All posts by Onyinye Muomah

Out in Abuja: Afternoon ‘waka’

Pepper soup

The author describes her hanging out experience on a Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday. I was free as a bird. I took the day off to hang out with my friend, Aisha. Actually, we had won an award with the British Council and were headed there to claim it.

I left home very early so had no chance to get breakfast. I got a chance to fill my stomach with some small chops at the British Council though. Big mistake.

Around noon, we were headed back home when we decided that the small chops were not actually “food” and we needed real food. By then we had met up with our friend, Emmanuel.

On our search for great “swallow” and good soup, we happened to pass by Cubana on Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse 2. One of us remembered that Cubana, which is a night club, a lounge, and probably every sort of entertainment space you can think of, also had a restaurant behind the main building and the food was good; so we branched.

It was that period of the day when afternoon looked no different from the morning – or maybe it was just the weather. Anyway, it felt weird to me going in to eat pepper soup in the “morning.” That was what I planned to order. I wasn’t that hungry.

Pepper soup is an evening dish, a “groove food;” you know, open air beer parlour/pepper soup joint, under the stars with great palm wine or beer… Some highlife playing… and after drinking your pepper soup you could also order for some nkwobi to keep ya mouth in motion while you relax with ya friends… Chei. Groove things!

But there we were around 1 p.m. at a “club” that serves pepper soup in the afternoon and our weird afternoon groove was about to end even before it started. As we parked at the entrance, we noticed that some task force people were trying to shut down the place. But mehn, when a man/woman wants pepper soup, a man/woman wants pepper soup. So, Emmanuel and I determinedly got out of the car to confirm that the place was still open for business.

Once we entered, the compound, it was hard to tell whether it was a serious raid or just some friends dropping by. An employee at the club came out of the building and shook hands with a member of the task force, “You,” he said. And the way they both laughed, it was more like, “You know, we are friends but I have to do my job”/ “I know you came here for the usual kickback.”

The main body of the task force was actually at the side of the building, talking with the club’s management. Even here, it was still hard for one to determine the true nature of the task force’s presence at the club.

When Emma and I got to the back of the building where the dining area is, al-fresco, there was only one guest there. The guest was unaware of the whole “raid” happening almost under his nose.
“Are you guys closed?” Emma asked anyway.
The guy that looked to be the top boss, who was standing with the task force peeps actually called out, “No.”

That settled, it was on!

We went back to get Aisha, came back and settled ourselves nicely at a table.
Immediately, a waitress came to take our order; young girl in her early twenties, very pleasant with lots of smiles. Her name was Aisha too.

Emmanuel ordered for semo and egusi soup. Aisha ordered ox-tail pepper soup. And I ordered for my first love, catfish pepper soup though I still felt full from the small chops I ate at the British Council.

While we waited for our food, we ordered for drinks. Aisha went for coke and lime, Emma, plain Fanta, and I, plain water. Then Aisha’s coke and lime came and it evoked “drink envy” in Emma and me. We insisted on getting the lime treatment in our drinks.

Have you ever drunk lime and water? It’s divine. Emma’s fanta and lime, on the other hand, looked like something a baby threw up. He didn’t care. It probably tasted nice but – nah, not for me.

Meanwhile, I noticed that the only other guest besides us was working on his computer.
“Is there Wi-fi here? Is it free?” I asked eagerly.

Aisha the waitress gave us the password and soon a picture of my lime and water was up on Instagram.

My pepper soup was the first to arrive. It looked heavenly and the taste was sublime. The fish was well-cooked and the spices were just the right amount. The sight of it brought on catfish pepper soup envy from Aisha, then her oxtail came and it was equally saliva inducing. Emma got his egusi and semo and we all soon engrossed in stuffing our mouths. Well, me, not so much.

I was taking pictures for food porn on Instagram; #foodie #pepper soup #cubana #heaven!

“This soup must be drunk,” I captioned the picture of my pepper soup which in truth was hardly getting any drinking action.

The small chops had truly ruined my appetite. I could only sip at the soup and hardly touched the fish. But my pictures of Aisha’s and my pepper soups got lots of likes anyway, same for our drinks.

The atmosphere in the alfresco restaurant was chilled and relaxed. Being nearly the only ones there, we talked almost at the top of our lungs, the other guy didn’t mind nor did the restaurant staff.

There was music coming out from the speakers but it wasn’t loud and could be ignored.

