Do you have content or you are contented with no content? (2)

About two months ago, I wrote the first part of this topic. I did not know at the time that I would have a cause to write another part of it but here it is. If you have not read the first one, click here to do so. 

When people talk about their most embarrassing moments, I always get lost in the conversation for lack of any experience or better still, any significant one in that common conversational topic. The reason is simple. It’s hard for you to find me in an embarrassing situation. I detest it. I consciously avoid embarrassment like I avoid approaching a lady I do not know on the street (except for ‘aro‘ purposes in University days in Zik Hall 😂😂), like I avoid pestering a lady for attention, like I avoid leading praise and worship session anywhere outside my private room ( I don’t remember follow-up songs and I think I am tone-deaf 😂😂). 

In a similar vein, countless times, I have found myself under pressure and tension for people close to me not to get embarrassed. When a friend or colleague is standing in a position where he has to deliver a speech or make a presentation, my heart does not leave my mouth until he or she is done and gives a great performance. This was always my lot during my public speaking involvements in University of Ibadan. Even when I was part of the preparation process of the speakers, an air of unease would still swirl round about me during the delivery. It was worse if a speaker observed a deliberate pause but the pause was becoming unnecessarily long.

However, most times, I have come to realise that my self-induced pressure and tension is needless and it is just a sheer pill for another person’s good health. These people neither fail nor get embarrassed because they are assured and well-grounded in what they say or do. This is the power of content. 

It is however necessary to distinguish between ‘situation-content‘ and ‘expert-content‘. Situation-content describes when a person is not well-grounded in an area but has to conduct an extensive study or make an in-depth research for the purpose of a particular occasion or situation. For instance, for the purpose of delivering a lecture or making a presentation or offering an opinion on a subject before an audience. 

Expert-content on the other hand, as the name implies, describes the expertise of a person in a particular subject who out of training, formal or informal, has become well versed in that subject matter, or simply put, has become an ‘authority.’

People with quality content do not struggle. They do not overheat in their “content-zone“. They seamlessly deliver and perform to the awe of onlookers because they have tarried in the place of building. They perform ordinarily but it is accorded to them as extraordinary.

Unfortunately, we have placed prominence in the things that matter less. We have elevated the container above the content; the packaging above the package; external above internal. We now have more people interested in building abs rather than the brain; more people interested in painting faces rather than adorning the mind.  It’s not that these things are wrong. But the caution is not to major in the minor. 

As a personal adaptation of what a facilitator said at a virtual conference (The Refinery 1.0) I was part of yesterday, we think we are perceived in the following order:

1. How we appear

2. How we say what we say

3. What we say

However, in the long run we are assessed and judged worthy of respect in the following order:

1. What we say

2. How we say what we say

3. How we appear

Below is a piece I wrote sometime ago while thinking about something similar to this topic:
“Warn these young boys…

They are more interested in broadening their shoulders with hours working out than broadening their horizons in the place of thorough study;

They are more interested in starching their garments looking like bloated balloons than pursuing enduring personal development.

Tell them…

The world will accord them fickle respect from afar but give them a good dressing down on a closer look, if their words reek of mediocrity.”

Even the Bible says:

What matters is not your outer appearance–the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes–but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”

1 Peter 3:3-4 (TMB)

Ours is a generation of shallowness and superficiality. The few that focus on depth are those who will remain relevant in the long haul.

Selah!

PS: If you have not read the first part where I shared a few points on how to build content, you can still read it here.

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​CAN A WOMAN RAPE A MAN UNDER NIGERIAN LAW?

Picture Credit: Daily Global Watch

INTRODUCTION 

With the unfortunate alarming spate of rape incidents all around now, I decided to exploit this aspect of the rape phenomenon which happens but attracts little or no attention. Interestingly, this article was also borne out of a legal argument with some female colleagues at work. After the start of the writing, it was also the deliberate subject of a discussion among some other young lawyers in my circle. It was the opinion of the ladies that the Nigerian legal system does not protect male victims of rape; that it is unimaginable women can rape men or better still, it is unimaginable that one woman can rape one man. This opinion is rooted in the moral, male ego and male-dominated society’s viewpoints. While this position is tempting, I am swayed by Aristotle who said, “Law is reason free from passion,” to assert dispassionately that this opinion cannot withstand legal scrutiny. 

