In the horrifying, unspeakable matter of fathers and daughters, this is a true story – and one of too many. I was consulting for an advertising company that shared an office space with the Lagos state office of Public Defender at Motorways. During my time there, I met quite a few of the young female lawyers working that beat. We never became friends – just acquaintances, people I met at the canteen or car park or along the stairway. The lifts were never functional, and when they worked, we didn’t trust we would get rescued if the light suddenly went out.
So I was running up the stairs when I saw this young female lawyer looking forlorn. She was seated on the stairs, looking dejected. I stopped for the perfunctory greeting. I didn’t want to chitchat, I just said, “Good morning, I hope you are ok?”
She replied, “I am not ok at all”
Aww crap, now I have to listen to her.
What she told me shook me.
She had just been visited by a white woman, who was married to a Nigerian, specifically from Ondo state. The man had been having sex with his two teenage daughters and he had told his bewildered and scandalized white wife that this was the tradition among his people.
The lawyer was from the middle belt and so she asked me, being Yoruba, if this was true!
“Lailai!” I said, I was stung, “this is a taboo among the Yorubas, like all the ethnic groups in Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world. It’s a law against God Himself, a spit in the face of our Creator! That father is committing an abomination,” I told the lawyer. “Get the white woman and her children away from the bastard!”
I sat with the lawyer on the staircase as we discussed this desecration.
That was some 15 years ago or more.
Today, fathers having sex with their own daughters has become like a daily dose of some horrible drug we’ve become used to swallowing. Every week some depraved father is caught sleeping with his own offspring. The latest report on this is the story of a father, Sunday Julius, also reported to have sexually defiled four of his daughters, aged 7, 10, 11 and 15!
In the report, it was said that Julius had actually been caught once; 7 years ago he was caught molesting his eldest daughter.
His wife and mother to the girls, Semiat, had gone to report him to the police and he was arrested, but as usual, family members and neighbours intervened and she was forced to drop the charges against him.
She must have been told over and over again, “He’s the father of your children, what will you gain if he rots in jail?”
“This is a family shame, forgive him, he won’t do so again…”
“A whole musulumi like you? Reported your husband to the police? Astagafuliahi!
She was shamed into dropping the charges and taking him back!
And so the father continued as if he had a target – to defile his four daughters one after the other before any other man could find the pleasure of doing so!
She was told to forgive him and let it go…she did what they told her was best for her girls, “forgive their father, he knows not what he is doing.”
Go and ask Mrs. Semiat Julius, seven years down the line, her four daughters continue being serially raped by their father! That’s what happens when we forgive and forget and continue to co-habit with these people!
But let’s come back to this “sickness,” that’s what my friend told me it is, when I screamed at the news report about Julius…”It is called a sickness!” he said.
Then this sickness is rife, there is a father who defiled his daughter in Anambra, another in Nassarawa, in Lagos, in Ogun, in Niger…the sickness is not limited by tribe or tongue or religion…and the sickness isn’t attacking one father per state, there are many fathers in each of our 36 states with this sickness.
Are they helpless in the face of this “sickness”?
I think not.
Dear sick fathers, I curse you. You defiled your seed; and so you will never eat of it. You ruined your future; and so you will never be a part of it. You destroyed your heritage; and so it will not be well with you! Should you live to see old age, may it be painful for you.
People have been covering up for you but no more, you will be exposed and shamed.
There will be no forgiving and forgetting for you, you will pay in this lifetime and the one to come for your sins against your offsprings.
I feel for the girls, the women who’ve been so violated by the men they trusted would protect them. I feel sad for the mothers who’ve had to endure the trauma and destruction of their daughters’ emotions and mental health, by the men who pledged to love and honor them.