It was like a lazy afternoon under the shade in front of the house, on semi-sunny day, gisting with family. I almost felt that I could get a mat and just lie there. No, not really.

Finally, when it was time to leave, my soup still sat there barely touched. Aisha had enough remaining on her plate too so we asked for take away packs. Of course, Emma demolished his semo and egusi down the white china .

As we left the restaurant/club/lounge/whatever, the sun was still being intimidated by the clouds. The weather was still cool enough that I wished we could just keep driving around town and hanging out in semi-empty intimate spaces. But work called for my two friends so I headed home to sleep and finish my pepper soup, of course.

Half of A Yellow Sun may ignite violence in Nigeria- Censor’s Board chairperson

Half of a yellow sun

Some scenes may be deleted before eventual release of movie.

The National Film and Video Censors Board, NFVCB, has said that there is no definite date for the release of the Biafran war movie, Half of A Yellow Sun.

The chairman of the board, Patricia Bala, speaking on a radio programme, Productivity Trailblazers on Capital Fm 92.9 on Thursday, said that the cinema release of the film was delayed due to security challenges in Nigeria.

“Is it right to release such a film at this time with the security challenges in the country?” she asked the interviewer.
Half of a Yellow Sun, which is based on the award winning book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, premiered in April in Lagos and London, UK. However, a wide release planned for later that month was delayed by the board. The events in the film and book occurred during the Nigerian civil war, the Biafran war, and were depicted from the perspective of the Biafrans, the Igbos.

Mrs. Bala noted that the board had to consult security agencies to determine the security implication of approving the film as some scenes in the film were capable of bringing back sad memories and igniting fresh crisis.

In a piece for the New Yorker in May, in which she lamented the delay of the movie, Ms. Adichie revealed that a controversial scene in the movie was one “based on a historically documented massacre at a northern Nigerian airport.”
She accused the Nigerian government of denial when it came to certain crucial aspects of the country’s history, insisting, ““Nigerians are sophisticated consumers of culture and, had the censorship board not politicised the film by delaying its release, I suspect that few people would have objected to it at all.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Bala said that the board will soon finish the review of the film and get back to the producers of the movie.

She noted that three possible scenarios may occur prior to the eventual release of the film: it may be released in its entirety; the producers may be asked to delete some scenes; or the film may be delayed to a right time when it could be approved for public consumption.

When asked when the right time would be, Ms. Bala said she did not know but it would be very soon.

Former THISDAY editor, Simon Kolawole, launches online newspaper, TheCable

Simon Kolawole

Almost two years after he stepped down as editor of Lagos-based THISDAY newspaper, respected journalist and columnist, Simon Kolawole, is returning to newspapering with a bang.

Mr. Kolawole will on Tuesday, April 29, begin a new journalistic journey with the launch of his own newspaper, TheCable, in Lagos.

The online paper will be unveiled at a colourful ceremony to be headlined by some of Nigeria’s business and political leaders.

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote will lead a high profile cast, which include Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola; Chairman of the Senate Committee on Navy, Chris Anyanwu; Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya; and Founder and CEO, Channels Television, in a panel discussion about Nigeria@100: Reflections On The Future.

Mr. Kolawole’s former employer at THISDAY, Nduka Obaigbena, will moderate the discussion while a former Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar, is the event’s Father of the Day.

In some publicity materials ahead of the event, Mr. Kolawole said TheCable would deliver a knowledge-driven journalism in the pursuit of Nigeria’s progress while aiming to become Africa’s number one online newspaper in terms of influence, content and traffic.

The paper, he said, will target political and business leaders while also appealing to millions of the country’s youth. He expects that within a year, the paper would be able to stamp its influence on the market and become a dominant player in the field.

Mr. Kolawole later told PREMIUM TIMES via email that the establishment of the TheCable is a fulfillment of his childhood dream of owning a newspaper.

“When I finished university, my ultimate dream was to start a newspaper or a magazine,” Mr. Kolawole said. “When I resigned from THISDAY in 2012, I considered several options. I considered starting a weekly newspaper, a magazine or an online publication. Screen shot 2014-04-26 at 7.07.58 PM

“I did my feasibility studies. Without sentiments, it became glaring to me that online was the best way to go. The newspaper market was not expanding. No newspaper is printing 500,000 copies again. More people now get their news on their mobile phones and laptops. News breaks by the minute. News cannot wait for the following day. News wants to be free. People want free news. They want the news now. I finally settled for online journalism. I decided to set up www.thecable.ng.”