OLD TESTAMENT

A few years ago, male rape was unknown to our laws. It was even believed that men would enjoy being ‘victims’ of such an ‘offence.’ So when it happened, victims had no legal redress in court. This is because the law only contemplated females as capable of being victims of rape but not culprits of same. This is reflected in the wordings of the law providing for the offence. Section 357 of the Criminal Code defines rape in this way: 

Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm, or by means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act, or, in the case of a married woman, by personating her husband, is guilty of an offence which is called rape.” 

The Penal Code, which is operative in the North, in section 282(1), has a similar provision. 

With the specific use of the words “woman” and “girl“, it is crystal clear that the drafters of the law did not envisage male rape or did not believe in the ability of a woman to rape a man. But that is not surprising. The Criminal Code was first enacted in 1916. It would have been unheard of at the time that a woman raped a man. However, the law may move slowly in comprehending modern realities and developments, it is not eternally fixed. 

THE NEW AGE

New realities have shown that male rape is possible. Even the Nigerian legal system has shifted base in recognizing same. One of the legal exploits of Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency was bringing to a successful conclusion the 14-year-long social and legislative advocacy championed by women’s groups and gender activists (WACOL). The administration enacted the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015. The Act, by its long title, is “to eliminate violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms of violence against persons, and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders.” The Act which outlaws Female Genital Mutilation (section 6), emotional, verbal and psychological abuse (section 14), stalking, [YES! STALKING] (section 17), has expanded the scope of rape to cover men.
Section 1 of the Act provides that: 

A person commits the offence of rape if- (a) he or she intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with any other part of his or her body or anything else; (b) the other person does not consent to the penetration; or (c) the consent is obtained by force or means of threat or intimidation of any kind or by fear of harm or by means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act or the use of any substance or additive capable of taking away the will of such person or in the case of a married person by impersonating his or her spouse.” 

Picture Credit: Daily Guide Africa

The Act therefore makes a novel provision for rape through oral and anal sex and the argument that Nigeria does not protect male victims of rape seemingly looks settled. Therefore, gleaning from the above provision, penetration of the anus or mouth of a man in circumstances contemplated by paragraphs (b)-(c) above will amount to rape. That is as far as that goes.

THE HOLE

However, the provision for male rape in this Act has left a loophole for penetration. A conspicuous, dicey and vital loophole. Let me reproduce a part of that section 1 for a better understanding of this point.

A person commits the offence of rape if- (a) he or she intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with any other part of his or her body or anything else;…”

From the foregoing, the Act only states three (3) parts of the human body that can be penetrated to ground a conviction for rape – the vagina (female), anus and mouth (both genders). Even a cursory look shows that the major male reproductive organ, the penis, is not mentioned. This is understandable because, let us ask ourselves, how can the penis be penetrated?

But then, this understandable omission with no provision to cover for it has left a hole in the law. For instance, as a lawyer, I have listened to unbelievable arguments in Court and I know that many lawyers mostly look out for loopholes in laws in order to escape liability for their clients. Though this in one way is good for the advancement of the law but it leaves a sour taste in its mouth. 

As a result, it will not be surprising if a lawyer comes to Court to represent a female accused person charged for rape and the former argues that the requisite elements to prove the offence of rape of a man do not include anything about a female ‘penetrating’ the penis. This may sound ridiculous but you only need a sound lawyer to put an absurd reasoning into an applausive argument. If upheld, it may be ludicrous to laymen who do not know that to ground conviction for an offence, you only need to prove beyond reasonable doubt the elements stated in the law that provides for the offence

MY THOUGHT

It is my candid opinion, however, that there is a way around it. This Act was enacted to cure a mischief: the mischief of no provision for male rape. As a result, in interpreting this provision, the Courts might have to employ the mischief rule of interpretation, overlook the omission of the “penis” and consider if there was actual sexual intercourse without the consent of the man. If there was, the Courts may be moved to decide that the offence has been sufficiently proved. This is my thought but we await the time the Courts will interpret this provision one way or the other to put the controversy to bed. 

Nevertheless, I am afraid the provision on male rape will suffer same or even worse fate compared to female rape with few or no reportage due to fear of stigma, especially from the male ego perspective. 

It is noteworthy, however, that whatever direction the interpretation of the section sways, the provision is still not of national coverage as the Act in section 47 provides that “this Act applies only to the Federal Capital Territory“. As a result, until all the States make similar law, male rape is still a foreign phenomenon nationally.

