The saying that it is unwise for people who reside or whose offices are covered in glass to throw stones at passersby or any other person for that matter, is indeed a wise and time-tested saying.
Even Yoruba speaking people also corroborated the above saying when they posited that it is unadvisable for someone to stand in the middle of a crowded market and throw stone. They believe, and maybe rightly so, that by the time the stone lands among the pool of heads, it will fall on the head of a close associate (family, friends) of the stone thrower.
The reason for these wise African sayings is on the issue of a letter purportedly written by American Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, regarding the conduct of three of his (Dogara’s) men in the House.
The letter dated June 9, 2016, had alleged that honourables Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi), Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue) had, on a recent visit to the United States for the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP), solicited for sex from prostitutes and attempted to rape a housekeeper while in Ohio State in that country.
As a foreign affairs reporter of long years standing and a once beneficiary of the same IVLP in the United States before I know too well that these allegations are not only weighty, but capable of marring the understanding and/or appreciation of the 8th National Assembly not only in the north American nation, but in the entire global diplomatic circle.
The Entwinstle I know, is a gentleman, and will not put pen to paper on mere frivolities or heresy, but he and his home government would have dug deep into the matter and come out with their findings. Again, it is not known to me when soliciting for sex (especially with mutual consent) between two adults has become a sin. But the claim of attempt to rape a housemaid is rather baffling.
Anyway, Speaker Dogara has taken the right step by ordering an investigation into the allegation, while the accused lawmakers themselves had told the leadership of the House to convoke a public investigative hearing on the allegations against them. They are presumed innocence until proven guilty, and sceptics should not begin to crucify the three lawmakers.
Some weeks back, Senator Omo-Agege of the upper chamber had, with support of some of his colleagues, had vocally argued and canvassed for the passage of the Bill against randy lecturers in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
The bill had proffered jail term for any lecturer -male or female (though it seemed targeted at male lecturers) of up to five years but no less than two years with no option of fine.
The Bill reads in part: “He or she (lecturer) shall be guilty if he grabs, hugs, rubs or strokes or touches or pinches the breasts or hair or lips or hips or buttocks or any other sensual part of the body of a student.
“He or she shall be guilty if he displays, gives or sends by hand or courier or electronic or any other means naked or sexually explicit pictures or videos or sex related objects to a student.
“He or she shall be guilty if he whistles or winks at a student or screams or exclaims or jokes or makes sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique.”
I had argued at length why the federal lawmakers should apply the brakes in the passage of the bill, raising many options to the letterings in the bill. I had strongly argued that ‘randiness’ knows no status or positions. I still believe that lawmakers, whether federal or at the states, not even acclaimed men of God in the country today are saints.
The accused lawmakers are saying the allegations against them are sheer prevarications. They may have a point, and that was why my earlier argument that in the randy lecturer bill, mischievous accusers could file false claim against perceived enemies.
That is not all. I had also strongly advocated for the extension of the scope of the bill to cover all spheres of the society because I am of the candid belief that promiscuity does not start and end in the universities, but is endemic in all facets of the Nigerian society.
With the unfolding drama on this American saga, it is a lesson to Sen. Omo-Agege and his co-travelers to appreciate that they have to capture the entire Nigerian strata in their ‘cherished’ bill. They need to understand and appreciate that the devil could come knocking at anyone’s door at any given time, irrespective of status and position in the society.
While their bill is a welcome development if it means to drastically reduce oppression of female students, especially by their lecturers, the sponsors of the bill would be fair if they expand its scope to capture promiscuity in parliaments, places of worship, offices and any place where male and female folks converge and interact.
Until they add this to the bill, Nigerians would not appreciate the sanity they claim to have in mind in introducing this Bill.