He said as part of the process of setting up the paper, he read lots of books on online journalism, did some research at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), University of London, and spent some time at the Huffington Post, the biggest internet newspaper in the world based in New York, United States.

An award winning journalist and writer, Mr. Kolawole, 42, was, in March 2012, named a Young Global Leader, a prestigious honour bestowed by the World Economic Forum, WEF, each year to recognise the most distinguished young leaders from around the world. In 2009, he was named one of Africa’s Next Generation of Leaders by The Banker, a publication of the Financial Times. He was also a 2010 Mo Ibrahim Governance for Development Fellow at the University of London.

He was appointed Editor of the Saturday newspaper of THISDAY in August 2002, becoming one of the youngest editors of mainstream Nigerian publications. He became editor of THISDAY in 2007 and was in that position until June 2012 when he resigned from the paper but continued to write his weekly back-page column, Simon Kolawole Live.

Before becoming editor of THISDAY on Saturday, Mr. Kolawole served as Editor of TheWeek, a national weekly magazine.

The former THISDAY editor holds a Bachelors degree in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos and a Masters in Governance and Development from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. He studied at Sussex as a Chevening scholar and has taken leadership courses at Yale University and Harvard Kennedy School.

Nigerian film board delays showing of Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a yellow sun

“What’s frustrating is we have not received a formal letter from the board telling us we’ve been banned, or that we’ve not been banned.”

The Nigeria Film and Video Censor Board has delayed the release of Half of a Yellow Sun, the movie adaptation of the critically acclaimed novel by Chimamanda Adichie.

The movie was expected to start showing in cinemas across Nigeria starting from Friday.It had earlier been premiered in London and Lagos.

The movie’s director, Biyi Bandele, speaking to the BBC’s Focus on Africa, said that he did not know why the film was delayed.

“What’s frustrating is we have not received a formal letter from the board telling us we’ve been banned, or that we’ve not been banned,” he lamented.

Though the NFVCB has not said the film has been banned, observers speculate that the delay may be linked to the content of the movie.

The novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, was centered on the Nigeria civil war – the Biafran war – and was told from the perspective of the Biafrans.

In an interview with Arise 360 in March, Ms. Adichie stated that her reasons for writing the novel included starting up a discussion about the war among her generation of Nigerians.

However, there are some who feel that the war, which took place between 1966 and 1970, is still fresh and the issues surrounding it too sensitive for public discussion.

Some initial critics of the movie,after its Lagos premiere, also found problem with the nudity in it. In a particular scene, actress, Thandie Newton, was filmed with her breasts exposed. Nigeria tends to style itself as a conservative country with high religious morals, a stance promoted by its leaders and government officials. The country’s conservatism is sometimes highlighted in the type of entertainment material consumed by its citizens. Regulatory bodies, such as the Board and the National Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, have often banned films, videos, and songs from airing on television or radio due, to their highly sexual content.

Half of a Yellow Sun stars award-winning British-Nigerian, Chiwetel Ejiofor, among other notable Nigerian and international stars.

