NIGERIA is suffused with ominous signs of a society that is collapsing and that should be obvious and worrying to even the least discerning. The challenges are simply legion, including those that the State seemingly has little or no control over now as a result of clearly avoidable and unceasing leadership failure, especially in the province of security and the economy. The addition of personal socio-moral aberrations and humdrum bliss like a sex party which on the surface seems pedestrian but has deeper adverse social implications should be really concerning for two major reasons. One, it is symptomatic of the existence of a crop of youth who lack the capacity to appreciate or could simply not be bothered by the enormity of the challenges the country is currently grappling with. Two, it could also be that the country is contending with some frustrated, despondent and overwhelmed young people seeking temporary escape from the realities of their miserable existence by resorting to mundane pleasures. Either way, the development is disquieting as it clearly shows how state failure has prodded social disorder and degeneracy of moral values.
The Kaduna sex party which the government aborted recently is just a tip of the iceberg signposting the appalling level of indecency and indecorum in the society. No one should be deluded that the truncated obscene party was happening in Kaduna for the first time just because the organisers tagged it the maiden edition: it must have been organised multiple times in the past but perhaps outside the radar of negligent state officials. The instant sex party was billed to witness various degrees of sexual deviance, which perhaps embodies some elements of protest against the state but with unequivocal deleterious effects on the participants who have wrongly chosen to be detached from the realities that will definitely catch up with them soon enough. And it is evident from their bold and anomalous disposition that some of these youth are clearly under the influence of drugs, which is one of the easiest, albeit less than enduring, strategies they adopt to run away from the reality of their immiseration, and hopelessness. This is a deplorable turn of events over which the government, unfortunately, can hardly be absolved of complicity as people’s pervasive privations and misery are usually seen as the direct consequences of government’s flawed policies, programmes and actions.
If young people in Kaduna, the political headquarters of the North which is predominantly populated by Hausa/Fulani Muslims, amidst escalating insecurity and disturbing resurgence of Covid-19 could contemplate engaging in this level of social eccentricity, one can only imagine the types and levels of social and moral dislocations that are taking place in many other Nigerian cities and towns that are relatively peaceful and with rather liberal religious dispositions. It is thus imperative that the nexus between failure of governance and the spiking anti-social tendencies amongst the youth is genuinely appreciated so that the challenges are tackled head-on.
Truth be told, no one expects the malaise which is a culmination of many years of avoidable official socioeconomic letdowns to be resolved overnight. However, the government should start from somewhere and show enough pragmatism and commitment to solving the challenge in a manner that inspires hope of a better future, especially in the youth. And the chances of success promise to be greater if the youth themselves are part of the pitching of solutions to the problem. Meanwhile, the measures taken by the government in swiftly getting the police to abort the incongruous party and apprehending the organisers are perfectly in order. But the prompt demolition of Asher Restaurant, Barnawar on the allegation that it was a hotel and also the scheduled venue of the sex party is contentious. It would only have been okay if the Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Agency’s claim that the owner of the property contravened the rights of occupancy and laws regulating property ownership in the state is veracious. It is important to make the point that since the weird party did not hold, mere suspicion that action against public interest was to be carried out in the facility may not provide a fire-sure ground for demolition.
If official approval was granted to the owner for the property to be used as a residential building and it was turned into something else, then the property owner who permitted the facility to be deployed for perverse acts would have been both legally and morally deserving of her fate. Disturbingly, however, evidence has been provided that the demolished structure was not a hotel but a restaurant, and that the sex party organisers had not even indicated any venue on the fliers they distributed. In this regard, the Kaduna State government has questions to answer on the demolition.
Just like the government acknowledged recently, the challenges confronting the youth in the country have become monstrous and deserve special official attention to tackle them decisively. But it is time the government moved beyond rhetoric which many have heard time and again without any noteworthy consequential actions. The socioeconomic issues that result in the perpetual pauperisation of citizens, especially the youth, must be addressed; otherwise aberrant behaviour will continue to manifest in different forms, especially when the same issues have significantly hampered parental supervision. It is worthy of note that the government of Kaduna State has only secured a facile victory in aborting the sex party and arresting some of the organisers because they sought to escape transiently from their miserable existence by resorting to weird bliss. If they had taken to arms and entered the bush, it would have been a different kettle of fish altogether.
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