“Online Porn is the Most Pernicious Threat Facing Children Today”

If you are a parent this should interest you as more and more Nigerian children are getting unsupervised access to the internet. A good number of parents have an idea of the type of content their teenagers are likely to be exploring online but feel helpless about how to tackle the situation as most internet browsing by teenagers in Nigeria is done via mobile devices such as phones. Where do you start policing from?

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By MARTIN DAUBNEY

 

The moment I knew internet pornography had cast its dark shadow over the lives of millions of ordinary British teenagers will live with me for ever.

I was sitting in the smart drama hall of a specialist sports college in the North of England with a fantastic reputation.

Before me were a group of 20 boys and girls, aged 13-14. Largely white, working class children, they were well turned-out, polite, giggly and shy.

Martin Daubney, ex-editor of Loaded, with his wife Diana and his son SonnyMartin Daubney, ex-editor of Loaded, with his wife Diana and his son Sonny

As the presenter of a Channel 4 documentary called Porn On The Brain, airing next Monday at 10pm, I’d been invited to sit in on a forward-thinking class led by sex education consultant Jonny Hunt, who is regularly asked into schools to discuss sex and relationships. To establish what these kids knew about sex – including pornography – he had asked the children to write an A-Z list of the sexual terms they knew, no matter how extreme.

Most of these children had just hit puberty and some were clearly still children: wide-eyed, nervous, with high-pitched voices.

Some of the girls were beginning their first forays into make-up. Several wore braces on their teeth. Everybody was smartly turned out in school uniform, and the most anti-authority statement in the room was a tie worn deliberately short. A One Direction pencil case lay on a desk. These were clearly good children, from good homes. So far, so very, very ordinary.

But when Jonny pinned their lists on the board, it turned out that the children’s extensive knowledge of porn terms was not only startling, it superseded that of every adult in the room – including the sex education consultant himself.

Martin was shocked by what the teenagers saidMartin was shocked by what the teenagers said

‘Nugget, what’s that?’ asked Jonny.

‘A nugget is a girl who has no arms or legs and has sex in a porno movie,’ chortled one young, pimply boy, to an outburst of embarrassed laughter from some, and outright revulsion from others.

The adults in attendance were incredulous at the thought that not only did this kind of porn exist, but that a 14-year-old boy may have actually watched it.

But the more mundane answers were just as shocking. For example, the first word every single boy and girl in the group put on their list was ‘anal’.

When questioned, they had all – every child in a class of 20 – seen sodomy acted out in porn videos. I was stunned they even knew about it – I certainly hadn’t heard of it at that age – let alone had watched it and as a result may even have wanted to try it.

One 15-year-old girl said, ‘Boys expect porn sex in real life’. And one boy – to choruses of approval – spoke of his revulsion for pubic hair, which he called a ‘gorilla’.

When Jonny pointed out that pubic hair was normal in real life, the boys scoffed, but some of the girls were angry that the boys’ template of what to expect from real girls had clearly already been set by porn.

By the end of the hour-long class – and three others that followed with other children – I was profoundly saddened by what I had witnessed. While teenage boys will always be fascinated by, and curious about, sex, what’s now considered ‘normal’ by under-18s is an entirely distorted view of intercourse and the way relationships should be conducted.

It seemed as if the children’s entire expectation of sex had been defined by what they see in online porn. The conversation was horrifying enough, yet there was worse to come.

In the playground, I interviewed a brave group of seven bright boys and girls aged 14-15 to ascertain in more detail what online porn they had witnessed.

One boy calmly recalled watching a scene too graphic to describe in a family newspaper, but which had involved an animal.

‘You’re watching bestiality?’ I asked. ‘That’s illegal. Where are you getting this stuff from?’

Facebook,’ the boy said. ‘It just pops up whether you want it or not, sometimes via advertisements. You don’t have any control over it.’

A girl added, ‘On Facebook, you just scroll down and it’s there. If any of your friends like it, it comes up on your home page.’

These kids were balanced, smart and savvy. They were the most academically gifted and sporting in the school. They came from ordinary, hard-working households. This was not ‘Broken Britain‘.

Some were clearly shocked by what they had seen on the internet.

‘I find it dirty and disturbing,’ said one 15-year-old boy. ‘I try not to look at it, but people just keep sending it to each other. They email disgusting links to each other’s mobile phones to shock.’
One girl put her head in her hands and said, ‘It’s just gross’.

It’s horrifying enough for parents to know that children can get porn via the internet. But to think they get it from Facebook – the social media currency that has become a universal must-have for teenagers globally – will strike terror into their hearts.

After leaving Loaded MartinI agonised that they may have switched a generation onto explicit pornAfter leaving Loaded MartinI agonised that they may have switched a generation onto explicit porn

I asked the teenagers: ‘On a scale of one to ten, how likely would you say it is that boys and girls your age are watching porn online?’

The reply was a chorus of tens, nines and one eight.

When I asked the children if there were parental controls on the internet at home, they all said no, their parents trusted them. They all admitted their parents had no idea what they were watching, and would be shocked if they did know.

What I saw at the school was awful, but sadly not unusual.

The findings were backed up in a survey of 80 boys and girls aged 12-16, commissioned for the TV show.

It proves the vast majority of UK teens have seen sexual imagery online, or pornographic films.

According to the survey, the boys appear largely happy about watching porn – and were twice as likely as girls to do so – but the girls are significantly more confused, angry and frightened by online sexual imagery. The more they see, the stronger they feel.

But what impact is this steady diet of online depravity having on the attitudes of boys and girls towards real life relationships, and on their self-esteem?

Could it even have a wider impact on their lives, blighting their ability to function in the world, get good qualifications and jobs?

What I discovered left me truly shocked and saddened.

He wanted to know how to protect his sonHe wanted to know how to protect his son

You might be surprised. After all, from 2003-2010 I edited lad’s magazine Loaded.

With its frequent nudity and lewd photo spreads, I’d long been accused of being a soft pornographer, and after leaving Loaded I agonised that my magazine may have switched a generation onto more explicit online porn.

In the documentary I set out on a journey to answer the question: is porn harmless, or is it damaging lives?

My interest was deeply personal, too, as my own beautiful little boy, Sonny, is now four. Even though he has only just started primary school, the Children’s Commissioner estimates boys as young as ten are now being exposed to online porn.

I wanted to know what I could do to protect my own son from a seemingly inevitable exposure to hardcore material in just a few years’ time.

I used to be sceptical that porn was as damaging a force as the headlines and David Cameron – who recently said it was ‘corroding childhood’ – suggest. In the past I’d even defended pornography in university debates, on TV and on radio. I claimed it was our freedom of choice to watch it and said it could actually help add to adult relationships.

