Connect with us

Strictly Personal

The cross dressing bill is dead on arrival by Inibehe Effiong

Published

on

The House of Representatives is considering a bill to prohibit and criminalize cross-dressing in Nigeria. It’s astonishing that our legislators are majoring in frivolity and dissipating legislative time on the mundane.
It’s neither necessary nor expedient. I’m flummoxed by the silliness and incongruity of this Bill. It is indeed distasteful, that at a time when the country’s existence is under excruciating crisis, our so-called leaders are seeking to legislate a dress code for Nigerians. If the Bill isn’t seeking to legislate on the dress code of Nigerians, what then is its purport?
First, it is impossible in this modern era, especially in a country that is supposed to be a secular and liberal democracy, for a law to define dressing by gender without ambiguity. Dressing in this age has become very versatile and flexible. To attempt to determine by legislation, what type of cloth a man and a woman should or should not wear, is the height of legislative misadventure and redundancy. It is not doable. The ambiguity will be too obvious.
Second, even if male and female dresses are capable of precise and definite definition and classification, can this Bill be validly brought within the legislative competence of the National Assembly? Should Nigeria have a federal law that regulates dressing for all Nigerians?
Only members of the Armed Forces and other security agencies can be made subject to a uniform national dress code. The NYSC can also do this. Likewise related agencies. Employers can also determine the dress code of their employees. Religious houses can also set their dress code.
The National Assembly cannot legally regulate dressing or prohibit cross dressing. I can’t see how this Bill qualifies under the enumerated legislative powers of the National Assembly under the Exclusive or Concurrent Lists under the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.
Third, “cross dressing” is a form of artistic expression. It is a mode of dressing adopted by entertainers. Irrespective of our differing views about the likes of Bobrisky, James Brown, Denrele and others, we cannot deny the fact that they are entertainers of some sort. To therefore attempt to deprive them of their chosen career which isn’t harmful to anyone is unacceptable.
A country like Nigeria with cultural, religious and ideological diversity, should be more tolerant and accommodating of people who choose to express themselves differently.
Fourth, Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) guarantees the fundamental right to freedom of expression. Expression is not circumscribed to spoken or written words. People can express themselves in words, dressing and so on. This Bill if passed, will be subjected to serious constitutional challenge in court. I will not hesitate to test its validity in court in the public interest.
Fifth, this Bill is unwarranted and unnecessary. Cross dressing is still a very rare phenomenon in Nigeria.
How many cross dressers do we have in Nigeria? Can the sponsor of this Bill mention 20 known cross dressers in the country?. There is no cross dressing epidemic in the country. This Bill is seeking a cure a disease that is non-existent. Cross dressing isn’t harmful. Is it?
Sixth, this Bill is another sinister attempt to distract Nigerians from the palpable failures of this regime. We are currently witnessing the unabated slaughter of Nigerians without any serious effort by the government to address it. The economy is comatose. Inflation is rising. Our universities are currently shut. It is rather upsetting that rather than focus on these and other pressing national issues, our legislators are finding time to entertain themselves with a trivial Bill that will neither help their worsening image nor solve our problems.
I call on the sponsor(s) of this Bill to withdraw it and attend to important issues. This Bill is an attempt to introduce the primitive Taliban ideology into Nigeria. It is dead on arrival.
Inibehe Effiong is a Legal Practitioner based in Lagos.

Strictly Personal

Nigeria’s Currency Crisis: Time to deploy Amotekun, By Chinedu Chidi

Published

on

I have thought long and hard about just the right solution to the downward spiral of the Naira, and confidently believe I have come up with the perfect response. It is my humble proposal that the time is right to deploy the dreaded Amotekun to arrest this situation. I’ll explain why.

 

Since it is now clear that the Naira’s salvation is not in the hallways of the CBN or the gold-plated policy rooms of Bretton Woods, but in the battle grounds of the nook and cranny of Nigeria, all patriotic Nigerians must now rightly ignore suit-wearing technocrats and search for militant solutions with real promise. As a patriotic citizen, I have risen to this challenge. I would humbly like to thank the patriotic Nigerian leadership, from the CBN to the Executive, for leading us into this new era of mortal combat.