Nigerians don’t like boring jazz – Shola Emmanuel, jazz musician

Shola Emmanuel
Shola Emmanuel is a jazz musician based in Abuja. He started out as a graphic artiste under the tutelage of his uncle, Bode Fowotade, before studying Fine Art at the Ibadan Polytechnic. He fell in love with the trumpet when he happened on one in his family home in Lagos, which was not far from the Afrika Shrine. He finally went on to study music in France and the United States. He currently runs a 32 piece jazz orchestra, Rhythm and Sax. He plays Jazz every first Friday of the month at Duillon, Maitama.
The artiste spoke to PREMIUM TIMES about his start in music, the profitability of being a jazz in Nigeria and whether jazz could be more mainstream in jazz.
How did you start playing jazz?
Shola Emmanuel
Shola Emmanuel
I would say it is destiny. I grew up in a gallery. My uncle happens to be one of the famous artistes in Nigeria, Bode Fowotade. I studied Fine Art at Ibadan Polytechnic. After school, I was at home trying to decide what next to do, whether to work with my uncle or open my own gallery. One day, I found a trumpet that was carelessly left behind at our house by a church member. When I started to play it, my grandma said, “For two days now, you have been disturbing the peace with this instrument. If you really want to play it, why don’t you get someone to teach you?”  Prior to that, I used to visit Fela’s Shrine a lot. It was close to my family home and he was a family friend. So eventually, when I decided to go into music, it was very easy. I went to the Shrine and found the best trumpeter there to teach me how to play. Initially, I started learning the trumpet in 1999 with Muyiwa Kunnuji, also known as Emperor. I studied under him for six months before leaving for France to study the trumpet properly at the Paris Conservatory. I later went to the US, at Albany Music School where I studied music in general and I majored in the trumpet. And then I started to tour with musicians in the US before coming back home.
Why did you come back?
I came back to form a band for the late Segun Damisa, the right hand man of Femi Kuti.  They started Positive Force together in 1986. After he left Femi, he decided to come to Abuja to form his band and I was recommended to him. He was more of a percussionist and he needed someone rounded in music. Those in Abuja back in 2001/2002 would remember the afrobeats band, Akegbula. That was one of the biggest afrobeats bands in Abuja. The band was on for like two years. We went to Paris to record an album and unfortunately, towards the end of recording the album, Damisa passed on. The album was stalled for like two years before it was later released with permission from his family. He was a visionary and the band leader… But I wasn’t discouraged after that. I returned to Abuja and decided to start my band.
When was this?
I formed Rhythm and Sax in 2006. We started as a quartet: I, a pianist, a drummer, and a bass guitarist. Progressively, we grew to an orchestra – a 32 piece orchestra. We also have the Rhythm and Sax sextet, however. Our performances as an ensemble are based on the occasion and the pocket of our clients. We don’t only perform jazz though; we perform other genres too.
What kind of occasion would you need a 32 piece orchestra for?
Mostly concerts and festivals. We have performed in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Calabar. As a solo performer or with the sextet, we have performed severally outside Nigeria; the Cape Town Jazz festival, Dubai Jazz festival.
Is playing jazz profitable for you?
Yes, very profitable. It pays my bills and I have never regretted being a jazz musician. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of prominent jazz fans around who are like… You know, they say jazz is for mature minds and for the rich. I would concur with that because sometimes, these (rich) folks call us up to perform for them.
Who are the prominent people you have performed for?
We have performed for several people but I’m not sure it would be proper to start mentioning them. We have had very good relationships with several embassies; foreigners who have more value for jazz – the French, American and Swiss embassies, among others. We often perform at their national days. I barely stay in a month without getting like three to four of such gigs. Not just for foreigners though; there are a lot of Nigerians that love jazz.
Has Rhythm and Sax recorded an album?
We do have an album. It was not really an album but a souvenir for people who come for our concerts. We have an annual concert at various venues, mostly at Silverbird Abuja, where people pay a token of N5, 000 or N10, 000 to attend. We did the album because people who attend our concerts were always asking for one. So we recorded one titled, Nine Lessons. The album flew further than we expected. We thought it would just be a souvenir but before I knew it, it was making waves on some radio stations abroad; probably thanks to my friends. This year though, we intend to have a proper album that would tell the world what we really area and what we do. Our style of jazz would be properly expressed through the album. We intend to stat recording in May in France and then in the US.
Why not Nigeria?
There’s no problem with recording in Nigeria but we want great standards and we feel we would get that abroad.
Do you have original material or are you going to rely on standards?
We play standards, yes, but we have our originals. I have written several songs; lyrics and instrumentation.
Who are your jazz influences?
Musically, I’ve been influenced by those who taught me. Saxophone-wise, I was influenced by Charlie Parker. George Benson is a guitarist but it was challenging trying to do what he was doing on the guitar on the sax. I’ve had to meet a lot of professionals, known names who have contributed to my artistic growth in one way or the other.
Do you see yourself going “commercial” for the fame?
My jazz is something that can be enjoyed by everyone. I have tried to blend the African rhythm with the New Orleans swing jazz. We are very rhythmic. As a matter of fact, some radio stations in Abuja and Lagos – Cool FM, Wazobia – they play my songs.  You don’t get bored when you listen to my jazz so you probably may have heard it and enjoyed it not knowing who performed it.
So you feel jazz is boring?
Nigerians feel jazz is boring. My understanding of Nigerians’ impression of jazz is that it’s boring. And that’s because a lot of Nigerians don’t listen to music; they just move to music. When they can’t move to it, then it’s boring.
So which kind of jazz do you prefer to play, the “boring” (classical) one or the rhythmic jazz?
Well, it depends on the audience. I don’t mind playing everything all the time. But there are some audience, like at the Italian Embassy; they would prefer you to play the classical one because they want to listen. That’s what they enjoy. While with some other audiences, when we see that there are a lot of blacks, we just have to add a lot of rhythm or play the jazz with African beats. My style of jazz is called afro-jazz because I’ve had to super-impose afro-beats – African beats, into core traditional jazz.
Do you see jazz going more “mainstream” in Nigeria, having a category at award shows?
 
