Friday 21 December 2018


Above photo shows L-R: Patrick Okigbo (Founder/Principal Partner, Nextier & Moderator of the Parley) & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa (Independent Consultant/Conflict Transformation Expert, Abuja)

The Boko Haram (BH) insurgency has remained a hard nut to crack in Nigeria for about ten years. Various strategies and approaches have been adopted in the fight against BH. In-spite of the fact that according to the Federal Government BH has been 'technically defeated', there have been recent fatal attacks on both military personnel and indeed the civilian population. The height of BH attack on the military was in Metele in November 2018, where some sections of the media claimed over 100 soldiers were killed but the army said only 36 died. Whatever the figure, this is one death too many. See for example, my Blog Post - Metele: Nigeria's counter-terrorism strategy re-visited

On the 17th of December, 2018, Nextier (in collaboration with Yar'Adua Centre), held another in the Security Policy Dialogue series titled Breaking the stalemate: Strategies & approaches in the fight against BH insurgency in North-East Nigeria. Tijani Tumsah, Vice President of Presidential Committee on North-East Initiatives (PCNI) gave the keynote address where he spoke about what the Federal Government had done in these areas: use of force, sustained pressure and change of tactics. On the part of BH, they have engaged in the following: guerrilla tactics, ambush, surprise attacks on both the military and civilian targets. The concentration of these attacks is in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Meanwhile, at least 2 million Nigerians have been displaced and thousands have become refugees beyond our shores. Civilians are increasingly insecure.

According to Tumsah, infrastructure has been put in place for intelligence gathering and cooperation. Meanwhile, there is a blueprint for rebuilding lives and re-constructing the north-east, otherwise known as the Buhari Plan. There is approximately $9b of damage in the six north-east states. PCNI is to coordinate all the intervention effort in the north-east. There are a number of 'bundles', including the 'Borno package' for the rehabilitation of the north-east. Peace-building is going on pari pasu via interfaith dialogue; development of agriculture; disarmament, demobilisation, rehabilitation & construction (DDRR) and  mediation/conciliation tactics.

The moderator of the event, Patrick Okigbo, reminded us that the objectives of the dialogue were:

*Feasible and pragmatic solution for engendering peace in the north-east.
*Collaboration between policy makers, academics and practitioners.
*Improvement of the capacity of participants to address processes that could lead to peace in the north-east.

Dr. Ibrahim Umara, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Maiduguri, said BH is not politically engrained. He interrogated Nigeria's approaches to the north-east crisis. There is daily 'Koranic competition' where the competitors are lured with N500 per day! There is also the social problem of corruption which many believe is the root cause of the youth bulge and indeed unemployment. The state government's ambivalence on the use of crash helmets is a source of conflict. There could even be state-sponsored terrorism according to Umara. There is also open criticism of the state government in centres called markets. With the evolution of the Civilian JTF, BH has been routed out of the town. The Emir of Gwaza was assassinated - another source of conflict. Weapons provided for the soldiers are not backed up by ammunition! There could be international complicity in the BH issue. Umara said the attack in Metele was from the air. The harvest of many farmers has been set ablaze by BH. The armed forces seem to be slow in intercepting intelligence.

Brigadier-General Saleh Bala (Rtd), President, White Ink Institute and Lt. Col. Ademola Lawal (Rtd), Head of Research & Strategy, SCDDD outlined Nigeria's approaches to winning the peace in the north-east. Christianity and Islam could be described as types of insurgency. The Nigerian military talks too much about its operations and tactics. It is enough to talk about strategy in general terms. Strategic communication ensures that BH is tackled on the both the kinetic and soft platforms. A clear distinction was made between insurgency and terrorism. The military fights terrorism, not insurgency. Insurgency is the war of hearts and minds, where civil liberty and social cohesion are disrupted. Terrorists engage in shooting spree.