But what I saw during the making of the film changed my opinion of pornography forever.

The true stories of boys I met whose lives had been totally taken over by porn not only moved me to tears but also made me incredibly angry that this is happening to our children.

And the looks of revulsion on those poor girl’s faces in the playground enraged me.

I feel as if an entire generation’s sexuality has been hijacked by grotesque online porn.

To find out what porn is doing to young men, and the girls they have relationships with, we spoke to them via online forums and discovered that there were many young lives seriously blighted by an excessive, unhealthy relationship with pornography that can begin when they are as young as 12.

We learned that some had lost their jobs, others had broken relationships, failed exams, or got into serious debt through using porn.

Take the 19-year-old man I got to know. He was handsome, articulate and in full-time employment as an apprentice electrician. But his life was dominated by his porn habit.

‘Every bit of spare time I have is spent watching porn,’ he says. ‘It is extreme. I can’t hold down a relationship for longer than three weeks. I want porn sex with real girls, but sex with them just isn’t as good as the porn.’

Having established, like the recent Children’s Commissioner report, that ‘basically, porn is everywhere’, we set out to discover what all this porn was doing to their brains.

Was it having any effect at all? Could it be addictive?

We found Dr Valerie Voon, a neuroscientist at Cambridge University and a global authority on addiction.

Then, in the first study of its kind, we recruited 19 heavy porn users who felt their habit was out of control and had Dr Voon examine their brain activity as they watched, among other things, hardcore porn.

She showed them a variety of images, both stills and videos.

These ranged from images known to excite all men, such as bundles of £50 notes and extreme sports in action, to mundane landscapes and wallpapers – all inter-spliced with hardcore porn videos, plus pictures of both clothed and naked women.

The ways in which their brains responded to this diverse imagery were compared with the responses of a group of healthy volunteers.

She was interested in a particular brain region called the ventral striatum – the ‘reward centre’ – where our sense of pleasure is produced. This is one of the areas where an addict will show a heightened response to visual representations of their addiction – whether it’s a syringe or a bottle of vodka.

'Letting our children consume it freely via the internet is like leaving heroin lying around the house'‘Letting our children consume it freely via the internet is like leaving heroin lying around the house’

What we discovered was a revelation. When shown porn, the reward centre of normal volunteers barely reacted, but that of the compulsive porn users lit up like a Christmas tree.

The compulsive porn users’ brains showed clear parallels with those with substance addictions.
Everybody on the project was astounded, even Dr Voon, who admitted she had been ‘sceptical and ambivalent’ about the study at the outset.

If porn does have the insidious power to be addictive, then letting our children consume it freely via the internet is like leaving heroin lying around the house, or handing out vodka at the school gates.
And this toxic effect is filtering down directly into young girls’ lives.

The most shocking testament came from Professor Gail Dines. Regarded as the world’s leading anti-pornography campaigner, she has interviewed thousands of men and women about sex and pornography.

‘When you interview young women about their experiences of sex, you see an increased level of violence: rough, violent sex,’ she says.

‘That is directly because of porn, as young boys are getting their sexual cues from men in porn who are acting as if they’re sexual psychopaths.

‘Pornography is sexually traumatising an entire generation of boys.’

By talking with sexual addiction experts such as Professor John E Grant of the University of Chicago, Dr Paula Hall, the UK’s top sex addiction therapist, and Professor Matt Field from the University of Liverpool, we learned that the teenage brain is especially vulnerable to addiction.

The brain’s reward centre is fully developed by the time we’re teenagers, but the part of the brain that regulates our urges – the pre-frontal cortex – isn’t fully developed until our mid-20s. The brains of teenagers are not wired to say ‘stop’, they are wired to want more. The implications of this study are profoundly troubling.

So who is going to take on the responsibility for protecting our children until they are old enough to do it for themselves?

Can we rely on schools? It strikes me that the current sex education system in the UK – where schools are obliged only to teach the basics of reproduction and the perils of sex, which they can opt out of anyway – is hopelessly outdated.

In the internet age, our children are turning to online porn for an alternative sex education – the worst place they can go.

The Mail claimed a victory in July when David Cameron announced that by the end of 2014 all 19 million UK homes currently connected to the internet will be contacted by service providers and told they must say whether family friendly filters that block all porn sites should be switched on or off.

But our TV show proved that determined children will always find a way around online blocks.

Ultimately, the responsibility lies with us, the parents. The age of innocence is over.

Like many parents, I fear that my boy’s childhood could be taken away by pornography. So we have to fight back.

We need to get tech-savvy, and as toe-curling as it seems, we are the first generation that will have to talk to our children about porn.

We have to tell our kids that pornographic sex is fake and real sex is about love, not lust.

By talking to them, they stand a chance. If we stick our head in the sand, we are fooling only ourselves.

 

Culled from dailymail.co.uk

 

A Message to All Single Ladies – from Charly Boy

It has always been my opinion that it is no longer a crime for a woman to be single maybe even into her 40s. Look around and see how many very decent, educated, classy, career girls are hanging loose. Nothing do you abeg. It just hasn’t happened.

You are not single because there s anything wrong with you. You are not single because you have been too picky. You are not single because you were not well raised. You are not single because you lack manners. It is a national phenomenon and the economic situation has played a major role. More babes are now the bread winners while their brothers remain on the job market.

Just continue to be your beautiful God-blessed self, maintain a positive attitude and if marriage comes, great. If it doesn’t, celebrate being alive at all and make the most of it.

God bless us all.

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If you’re a single lady…this message is for you from Mr Charles Oputa
All the single ladies reading this, chin-up and give your good self a thumb up. Nothing doest thou. Last week I had a father/daughter discussion with my Princess. I could feel the frustration in her tone as we spoke about different issues. When I asked about her boyfriend she gave me a very long and irritated “Naija babe” hiss, she aired out her frustrations with this whole dating business. “Daddy we are no longer dating.” “I’m so very sorry my love, but what happened I queried,” very anxious to hear the gist, cause me and my Princess are just that close. This is my daughter’s 3rd boyfriend since she started dating, and she has only been with him for barely 6months… “Daddy, please I’m tired, he is not ambitious, he has no drive, and he is too laid back for his own good, how can I marry a man like that? To make matters worse, he thinks I am overly ambitious, he says I do way too much – please tell me how that’s a bad thing.” Hummmmm, my daughter, my princess my pride and joy is unhappy.

