February 2, 2015 by Kambili M.A. Chimalu
Whenever I think about the Nigerian government (on a very good day I might add), I am filled with so much disappointment and anger at the ineffective body that has been trusted with governing the nation. The individuals (crooks, liars, cheats, scum of society) that hold positions of power never even attempt to create the impression of governing for the good of Nigerian masses.
Between debating how much raise they should get and how much millions should be allocated towards the renovation of their offices, I imagine the Nigerian government officials to be too busy enriching their lives at the expense of the ordinary Nigerian to do what they have been elected to do or tackle the issues that continually plague us and threaten our union.
However, once in a while, the Nigerian government attempts to try its hands at governing. An issue is selected and dealt with as swiftly as possible. These issues are often intimate and private affairs that one is left wondering why our government officials delight in invading people’s bedroom to dictate what occurs there. Is this some form of a collective voyeuristic urge on the part of our officials? Do they get satisfaction imagining what Nigerians do behind closed doors? How efficient our government officials can be when it comes to issues that they should not even be involved with in the first place is often puzzling.
The Nigerian government officials have decided that the most pressing matter that needs its urgent attention presently or in the nearest future is pornography. Yes, porn! Not electricity, healthcare, agriculture, the economy, education, corruption, etc. Nope. The Nigerian government officials have shown over and over again that the only time they can govern is when they are trying to legislate morality.
Not too long ago, our representatives in government were falling all over themselves to proscribe the harshest punishment possible for the unimaginable crime/atrocity that is homosexuality. How dare two consenting adults decide how they want to live their private lives? How dare a man be affectionate with another consenting adult male when he can marry a 12 year old girl and use her to his heart’s content? The Nigerian government took a non-issue and decided to further oppress a group of people who have been so marginalized in Nigeria that to verbally acknowledge their homosexuality is to sign their own death warrant.
With other imminent threats like the issue of Boko Haram endangering our national security, our elected officials have decided that the best course of action is to set their sights on another non-issue: Pornography.
With the Nigerian government even considering the outright ban of pornography in order to “ban and block websites that inculcate negative attitudes in our children,” our elected officials are once again trying to legislate morality.
This is infuriating because not only is it treacherous to try and legislate morality, it is dangerous appealing to the extremism of fringe religious nuts. I am a big proponent of separating religion and state, especially in Nigeria. There should be a clear thick wall separating these institutions because mixing the two institutions only ends up corrupting both.
It is dangerous to legislate our morality because it is a very slippery slope. Nigeria is a nation of millions of people with different religions and sense of morality. If we legislate one, then we must legislate them all. If we ban pornography today because a certain group finds it morally reprehensible, the next thing may be to very well ban the use of western education/medicine because another group finds it to be morally outrageous.
Pornography may be unhealthy when it is consumed by impressionable young Nigerians, but the answer is not to infringe on other people’s rights by banning it. The answer should be to educate our youth to recognize the difference between reality and make-believe.
Now, if the Nigerian government is so keen on legislating morality, I have a few suggestions:
- The death penalty for any pedophile that marries a girl under the age of 18 regardless of what religion or culture he believes sanctions it.
- The death penalty for the theft of public funds.
- A law mandating that every sick politician must receive treatment in his local government hospital.
- The death penalty for anyone caught rigging elections.
The above issues offend my moral sensibilities and they are the issues that our elected officials should be tackling, not issues that are no concern of theirs.