Some of the measures suggested to be taken to fight insurgency/terrorism are:

*Recharge the Lake Chad region, while 'rolling up' the aquatic and agrarian life of the seven countries.
*Military strategy should be pursued in tandem with economic strategy (like a marshal plan).
*Special forces should be deployed for intelligence gathering.
*Civilian JTF is a time bomb. They need to be gainfully occupied when not fighting BH.
*Para-military personnel (e.g. forestry guards, etc) should be deployed to ungoverned spaces for communiy-based security.
*There should be different levels of security, culminating in the military.
*The National Security Architecture (NSA) should be re-structured in line with current realities.
*This is a ideological/asymmetric war which cannot be easily wished away.
*The strategic objective of the military can be achieved through security sector reform (SSR).
*There should be 'inclusive security'.
*There is an intellectual lacuna in the conceptualisation of strategies for combating BH which needs to be filled.
*There should be a single strategy which encompasses all the mini strategies.
*Think tanks are vital for constant review of the insurgency/terrorism situation.
*There should be bio-metric capture for all IDPs in the north-east.
*In the Recovery & Statutory programmes, funds should be tied to particular projects in the states to curb corruption.

In Prof. Haruna Dakwa's (Director, Centre for Peace, Diplomacy & Development Studies, University of Maiduguri) submission, he 'navigated the tide of desolate communities in north-east Nigeria' and came to the conclusion that some communities are more resilient than others. According to Dakwa, the consequences of BH are: disintegration of communities, there are social/political and economic consequences of such disintegration, many Chiefs have been technically de-robed and some Chiefs have been indicted in the BH crisis.

In my intervention, I asked why there was no female on the panel in a vital discourse about strategies for combating BH. Is there no competent woman from the north-east to talk about DDRR, etc through a gender lens? This omission is even more disturbing in view of the fact that women bear the brunt of any war! It is women that become heads of households by proxy in situations where their husbands and sons are killed by BH. Their vulnerable children could also be killed! I also mentioned the fact that there is no need to re-invent the wheel. I was a facilitator at the Lake Chad Basin Governors' Forum (LCBGF) conference earlier this year in Maiduguri. Some of the recommendations and indeed the work of LCBGF should be monitored for possible inclusion in the next steps for the Nextier Security Dialogue Series. My third suggestion was that Nextier could be the veritable forum for galvanising the desired collaboration between Academics, Practitioners and Policy Makers.

It is undeniable that there was robust discussion at this very important meeting on the state of insecurity in the north-east ahead of the 2019 elections. See for example From BH to Biafra: How insecurity will affect Nigeria's elections