You see since childhood, my Princess has been very independent, very focused and determined – no nonsense kind of ‘chic’, (can an apple fall too far from its tree). She is intelligent and extremely hardworking, I mean what more could a man ask for in a woman?
Quickly, I was thinking of how to calm my ticked off Princess down. “Darling, you know daddy will always love you no matter what, most importantly you know damn too well that you are not under any pressure to get married. So be patient, concentrate on your carrier and yourself my darling, he will come when he comes, and if he doesn’t come, have your baby, I wouldn’t mind another grandchild.” Did I really say that? Oh! Yes I did, and I meant that.
Single ladies are on the rise these days, because for a long time coming, there has been an explosion of male joblessness in Nigeria and the world over. There has also been a decline in men’s life prospects that have disrupted and distorted the dating or the “marriage market”, in a way that narrows a marriage minded woman’s options.
Today all the Nigerian single “good” ladies who are desirous to settle down are at a cross road in their dating life, most of them are simply tired, a lot are frustrated and many are giving up. Their options are really limited; it is mostly between the millions of Gigolos or the deadbeat, some of who are pretending that they are waiting for Jesus before they get it together; those who don’t have ambition burning in their soul. I can’t believe that I told my daughter to go ahead and have a baby out of wedlock. Well, with the way things are playing out in our environment, it is time we embraced new ideas about dating and marriage.
Society’s highest institution called “Marriage” is fast becoming old fashioned and outdated. Look around and see the alarming rate of divorce matters all over the place, something is definitely wrong my people. At this rate, falling in love and getting married will be a question of choice rather than societal expectation or luck. Frankly speaking, women have climbed so high in their independence and career and are doing way better than the men. Men have been falling behind with amazing alacrity.
Good single women are so disappointed and it’s unimaginable, it’s like going to a party that has been the talk of the town for long. You buy your new dress hoping to show off at the party, but by the time you land, they tell you that all the good people have left, and the ones left are really the servants, their friends or relatives who have come to scavenge on the left over food. Believe it or not, that’s the situation today, no kidding.
Since the days of my grandfather, marriage has been primarily an economic and political contract between 2 families, prized and policed by families, relatives and community. That’s why in my village, they will tell you “no be only your wife/husband you they marryoooooo” Things have changed since then, most of our dates are from facebook, bb chat, online dating, the hocus-pocus church called Pentecostals, etc. There is no doubt in my mind that we are in the midst of an extraordinary change.
The transformation of young outstanding women, considered marriage material, is momentous, immensely liberating and immensely scary for prospective suitors. All the old ways are breaking down, these days ladies want to be in-charge of their lives, you can’t blame them. Forget about the days of being submissive, na for your pocket. Forget about marriage vows where it says about obeying your husbands, hummmm joor, they are not slaves, understanding works better.
Do they need husbands to have babies these days? Please don’t get this twisted, marriage is divine and sweet when you can not only find a soul mate, but someone who can inspire you, respect you, love you, adore your feminity and independence. They are hard to find oooooo. My daughter knows that finding a good man is like finding a needle in a haystack. None the less, should women feel psychologically defeated? Hell No! Most men who don’t know what time it is are still locked down with that old macho bullshit, that it is a Man’s world. Hummmmm for where, my people, women run things now, let’s get used to it, abegi, so our days on earth will be longer joor.
My princess, my baby, my joy, my little big girl knows that her character, her pedigree, her background, her ambition, her zeal and courage will most likely intimidate a lot of men out there, she realizes that this will further narrow her pool of prospects, just like she is also aware that with each passing year she is getting older and never younger but the options stay very limited.
All I’m trying to say is this, I tip my hat for all the “good” single ladies out there, keep the faith, I admire your courage in not wanting to settle for any trash out there. If it doesn’t fit, trash it, finding a life time partner is not ‘moimoi’. The world is already too troubled for you to be in a relationship that you know will not make you happy. Women can see these things ahead you know, that’s why they are a special breed of God’s creation.
I have discovered lately that men need women in their lives to keep them stable, but if push comes to a shove, women don’t really need men, a case in point, ‘The great Oprah’. Yes, good men are hard to find, ask Lady D. Ha!!

Culled from Linda Ikeji’s blog

 

My Truth Can Not Be Supressed By Femi Fani-Kayode

Meanwhile somebody needs to tell FFK he really needs to take a chill pill. I have heard any publicity is good publicity but this is just absurd!

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Earlier today I empathised with some of my igbo friends who were hurt by some of the things that I said and I expressed my regrets for hurting them.

However despite this they must understand that I meant no offence and I did not say anything out of malice. I simply spoke the bitter truth.

One of the reactions to that expression of truth was the rubbish that some faceless individual wrote about me and my family on some blog. Needless to say all that was written there was nothing but a tissue of lies concocted by a sick mind.

The man does not even exist. It was a scurillous and desperate attempt to smear me and to intimidate me into silence. They want to stop me from telling the truth about the history of our country.

I assure you that this will not work because I am not easily threatened or intimidated and I owe no-one an apology for narrating the facts of our history. My integrity and that of my family remains intact.

When those that wish to smear me have decided to stop being faceless cowards and to stop hiding behind fake names and identities then we can take up this matter properly.

When they are man enough to put a face to their fake identity then I shall take them to court. Until then they are just ghosts and a breath of foul air from the dungeons of hell.

They mean nothing to me. The truth can never be surpressed forever and at times like this it takes real warriors to reveal it. So the debate continues and I intend to be fully involved.

 

Culled from news.naij.com

 

 

You Are A ‘Yoruba Bastard’ For Claiming You Dated Bianca Ojukwu – Actress, Regina Askia To Femi Fani Kayode

Absolutely crude and unnecessary, Regina Askia. Please borrow a leaf from Bianca Ojukwu who has managed to maintain classy silence despite being the most prominent Igbo woman mentioned in that article.

As for saying “you blame the ladies for stooping so low as to date Femi Fani Kayode” I do not even know what that means. How is it anybody’s business who anyone else chooses to date? Please take it easy madam. A little decorum never hurt anybody. Additionally, you should not be one of those fanning the embers of tribalism in our nation and this write up can only be described as extremely incendiary. My take.

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Former Minister of Aviation and one-time PDP hit man, Chief Femi Fani Kayode who took to twitter to prove he is not a tribalist by saying he once dated an Igbo Lady, Bianca Ojukwu and several Igbo women, has come under heavy criticism.

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Former Nollywood actress Regina Askia has lend her voice to blame ex-Nigerian minister Femi Fani Kayode over an explanatory article he wrote about the Igbos yesterday.

In this lengthy letter, the former beauty queen called Femi Fani Kayode a drug addict and a Yoruba bastard for claiming he once dated Bianca Ojukwu and several Igbo women.

