There’s no excuse for the use of force to take a gift bequeathed to any gender as regards sex. Rape which might be defined as sexual assault in its plainest form can also mean ‘to plunder or strip of resources’. Forcing someone to have sex with you against their will is a crime to the existence of that person. It debases the individual involved.
Rape isn’t gender specific but the most prevalent of rape cases are that of male orchestrated rape incidence.
The need for this write-up cannot be over emphasized as it has become a scourge in the society.
The lack of discretion and shame in which male engineered rape has become rampant leaves the mind worried.
Recently the case of secondary school students trying to rape their female contemporaries in the open is an issue that leaves the mind puzzled and the case of a young female teenager raped to death by some male suitors in her neighborhood, paints a horrid picture in the mind.
The situations are scary but what is more scary is the fact that up till now, there has been no scapegoat made of the culprits of the hideous acts; this as always been the case in Nigeria and I will use the case of the publisher of Sahara reporter, Omoyele Sowore as a case study.
Omoyele Sowore is the founder of the independent online investigative media outfit named Sahara reporters.
Just like the popular saying that he who wishes to shout equity must come with clean hands, the allegation of rape case against the publisher of Nigeria’s popular blogger Mr. Omoyele Swore has refused to go away.
Recall that former Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro in a forum back then, made a pronouncement that Omoyele Sowore of the Sahara Reporters was once arrested for rape.
The statement made by the former police chief has since become a subject of discussion, controversy and has refused to die down in the news media.
Okiro alleged that Omoyele Sowore had raped a UNILAG female student who’s now married with two kids. “I arrested him when I was Surulere Area Commander of the Nigeria Police. I prosecuted him and he jumped bail”, said Mike Okiro, former Inspector General of Nigeria Police?
Sowore is a power house when it comes to online reporting and some of the revelations of the media outfit have been ground breaking. However, Mr. Omoyele once leveled an allegation against the former inspector general of police, Mike Okiro and Mr. Okiro did state that Mr. Omoyele Sowore was a rapist that he once arrested, jumped bail and is back with vendetta to nail him for his arrest.
Okiro actually gave a graphical detail of the crime, the circumstances and the state of the victim at the time.
Brick bats have been flung back and forth over this revelation. As the controversy rages, some have hinted that, the unprofessional conducts of the police may have made his criminal evading of arrest possible while others allege that Okiro must have been privy to Sowore’s bail-jumping stunt, while yet another segment insist that politics or not, a criminal must face justice no matter how long ago the crime was committed.
So far, Sowore has neither affirmed Okiro’s pronouncement nor denied it, thus making further speculations and controversies, rife.
Typical of Nigerians, we allowed sentiments cloud our minds as regards this rape allegation and sacrificed reason on the altar of political patronage; people accused the then ruling party of witch-hunt and the issue was swept under the carpet without Mr. Omoyele Sowore denying it affirmatively.
This is how society enables rapists and empowers young males to believe once they can cheat the legal system and end up successful, they can get away with rape accusations, even when such accusations are made by ex- principal officers like Mike Okiro.
What hope will there be for any of his victims if the above allegations are true? Will they ever find justice? Will they ever be bold enough to step out with intimidations and accusations of being called paid political prostitute of his so called enemies?
Doesn’t this mean we would be empowering a beast beyond the normal boundaries of humanity?
It is time to throw away political affinities and sentiments and put on a thinking cap as what this issue portends if actually the allegations are true and to be honest with you the thoughts of it are chilling.
Try to imagine the pain of the supposed female victim of Sowore’s rape seeing him on National television being celebrated, try and imagine what effect it might have on her.
Imagine if she has male children and tells them that Sowore once raped her and all the Children see is a man being celebrated everyday instead of prosecuted, how do you think such young men will realize rape is bad?
Think deeply about it and see how letting Omoyele Sowore get out of the rape allegation so easily aids the move by young men attempting to rape their secondary school counterpart.
The issue here is not to nail Mr. Omoyele Sowore but to beam the searchlight of enquiry on a man whose establishment thrives on public trust.
It is saddening that the public can take accusations of rape leveled against such an individual with a pinch of salt. The intent of this write-up is not to declare him guilty but it is only right that the public should be interested in his innocence or lack of it. What if the former inspector general of police is right? What if the allegation against him is true? Does it mean we have a rapist as an investigative power house in Africa’s most populous country?
In Lagos State and Nigeria, a law has been passed to punish crime such as rape by legislators, State and Federal prescribed life imprisonment for any rapist. Since the crime was allegedly committed in Lagos which is also part of Nigeria, Sowore can be tried for the crime in any part of Nigeria.
Public commentators have been calling on government and other anti rape agencies both in Nigeria and abroad to once again look into the allegation of Mike Okiro, Mr Mike is not dead, he is still alive and can retell the story which will aide investigations, the victim is also alive and can tell her own story but should be under a protection.
Like I said earlier, this write-up is not an attempt to crucify Omoyele Sowore but if he has an atom of decency in him, he would come back to Nigeria, sue Mr. Mike Okiro and ask him to mention the name of the lady raped.
He would press charges so as to ensure that his name is cleared from such scandal. He would issue a press conference, denying ever being involved in such a case.
He would demand that his case file be brought out and make it a big issue. That way, young people will realize that rape is not a trifling issue.
Young people will realize that an allegation of rape is one that might come to haunt you in the future.
That way, a clear message will be sent out beyond Nigeria that rape is a big issue and must be treated as such.
So far, so good, there hasn’t been any clear denial of this allegations, there hasn’t been any press conference to address it and most importantly everyone have been acting like they have moved on like it doesn’t matter- which goes a long way to show the message we are sending to younger generations, the Nigerian populace should once again show interest in this case until it gets to a convulsive end.
The Wirter, Bolanle Omupo Is An Anti-Rape Campaigner With END RAPE INITIATIVE (ERI) From Lagos Nigeria. EndRapeInitiative@Yahoo.com