Related Links

*Women in terror: Ending Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Borno state, north-east Nigeria
*Gender lens essential to addressing linked climate change & security
*Nigeria: Exit of the Security Chiefs & time for a new approach by Jibrin Ibrahim
*Practical tools for addressing the risk of weapon diversion
*External desk evaluation of the DCA Humanitarian Land Mine Action & Cluster Mutation Activities, 2016-2020
*VE & Community Policing in Tanzania
*Nigeria; Unhappy soldiers
*Nigeria's audacious bandits
*Nigeria: Between criminals & self-defense groups
*Agonies of communities at the war front: Brutalised, exploited & traumatised
*Making Community Policing work
*Breaking terrorism supply chains in West Africa
*BH attacks Borno Governor's convoy
*Nigerian Army confirms killing of notorious criminal, 'Gana' (Terwase Akwaza) who surrendered
*The workings of extremism
*Characteristics & logic of civilian possession of SALWs in Mali
*Insecurity: Man delivering ransom to kidnappers shot dead
*Insecurity: 1,165 killed, 113 abducted in North-West Nigeria in 8 months
*Is insecurity undermining the CoV response? Evidence from Nigeria
*After many counter-terrorism operations, Africa is no closer to containing VE
*6 Nigerians convicted in the UAE for funding BH
*Emir links insecurity to homosexuality in Northern Nigeria
*Shekau, Abu Mus'ab & 29 others make Nigerian Army's list of wanted terrorists
*Understanding the role of Power, Identity, Communication & Trust in preventing and CVE in Somalia   https;//
*Military approach alone cannot end insurgency   Gov. Zulum 
*Routledge Handbook of Terrorism & Counter-terrorism
*Routledge Handbook of Deradicalisation & Disengagement
*Mass terror trials test Nigeria's criminal justice system
*Pros & cons of resettlement of IDPs in Nigeria
*Addressing Jihadist ambushes
*Solving displacement dilemma
*Adaptive Peace Operations: Navigating the complexity of influencing societal change without causing harm
*Provisions on Security Sector Reform (SSR) & Disarmament, Demobilisation & Rehabilitation (DDR) in Peace Agreements
*Preparing for the global counter-terrorism forum for the next decade
*Mali's 2020 coup: How did we get here?      
*Porous borders, porous security: Re-thinking ECOWAS free movement protocol
*Nigeria: Accepting ex-BH fighters
*Besieged but not relenting: Ensuring fair trials for Nigeria's terrorism suspects
*Leveraging on local responses:Nigeria's near-quagmire with security challenges may not lead to state failure
*Defending the US Military presence in Africa for reasons beyond terrorism
*Why the US Military presence in Africa is vital beyond counter-terrorism
*Revamping the Nigeria Police
*Nigeria: Communal clashes and avoidable losses
*Nigeria's three axes of mass murder
*Nigeria's defense investment
*Overcoming BH by Kate Meagher & Abdu Raufu Mustapha
*North-west Nigeria: The unofficial thetre of violence
*Who shall overcome? Islamic extremism in northern Nigeria - Kate Maegher
*Nigeria: Katsina community protests repeated attacks by bandits, block highway
*Children & War
*Violence in Nigeria's north-west: Rolling back the mayhem
*Understanding the dangerous journey from BH to rehabilitation
*More than 20,000 Nigerians have fled to Niger Republic to escape murders, kidnappings & the pillaging of north-west villages - UN
*Has counter-terrorism become a profitable business in Nigeria?
*How elite Nigerian soldiers massacred un-armed religious marchers
*Why BH should be placed on watchlist - CNN
*Female BH members need tailor-made rehabilitation: Abduction, Rape, Marriage, Detention are women's main paths in BH
*Lake Chad Basin Governors' Forum  #LCBGF
*Support for communities, families & young people to better protect children at risk of being (re-) recruited by armed groups and criminal gangs  #ChildrenNotSoldiers  #RedHandDay
*Sahel storm: The developing conflict trend is a Sahelian call to action/
*MNJTF counts successes in the Lake Chad region
*Withdarwal of troops by Niger threatens MNJTF
*Re-thinking the functionality of the MNJTF
*Metele attack: NAF bombs terrorist location
*Response to terrorism must include psychosocial support
*Metele attack: Surviving soldiers send SOS to Buhari
*Ezekwesili calls for re-assessment of Nigeria's anti-terrorism strategy
*Legal framework for the prevention opf terrorism in Nigeria
*Strengthening capacity to counter terrorism in Nigeria
*The ECOWAS counter-terrorism strategy
*Counter-terrorism & the implications of in-fighting within BH
*Nigerian Military set to release 155 ex-BH fighters into society
*Nigeria Army threatens legal action over videos of BH attacks
*The women rescued from BH who are returning to their captors
*A Whole-of-Society Approach to preventing & countering violent extremism & radicalisation that lead to terrorism: A Guidebook from Central Asia
*UK vows to help Nigeria fight against BH
*Re-positioning the AU's role in CVE   https://lnkdin/eZ5beUC  #counterterrorism  #AU
*Conflict transformation, human rights & the rule of law in West Africa
*Analysis: Islamic state returnees - India's counter-radicalisation vs de-radicalisation approach
*Surviving BH: Why children under 5 matter
*BH: The amnesty dilemma
*Terrorism & organised crime: Risks & shared responses   UNSCR 2482 urges member states to respond to what appears to be an 'ill-defined threat.'
*BH: A decade of terror explained
*6 abducted aid workers appear in BH video, beg to be freed
*BH now lures people with charity - Caregiver narrates
*Security risk analysis: Kidnapping hotbeds in Nigeria
*Nigeria: Report blames BH insurgency, NE conflicts on poor governance   nttps://
*West Africa must confront its foreign terrorist fighters
*How to map violence without Police data
*Preventing violent extremism (VE): The Morocco example
*Insecurity: Police order helicopter surveillance across Nigeria 
*African states can't rely on external funders to foot the bill for preventing violent extremism (VE)
*The fight against Jihadists is shifting to Africa
*As terrorists settle into the Sahel, West Africa prepares for battle
*Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) isn't a job for civil society alone
*Conflict sensitivity in approaches to PVE: Good intentions are not enough
*Stalemate: BH's new strategy means fewer attacks
*Is BH copying the IS?
*Insecurity and violence turn Nigeria into a 'pressure cooker' that must be addressed, says UN Human Rights expert
*BH: A decade of terror explained
*BH now lures people with charity: Caregiver narrates experience
*Security risk analysis: Kidnapping hotbeds in Nigeria,html
*Nigeria: Report blames insurgency, north-east crisis on poor governance
*Can we ever actually prevent terrorism? - Dr. Anneli Botha
*Nigeria's battle with BH
*How is Africa dealing with young extremists?
*Cameroun: Vigilance Committees' dilemma in the fight against BH
*Beyond bombs & bullets
*Overlapping threats: Russian security cooperation & the Salafi-Jihadi threat in Africa
*7 dimensions of the African security landscape
*Good NGOs, Bad NGOs: Nigeian government's partnership with NGOs in counter-terrorism operations
*Re-positioning the AU's role in countering terrorism
*Drone strikes a growing threat to African civilians
*Is the African Standby Force any closer to being deployed?
*Amotekun: Constitutional implication of South-West regional security initiative
*Trauma Counselling enables the integration of former terrorists
*2020: Imperative or early action
*Amotekun: The South-West's response to insecurity in Nigeria
*BH: Looking beyond the bombs
*Insecurity lingers despite N3tr Defense budget
*Chadian President leads soldiers to capture BH 'arms store' in Sambisa
*Chadianforces re-capture Nigerian town, Dikwa
*Some parts of Africa could be violent and unsafe for decades to come
*Chad gives Nigeria deadline of April 2020 to occupy territories seized from BH
*Insurgency & the Chad ultimatum
*Assessing the effectiveness of the UN-AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID)
*1st November 2020: US Special Forces storm Nigeria, kill six kidnappers, free abducted American
*MNJTF played significant role in rescuing American hostage