She also blamed Igbo ladies and Bianca Ojukwu for having sex with him.

Read her letter below;

I’ve Just Been Told That Having Sex With An Igbo Woman Is A Great Accomplishment!!! After reading another hard-drug-influenced-essay by the Yoruba idiot parading himself as Femi Fani-Kayode, Ex-Minister of the Nigerian Federation, I felt there was no need to blame him for giving us another reason why his family members should as a matter of urgency, BUNDLE HIM BACK TO A REHAB! No! I don’t blame Femi Fani-Kayode for having a fun-filled day telling us how he ‘breezed’ through Bianca Onoh before our very revered Eze-Igbo married her.

I blame Bianca Onoh , Chioma Anasoh & Adaobi Uchegbu for being naive or to have rather stooped so low to have intimate relationship with a Yoruba rascal/urchin/idiot whom i’m very sure was on heavy use of cocaine (and still is) at the time!

Were Bianca, Chioma & Adaobi blind to Femi’s madness/drug-addiction or maybe he flashed his Ministerial/Ex-Ministerial portfolio to entice them? This is the first time a former public figure (I blame Former President Obasanjo for giving him that privilege) has preferred to reel out the names of women he had sex with, in a bid to show-off how he has been able to conquer tribalism in Nigeria or maybe trying to tell others he has been able to have sex with one of the prettiest ex beauty queens another tribe may boast of, like Bianca Ojukwu (Nee Onoh) of the Igbo tribe.

Some persons have adviced that Femi Fani-Kayode should be ignored due to his MENTAL INSTABILITY but i say NO to it! I will not ignore him because when a mad-man chases one into his house & still want to exhibit that madness there, the owner of the house will definitely react except he doesn’t value his house!

This has taken a tribal angle & its such a shame that many Yorubas have been applauding Fani-Kayode’s spiteful comments against the Igbo. I may not want to generalize the behavioural disorders of even the average Yoruba, but i want to use this ample opportunity to remind our single Igbo sisters that if “He” is not Igbo, He can’t be like an Igbo-man who won’t be so ridiculous to think that giving us some of the names of our ladies he had sex with makes him a superman, as Femi Kayode must be ‘thinking’ in his fool’s paradise.

Right now in Nigeria, the likes of a Yoruba bastard like Femi Fani-Kayode have proved that Igbo women should think “wisely” in making choices as regards whom they allow ‘ACCESS’ to their much fancied bodies. An Igboman would NEVER do what Femi Fani-Kayode did with the names of Bianca Ojukwu (Nee Onoh), PDP’s Adaobi Uchegbu & the relatively unknown Chioma Anasoh or even women from other tribes. He typically exhibited behavioural disorder of the Yorubas, which is to them, a normal way of life. What a shame!

Bianca Ojukwu & the other two ladies should as a matter of urgency, reply Femi Fani-Kayode’s show of lunacy, stupidity, foolishness, infantile reasoning & utter disrespect for them!

Femi Fani-Kayode consciously & gladly made a spiteful remark of Igbo women & our women should take the fight to him in a very deserving impudent manner! I am waiting for the responses by Bianca, Adaobi & Chioma.

By the way, I never knew men from other tribes take having sex with an Igbo lady as a great feat… Bianca & others should hold their heads high up.

 

Culled from news.naij.com

 

‘Any woman who says she’s happy to be childless is a liar or a fool’: Take it from a woman who’s given up her dreams of motherhood at 44, says KATE SPICER

While I find this article remarkably thought provoking, I also find some of the arguments she proffers incredibly narrow sighted and based on some very flawed assumptions.

1 – Not EVERY woman who had kids finds it a wonderful experience. Some children (perhaps this can be attributed largely to upbringing) bring nothing but pure pain and misery to the family. Deliberately and unknowingly.

2- Not EVERY woman has a maternal instinct. There are those who truly are happy NOT to experience motherhood either biologically or by proxy.

3- The fact that you had kids is no guarantee they will want or be able to take care of you in old age. Or even love you.

4- Single mommyhood is commonly practiced nowadays but I think a good number of such women would ordinarily have preferred to have a man in the picture (i e marriage) to help raise those kids. More and more women are being tied down to career such  that many more are getting married later in life. Should such women go jump into the nearest well if they meet the right person late (as in the case of this writer) or just go ahead and have kids with the first fertile man they encounter?

So while I do appreciate the crux of what she is saying, I would say “this is the situation you have found yourself in.  Aint no undoing it now. You can’t go back in time to change history, so why not look ahead nd keep trying for a biological child (doctors are not ALWAYS right you know!) and if that does not happen just adopt and enjoy the man in your life instead of pining over what is not.

Some might accuse me of being glib but the truth is, I have never known regret to produce any fruitful results so, live on woman and try to be happy! Good luck.

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  • Journalist had abortion at 18 and now regrets it
  • One in four women are now childless in their 40s

By KATE SPICER

 

Kate Spicer says she is now 44 and full of regret because she isn't a motherKate Spicer says she is now 44 and full of regret because she isn’t a mother

Not so long ago women without children, like me, were pitied. But now the world has caught on to the fact that, on the surface at least, we don’t have such a hard life.

Take this week: I spent a few days on a friend’s sailing boat in Italy, sun-bathing, drinking rose, talking, laughing and dancing until dawn.

Back at home after my break, I slept for hours, ate breakfast in bed, and stayed there reading until well after lunchtime. I couldn’t be bothered to cook, so I went out for a Thai meal, bumped into a friend, went to the cinema and then out for drinks.

At the weekend, I stayed with friends with children in the countryside where I found money worries, toddler tantrums, conflicted step-parental relationships, and an all-consuming fractious energy caused by Mum and Dad having not slept more than five hours a night for months.

Unlike the child-free trip to Italy, where we drank for pleasure, this time wine was part of the coping process.

The children were lovely and polite – to me. But anyone could see that underneath the outward manners and helpfulness, Tolstoy’s maxim applied: ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’.

Earlier this week, a broadsheet newspaper ran a triumphalist piece by a 42-year-old who claimed she was wilfully and joyfully childfree.  The writer was one of a growing number of women, she claimed, who believe having it all means not having a baby. I call them the Motherhood Deniers.

To an extent, that writer is right. Unburdened by motherhood and the personal sacrifice it requires, a woman can dedicate herself to her career and create a home with all the delicate ornaments, sumptuous fabrics and hard edges that have no place in a family environment.

Where a decade ago, just one in nine women remained childless at 45 and were considered rather peculiar at that, now that figure is closer to one in four. For women with a university education, like me, that figure rises to 43 per cent – an extraordinary figure which signifies a seismic social change.

