D’Banj is my friend and we have spent so many beautiful moments together. Last time, I was with him in his then Lekki house, he asked if I had eaten his wife’s okro soup and swore that if I tried it I would never eat Okro anywhere in the world.
I had not met his wife as at that time, not even a picture. So, when I ate the soup, I screamed that she was a perfect cook. Not until after I saw her picture that it dawned on me that there was no way this angel could cook that kind of soup. He must have probably bought it from elsewhere. That was and is the D’banj I know.
Today, the young man is probably fighting the battle of his life with a rape allegation that doesn’t seem to want to go away. The IG of Police has waded in and has instructed a thorough investigation. The accuser has made a series of damming allegations and it is really looking gloomy for the singer.
We have heard all sort of stories, from trying to use the police; to muting the accuser; to denials from his camp and a spurious petition asking the United Nations to denounce his Youth Ambassadorial position. Those ones quickly rushed to make some clarifications saying that he was appointed by an obscure UN Organization and not the main body.
Rape is heinous, cannot be and should not be condoned. It is a crime against humanity and its epidemic proportion must be condemned by all right thinking people. We must have a series of robust public enlightenment to throw not only a spotlight on the issue thereby ensuring better protection but also providing clarity to victims on processes of getting justice.
That said, my issue has always been with the rabid mob like reaction once an accusation has been made. Once someone has been accused, especially if it is a high-profile person, the media social media goes into a frenzy. Ohh, crucify they scream. They go into a rampaging vent to destroy reputation and livelihoods, forgetting that even suspects have a certain protection under the law.
I read a back page piece in a national daily during the week and the one sided argument all but ascribed the death penalty on D’banj without even airing his own side of the story. A panel of Radio Commentators did the same. Ohh, D’Banj is guilty. He smells of guilt from a pole apart.
My take is that why do we always throw institutionalized processes away when it comes to things like this. This is like lynching a thief in Oshodi. This is not us, this is barbaric. Investigations are still ongoing and not concluded. What we have now is a classic ‘he said, she said’ but our people have gone to town.
A rape case is a complex and sensitive matter. The accuser must be protected from psychological trauma because all of the public frenzy further exposes her to much more trauma and also the accuser whose story will not be heard from the cacophony of noise.
The Pastor’s case readily comes to mind and we saw how it all ended. We should be very careful as to allow the institutions of state do their work and now turn the huge influential eyes of the media and public scrutiny on the institutions making sure they do their work without fear or favour so that justice could be served.
For me, when a competent court of law finds him guilty, I will call him a rapist but till then I will hold my peace.
Rape kills, we must do everything within our powers to fight it while protecting our institutions and processes because failure to do that, we would be facing anarchy and at that point, we would all be raped.
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