Above photo shows Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa on the red carpet for the premiere of the film: Sandra's Cross - A film that depicts the negative consequences of Gender Based Violence (GBV), in particular Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)...

On the 19th of December, 2018, YouthhubAfrica TV & Young Men's Network Against Sexual & GBV with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) presented the premiere of the film: Sandra's Cross to the public at Silverbird Cinema, Abuja. I was there live! Sandra Cross 2 is the continuation of Sandra Cross 1. Sandra's Cross is a web series that aims at causing social interaction/engineering that could lead to greater awareness and conversation about GBV and FGM in particular.

Sandra's Cross 2 is centred around 15 year old Hauwa forcibly 'married' to much older Nuhu (probably in his fifties). Nuhu had two other wives before marrying Hauwa. Nuhu and his polygamous family live in the same compound with Dr. Agnes (a female medical doctor) who likes Hauwa and is concerned about the fact that the latter could be married to such an old man, Nuhu. Meanwhile, inspite of the fact that Dr. Agnes is married to a fellow University graduate, her husband is unemployed and he repeatedly uses Agnes's resources to fund 'projects' without due diligence. Agnes's husband's recklessness has completely depleted her bank account. This is a major source of tension in Agnes's marriage.

To be sure, Hauwa had earlier been 'circumcised' as a child (FGM). Hauwa felt very lonely at home with the other 'senior wives' since she wished to continue her schooling instead of being a child bride. Hauwa constantly sneaked into Agnes's apartment to confide in her. On one of these occasions, Hauwa confides in Agnes that her husband, Nuhu, had been having regular sex with her and she was feeling 'weak'. Agnes quickly put Hauwa through a urine pregnancy test which was positive. Further tests showed that because of FGM, Hauwa's birth canal was too narrow to deliver a child naturally. She would need to undergo a cesarean section (operation) to deliver the baby.