Among my friends, relatively ordinary women as opposed to media types, I am not alone in being childless. And there are many more examples in the realms of the super-successful, from Oprah Winfrey and Cameron Diaz to Helen Mirren and Theresa May.

Of 192 female directors among 1,110 FTSE 100 board members, it is estimated that just under half of them are childless.

I had an intern recently, a 21-year-old Oxford graduate, who told me confidently she never wanted kids because it would get in the way of her career. I told her she was mad. While a child-free life looks fun on Facebook, no number of career highs, nights at the theatre, weekends away or adult pleasures can disguise the fact that it feels – there is no other word – empty.

Between today and the end of my life, I hope there are a few more decades. But, as time goes by, the idea of dying without children feels unnatural and sad.

Statistics do not reveal whether the 43 per cent of educated women who are child-free are so by choice or by circumstance, but I believe the Motherhood Deniers, waving the flag for the childless life, remain in the minority. Admittedly a far more confident, glamorous, and witty minority than they once were, but a minority nonetheless.

For the rest of us, childlessness is a source of sadness and regret. Most of those 43 per cent will have gone through fertility hell, or never met the right guy, or left it too late, or have any number of unhappy stories.

Few would say: ‘I don’t want, and never wanted, children.’

'If I could teach a class to 16-year-olds about the importance of having a baby while you've still got energy and fresh eggs in your ovaries, I would'‘If I could teach a class to 16-year-olds about the importance of having a baby while you’ve still got energy and fresh eggs in your ovaries, I would’

Both Theresa May and Helen Mirren – frequently held up as role models for the childless – say they weren’t against having them. Mirren has said: ‘I kept thinking it would be, waiting for it to happen, but it never did.’

May put it thus, ‘It just didn’t happen… you look at families all the time and you see there is something there that you don’t have.’ Which is pretty much how I feel; sad but philosophical. I was in charge of my life. I should have put having a child first. As a young girl, having a family was something I dreamed of and assumed would happen. But then the education system swallowed me up, and nothing in it tells you that having a baby any time soon is a good idea.

My parents’ divorce put me off too. I had ants in my pants during every relationship until I finally met someone I could trust at the age of 40. He wasn’t going to start making babies straight away. So I waited. I was 43.

Kate Spicer recently appeared on This Morning to say she regrets the abortion she had at 18Kate Spicer recently appeared on This Morning to say she regrets the abortion she had at 18

What then but to rush into the arms of the fertility industry brandishing my credit card? I did, but it didn’t work. Now, at 44, adoption is always at the back of my mind, but there is some distance to go before I feel my relationship will be ready to take on that challenge.

Motherhood Denier, I am not. If I could teach a class to 16-year-olds about the importance of having a baby while you’ve still got energy and fresh eggs in your ovaries, I would.

I might get them to talk to my friend, Penny, 45, who has had to admit that she has missed the motherhood boat. ‘My mother kept saying to me, ‘Quick, have a baby’.

‘When she died, mixed up with all the other grief was that realisation that I was the end of the line. Ten years on, I can barely think about that, it makes me too sad. I spent a lot of money on fertility treatment, but in the end, I realised I didn’t have the energy to be a mother. My lifestyle is good, it’s a sort of compensation.’

As for me, I feel an excruciating awkwardness around new mothers, whose total intimacy with their child leaves me feeling like an outcast, not least because it exposes the ties of friendship as thin and practical.

There is, as one specialist said to me last year, a near to zero chance that I will get pregnant naturally and, he admitted, a fairly slim chance that IVF would work either, given my fertility history and, yes, my age.

Meanwhile, have you read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World with its population graded from the top, Alpha, down to Epsilon? If educated, successful women like me don’t breed, are we gearing up for a generation of Epsilon-minus semi-morons?

Social mobility is stickier than ever, so let’s not leave breeding to the idiots.

'On my mum's desk at her home in Devon are two cards, one from me, one from my brother, signed with messages of 'all my love'. When Mum and Dad are gone where will that love go?'‘On my mum’s desk at her home in Devon are two cards, one from me, one from my brother, signed with messages of ‘all my love’. When Mum and Dad are gone where will that love go?’

Then again, while women who don’t have kids often flag up how wonderful it is to have so much time on their hands, I can’t help noticing it’s women with kids who get the most done.

My sister-in-law has written two books, has three kids, and a much bigger home than me. JK Rowling was a single parent, and she’s done all right.

I sometimes lie awake full of dread about the time approaching when my parents are no longer around. To give or to receive unconditional love is a deeply rare thing.

As a rule, flawed as all parties may be, the parent-child bond is the commonest and most reliable form of that love. Sitting writing this at my mother’s desk, surrounded by my grandmother and great-grandmother’s things, I feel acute awareness that as my life enters its final half, it is with a diminishing circle of love.

On my mum’s desk at her home in Devon are two cards, one from me, one from my brother, signed with messages of ‘all my love’. When Mum and Dad are gone where will that love go?

The Motherhood Deniers are terribly excited about their friends. None of whom will be able to wipe their own bottoms in 40 years time, let alone those of their chums. And we all know nephews and nieces are not in the business of dedicating their lives to maiden aunts.

I have never met a woman who regretted having children. She surely exists, but not in my experience. I have met, however, older people who lament never having kids, for whatever reason, and I suspect some of the noisy Motherhood Deniers will eventually join their number.

For them, there are dogs and cats, and when they no longer have strength to pull the foil off a tin of Caesar, it’s pretty likely there’ll be branches of Dignitas in every shopping mall where the old and unloved can go when there’s nothing left to live for.
Culled from dailymail.co.uk

 

A MUST READ: “Senator Yerima and Constitutional Review” By Maryam Uwais

The child bride brouhaha is still raging on with a vast majority of Nigerians merely responding in knee-jerk fashion to what majority of us agree sounds preposterous.

Below is the most cohesive argument put forth regarding the matter so far. Please read and be educated.

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Maryam Uwais MFR
Chairperson, Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, Kano
Once again, Senator Yerima is in the news, claiming Islam as the basis for his argument that a girl automatically transforms into an adult of ‘full age’ once she is married, with the attendant responsibilities that relate to the renunciation of citizenship, irrespective of her age or mental capacity. Because the Senator from Zamfara State has gone public with his personal comprehension of the Shari’a, it has become necessary to respond publicly to his utterances.