It would get to that stage but that would depend on the people at the helm of affairs. I’m hoping that I would get to a point where I can actually sponsor and start those things myself. A lot of people haven’t witnessed the jazz scene in Nigeria because most of the jazz performers are silent and a lot of them actually left the country. Most of the people that actually started playing jazz in Nigeria are not here anymore because they always have reasons to leave. People tell them: “This is not the place for you; go to America.” And they often get invites from there. I get invites too but I go, perform and come back. I’ve decided Nigeria is my home. You see, as long as you do what you do well, they will source for you from where you are. One does not have to compromise to get famous. In a matter of time, everyone would come to reckon with what we are doing.
Have you collaborated with mainstream Nigerian artistes?
The only Nigerian artiste that I have really worked with is Dare Art-Alade and I enjoyed working with him. It was a lovely relationship. I learned a lot of things from him in relation to being commercial. I have had reasons to work with Don Jazzy and a few other people too on records and not live performances. I do want to invite these artistes for my concerts, my yearly concerts, I have tried to bring Tuface, Omawumi, Davido and Tiwa Savage but there is a barrier that they have put before themselves. I’m an artist and because of the kind of music I do, I don’t even wait for sponsors. I just try to work, perform abroad and raise money to come and finance what I do here; promote and organise events. So if I’m going to organise events as an artiste and I’m calling  my fellow artistes to come and perform at a reasonable fee and they feel – well, until I pay N2.5 million… That’s the problem. Left to me, I would love to work with every one of them. I feel we have some things to share. But until we realise we are one and we need to be considerate with ourselves, it may not happen.

Chimamanda Adichie hints at collaboration with Lupita Nyong’o on Americanah

Lupita Nyong'O

Americanah won the US National Books Critics Circle Award on Friday.

Nigerian award-winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie, has hinted at a future “collaboration” with Oscar winning Kenyan actress, Lupita Nyong’o.

Adichie gave the tip during an interview on entertainment web-series, Arise Entertainment 360 published on YouTube Thursday.

According to Adichie, the collaboration will have to do with her 2013 novel, Americanah.

“I’m going to do the mysterious thing and say that Lupita might be making an announcement sometime soon – I don’t know. That announcement might be about Americanah – I don’t know,” she said coyly.

Adichie disclosed that Nyong’o was a very early fan of Americanah. “Before she was sort of well-known like she is now (…) she wrote me the loveliest email; very long and passionate email about Americanah.”

The critically-acclaimed book, which was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review, is a kind of romance novel about race relations in America from the point of view of a Nigerian transplant. It also highlights the lifestyle of the new Nigerian middle-class – mostly “post-democracy returnees” from the US and the UK.

On Friday, it won the National Books Critics Circle Award – one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the US, according to the UK Guardian.

The Entertainment 360 interview was, however, more focused on a soon-to-be-released movie based on Adichie’s novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.

The novel, which won the 2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction – now called the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, was centred on the Nigerian Civil War. Popularly called the Biafran war, it took place from 1967 to 1970.

Although Half of A Yellow Sun brought her lots of accolade and firmly placed her on the world literary stage, Adichie, however, noted that when she started writing the novel people who cared about her didn’t think it was a good idea.

“Because you are writing about the Biafran war, which is very much a contested part of (Nigerian) history. And which isn’t “cool.” And which at the time wasn’t Darfur. Because Darfur was kind of the sexy thing to– If you are going to do Africa, you have got to do Darfur,” she explained.

She also stated that she wrote about the war in order to start a conversation on it among her generation.

“I wanted to write about it because it’s also part of my family history. My grandfather died in a refugee camp and for me, the book has so much resonance and power. It’s not just a novel. It’s also my country’s history. I was hoping that my generation of Nigerians would start to talk about that period,” she said.

Adichie called the movie adaption a very beautiful film, praising the cinematography and acting.

Shot in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, the movie stars Academy Award nominee, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, Gloria Young and Onyeka Onwenu, among others.

