THE AMBROSE ALLI UNIVERSITY MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE TO JUDITH OKOSUN
I read a few moments ago the outcome of the investigation by the panel set up by the administration of the Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma Edo State with utter shock and deep sadness. It is definitely a total miscarriage of justice, dispensed without any sense of shame, which goes to show a total lack of commitment to the primary mission of the university to train students in learning and character.
Though ordinarily one ought not be surprised that such an outcome is coming from a body set up to ensure fairness, equity and justice, particularly for the vulnerable, since that has become the order of the day in Nigeria. Everything board, panel and indeed institutions, ministries, and holders of public office and trust work to undermine the very objectives for which the institution or office is set up to achieve. It is an irony of a nation!
While some may be of the opinion that the young lady in question went too far in the attempt to checkmate the randy lecturer’s attempt to defile her, debase her dignity and the essence of her humanity. I beg to disagree. There is nothing wrong in deploying any force in the defense of oneself against an unreasonable assault, particularly coming from an individual who is in a position to understand the full consequences of his actions and the legal implications. Every well meaning Nigerian and indeed those who have been fighting for the rights of women and girl child must rise to the defense of this lady.
The decision of the university administration shows they would rather the student allow the sleeping dog to lie, bear such assaults, complain to no one and pretend all is well. This is the fate that confronts young ladies in secondary schools, universities and other higher institutions of learning. They are also not spared during their compulsory National Youth Service. Such misbehaviors are also already deeply entrenched at work and offices both in the public and private sectors. The short and long term effects of this evil is grave and already staring us in the face. Attempts to continue to force on reasonable and law abiding citizen, particularly vulnerable girls, women and youths, a value system which continues to defile their dignity and undermine their humanity must not continue.
There is hardly any institution of learning or office that is free from such misbehaviour that has become so entrenched in Nigeria. The overwhelming outcome of this trend is the fact that cutting corners, looking for short but wrong cuts and a total disregard for due process and hard-work has become so fashionable. No wonder the nation has become so shameless. The attempt of the University administration to cow this little girl who has a genuine quest for knowledge and self development must be denounced by all. I particularly would like President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that there is a stop to the continuation of these debasing acts in Nigeria. While some may continue to give in to their animalistic urges and cravings, the nation must uphold the will to defend the vulnerable and desist from providing cover for the perpetrators of such despicable acts. I look forward to the President taking a very strong stand on this issue. I implore him to rather put in place a mechanism and strong declaration that will allow our girls and women to thrive within the limit of their God’s given capacity and their self motivation and determination for greatness, rather than the promise of the token of thirty-five percent representation in his government when elected. To also show his sincerity, I will want the President and indeed all State Governors to take a stand against the continuation of the debasing of the dignity of girls and women particularly the well established culture of pimping students from campuses and serving lady corpers in the guise of serving as hostess at government and public functions. This debasing practice that has become so entrenched continues to go on each time a big government man is in town.
Will the nation continue in the habit of condoling and promoting evil acts? So many instances abounds of the continuation of the war against women and most time the criminals are not chastised nor given the full punishment to serve as a deterrent to others. There is this case of one professor who was caught in the act at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. Though the man was sacked, he has now found a new haven at the Nassasara State University to continue the perpetuation of what he knows best – defiling girls on campus. And strangely the stance of the authority is encouraging many more people to join in the depravity.
We may be falling over each other in an attempt to eulogize those women who have made us proud as a nation, including lately, our sister and role model – Dr Funmi Olopade, but we continue to allow the system and those who prevent many more Funmis from emerging. This must stop. I will end by reminding us of the message from Obafemi Awolowo – “nothing clean, principled, ethical and idealistic can work with Nigerians except they exorcised the evils that now dominate their hearts and at all levels and sectors of our political, business and government activities”. Among many others, the evil against girls and women keep playing out daily. Must this continue? Judith Okosun should rather be celebrated and encouraged to serve as an inspiration to other girls, women and youths who are daily defiled and robbed of their dignity.