It should be pointed out, however, that several media reports on the constitutional review debate at the Senate give the impression that underage marriage has been endorsed by the Senate Chambers. Facts are that S.29 of the 1979 Constitution permits a Nigerian citizen of ‘full age’ to renounce his or her citizenship by declaration in a prescribed manner, for which purpose ‘full age’ was stated to be 18 years and above. The subsection also provides that, ‘any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age’. In its current efforts to review the Constitution, the Senate Committee had determined that the particular subsection should be deleted, basically because citizenship has no bearing on gender, as for example, voting, the right to drive a car, possess a weapon or such similar social interactions that are evolving or are germane to a democratic Nation. Senator Yerima, however, vehemently argued (and lobbied) against the removal of the clause, on the grounds that deleting that clause was against (his understanding of) Islam. In his understanding, a girl, once married, automatically assumes the full mental capacity and responsibility to consciously make the prescribed declaration of renouncing her citizenship.

This position needs to scrutinized carefully, against the backdrop of similar positions that obtain under the Shari’a and in our context, as a Nation. Does it then follow that the married girl who is below 18, at election time, would be permitted to vote, or is her not being issued a voters card un-Islamic? Is the Senate now going to make an exception to that law, permitting her to vote, or even drive, in accordance with (Senator Yerima’s understanding of) Islam?

Contrary to the position conveyed by the Senator from Zamfara, there is certainly no unanimity of positions on such contemporary matters of social interaction, within Islamic jurists or the various Schools of Thought. Surely where there is ‘silence in the texts’ (i.e primary sources) or lack of unanimity as regards a particular practice, that opening allows for a society to determine for itself what is in its best interest (maslaha), in its own context. What about married Muslim girls who inherit property? Is it not the position that in some cases, where not considered sufficiently mature (‘sufaha’, based on Qur’an 4:6), such property remains in the custody of her guardian, until she grows to be intellectually mature? This would, of course, depend on her age, mental capacity and the size and nature of the property. Why does such property not devolve upon her automatically upon marriage, to deal with it as she wishes,irrespective of her mental capacity? There definitely appears to be no basis, under the Shari’a, that would compel a girl to deal with matters of such gravity as therenunciation of citizenship, merely because she is married. Islam is certainly not so presumptuous or harsh as to burden her with what she is mentally and physically incapable of bearing. Her guardian is permitted to determine the age or stage at which such a child can be entrusted with such grave responsibilities, the assessment of her mental capacity being the main determinant.

As a Muslim woman (without pretensions of scholarship) forever striving for knowledge, research into these matters has revealed that in matters of social interaction (mu’amalat), there is a lot of latitude in what is permitted, unless it is expressly prohibited by a clear text. The rules are certainly not so definitive. What is also evident is that the ‘best interests of the child’ is a paramount consideration within Islam, along with the principle of public good (maslaha or istislah). The operational rules are not defined (probably deliberately, in my humble view) and the determination of such issues is best left to the experience, custom and context of the particular society. The Qur’an provides that the predominant consideration in matters relating to children would depend on the point at which they can be said to not be ‘sufaha’ (mentally immature) anymore, in the context of that particular community.

It is interesting that Senator Yerima would rather link the weighty and dispassionate subject of citizenship with his understanding of gender vis a vis his perception of the age of marriage, rather than with other matters of social interaction, such as those relating to inheritance rights, driving or even voting. Indeed, citizenship is a contemporary phenomenon within the Sharia, as in the early days the concept of citizenship had not been defined and people traveled across boundaries, without restriction. In a Muslim community, when matters evolve, it is for scholars or experts in Islamic legal philosophy-‘Usul-al-Fiqh’- and juristic reasoning (and not even those solely learned in the Qur’an-‘Mussafirun’, the Fiqh-‘Fuqaha’ or the Hadith-‘Muhaddithun’), to analyze the issues with a view to arriving at an appropriate position for the context of that relevant community. In this particular instance, it is certainly perplexing for the Senator to insist so categorically that even a married ‘intellectually immature’ girl must be permitted to renounce her citizenship, irrespective of her mental capacity. The foundation for such a general and sweeping statement within the Shari’a is difficult to locate.

The public good remains the overriding consideration in the process of analytical reasoning by those qualified for the purpose, so long as the deductions are not in direct conflict with the primary sources of the Shari’a. Therefore, in following arguments repeatedly canvassed by the Senator, it may be necessary to examine the context in which we live, to determine what is good, for the purpose of encouragement and support, and what remains harmful to our society, to be confronted, discouraged or prohibited by Muslim jurists.

Today the North of Nigeria continues to throw up Nigeria’s poorest indices on matters relating to healthcare, nutrition, education, empowerment and productivity. Consequently, unemployment, insecurity, violence and poverty remain rife in that region. Statistics have it that 2/3 of the 102 million poor people in Nigeria live in the North. Extreme poverty in the North translates into extreme vulnerability to the effects of climate change, food security and so much more. Incidentally, over half of the women in the North are married off by the age of 16 and commence childbirth within the first year of marriage. Also, of the 16 million births by girls below the age of 18, 9 out of 10 of them are married.

Facts are that nearly half of all the children under 5 years of age are malnourished in the North East zone, with women and children in the nutrition ‘high-burden’ States of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe andZamfara suffering the most from malnutrition, wasting and stunting. This singular factor remains the underlying cause for 53% of under-5 deaths. If the child is stunted in its first 1000 days, that condition is irreversible, so the future of these children, and the larger population, is permanently shortchanged. The health and nutritional needs of mothers, new-borns and children are closely linked, with young mothers accounting for a majority of severely malnourished children.

Multiple health risks arising from child marriage include the sexual exploitation (including forced sexual relations) that she is subjected to, as well as limited access to reproductive health services, despite the real and present danger of contracting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, STIs (sexually transmitted diseases) and the debilitating ailment of VVF/RVF (VVF-a tear in the flesh between the vagina and the urinary passage, usually due to prolonged labour, resulting in uncontrolled urine or feces in the case of recto-vaginal fistulae-RVF), including the abandonment that comes with such ailments. Nigeria, with 2% of the world’s population, has 10% of VVF patients. Three-quarters of those with VVF/RVF are young girls who are not yet physically mature but have suffered trauma in their first pregnancy.

Statistics show that stillbirths and deaths are 50% more likely in babies born to mothers younger than 18, as against babies born to mothers above that age. Each day, 144 women die in childbirth in Nigeria, with the North East alone having 5 times the global rate of maternal mortality. The lack of information and access to support ultimately results in psycho-social and emotional consequences, domestic violence, abandoned (street) children, with the attendant deprivations of their rights and freedoms, whose wellbeing is severely compromised. The prevalence of the abuse of the right to the exercise of divorce by Muslim men has only compounded the situation, leading to so many negative social deviations such as substance abuse (that has become so rampant), commercial sex work and the complete loss of values in the entire family set up.