 

Only a few days ago, we were greeted with the live action scene of security operatives combating BDC operators in the nation’s capital, discharging live ammunition in broad daylight in an open civilian space like fearless patriots at the battle front. The EFCC and accompanying security operatives charged forward and backwards as the enemies of state dared challenge them. It was almost like a combat scene from Gibson’s Braveheart. I was touched. I’m not too sure, but I may have heard the humming of the national anthem from these fearless patriots as they battled the savage saboteurs. What a touching moment! Someone who was at the scene mentioned that these patriots recited the pledge before the onslaught. I can’t confirm this for sure, but if it did occur, it would be consistent with the new nationalistic fervour of the Tinubu administration as reported in the news recently that citizens would be required to recite the pledge at events. I also hear the operation is going on in different parts of the country. All these, coming only days after Sahad Stores, a retail supermarket in Abuja, was forcibly shut down for “economic sabotage”, fill me with great joy. Some unpatriotic citizens had shockingly opposed the move, claiming Sahad Stores was one of the good ones, and that deploying force would not resolve the inflation crisis. Cowards and co-conspirators! They’re too distracted by textbook ideas to see that we’re in war. Shame.

 

Normally, I would have recommended the army for this most important national assignment, but they’re overstretched. They’re battling terrorists, bandits, armed robbers, secessionists, their welfare; just about every violent aggressor around. The police would have been my second option but they too are preoccupied and, as some mischievous people claim, have a special DNA for compromise. For these and some other reasons which I will explain, Amotekun has my blessings.

 

I know Amotekun is also seriously engaged with battling bandits in the South West, but they must be pleaded with to spare some personnel for this all-too-important national emergency. Their stealth, daredevil disposition, and my favourite—charms from the gods— will come in handy.

 

I have heard rumours that some of the BDCs hide their stockpile of dollars in forests. This is the domain of the Amotekun warriors. Through their local intelligence gathering and tactical navigation of the forests, they can uncover these dollar chests and win for the country a huge deliverance. Their spiritual protection against wild animals and attacks from dark forces will be very useful here.

 

I am also confident that what has for so long appeared to be the near-impossible goal of finding the dollars some loud-mouthed people claim are hidden by politicians, bank executives and— I struggle to even contemplate it— CBN officials will be spiritually detected by Amotekun. We desperately need this.

 

It was with great joy that I also received the news that our gallant security personnel are now stopping truckloads of food from leaving the country. What took them so long! How can any patriotic businessman think of trade and profit at a time of economic crisis? This beats my imagination. I am even more infuriated by the argument of their unpatriotic defenders that we don’t have food scarcity, just food unaffordability, and that we can’t seriously let them abandon their goods in warehouses while the vast majority of Nigerians can’t purchase them. This is so inconsiderate and sad. Their argument that the exports bring in needed forex at this time of forex crisis is also another textbook nonsense. Shame on them.

 

I am particularly touched by Cardoso’s sincerity and humility. Realizing that the air-conditioned policies have hit the brick wall and that the fight has morphed into street combat, he did not try to deceive the populace about it. This is uncommon (apologies to Akpabio) pragmatism.

 

I want to enjoin the President to rally leaders in the South West towards mass mobilization of Amotekun for this national assignment. We can’t afford to fail!

 

Chinedu Chidi is a public affairs commentator. He can be reached via: chiobe24.cc@gmail.com

Continue Reading

Strictly Personal

The problem of DRC’s beautiful wife, maize it planted by roadside, By Charles Onyango-Obbo

Published

on

Watching the upheaval in the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent days, one is tempted to invoke the African proverb that “the man who marries a beautiful woman and the farmer who grows maize by the roadside have the same problem.”

The police fired tear gas on Monday to disperse protesters who burned tyres and US and Belgian flags near Western embassies and UN offices in the capital Kinshasa, angry about insecurity in eastern Congo.

The protesters claim the West supports Rwanda, which they and their government accuse of backing the M23 rebellion, whose advance could see them seize the strategic border city of Goma in the east.

This is a new phase of what has become an entrenched tradition of the Congolese oscillating between blaming everyone else but themselves for their problems, and demanding that other people solve these problems, including fighting for them.

In recent years — rightly — the Congolese have railed, then attacked, the long-running and ineffectual United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco) for not ending the rebellion in the east.

In late 2022, DRC’s kin in the EAC dispatched the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) to separate the warring sides. Before long, Kinshasa and the people had risen against them, hounding them to go out to the jungle and fight the rebels for them. At the end of last year, EACRF left DRC with its tail between its legs.

Because the Congolese are our brothers and sisters, and we have a responsibility to love them, we also have a duty to tell them uncomfortable truths that will help them overcome.

So, we will return to our proverb. African proverbs are complicated. First, one needs to know that they passed into society through the mouths of men who were not feminists, so too many of them tend to portray women in bad light.

This one paints a heroic hard-working farmer (although it is mostly women, not men, who work the land in Africa) whose maize is stolen by passers-by, in contrast with the beautiful wife who betrays her husband and falls to the charms of other men.

