THE extreme acts of man define the values of society. That is why the more a people grow, they strive to convince appraisers that they detest and punish the condemnable while commending and elevating the commendable. These are the roles ethics, laws and social commemorations play.
Currently, there is a growing trend of ignominious use of social media across country. The practice which dwells on the realm of sting action, scamming and screwing people by extreme blackmail and personality tarnish also has a lot to do with sexual harassment, false imprisonment and conscription of persons for pornography without their consent. It is equally a form of podcast/broadcast of ‘X’ rated contents without acquiring due certification and paying requisite tax to state. Worst of all, it is development that shows the brutish and cruel nature of man.
Armature video recordings of naked women or naked men stripped and filmed amid embarrassing or compromising situations are now regular features in social media. They pop up often in WhatsApp chats; Facebook platforms and similar social media avenues. Usually, the films show an unseen recorder, focusing, close-up and solely on an undressed person who is often helpless, frightened and seldom-speaking with shaky, incoherent narratives. While watching, the viewer senses the presence of other unseen persons in the setting of the recording. They either fire a barrage of questions at the startled victim or join in beating him or her. Often, the underlying issue(s) behind the oddious ‘film projects’ is either sexual profligacy or sexual infidelity. And the major visual properties of the videos is indecent exposoure – of the level that will humiliate the person in the picture or anybody related to him or her ashamed forever.
It is such a heartless, dirty job. One full of extremities, calumny and damning naivity which evokes spats, puke and possible chain-reactions of acrimonious retribution.
There is barely a quarter that passes without a serving of such videos. They leave one in solemn, sunken mood. The brood first starts with wondering how a human could do that to fellow human, and descends to teary introspections over what the ‘organisers’ of such setting and recording have in mind by making the content, go viral.
One of such videos went viral about a week ago. The content was primarily a black-complexioned fat but beautiful and genteel woman, possibly in her 30s. Stripped naked, not even with pants, bracelets or rings, the woman first seen in a closet, most likely a toilet in a flat with cuts on her body as another woman, an albino in blond hair flogs her with a chord that looks like a man’s trouser belt. As the lady, dressed in a pair of gym trousers and sleeveless orange T shirt with hairs parked in a cream colour elastic cap, like someone already prepared before the development for a physical exercise, strikes the naked woman repeatedly with the belt while tongue-lashing her in unprintable words, the victim is seen, cowed and apologetic. But her pleas seem to elicit more demon in her punisher who was seen beating her more furiously upon any appeal.
She kept striking her until she came out of the closet, through the apartment until she got out on the courtyards where the beater yelled out commands that the gate be opened and she flogged her prey out of the gate.
Outside, in open street, she kept lashing the naked woman even in the presence of passers-bye. This time three sticks of water bamboo cane had surfaced in her hand and she expended all of them on her victim. She picked up quarrel with anyone on the street who pleaded on her victim’s behalf. Even a woman who offered to give the victim a piece of cloth (her wrapper) to cover part of nakedness drew the beater’s ire.
“Inyekwa ya akwa ahu, muna gi esee” (if you give her that cloth, you and I will become enemies) she shouted at the woman who offered her wrapper as she continued her beating while telling anyone that passed that the naked woman was a whore.
A male passer-bye told the frenzied beater, later identified as one Ogochukwu Nwankwo: “O kwa nu ada agulu di ife a” (reminding her that her victim is from Agulu). She ignored it and continued until the version of the short video that I watched stopped.
Noteworthy in all the scenerio is that while the viewer ‘senses’ the presence of some unseen people around the frenzied yellow woman with red-hot temper, the person recording never shows any person. Occasionally, the furious beater barks at some unseen persons: “Keep out of this!” or “Don’t come near or you have a problem with me!” which shows her being in charge in a team at the work.
Similarly, not even for a momentary slip did any part of the interiors or courtyards of the building in which the hatchet filming job was made shown except the toilet. Whereas, outdoor, passersbye on the streets had their faces shown as they crossed the camera. This hints that the people of that place of false imprisonment did not want any trace of the apartment for what ever reason. One likely cause of such disdain, avoidance or delete of visual signature could be that the place is a regular location of such criminal action. The absense of such visual evidence also indicates that there was a professional video editing job done on the film after initial rushes. It also shows thehandi work of people who are experienced in the endeavour.
What all these explicate is that in the said viral video, lets call it the ‘Ada Agulu picture’, there were some predetermined plots before shooting happened. The dressing (call it kit) of the yellow lady; her props (the belts and several canes) and planned camera positioning (much like director’s blocking in actual film set) buttress this. There were also some specialists or psuedo professionals at work as the possible editing of the picture show.
It therefore goes to point out the likelihood of a budding if not fledging shadowy industry, underground, where people who specialise in this sordid scheme operate and feed fat at the expense of unfortunate citizens who they leave damaged for life and head for another victim. Our society should be seriously worried about this trend and rally to flush it out because, anybody can be the victim tomorrow. More so, it has now emerged that most recorders of such films, keep and use it to extort money and all manner of favours periodically from their victims until they die. This is a very dangerous development.
If kidnapping is obnoxious and so damning that our society should roundly condemn it and seriously committ our forces vehemently to its eradication, this budding trend deserves a more zestful campaign to eradicate. This is because its consequence, especially the aftermath on the victim is worse. While a kidnap victim could come out and pick the ruins on his life, particularly, financial loss and psychological trauma, subjects of this fare worse. The victims are squeezed of huge money too. Their trauma remain until end of their lives. They live with an expicable social stigma and their tarnish even extends to who ever has a relationship with them. Worse, you never can tell who has watched and stored the gorry videos, so they live on the edge forever even after they have been fleeced of their money from time to time.
Last Monday, when the authorities of Anambra State Police Command paraded three suspects in connection with the said video, it emerged that despite the horror of the woman stripped naked, beaten and spread on the internet for allegedly sleeping with the husband of the assaulter’s aunt, she was also asked to part with a huge sum of money.
Parading the suspects at the command’s headquarters in Awka, Anambra State’s Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, explained that the victim, an unemployed single mother, Ogochukwu Okafor, was invited by his Facebook friend, one Ifeanyi Azotani, to his house in Amawbia where his wife and her niece emerged, stripped her naked, filmed her while beating her up and later demanded N60,000 from her in order not to release her video online.
The suspects, Mr. Azotani, his wife Tochukwu and the Ms. Nwankwo, confessed to the crimes but denied releasing the video. They claimed that it was a third party that collected the video from them on the day of the incident that released it. So, who is the third party? How would anyone opt to record such an act and release the video to another party?
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports, the victim, Ms Okafor, an unemployed widow and Ordinary National Diploma Certificate holder told newsmen in Awka on Tuesday that the video has ruined her reputation and career.
“I am a single mother. I lost my husband and I am just struggling to take care of my boy who is just six years old.
“I feel terrible, I feel disorganised; if it is just my face, I would have endured it; but my nakedness all over the place!
“They have ruined my career both in Nigeria and outside the country,” she said.
In her explanation, the one who flogged the victim, Ms. Nwankwo, another single mother, claimed ignorance of the extremities of her action which she said was a transferred aggression from her estranged husband who left her and took away her son.
Whatever the tales from the estranged wives, single mothers and complicit or not complicit Facebook friend, Mr. Ladodo said the suspects would be charged to court soon. That is the right. But the doom of all of us and our society as an entity will come if an unemployed mother and widow with such a case fails to get justice. This should be a test case.