Between Pretty Mike & Ambode: Can The Real Women’s Rights Activist Please Stand Up?
(And when they do, please give them a #WehDoneSir)
1. The arrest of Pretty Mike by the Governor of Lagos State was uncalled for and is a case of misplaced priority. Petty Mike, a socialite and club owner became popular quite recently for attending weddings and other social events with 2 female companions who always wore matching costumes and facial masks but were both held on a leach by Mike. Like a chariot or horse car, the ladies always walked in front of Petty Mike, entering event halls before him and when the party was over, they led the way out whenever he was leaving. Pictures of him and the ladies flooded social media and many Nigerians picked up verbal stones.
2. Of course, Mike’s idea of courting attention wasn’t pretty at all. I still don’t know what he was trying to achieve; neither have I figured out the message he was passing across. But did his act constitute a crime? No. None that I know of. Should he have been arrested, assaulted and forced to write a statement, apologising to the whole of Nigeria? I don’t think that was necessary.
3. The girls are both adults, and sane, and they totally consented to the show. Although they are friends with Pretty Mike, he also paid them for their time and made them nice outfits for every event (what we call “and co” in Nigeria), and which the girls always took home with them as gifts, or rather perks from the job. One of the girls even said she loved the attention from onlookers but that she and her colleague always wore masks to protect their identity because of the criticisms they could face.
4. Nigeria has very poor records when it comes to respecting women and promoting their rights. With patriarchy and male-dominated norms, women are constantly held on to leashes controlled by the men. Despite being signatory to protocols, charters, conventions and domestic laws which recognize and guarantee the rights of women, for Nigerian women, their rights have remained only paper tigers. Women rank lower than men in all indices of development in the country. All.
5. Nigerian women suffer violations of their human rights through: violence in the home, sexual harassment at school and work, rape and defilement, harsh and punitive widowhood rites, female genital damage (FGM), forced childhood marriages, sexual violence in conflict situations and during armed robbery attacks, kidnap by Boko Haram, enforcement of gender biased laws, discrimination against the girl-child, disinheritance of wives and daughters, harmful traditional practices. Just to mention but a few.
6. When research revealed the rising cases of criminal extortion by Agberos (thugs) on innocent Lagosians, including bodily harm and sexual assault on young females, none of the identified thugs were arrested. From 2006 to 2016, hundreds of men were recorded to have physically assaulted their wives. We even saw many videos online of men who turned their wives into punching bags, some of the women sustained fractures and one ended up in coma, but none of these men were arrested, not to talk of being asked to write an apology.
7. Pretty Mike wrote an apology from the police station and posted same on his social media accounts. He added that he has been converted to a Women’s Rights Activist and will fight for the rights of women, just like his new mentor Governor Ambode who said he has been a beacon for women’s rights in Nigeria.
8. So can the real women’s right activist please stand up? (And when they do, please give them a #WehDoneSir)