According to Sheik Ishaq Akintola, the leader of a well-known Nigerian Islamic organisation called MURIC, no less than one million Muslims intend to march to Abuja and storm the National Assembly in order to register their strong protest against the "persecution" of Senator Ahmed Sanni, the Yerima of Bakura and the man who introduced criminal sharia law into northern Nigeria when he was governor of Zamfara state approximately ten years ago. Akintola and his MURIC claim that there is absolutely nothing new and nothing wrong with the 50 year old senator having carnal knowledge of a 13 year old Egyptian girl after paying one hundred thousand dollars "for her" to her parents in Cairo. Apparently the senator was so delighted with his latest acquisition and he so enjoyed the services that she provided that he then smuggled her into Nigeria where he promptly and secretly "married" her in an Abuja mosque.
However unfortunately for Senator Ahmed Sanni the matter soon became public knowledge and it sparked off a deep sense of disgust and outrage against him throughout the country and indeed throughout the world. The government of Egypt, the girls country of origin, which is a predominantly Muslim country was so appalled by this whole matter that they were forced to issue a public statement on it. They said that any form of sex with children and any such purported "marriage" to a child is strictly prohibited under their laws and would attract a very severe punishment. This of course explains why Ahmed Sanni could not have "married" his child bride in Egypt and why he had to smuggle her to Nigeria to do so. Thankfully the Nigerian Senate, the House of Representatives and the relevant security agencies in Nigeria are all presently investigating these very serious allegations and are all probing this shameless and disgusting paedophile for his obsession with, and deep addiction to, child sex. I call it an addiction because I am reliably informed that Ahmed Sanni's last "wife" was a 15 year old child whom he promptly divorced after defiling.
In my view this whole sordid affair throws up a number of issues and raises a lot of fundamental questions about the type of country we are living in. For me the most important questions are, firstly, whether ANY faith, including the great faith of Islam, actually allows such aberrant behaviour and secondly whether personal or religious laws that clearly conflict with and violate the civil code and criminal laws of the land should be allowed to stand? Does Ishaq Akintola have a point when he claims that any undue criticism, investigation, condemnation or attack on Ahmed Sanni and his insatiable appetite for young girls is an attack on Islam and the Islamic way of life? Or is this just a ridiculous and irresponsible attempt by Akintola, Sanni and their supporters to simply justify their personal perversions and their sheer moral depravity before the entire world? When they seek to defend such acts on religious grounds are they not misrepresenting and maligning the values of their own Islamic faith in a terrible way? Are they not inadvertently bringing their own Islamic faith into opprobium and disrepute? Are Akintola, Ahmed Sanni and their supporters not simply attempting to USE their own selfish and ridiculous interpretation of Islam to defend the indefensible? Does paedophilia not violate the moral values, laws and strictures of EVERY monotheic faith, including that of Islam? Is having sex with children not completely ungodly and utterly evil? Does it not utterly destroy that child's life and wreck her spiritually, physically, psychologically and emotionally?
Will no one speak up for the girl-child in this matter or fight for her rights? For me these are just some of the questions that we, as Nigerians, need to answer and need to answer quickly. And how we as answer them will certainly define us and tell the world the type of people we are. I am not a Muslim but I am a believer in God and I refuse to accept the disgraceful notion that Islam or any other great faith allows for and even encourages paedophilia. The Muslims, like we Christians and the Jews, are believers in one God and we worship that God in spirit and in truth. That God that we love so much and that loves us too is holy and pure. He would NEVER condone such depravity and wickedness and no matter what the Ishaq Akintola's or Yerima's of this world would have us believe, I know that those that are the true adherents of the islamic faith are far better than that.
Chief Femi Fani-Kayode was former Special Adviser to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and later Minister of Aviation under Obasanjo leadership. He is currently aspiring to be Governor of Osun State in 2011.