Then, one morning Hauwa caught up with Agnes on her way out. It was a bad time to approach Agnes because she was on a mission to re-pay her husband's creditors as a result of the deal engaged in by the the latter which went sour! She could not wait to listen to Hauwa before speeding off in her car. This singular act proved to be fatal because Hauwa was whisked away to another end of town within Lagos - Agege, where she was to be delivered of her baby at home by traditional birth attendants! Hauwa was hidden from Agnes until her expected date of delivery (EDD). Hauwa had a difficult labour for days. When the traditional birth attendants could no longer cope, Hauwa was transferred to a hospital, from where Nuhu called Agnes to intimate her about Hauwa's plight. Agnes immediately swung into action. Hauwa delivered a baby girl but she died in the process!

Hauwa's daughter could suffer the same fate in the name of 'tradition'. There was already some preparation to circumcise the baby. History would repeat itself...This graphic film with excellent actors depicted the deplorable state of the girl child in many parts of Nigeria, especially Northern Nigeria, where child marriage is still a very big issue. A few years ago, a Senator married a 13 year old girl in Nigeria, and absolutely nothing happened to him!

It is important to note the following:

*FGM is still very rampant in Nigeria
*A film like 'Sandra's Cross' is being supported by young male Nigerians. This is some form of advocacy for the eradication of FGM by male champions. This is progress!
*The complicity of older females for the perpetuation of FGM cannot be overlooked. Nuhu's sister was at the forefront of ensuring that late Hauwa's daughter was circumcised.
*Polygamy that could spread sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV/AIDS is widely practiced in Nigeria.
*Child marriage that breeds illiterate child-mothers, leads to vesico vaginal fistula (VVF), maternal mortality, etc is condoned.
*Dr. Agnes's husband eventually became a male champion who went to speak to Nuhu about Hauwa, man-to-man.

On the whole we need more films like 'Sandra's Cross' for more effective advocacy against GBV. Kudos to the male champions who collaborated for the success of this film...