“It’s very much an ensemble cast of just fantastic acting all around,” Adichie remarked.

She also commended the movie director, Biyi Bandele. “I’ve very proud of Biyi and I’m very proud of the film,” said Adichie, who also noted that she never wrote the novel thinking that a movie would made out of it.

“I hope it does well,” she said.

Half of A Yellow Sun, the movie, will premiere simultaneously in Lagos, Nigeria and the UK in April.

Fuji musician, Obesere, speaks on rape allegation, says it’s a set-up

Abass Akande.... Photo: www.mjemagazine.com via google

Popular Fuji musician,  Abass Akande, popularly known as Obesere, on Thursday said the allegation that he raped a 29-year-old businesswoman, Olanike Olaiya, was a set-up calculated to smear him and destroy his career.

Speaking in Yoruba, on WAZOBIA, a breakfast programme of a Lagos-based television station, MITV, Obesere said Ms. Olaiya cooked up the allegation as a blackmail scheme to extort between five and ten million naira from him.

He however admitted knowing the woman, saying she was introduced to him by another female acquaintance, Bola Olowo. He said the woman visited him at home requesting to be appointed a marketer for  “Obesere” rice.

Obesere also admitted having sex with the woman but denied raping her. He said he was never arrested by the police.

The musician said, “She visited me at home at night and it was too late for her to return to her place. I won’t lie about the fact that we had intimate encounter. But I did not rape her. And it was about four or five days after she visited me that she went to the police to allege that I raped her.

“I went to the police station but when when I realized that the officers there were favouring her as a complainant, I requested them to transfer the case to the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba.

“There, they asked her for evidence that she was raped. There was no injury on her. Her clothes were intact. When she couldn’t produce evidence, the police advised her not to attempt to blackmail me. They advised her to gently approach me and ask for help if she wanted anything.

“When she first called me to say she was feeling sick, I called the woman who introduced her to me to take her to hospital. But Alhaja said nothing was wrong with her, that she was only trying to extort me. Alhaja said she planned to blackmail me into parting with between five and ten million naira.

“I can tell you my enemies are behind the allegation. They are trying to bring me down. But they won’t succeed because I’m a child of God, a messenger of God. Once God remains behind me, nobody can bring me down.

“I’m a responsible man, a reliable man. But I’m human and therefore fallible. But I’m not losing sleep about this allegation. I’m undeterred and I’m going about my business because I have no doubt that the truth will prevail.”

There had been report on Wednesday that Obesere allegedly raped Ms Olaiya in his Okota residence in Lagos and was thereafter arrested by the police.

Read our earlier report, published on Wednesday, below.

——————————————————————————– 

The police in Lagos have arrested a popular Fuji musician,  Abass Akande, popularly known as Obesere, for allegedly raping a 29-year-old businesswoman, Olanike Olaiya, the Vanguard newspaper  is reporting this morning.

Ms. Olanike said the musician raped her in his Okota residence, Lagos.

But Obesere, according to the report, is insisting that Ms. Olanike was his lover and that they had sex as consenting adults.

According to the report, Ms. Olaiya, a  National Diploma graduate of business administration from Ibadan Polytechnic, told the police that she knew Obesere through one of her friends, a certain Bola Okoro.

She said Ms. Okoro told her Obesere would assist in her  business.

Vanguard quoted her as follows: “I deal in office equipment and when I contacted Obesere, he asked me to meet him in his family house at Okota.

“When I  met him, I  introduced my business to him and he promised to connect me to some of his friends in Dubai who would sell  goods to me on credit.

“After the discussion, he started demanding for sex and I refused and when I wanted to leave, he insisted I should sleep over in his house because it was late and he claimed that it was dangerous to go out late in the night in his area.

“I thought he was a responsible man and I decided to sleep over, but at the dead of the night, he came into the room where I slept and pounced on me.

“He raped me and afterwards inserted a ring he wore into my  private part  and I started bleeding. He hurriedly  left me in the room saying he had an appointment to fulfil.

“I could not bear the trauma and the bleeding and I reported the matter  to the police.”

The report indicated Obesere was first arrested last Wednesday by operatives from the Isolo Police Division where Ms. Olaiya reported the matter.

He was subsequently released on administrative bail but later re-arrested on Monday, when medical examination conducted on Ms. Olaiya revealed that she was actually raped, the report says.

It added that the Divisional Police Officer, Isolo,  Adamu Ibrahim, has now ordered the transfer of the matter to State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba, for further investigation.