However, African proverbs are also layered, so there is what they say, and the many things they mean. In this case, that people will covet a good thing — a good crop, a beautiful woman and, if we may add, a handsome, enterprising man. The “problem” here is how to keep your maize, beautiful wife, and enterprising husband. If you are better than all the men who hit on her, your beautiful wife will stay faithfully by your side.

Having your wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend run off with someone else can be very hurtful, but if you have a cantankerous truth-telling African aunt or uncle, they will also whisper to you that a partner whom no other man or woman has ever or will ever want is probably not worth having.

In real-world Congo politics, then, the reality is rebels will have friends and allies at home and abroad. Even Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), as despicable as a rebel group can ever be, had friends outside who backed it.

The thing that should terrify everyone is a rebel group that no one wants to touch with a 10-metre pole, both in the day and night. The opposite is also true of rebels fighting to overthrow a government. If it is a government that doesn’t have a single friend even in the cynical world of geopolitics, then it’s probably worse than a cabal of cannibals.

For Congo, what is left is how to solve this “problem”. To stay with the farmer and the beautiful wife, what the Congolese are doing is like the strapping young man in old Africa who spent all his time attacking his parents, relatives, neighbours, and their friends because they failed to give him cattle to pay a bride price for a wife and build a hut for him to live in with her.

The scale of surrender of agency by many Congolese, including the political class and the government, is unsettling.

It’s partly understandable, too. The unusually brutal Belgian rule; the exploitation of all sorts of vultures for its vast minerals lasting over 100 years now; and an unbroken long spell of corrupt and cruel rule, have broken its self-confidence. The way to come to terms with the scale of failure and remain sane is to externalise all the problems to evil forces.

It has led to national paralysis, a belief that they can’t do much on their own to overcome.

DRC’s neighbours to the east, Uganda and Rwanda, offer good lessons. When President Yoweri Museveni took to the bush with his small band of rebels in 1981, the odds were stacked up against them. The British had a big programme with a special police force; the Tanzanian army that helped overthrow military dictator Idi Amin was on the side of the government, and hardy North Koreans soon got into the fight against them. They still won.

The prospects were even worse for the Rwanda Patriotic Army/Front when it crossed from Uganda and took to treacherous hills in 1990. Apart from Uganda, it was alone against the world, including one of the world’s superpowers at the time, France, which was in bed with the government in Kigali. They suffered setbacks, picked themselves up, and won.

Congo can win, but first, it will have to plant its own maize and fight its war for its own beautiful wife.

Charles Onyango-Obbo is a journalist, writer, and curator of the «Wall of Great Africans». Twitter@cobbo3

Continue Reading

EDITOR’S PICK

Behind the News12 hours ago

Behind the News: All the backstories to our major news this week

Over the past week, there were many important stories from around the African continent, and we served you some of...

Culture13 hours ago

Owners of South Africa bar where teenagers died in 2022 to pay fine or go to jail

The owners of a South African bar where 21 teenagers died after drinking contaminated alcohol during a party in 2022...

Tech13 hours ago

AFC to invest $40m in African Medical Centre of Excellence in Nigeria

The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) has committed $40 million equity investment in the African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE) in...

Metro14 hours ago

Zambia signs creditor agreement deal with China, India to resolve debt crisis

President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia has announced the signing of an official creditor agreement with China and India that will...

VenturesNow16 hours ago

Nigeria targets 1,268MW from new power plants

Eight brown and green field hydropower projects built through public-private partnerships are expected to yield 1,268 megawatts of electricity, according...

Sports16 hours ago

How Super Eagles players, Bassey, Iwobi disunited Man U

It was a Nigerian affair at the revered Old Trafford stadium as the Super Eagles duo of Calvin Bassey and...

Metro22 hours ago

Four of 10 Nigerians indebted to loan sharks— Report

A report from a research carried out by Nigerian fintech platform, Piggy Vest, has revealed that four out of 10...

VenturesNow23 hours ago

Tanzania begins fresh round of Treasury bond auctions

In an effort to reduce national debt and increase the amount of money in circulation in the face of a...

Politics2 days ago

ECOWAS folds, lifts economic, travel sanctions on junta-led Niger, others

Economic sanctions on Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso were lifted with immediate effect by the Economic Community of West African...

Musings From Abroad2 days ago

Kenya, UAE seal economic relations deal

Thani Al Zeyoudi, the United Arab Emirate’s minister of foreign trade, has announced that his country and Kenya have reached...

Trending