Many of these adolescents are married off to men much older than they, and because of the associated power differentials, this singular factor impedes communication between them, with the girl having no negotiation skills in crucial decision-making that may affect her life. Having lost out on these critical life opportunities, these married adolescents can never aspire to living as meaningful and productive members of society. Not being able to participate actively in the community translates to their losing out completely on benefitting from economic activity and earning a decentincome. Many of these girls remain excluded from community life, having been separated from peers and family members by marriage. Depression sets in. A life of diminished opportunities. The community loses out completely; the economy cannot improve where half its population is stuck in this rut.

Child marriage, from available statistics, ultimately hampers the efforts of these young adolescents from acquiring an education, as sooner than later, they find it difficult to combine the onerous responsibilities of being a wife and mother, with schooling. They drop out, if they have not been removed for the purpose of marriage, in the first place. Consequently, 70.8% of young women aged 20-29 in the North West zone are unable to read or write. Due to the fact that these girls are deprived so early of an education (including the access to information and knowledge) they remain bereft of the purchasing power necessary for an adequate diet, healthcare,skills, or even recourse to support in emergencies, all of which would enable them rise above the circumstances of abject poverty. It is paradoxical that Muslims like Senator Yerima would rather their wives and daughters be treated by female medical personnel if they fall ill, and yet they are, by continuously advocating for child marriage, deliberately closing the avenues for girls to aspire to such professions.

Deprivations of formal and non-formal education translate, at such an early age, into restrictions on mobility, domestic burdens, the denial of sundry freedoms in respect of survival, development and participation, as well as the loss of adolescent years. Indeed, children of young, uneducated mothers are also less likely to attain high levels of education, perpetuating cycles of low literacy and limited livelihood opportunities. Child marriage, therefore, ultimately deprives societies of the intellectual and financial/livelihood contributions of girls, and of their offspring. It is no wonder then that the North continues to portray such poor ratings in almost all aspects of human endeavour.

As a consequence, MDGs 1 (relating to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger), 2 (on education), 4 (on reducing child mortality), 5 (on maternal health), 6 (on combating diseases) remain unattainable goals (at least in Northern Nigeria), if we cannot confront the consequences and implications of child marriage. Evidently, the geography of poverty requires a coherent and urgent Northern strategy and a solution to the instability that has bedeviled the region in recent years. Against this background of grim data, we can ill afford to play politics with the obvious deficiencies in our human capital. The North, as an intrinsic part of Nigeria needs to improve on all fronts, to impact positively on Nigeria’s progress and support its growth. Since child marriage has all these devastating and diminishing implications, surely checking the increase in the practice can only trigger and catalyze positive growth, in so many dimensions.

It is certainly not mandatory in Islam that girls must be married off as minors, so to keep insisting that this practice must remain sacrosanct, given the background of needs in Northern Nigeria, is incongruous, even under the Shari’a. Where a practice is determined to be merely permissible and not mandatory, it is considered practicable and entirely feasible within Islamic jurisprudence, to discourage or prohibit it, where it is found to be so harmful to individuals and to the community. Countries such as Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Somalia and Bangladesh, with majority or high Muslim populations have set a minimum age for marriage as 18, in the acknowledgment that there are serious social, physical and mental health risks associated with child marriages. This progressive step became necessary, in that these indisputable facts placed a heavy burden on the accountable and God-fearing leadership in majority Muslim countries, to protect the vulnerable in their midst.

It is, therefore, not unreasonable to expect that educated elite and public figures such as Senator Yerima, being conscious of their grave responsibilities to prohibit harm and to enjoin good in our own context, should actually discourage this devaluing and belittling practice of early marriage, in the public good, for the protection of the vulnerable and the realization of social benefits. To enable our girls attain their fullest possible potential is definitely a target that Senator Yerima should also be working passionately towards, along with the rest of Nigerians who yearn for a better future.

Indeed, the overriding objectives of the Sharia include the promotion of human dignity, justice, compassion, the removal of hardship, the prevention of harm, the realization of the lawful benefits of the people, and the education of the individual by inculcating in him a sense of self discipline and restraint, which aims are by no means exclusive. All else may be adapted to achieve these ends, which measures may encompass matters of concern not only to law but also to economic development, administration and politics. For those that reflect, the hardship that these little girls experience, where married off and divorced soon after, so wantonly, is certainly unacceptable within the faith.

Although the fundamentals of faith and the practical pillars on which they stand remain immutable in principle, they may be interpreted and justified at the level of implementation in the exercise of public good. This process must of need be carried out solely by persons learned and eminently qualified to speak on the subject matter in question. We must always bear in mind that the ‘appropriation’ of divine authority in religious interpretation is best left to Scholars learned in Islamic legal philosophy and analytical reasoning. Having acquired the requisite knowledge and expertise (including the capacity to weigh the various views in the particular sphere of learning in the context of our times), these Jurists would also need to have imbibed, at the barest minimum, the attributes of humility, compassion, reflection, wisdom, self-restraint, diligence, objectivity, along with piety. Our learned Scholars must stand up and be heard, rather than remain silent on matters that so adversely affect us as individuals, as a region, a Nation and as members of a global community, which challenges paradoxically controvert the deeper meaning and purpose of the Shari’a.

Back to the issue in contention, it is important to commend the thinking behind the decision to delete the constitutional clause that seeks to lumber even an ‘intellectually immature’ girl, where married, with the grave responsibility of the power to renounce her citizenship, thereby elevating the subject of citizenship to the level whereby both men and women have similar responsibilities, without discrimination. It is hoped that ultimately, members of the Senate would reflect deeply on the implications of their recent action and revisit their decision to retain the contentious clause, if only to ensure that every Nigerian citizen of full age, without distinction, is subjected to similar standards and responsibilities under the provisions of our Constitution.

Maryam Uwais MFR
Chairperson, Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, Kano
20th July 2013

 

Culled from spotonreporters.com

 

Femi Fani-Kayode: A nation of depraved perverts and paedophiles

This scathing piece was published by the former minister of Aviation

by Femi Fani-Kayode

Femi Fani-Kayode

…Every single member of the Nigerian Senate that voted with Yerima on that day and that supported his filthy agenda should bow their heads in utter shame and they should be compelled to offer their own infant and under age daughters to strangers for marriage.

