Opinion: Between late Ataga & His Alleged Murderer – Upbringing and Pure Will – By Tunde Asaju

If at 18 you are old enough to vote, and drive, that means the age of maturity is 18 and this is fairly universal. Science says a person’s character is formed way earlier than that age.

So, if you commit a crime at less than the official age, you are called a minor.

Only the Saudis and authoritarian regimes execute children who offend, even for the offence of murder!

But the Saudis don’t give a fat arse, if you commit the crime, they would get the executioner to behead you (and sadly that includes ‘crimes’ of political correctness!)But that’s not the purpose of this one. It’s about what role(s) parenting plays in the life of children. At 18, you are on your own. If you go out there and commit murder, you should face the music. The only defence to that is insanity (sorry Nigerians its not those who are half naked and sleeping rough that are mad, we all exhibit some level of insanity).

So, when a 25-year-old girl kills a man she alleged raped her, but then went to his bank and withdrew cash before returning back to her parents, that is murder. What could her parents do about that? If they shut her in, it’ll be termed abuse. Maybe she is a smart Alec who behaves herself at home and acts differently outside the home – we all know how ‘smart’ we all could be even in the face of strict parenting or do I say monitoring!

Now, I do not make trite of the offence of rape. It’s a serious crime. But look at her story – he allegedly forced himself on her the first time. She did not leave, rush to the police or report to her parents, she waited. Her teacher claimed she hasn’t shown up in school since last year. How is a parent supposed to police that? You can take a child even to the school, but you cannot keep them there – ask any truant!

She appeared to have stayed there until he provided ‘smoke’ which means it’s probably more than cigarette or cigar. The drink is (probably not bubble water); mix that with smoking and some say it increases their libidinous arousal as much as it induces hallucination – both a recipe for violence, perhaps not murder. She stabbed him in the jugular, not once but twice. Did the guy think perhaps out of manly courage he could overpower her, after all if he forced himself on her once, he could do it again? So, he failed to make a dash for it or call the cops. He went for her (her testimony) and she stabbed him again. Then he went after her as she threw the knife on the bed, this time you could imagine the amount of blood he is losing.

If, after she had killed him, she called the cops, the defence of self-defence from sexual assault could perhaps sound logical. But no, she allegedly took his card and confessed to withdrawing over N380,000 from his account. She still did not go to the police, did not raise hell and get instant witnesses. In her ‘trial by media’ parade (that shit won’t stop in Nigeria), she appears cool, calm and collected as she faced the cameras. She is supposed to be a 300-Level Mass Communication student. At that level, she is supposed to know a bit or two about communication and how it impacts witnesses. Was she tortured into confession? It doesn’t look like it. So, she appears to be prepared for whatever comes after her alleged crime. The issue of self-defence could easily be ploughed by crime scene investigators (in a normal clime) not Nigeria.

But all these are semantics. What I find odious is saying it had to do with upbringing. No, it doesn’t. Most parents (not those who born troway) do their best to raise good children, they instill the best character in their children, but a child forms its own character. Fela was raised by an Anglican reverend. Sent to England to study medicine but veered off to do music. Now, if he had turned otherwise, who should we have blamed? Mark Zukerberg did not initially complete his degree, ditto Steve Jobs…if they had not succeeded who would we have blamed – none policing parents? As a child, after your parents have raised you, you have a duty to remould yourself. That is your duty, not a parent’s duty.

After the age of maturity, a parent’s role is advisory, when needed. The grown child (adult or kidult) takes responsibility for their own actions. So, this is a hard time for the girl’s parents, nobody should make it harder for them by guilt-shaming them. The so-called professor in Unilag giving evidence may have been educated, but he is a fool. This is a legal matter. In a serious society, he has just lost both his job and faces a very bleak future indeed, because this girl remains a suspect until a competent court has tried her. She has all other rights except detention that we have. This would be hard for Nigerians to accept.

I feel very sad for the parents of this girl, but I don’t blame them for her actions. I don’t think she does. The drinks and the smoke has cleared now and this posture (from Daily Trust) shows how much she is beating herself for her actions. Just remember, if she had done something wonderful, we would have touted her as a role model o!I feel pained for the life of the dead guy and those who would suffer as a result of his death.

Rape is a very serious crime. Virtually every girl child has had one encounter or other with randy men/boys; some boys too carry scars. A crime of passion is approached from different angles. The death of one party makes things even more difficult. This girl is just 25! She had the world entirely at her dainty feet before now. If truly she was dating this guy, a sort of TV mogul, she already sees a bright future before her, indeed an Upper Degree from Unilag would not have enhanced her career better than the one she was ‘dating’. We live in a society in which the end justifies the means.

The Nigerian legal system is callous, swift and cruel to poor victims but drags on until justice loses meaning when it deals with wealthy criminals. Facrook Lawan waited ten years to get a slap on the wrist and Ganduje ‘won’ a second term and enjoys immunity and ‘power to steal’. Bode George still makes headlines and nothing you say about James Ibori moves his supporters. This poor absolutely beautiful girl’s life is bleak. By the time she gets out, reform is far for and from her. We are a society that does not give prisoners second chances, she is tainted for life, can’t make it here, and can’t be allowed to go elsewhere. Her parents have, in essence, lost her and now carry a very painful scar.

As the late Tai Solarin would say – may her road be rough!

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