MY PLEA

As a lawyer, if I find myself handling a rape case, professional duty requires me to dispassionately offer my service. However, as an emotional being, it is unimaginable what pushes and drives people, both men and women, to decide that the next thing to do is rape another person. No amount of intense “konji” and no level of indecency is powerful or tenable a reason enough to drive a man to plot to rape a woman or a woman to rape a man. So this is my plea, shelve your rod in its sheath. If you cannot control it, seek help from appropriate places. Do not leave a permanently damaging mark on another person. Do not ruin the future of another person!
S.O.J. Fadipe, Esq., is a young lawyer currently practicing in Benin City, Edo State. 

He can be contacted via fadipesunday@yahoo.com or you can connect with him on Twitter and Instagram: @inspiredsunfad

Do you have content or you are contented with no content?

Young, vigorous, creative and bold men and women are on the rise. They are taking the world by storm and turning traditions on their heads. Traditional thinking has for too long held our nation in the shackles of motion without progress, restricting the spate of invention and innovation.

A few weeks ago, I was at the 11th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association-Section on Business Law, there were various sessions handled by many speakers both from within and outside the legal profession. The speakers had a very great impression on the audience. Many of us wished the Conference would not end soon. In actual fact, the ones who made the greatest impression were the young lawyers who are just about 2-4 years at the bar. These young lawyers, standing on the elevated platform to speak to some juniors, few mates and countless seniors at the other divide, held the audience spellbound, spewing wisdom, truth and drawing more attention to the disruptive and/or enabling work they do.

In my usual reflective state, I pondered on what earned these young and vibrant men and women the enviable stage they were sharing with men and women of the highest pedigree in the profession. They were not stuttering. They were not intimidated. They were assured. They had content! 

Yes! That’s it! They had content. They had one of the primary requirements for relevance in the present-day society: the depth of content.
I’ve seen many young people direly crave prominence and relevance but are not ready to build the requisite content for such a level.

viajesmundus.com

In whatever field or career, content is a crown. Musicians with no depth of content fade away like puff of smoke. We know them already. They are the ones who take a walk into obscurity after one hit single. At other times, they share similarities with ‘abiku‘. A doctor with no content is called a quack. Lawyers with no content, empty barrels look up to them.

So, there is a need for each person to tarry in the place of learning and building. There is a need for filling and refilling till your cups are full enough to share quality quantity with others. How so?

1
. Learn the ropes of your craft: Be diligent. Learn the workings of your chosen field. Be competent. Competence makes people look like superhumans.

2
. Exposure: Be curious. Explore. Broaden your horizon. Go out of your normal and daily habitat. Mix with people of opposing views and divergent professions.

3
. Association: Associate yourself with the right people. Be challenged. Be pushed out of your comfort zone. If you isolate yourself when you ought to associate yourself, you would limit yourself.

4
. Personal and professional development: Daily, strive to be better. Go to conferences. Take courses that make you better. Be forward looking at all times. There’s no ceiling on the sky.

5
. Your mind food: Feed your mind properly. Read great books. Watch great videos. Listen to relevant audio clips necessary for your growth. What you feed your mind with is important.

Do you have content or you are contented with no content? Remember, content is a crown. Those who have it are Kings! Well, everybody cannot be a King. Some are meant to be towncriers.

​FREE LEGAL SERVICE; PRO BONO OR CHARITY?

Ranking as one of the most common legal terms among non-lawyers is the word pro bono. You may be surprised that even an individual who might never have seen inside the four walls of a school but has dealings with a lawyer understands this phrase. It is not hard to see why. Pro bono service means legal service offered without a fee. So, if lay men know the meaning, don’t be amazed. Love for free things is a denominator common to all of us. Education and language are no barrier to understanding “free of charge“.

However, this same word has both been misused and misunderstood even among lawyers. So, as one in the know, I do feel an obligation to conduct a pro bono legal education and public enlightenment.

Firstly, let me disabuse your knowledge and understanding. Pro bono does not mean “completely free of charge”. Don’t be shocked! It only means as a lawyer, I won’t charge you for the fee I’m entitled to for the legal service I will render or have rendered. It only means I won’t charge you for the fee that is supposed to go into my wallet for the training and experience I have garnered both from the rigorous years of legal education and from practice. This pro bono does not cover other expenses in the process of rendering my service.

