The very first time I read Immanuel Ifediata’s Facebook post urging men to “leave the old cargoes and come harvest naive, fresh meat in secondary schools, I was awash with all sorts of emotions, none of them good. As a writer, it made sense to me to leave the matter for a while. I didn’t want to write a hate-filled, anger-led article that would do little to solve anything. This is Viva Naija – we work a little harder, think a little deeper. We try to make a difference.
As the day went on, different people made posts on the issue and still I didn’t budge although my concern started to change tracks. I saw men trying to ‘mansplain’ the issue away. There were Facebook ‘influencers’ urging men and women to calm down; to read between the lines; to fully understand what “Intifada” was really trying to get at. I saw posts asking women why they thought it was okay to date older men but seemingly have a problem with this cockroach’s post. In short, I saw Nigerian men using this scapegoat as their ambassador to push their envelope, their point, their narrative.
Because the skizzoids who ‘understand’ what ‘Infernal’ was saying are not necessarily paedophiles or even hebephiles, no. They’re not sitting around their computers leching over young breasts. I mean…some of them are because people who get this narrative are also filthy animals too. But the majority of them understood immediately that he was talking about control.
“Catch them young…” has all the trappings of a controlling, seizing husband. Let me be her god, her master, the one who provides for her. Don’t bother about the girls who need more than N100 egg roll when trying to consider a future partner. Let my meagre resources, intelligence, and exposure be so far and above her mental capacity that she will have no choice but to look up to me.
And this rhetoric turns these men on like no pair of breasts or vagina ever could.
I once had a man refuse to date me because he said “Raysheh, you already have your own home, for Chrissakes! What could I bring to your table? What could I possibly say to you that you would listen to?” He didn’t leave me because he thought I was materialistic or an old cargo. He did so because he thought the only way to be with a woman is to seem superior to her. To be able to control her. To completely and utterly subdue and subjugate her.
What Immanuel Ifediata is suggesting is grooming, make no doubt about it. What makes it worse is his position as a teacher gives him unfettered access to these young girls. How many N100 food has he bought? What has he requested in return for these minimal monetary gifts? The man is a beast and a bastard, and these are words that I will not take back. I am in Kent, come and beat me.
But what is even worse is that he is projecting his weakness (inability to meet up to the needs of the “old cargoes”) as justification to prey on younger girls.
I would have written this and let it go: Nigeria is full of these men and we write about it all the time. Some get justice, others don’t. Our calling is to bring it to light and shame the authorities to do the right thing. But then, Onidi-Ata (he who’s bum is peppering him) decided to issue an apology:
It is based on this apology that I will do everything within my infinitesimal power to bring down this cancer. You write a post essentially about grooming and we’re the ones with the dirty minds? You spew self-righteous comments about being labelled before? And then buttress your cleanliness with a convenient Biblical quote? Even though you have written in the past that the Qur’an and the Bible are fictional pastiches?
Bro, you may think we don’t understand you, but you’re about to understand the hell out of us when you are considering the wisdom of ever making that post from an under-bridge location. Watch this space.
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