Monday 3 March 2008

Habiba Garba: Religion and violence against women

Habiba Garba

Picture courtesy of the BBC

An attack most evil

Ababoy covered this topic last week, but I have not seen enough clamour about this issue that I have decided to contribute to this matter and hopefully gather a head of steam to ensure that justice is done and seen to be done.

Mrs. Habiba Garba, a women’s leader of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) in Kano, Kano State had crossed political party carpets from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP); politicians change allegiances all around the world, it is a matter of persuasion or conscience, no big deal.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Garba seems not to have realised she had left the company of Neanderthals, chief of whom was a Labaran Abdu Madari who being a member of the PDP employed thugs to harass and threaten her with violence, then he eventually committed her to hospital having beaten her to a pulp in the presence of witnesses that included the police.

The photographs are the evidence

As she lay in hospital, photographs were taken of her condition including bruises and effects of body blows which naturally exposed parts of her body that would normally be decently covered.

Any court of law that would judicious determine this case if assault charges are brought and pressed to the limits of the law for the harshest sanctions, should and must see both a doctor’s report which would have involved exposing selfsame these parts to non-relations of possibly the opposite sex and the photographs taken by a professional and certified to be of her.

Mullahs of disgust

It is saddening to hear that the publication of these photographs which show the level of barbarity and utmost disregard for women in the Nigerian society is being condemned by religionists who contend that nudity is forbidden under Sharia Law.

Nudity for lascivious purposes, I can understand; nudity revealing the extent of criminal assault in order to expose an unacceptable barbaric act - I disagree. Nobody should be above the prospect of being exposed as an animal unworthy of existing in a civilised community. Religion can take a back seat.

What really is the purpose of Sharia Law if such despicable violence by men in authority against a fellow human-being regardless of sex is not condemned outright and the victim given succour?

What is the purpose of religion when it has lost its compassion and service to humanity?

How did people witness this utterly criminal act and not intervene, if not take the man and beat him to a pulp?

What was the function of the onlooking policemen who witnessed a crime on the premises of the police station and only acted to arrest the man rather than prevent the blatant abuse of rights?

No safety with the police

Mrs. Garba, went to seek redress at the police station for the harassment she was receiving from thugs in the employ of Mr. Madari, it is impunity that allowed Mr. Madari to challenge that arrest and then set on the woman without fear of being dealt with.

This is the culture that needs to be eradicated in Nigeria. One that places the needs of foreign religions over the present need for human compassion.

One that allows men to maltreat women without fear of the heavy sanction of the law and harsh judicial process.

One that makes men think that they have domineering authority over any woman to abuse them if they do not submit to the wishes or commands of men.

Ekaette’s wrong-headed crusade

This is the crusade that stupid (forgive my intemperance, I am incensed) Senator Eme Ufot Ekaette should be fighting, not that nonsense about indecent dressing, we have more pressing issues at stake.

Yesterday, I watched with heart-rending sorrow the CNN World’s Untold Stories about Nigerian women being trafficked in Denmark and the way they had been abused, dehumanised, defiled, denigrated and treated like dogs by unscrupulous men and women, I almost cried.

Women used in prostitution that unwittingly get pregnant and are forcefully taken for abortions in underground clinics then put back on the street the same day.

This is a ready-made crusade

That is the depth of depravity and human misery meted out to Nigerian women, if Madam Ekaette needs a crusade she has a ready-made one which she can spearhead to a conclusion that would bring accolades untold.

If there is anyone who can bring persuade the honourable senator of this better purpose, I would be most obliged.

As for the fate of Mr. Madari; not only should he be prosecuted with the prospect of the harshest penalties, he should be made an example of – we must not again tolerate violence against women to aggrandise male chauvinism.

It is unacceptable in any modern society; Nigeria needs to rise up to that worthy cause. As for the religious leaders, shame on them, we really should be done with you utterly outrageous lot.

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