. This represents about 33 young women.
Moreover, a survey by Women at Risk International Foundation, WARIF, as published by ThisDay in 2017 tells a sad tale. It shows as many as 10,000 young girls and women face incidence of sexual assault and rape daily in Nigeria.
What about a 2014 National Survey on Violence against Children which reported that one in four females experience sexual violence? In this same survey, 24.8 percent of females aged 18-24 years experienced sexual abuse prior to age 18.
I don’t know about the innocence or guilt of Pastor Fatoyinbo. But unless we are deceiving ourselves, women are under the cosh of the predatory sexual behaviour of our men. It is not that there are no laws against deviant behaviours.
However, men are unlikely to pay any penalty because most times our women are unwilling to talk about their ordeals. And when they do, they aren’t sure they’ll get any justice. As a nation, this is an issue we really need to pay attention to as we find a way to ease the pains of our women.