For instance, pro bono does not cover filing fees, expenses for service of Court processes, incidental fees that arise in the course of conducting your matter and other similar expenses. In actual fact, some lawyers still collect appearance fee for pro bono cases. My principal collected one recently and the best part was when he turned the money above his shoulders to the back for the junior lawyers to share. Such moments are ecstatic.

This is the logic for pro bono. There are different types of fees a lawyer charges. Professional fee, appearance fee, consultancy fee and others. When litigation is concerned, professional fee is the fee for what the lawyer does in his law office in preparation for your case and what he does inside the courtroom in order to win it. And this is what he was trained for. So, if a case is pro bono, it is this professional fee that is affected and not any other. 

However, as some of us believe, due to exposure, the challenges bedevilling the legal profession are not due to the nature of the profession but individual differences, unlike what we have been made to believe. For instance, regarding the lingering issue of poor welfare package for lawyers, especially young lawyers, we have been made to believe this is the way and modus operandi of the profession. However, it is noteworthy that some lawyers still see it as a duty that they have good welfare packages for their lawyer-employees not because they are excessively rich but because they know that is the right and proper thing to do.

In the same vein, some lawyers may still conduct your case pro bono without collecting a dime in any form. Then, this is no longer pro bono but charity (lol). All the pillars of life encourage this. The solemn bank accounts of some lawyers don’t encourage it.

So, when next a lawyer tells you he is not going to charge you for his services, verify by asking, “Barista, eskis sah, shey na pro bono or charity?” So you won’t cry foul later: “lawyers are liars.” Well, that’s already a mantra for those who cannot sit with us #picksrace

 S.O.J. Fadipe,

A young lawyer currently practicing in Benin City, Edo State.
You can connect with him via Twitter and Instagram: @inspiredsunfad and fadipesunday@yahoo.com

CAN YOU BE A NECROPHILIAC AND GO SCOT FREE IN NIGERIA?

After seeing the topic of this article, I expect one of three things from you: either consult your dictionary if you have one handy like I do always; or click the link of the article hoping to learn a new word today like I always try to do; or finally, if you do not belong to any of the foregoing categories, click the link because you wish to know the position of the law regarding necrophilia
Whichever is your lot, welcome on board because some days ago, I fell in all of the categories when I first saw the word on a video uploaded by Pulse TV on social media. I consulted my dictionaries to learn a new word and then set out on a voyage of worthwhile discovery to know the position of the law on something as disgusting, yet real as this. The outcome of my discovery is this article you are reading. 

Firstly, necrophilia is a pathological attraction to dead bodies, especially sexual attraction or intercourse. Another dictionary of mine defines it as sexual interest in dead bodies. Now, you may wonder what my fascination is with the word that spurred an article. It’s simple. The video of the Ghanaian morgue attendant who confessed to such debased act ended with the question: “is there any law against this shameful act?” As a lawyer, that whetted my legal appetite and spurred my interest in researching on the subject, as Lord Denning, the Master of Rolls said, “God forbid that a lawyer knows all the law, but a good lawyer is one who knows where to find the law.”

However, before we go on, it is pertinent to ask, who in their right senses sleep with or have sexual interest in dead bodies? If you say it may be for ritual purposes, I won’t dispute. Our society is yet to be fully divorced from crude practices. But if it is not for such, then the most reasonable explanation for people who do such is this: “aye n se won”, with the cannot-do-justice-to-the-real-meaning interpretation of “they are under a spell.” 

It didn’t take me much time to find out that apart from the fact that necrophilia might be a pathological disorder or might have a spiritual connotation, it is a crime and it is outlawed by the Criminal Code Act of Nigeria which applies only in the Southern part of the country. Sadly, there is no equivalent provision in the Penal Code, the operative legislation in the North. Section 242(1) (b) of the Criminal Code provides as follows:

Any person who without lawful justification or excuse, the proof of which lies on him, improperly or indecently interferes with, or offers any indignity to any dead human body or human remains, whether buried or not is guilty of a misdemeanor and is liable to imprisonment for two years.”