The Nigerian Senate includes some of the brightest minds in our country many of whom  are friends of mine and most of whom have been in active politics for many years. They have my respect. However what transpired in the Senate chamber a few days ago was a great cause for concern for not just me but millions of Nigerians from all over the world. How an innocent and seemingly uninteresting, uninspiring and unimportant debate about when and at what age a Nigerian citizen could legitimately and lawfully renounce his or her citizenship turned into a referendum on paedophilia and child marriage I dont know. Yet sadly that is precisely what happened and ever since then the nation has been on fire.

Senator (ex-Governor) Ahmed Sani, the Yerima Bakura and the Apostle of political sharia in Nigeria finally got his way and the futile attempt by a small number of good, noble and honourable Senators to amend the existing law on marriage and properly define the age of a female that is eligible to marry was thwarted by the pro-paedophilia, pro-child rape and pro-child marriage group within the Senate. Sadly our distinguished Senators eventually bowed to the will of Yerima and his friends and agreed to remain silent about the age that young girls can get married in Nigeria. What this means is that girls that are as young as 9 years old can continue to be lawfully bedded and married in our country providing they are deemed as being ”physically developed enough” to do so by their suitors, their prospective husbands and their parents. That is the law and that is the sordid level that we as a people and as a nation have degenerated to over the years.

I weep for Nigeria and, perhaps more appropriately, I weep for the Nigerian girl child. I weep because it is obvious to me that the Yerima’s of this world wish to turn our country into a giant Bangkok to which millions of sexual deviants flock from all over the world to ”enjoy” our ”tourist attractions” and ”have a taste” of our young and beloved children. Worst still they wish to use religion to defend and justify it. Yet we have no choice but to live with this new reality and to accept it as it is. After all, our representatives in the sacred halls of the Senate were not sensitive enough or ”man enough” to shoot down the whole thing, to stand firmly against the unholy agenda and to say boldly and firmly that ”come what may” our children must be protected from sexual deviants and reprobates.

And since the Senate, in its infinite wisdom, has now bought into and openly endorsed the “Paedophile Charter” which essentially makes it lawful and constitutional for very young girls to get married and to have sex at a very young age it is my firm view that we have now become a nation of perverts and paedophiles. The Senate had a chance to clear the air and amend the law but, out of nothing but sentiment and an inexplicable eagerness to compromise with that which is clearly evil, they threw that chance away and sacrificed our most sacred values to Yerima and his gang. Worst still they did it with a smile on their faces. Every Nigerian should bow his or her head in shame because instead of crushing the head of the lustful beast that seeks to fornicate with our children, to steal their virtues and to destroy their future what the Senate did the other day was to compromise with and cater for the filthy appetites and godless fantasies of a bunch of child molestors and sexual predators. It is sordid. It is ungodly. It is evil. And it is unforgiveable.

Surely we ought to be seeking to protect our children and not seeking to bed them. Yet it appears that not everyone shares our outrage and collective sense of shame. One Uche Ezechukwu made the following contribution which went viral on the social media networks and which I think speaks volumes. He wrote – ”Those who are railing against ‘paedophile’ senators, like Yerima Bakura, must be told that a Muslim can’t go wrong while imitating the examples of the Apostle of Allah himself and the founder of his religion, in the same way a Christian cannot be criticized for following the examples of Jesus Christ. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) married Aisha at the age of six and consummated the marriage when she was nine. So, why are we judging Muslims by our own standards?”

I am appalled by these words. The truth is that I have never heard such a self-serving and specious argument in defence of the philosophies and beliefs of the Ayatollah of Bakura, Senator Ahmed Sani, the practising paedophile who married and bedded a 12 year old Egyptian girl, as this one. Ahmed Sani himself could not have argued it better. Yet I think that it is an utter shame. And this is more so because the individual that is putting the argument is supposedly a Christian. The Old Testament of the Holy Bible prescribe ”stoning” for adultery but that does not mean that Christian countries, or indeed secular states like Nigeria, should stone adulterers.

Neither does it mean that we should preserve the institution of slavery or crucify petty thieves simply because the Holy Bible endorsed both practices in the Old Testament. We must accept the fact that the interpretation of Biblical and Koranic provisions are evolutionary and are ever changing. Jesus Himself said ”laws are made for man and not man for laws”. The suggestion that paedophilia has any place in any modern and decent society simply because it was once practised in the distant past is not only a despicable argument but it also does not make any sense. After all cannibalism and child and human sacrifice were once widely practised and were held as being perfectly acceptable throughout the world as well but that does not mean that we should practice any of those terrible vices today.

The young man, Uche Ezechukwu, who appears to be defending child rape in the name of Islam, should either let someone lay with and ”marry” his own 6 or 9 year old daughter or he should seal his lips forever and stop trying to defend the indefensible. His assertions, and I daresay those of Senator Ahmed Sani and anyone that shares their primitive views, are not only utterly immoral and reprehensible but they are also intellectually dishonest. I say this because the truth is that there is NO Muslim country in the world that has adopted the “paedophile charter” where 6 or 9-year-olds can marry and be bedded except for Saudi Arabia, Iran and Yemen.

Every other Muslim country in the world, including Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt, Jordan, Senegal, the Sudan, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Qatar, Bahrain, Dagestan, Albania, Bosnia, Somalia, Algeria, Libya, Mali, Azerbejhan, Niger, Turkestan, Chechnya and Syria have specifically banned child marriage, paedophilia and child rape in their various constitutions and laws and some have declared it ”repugnant”, ”unacceptable” and ”un-Islamic”. Are these people not Muslims too? As a matte of fact are they not better Muslims than those that insist on sleeping with or marrying underage girls in the name of Islam?

Like Christianity and Judaism, Islam is a noble, pure, honourable and ancient faith that seeks to protect the weakest and most vulnerable in society, including children. No-one should use the misinterpretation of its provisions to try to justify or rationalise what is essentially depraved, shameful, disgusting and barbaric behaviour and the most sordid and filthy expression of sexual deviance and perversion. Even animals do not marry or bed their own infants. The bitter truth is that paedophiles have no place in any civilised society.

I am constrained to say that in the light of their “yes” vote to child marriage and their green light to paedophilia, every single member of the Nigerian Senate that voted with Yerima on that day and that supported his filthy agenda should bow their heads in utter shame and they should be compelled to offer their own infant and under age daughters to strangers for marriage. I repeat, they have turned us into a nation of perverts and paedophiles and I say a pox on all their houses. I reserve my commendations and respect only for those Senators that opposed and voted against Yerima’s protestations and agenda and that stood for that which was right even though they could not muster enough votes to have their way. My word to this brave and righteous few is simple and clear- keep the struggle alive and continue to resist the evil that resides amongst us all. You are the only thing that stands between our children and the practising paedophiles in our midst who seek to ravage and bed them even before they have entered their teens.

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Femi Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation.