Are Nigerians becoming the new age Pharisees?

Are Nigerians becoming the new age Pharisees?


By Itohan Ferguson

Yesterday two nasty videos went viral, while I find them both abhorrent, I am more put off by the pharisaical attitude of Nigerians. To give you a clearer picture, I will tell you what videos these are.

One of the videos was about two teenage secondary school students getting busy in a classroom full of their colleagues. In the video you see the girl, comfortably seated on the boy’s lap grinding expertly. I could hardly believe what my eyes were seeing and I had to zoom in on the video, trying to make sense of what the bouncy motion of her buttocks meant, then it smacked me in the face what I was seeing, these teenagers were unashamedly having sex in a class, with so many of their peers present. As if to drive home the vision before me, I caught a glimpse of her white panties, pushed aside to give the young ‘stud’ some access.

The other revolting video that went viral is one about a man brutalizing his wife, while a third person recorded the entire scene, without coming to the woman’s aid. The sound of her hopeless and helpless cry is like a knife to the heart for anyone who saw that video. I watched in bewilderment while the husband stomped her face and kicked her continuously and the onlooker never let out a peep in protest at the cruelty. He, she or even an it (because whoever recorded that video can’t be human) seemed to be seated as if witnessing a violent scene in a movie, not a real life moment with a flesh and blood woman being beaten to a pulp.

As is my ritual, I browse through the comments of these social media posts, as always Nigerians do not disappoint with their sanctimoniousness. Comments like “dirty children”, “the girls sef na small ashawo” and the like. Many men and women were quick to declare how pure and virginal they were at that age. I can’t help but raise an eyebrow at the hilarity of these hypocritical declarations.

We all went through secondary school and we always knew about the hush hush conversation of what voluptuous girl is riding what Mr popular boy in school. If you had ever been on the fringes of the secondary school social circle as I have, you will remember all too well, the deathly uncomfortable silence that seemed to descend whenever you walked passed a group of students engrossed in whatever scandalous conversations of the day. There is always talks of what male teacher is squeezing the breasts of what student and how the girl is unable to talk to anyone for fear of judgement, she will rather tell her closest friends her plight than confide in her parents, of course teenagers in a secondary school are the worst at keeping secrets.

We all remember the environment where the sex education class is a round of giggles with the embarrassed teacher faltering in his pronunciation of the words ‘penis’, ‘vagina’ and ‘sex’. This is a world where the school would rather turn a blind eye than acknowledge the reality of teenage sex. They would rather hold on to the façade that teenage boys and girls are as pure as fresh fallen snow. A world that would rather judge the questions these teenage boys and girls will ask rather than give them answers. This is a world where a penis is called ‘pee pee’ and a woman’s vagina is called ‘vjay jay’ or ‘pussy cat’.

These children laden with questions they need answers for but are not getting, become involved in the act of self exploration. They do not have to discover sex on their own because parents shouldn’t leave this responsibilities to teachers who would rather shirk them, comfortable in their cloaks of self denial. Our children should be told in clear terms what sex is, not the euphemistic use of symbols in describing sexual intercourse. Whether we like it or not, sex is an undeniable part of existence and teenagers are most vulnerable because they have an avalanche of hormones cascading their bodies, there are urges and emotions they do not understand. Many of us as adults discovered sex on our own and not from the wisdom and guidance of our parents.

The second video about the man savagely beating his wife is quite interesting for me, whether we like it or not we are the onlooker who do nothing. How many times do we hear the rhythmic thud of your neighbor’s fist connecting with his wife’s body and we do nothing. We simply get out of bed, ensure our doors are locked, turn of the lights and go back to bed. If we have our partner in bed with us who is awake in that moment, we proceed to gossip about the violent man with diabolical delight. We are a people who do nothing if we are not directly affected by a problem, we are a people so quick to judge a situation happening on the other side of our fence and we are a people quick to show no sympathy to the plight of a victim who isn’t us. Only just yesterday a popular actress granted an interview where she all but justifies a man beating up his wife.

Watch HERE

Therefore I ask what level of provocation will cause a man to beat a woman so badly until she begins to bleed, how different are we from animals if our reactions are that feral, devoid of thoughts and emotions. What makes us different from animals is our ability to rationalize a situation and act consciously.

Of course I wasn’t disappointed with comments that tried to justify the brutality of the man in the video. There were also comments of “wetin she do”… “shebi she don commit”. It is sad that social media is just making us aware of a sordid underbelly in our attitude as a people and yet many stand against it and prefer to stay blind and not acknowledge an inconvenient truth.

Therefore a pertinent question is, aren’t Nigerians as a people becoming modern day Pharisees, social media is only just exposing blatantly our attitude to sex and violence.

It is indeed a sorry state of affairs.

Happenings Media