A cursory look at this provision shows that sleeping with dead bodies is not the only act contemplated by this provision of the law. In actual fact, it is the opinion of a colleague that the legislators may not even have contemplated “sleeping with dead bodies” due to the paucity of specificity in this provision. For instance, a comparative look at the provision for the offence of rape shows otherwise. Section 357 of the same Act provides that: 

Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm, or by means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act, or, in the case of a married woman, by personating her husband, is guilty of an offence which is called rape” (emphasis mine).

This provision on rape is explicit and specific, especially with the highlighted words above as touching having “unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl.” However, it is not unsafe to interpret, it violates no interpretation rule and it is obviously right that “improper or indecent interference or offering of any indignity” referred to in section 242(1) (b) of the Act covers the subject of this article. In actual fact, Black’s Law Dictionary, Tenth Edition, defines “indecency” as the quality, state, or condition of being outrageously offensive, especially in a vulgar or sexual way.

Away from that, I have two grouses against this provision. Firstly, the statement, “without lawful justification or excuse”, means that the drafters of the legislation might have envisaged a situation where a necrophiliac would have a lawful excuse for engaging in such act. The question is, which lawful justification would a human have for sleeping with dead bodies? I’m yet to come up with one. Though in another way round, a lawful justification for improper or indecent interference or offer of any indignity to any dead human body might be in the form of a pathologist performing autopsy, but definitely not sleeping with a dead body.

Secondly, the punishment of two years seems like a slap on the wrist for offenders. Imagine mourning the death of a loved one and some debased humans somewhere are sexually feasting on the body. Two years is definitely not commensurate with this inconceivable and unimaginable act but I am far from surprised. The same Criminal Code Act prescribes the ludicrous punishment of N100 for some offences, yet we still have lawmakers in the hallowed chambers.

Definitely, morgue attendants would be much more prone to such an ungodly and unhuman act, but it is better to seek help or flee, like the Bible commands, than be a necrophiliac and even a proud one like the Ghanaian morgue attendant. What can be worse than sexual intercourse with a dead body?

If you sleep with dead bodies, you are toying with two years behind bars. But wait, who would even arrest and prosecute you? Everybody would think you dine with the devil himself.

S.O.J. Fadipe, Esq. 

Fadipe is a young lawyer currently practicing in Benin City, Edo State.

You can connect with him via Twitter and Instagram: @inspiredsunfad; and fadipesunday@yahoo.com or sunfadesq@gmail.com

OF LINES AND RHYMES

For brothers in muse…

When I started writing poems some years back, I was literarily drunk in rhymes. For each line, words must entwine like the stems of a vine.

However, along the line, my interest in rhymes faded and I discovered that I could even write better and finer without rhymes. Lending credence to this, I have seen great poets and poems focusing less on rhymes and the results are masterpieces.


Unfortunately, I have seen and read many budding poets and poems chasing rhymes to a fault. Many lose their message in the needless pursuits of rhymes; forced rhymes at that. These days, unconsciously, I only skim through rhythmic poems trying to discover the patterns rather than uncover the message.
So, this is my one cent to upcoming poets, ditch the rhymes, if they are not flowing. Allow your mind and muse the latitude to wander and discover the beauty of words weaved together like braids on an African woman’s head. 

Festive euphoria; how plans fade with it!

Over the years, I have discovered that I have become more reserved in celebration, most especially in festive periods as this. Rather than jump up and down, I, with a straight face but deeply engaged mind, ponder on the mistakes and breakthroughs of the past, the challenges and prospects of the unfolding days, and of course, with a heart of gratitude.

It’s a season of euphoria that brings with it plethora of ‘news’ – “new me“, “new life“, and the common “new year resolutions” – many of which turn out to be fickle. As the euphoria dwindles, the fickleness becomes conspicuous.

However, in my reserved state, I’ve come to the realization that in making giant strides in a new year, it’s beyond some deceptive spur-of-the-moment decisions that will simmer down with the euphoria. You have to be intentional. You know when someone tells you that “you did it intentionally“, it means there’s a sense of deliberateness.

So, you have to be deliberate about every one of your plans. Every one! Be daring and raring to go at each one, not because the atmosphere is electrifying but because you’re charged from within to become a better person; not because it’s a new year but because the breaking of each day demands a better you.

BE DELIBERATE. Write down your ideas as they come. Write them! Ponder on them before you launch. Consult extensively. Strategize. Re-strategize. Execute.

 It’s not going to be easy. That’s why you also should not find it easy to fade with the festive euphoria.

Happy new year!
Fadipe S.O.J.