Rape cases and other salient issues facing the North by Adamu Tilde


The report of the horrible act of rape of an eight-months old baby in Kano stands condemned in its entirety. It is despicable, indecorous, and utterly nauseating. I support the incarceration (even hanging) of that pervert, and his ilks, if that would serve as a deterrent to many sexual perverts that parade our cities.

I intend not to undermine such a despicable act, however, I want to go beyond the routines of condemnation and call for punishment— which is becoming the wont of Nigerians towards any atrocity committed to their fellow citizens— to critically examine the possible reasons behind the rampant and prevalent and horrific cases of rape in Northern as Nigeria compared to the other regions... What are the salient and undisclosed factors that tend to push men to rape? One of the biggest challenge the North is yet to sufficiently appreciate and understand is the dynamics of modern world. The North could not keep with the pace at which the world is changing, at least for now. The North is stunned and perplexed by the rate at which old and known frame of references are becoming obsolete while new and unfathomable ones are emerging. So, confusion is palpable albeit not excusable and justifiable.

The shrinkage and collapse of border where virtually there exists relatively free movement among culturally distinct and socially different group of people has led to a cultural shock which the North and many other diverse cultures are yet to comprehend and come to term with. The melting of cultures and invasion of alien traditions have led to a devastating effect where what was considered a taboo has become a fashion and what was fashionable before has become out of place.

This singular act, in addition to the democratization of information and its free access on one hand, and the menacing and penetrating effect of globalization on another hand have inflicted an injury which left a deep scar on the conscience of many cultures, Northern culture inclusive. On one front, given the freefall and flow of irrelevant information ( which its ossification and distillation requires not an ordinary preparation) coupled with Western imperialism that—given its power of possession and dictation of what is to be heard, read or watched—has the singular sovereignty of defining what is right or wrong; what is happiness and who is happy and who is not; what is success and its opposite equivalent have led to a subconscious, soulless and mindless race towards unification of humankind's feelings.

On another front, after experimenting the futility of adopting a unilateral definition of human interest, culture and mores, cultural people are now challenged to ask of the essence of their being— we are now confronted with annihilating tendencies given the invasion of non-conformist behaviors that are in loggerhead with our culture, traditions and beliefs.

The parable

There is a cost for every conscious or unconscious choice people make. One cannot eat his cake and still have it. So, whatever choices the North or any other community of people make, they should be bound by it. The North as a polity wants to belong. It doesn’t want to live in isolation. The trendy definition of being a successful person is to have a modest house, marry a beautiful wife in addition to having a simple car. For a lady, in order not to be left out, she also had to have a means for survival, for many men are not living up to their expectations and feminism has it that she has to be independent of man (whatever that means). No one should dictate let alone determine her thoughts/choices. So she, too, must achieve some level of ‘success.’

The challenges

To live to the expectation of modern day yearning means to acquire at minimum a college degree, get a decent and well-paying job (government or private) and spend some years saving. To achieved the aforementioned means, chances are likely to be that you finished your first degree at 21 (if you are lucky), one year NYSC plus one or two (often more) years waiting for a decent job. Then you would be 26years or so old.

While contending the challenges of financial stability, one has to also battle with the ever-expanding institutions of moral decadence and bankruptcies that the so-called “-woods” industries represent through commercialization of the female body. “Ga samu, ga rashi”, the Hausas would say.

The consequences

That people choose to live a modest life by delaying marriage through accumulation of modest income calls for no concern. However, the consequence of doing so calls for serious interrogation. At what cost can we barter ‘delay marriage’ in our society? Unlike the other part of Nigeria where there is, relatively speaking, a subtle endorsement (or at worst, toleration) of premarital sex, in the North, premarital sex is wholeheartedly rejected and is considered entirely immoral. But, hey!, that doesn’t exempt the North from having its own share of moral decadence.

The irony is, as they say, “body no be kaataako”. It has feelings, and those feelings must be satisfied, legally or otherwise. The only legal means to satisfy such feelings is through the legal 'acquisition' of a spouse. To get a wife means to have a huge amount of cash. To have a huge cash means to work hard. To work hard implies to spend years studying, working and saving. In other words, you cannot have the requisite amount of money for marriage without spending some years post maturity. And for you to get married early means you have to let go of having appreciable amount of money to maintain a modern day life. Ladies and gentlemen, how paradoxical can it be?!

The reality at hand

There is too much expectation in marriage from both the groom's and the bride’s family. People are continuously finding it very difficult to get married, or to marry off their daughters in our society. On another front, people constantly get agitated through exposure to motion pictures, satellite cables, social networking sites and their daily interactions (in both school and market) with the opposite sex. They have no way of relieving their sexual desires. Marriage is way too expensive and a burden to shoulder; fornication is haram, and satisfaction of sexual desire is a right. How do we overcome this “trilemma?”

The way out

The problem at hand is, I think, a multidimensional one and I am not in a position to prescribe an all-encompassing solution. However, one thing we must bear in mind is that “no one can eat his cake and still have it.” We either subside on the requirements of marriage (which by the way is the teaching of Islam) or live with the belief that fornication and adultery would continue to be on the rise; and where it is inaccessible, rape, lesbianism, homosexualism and other sexual perversions would have a steady and un-truncated growth. Suffice for us to study the current mess the Arabian world (our role model) is in... then we may have a rethink. We should have a rethink, before it's too late.