Vanguard quoted unnamed sources as telling it that Obesere was arrested after the police obtained a warrant of arrest from Isolo Magistrate Court following the musician’s reluctance to honour several police invitations sent to his  house at Johnson Famiye Street, Canal Estate, Ago, Okota.

Obesere however denied ever raping Ms. Olaiya, the report quoted the musician as telling investigators. He insisted the woman was his lover and that they made love when she visited him.

The musician, the report added, claimed he asked her to go to a private hospital for treatment when she complained of bleeding, and that he was surprised that she instead went to the police to report that she was raped.

 

More controversy trails comedian Basketmouth on rape joke

basketmouth

Comedian says he can make a joke out of everything.

An award-winning comedian, Basketmouth (Bright Okpocha) who last weekend was lambasted by fans for a rape joke he posted on his Facebook page, Friday, defended his joke on a U.K. talk show Live@Battersea on Vox Africa channel.

Basketmouth, who, Sunday, apologised to those who “misunderstood” the joke, once again apologised but this time, to those who were offended.

“Definitely I am sorry about what happened. The people that it offended…I won’t say the people that misunderstood but the people that it offended,” he said to the talkshow host, Adesope Olajide.

The comedian, however, lamented that the controversy had now limited the types of joke he can tell.

“Sadly, every joke hits people the wrong way. If I crack jokes about food, there are people in third world countries saying, ‘Why is he cracking jokes about food? Have I chop na?’ They will just go on twitter and say ‘This guy should stop cracking jokes about food, I haven’t eaten’.”

He insisted that as a comedian one had the power to crack jokes without limits.

“No. If you’re a comedian, you have the power to crack jokes because the truth is, humour has no limits. You can crack jokes about death, living, anything you want to crack jokes about. Humour has its own education that sends a message. Everything is funny. Everything in life is funny, there is humour in everything that we do,” he said.

He explained that the only limits he placed on himself were usually with respect to the type of audience that he was delivering his jokes to.

“For me, the only thing that limits me is if I go for a church event I won’t crack any joke that has any X in it. Then if I go for an event where everyone is drinking and drunk with their wives, I’m not going to be cracking jokes about Noah and Solomon, I have to crack a joke that suits them. I crack my jokes according to the audience. So that’s my limit. I limit myself according to the audience, but when it comes to jokes there shouldn’t be any limit. But because of the culture and everything, you have to respect the fact that people might find it offensive and just hold back.”

However, Basketmouth’s latest comments. which were transcribed on the lifestyle blog, Bella Naija, is not being met favourably by some fans.

“He doesn’t get it,” a commenter, Fatimah, said.

Another commenter, Chigbo, countered, “Wrong!!!!!!! You cannot crack jokes about everything. Everything is NOT funny! You have a brain, a conscience and a heart.”

But not all the commenters were against the comedian. A commenter, Mide, wrote, “Some topics are inconvenient, we know. Yet we need to be reminded, from time to time, and by comedians and in a lighthearted manner to make us uncomfortable. Rape is one of those topics. Censorship by a mob of moralists and who do not value the redeeming qualities of the arts should never be allowed.”

Unfortunately, Basketmouth’s joke comes at a time when the issue of rape and the way it is being handled by a mostly patriarchal society is receiving widespread criticism around the world.

The gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a public bus, on 16 December 2012, sparked large protests across the capital Delhi. and instigated a worldwide conversation about rape culture and the culpability of law enforcement officials in the low incidence of arrests and prosecution of rapists.

Some Nigerian activists are still smarting from the lack of headway made in the Abia State University, ABSU, rape case in 2011.

According to the then Minister of Youth Development, Bolaji Abdullahi, the rape victim was found but her family denied that she was the actual victim in a bid to protect her integrity.

For anti-rape activists that a victim has to live with the fact that her attacker may never be punished while she is blamed is a bitter pill to swallow and an issue that must be addressed by government, law enforcement agencies, the justice system and the society at large.

Basketmouth’s joke, which seems to imply that a woman who fails to have sex after the ninth date could be raped, drives home the point of misplaced culpability and becomes even more enraging against the background of the lack of adequate prosecution for rapists and rehabilitation for rape victims.

As the former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili, said on her Twitter page, rather than defending the indefensible, Basketmouth “should use this sad episode as an occasion for good by becoming (a) most visible Anti-Rape Activist….”