Related Links

*Nigeria launches first national 'Sex Offenders Register' (25th November, 2020)
*The VAPP Act, 2015
*5 ways the VAPP Act has changed the offense of rape in Nigeria
*5 years after VAPP Act, FGM perpetrators still walk free
*VAPP Tracker
*VAPP Law: Bauchi state government launches N3.7b costed action plan
*How Lebanese sexually molested girls,minors in Nigeria for years
*Man who stopped wife from schooling, working, divorces her 24 years later
*Sexual assault as a weapon of war: History, effect & prevention    
*Nigeria takes a stand against SGBV
*Nigeria: All 36 Governors declare state of emergency over rape
*Nigeria: Kaduna state Governor passes castration law for rape
*Nigerian women in film on GBV: 'Walk on water in Makoko'
*Sexual assault as a weapon of war: History, effect and prevention
*It's a man's problem: Patrick Stewart & the man fighting to end domestic violence (DV)
*Saving Nigerian girls: A critical reflection on girl-saving campaigns in the colonial and neo-liberal eras
*No visible bruises: Domestic Violence (DV) & Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
*The GBV plan: Milestone or 'soft nudge'
*How to spot if you are being gaslighted
*Interventions by WANEP to tackle Sex & Gender Based Violence (SGBV)
*Nexus between report card & child abuse
*Pope Francis vows to end sexual abuse after McCarrick report
*Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) blamed for death of 10-year old girl in Sierra-Leone
*650 million women & girls alive today were married as children  #EndChildMarriage
*Survivors speak out in film on rape under ex-Gambian leader
*The growth of the #MeToo campaign has encouraged more open reporting of sexual harassment #JournalistsToo
*Take action: 10 ways you can help end VAW
*1st report of the UNESCO-ICFJ Online VWA Journalists' project
*Confronting GBV: Online course @ Johns Hopkins University
*Nigeria: How unclear policies contribute to sexual harassment in Universities
*Epidemic of Domestic Violence (DV) - Alberta Advocates
*Compendium on Domestic Violence by the World Bank
*Compendium on Child Marriage by the World Bank
*Compendium on Female Genital Mutilation by the World Bank
*Bill bans 'abhorrent' quizzing of domestic abuse victims in court
*Rise in sexual abuse cases in Aid Groups as more victims speak up
*How neuro-science is exploding the myth of the male and female brains
*Abuse prevention: How to turn off the gaslighters
*11 warning signs of gaslighting
*When is it gaslighting and when is it not
*The woman most likely to get promoted according to science
*UN waters down rape resolution to appease US's hard line abortion stance
*Hilary Swank: 'Getting fired led to my overnight success'
*UNSCR 2467 on Sexual Violence in Conflict: WILPF's Secretary-General Medeleine Rees' opinion
*The philosophical origins of patriarchy
*UNODC Homicide Report sheds light on the link between VAW & girls and gender-related killings
*What security means to women
*Conflict drives global rise in Sexual & Gender Based Violence (SGV)
*UN aid workers raped 60,000 in 10 years as sex abuse went unchecked
*Film industry: Damaging stereotypes on screen limit women's aspiration - Geena Davis
*Giving credit: Gender and the hidden labour behind academic prestige
*An all-women Delta airline team flew 120 girls to NASA to get them excited about aviation careers
*The challenges women face in business (that men don't)
*Nigeria: Sex for votes   #sex for votes
*51.7% of female undergraduates in Nigeria suffer sexual violence
*Poetry by girls in Nigeria
*Sex for grades: Time to adopt the 'Blind Grading System'
*The best and worst countries for women
*In China, courts deny women divorce in the name of 'social harmony'
*Adegboyega Adenekan (Chrisland School Supervisor) sentenced to 60 years in prison for raping two-year old girl in Lagos>2019/10/24>adegboyega-adenekan...
*Enter intersectionality: Towards an inclusive survivor-centred approach in responding to conflict-related sexual violence
*One third of domestic abuse victims are trapped through financial abuse
*What we are getting wrong about domestic violence
*DV: For some persons, social distancing means being trapped indoors with an abuser
*Nigeria's harmful law: Under the Penal Code, it's legal for husbands to beat their wives for the purpose of 'correction'!   Sec 55(1)(d) Subsection 10 of the Penal Code
*YALI Voices: How to raise awareness about GBV in rural areas  #16daysofactivism
*NGOs in Cape Town and war against GBV
*Rohingya sexual violence trauma & neglect: October 2020 Report
*1,718 children in Lagos suffered sexual, domestic abuse in 2020
*Nigeria: What role can you play to ensure that your state establishes a Sexual Assault Referral Centre?
*GBV in Nigeria: Myths & facts
*VAW in Britain: Sarah Everard was just walking home, then...
*Rapists face life imprisonment in Kogi state as lawmakers pass VAPP Bill
*Virginity testing is a human rights violation   #MyBodyIsMyOwn
*ECOWAS Court orders FGN to pay $200,000 (N90m) to ex-Air Force woman, 'raped, illegally dismissed'$200,000-to-ex-air-force-woman-raped.../
*#StateofEmergencyGBV Movement, a coalition of NGOs, laments over rising cases of VAW in Nigeria
*GBV costs the EU 366 billion Euros a year. VAW makes up 79% of this cost, amounting to 289 billion Euros


6th July, 2019

In June 2019, 'Silent Tears', a film about GBV in Nigeria was premiered in Abuja. The wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Osibajo was the special guest of honour. The premiere was sponsored by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). An excerpt from the address by Jude Ilo, Head of Nigeria Office, OSIWA is quite instructive. See

"We are all living witnesses to a value system that continues to disrespect, commercialise and subjugate women. We are living witnesses to unprovoked raids on women, labelled prostitutes but without any information or arrest of their patrons...Permit me therefore, on behalf of the menfolk to offer a long overdue apology to women and girls across Nigeria. I apologise for the lack of appreciation and gratitude for the life you gave us by your blood and pain. I apologise for a prevailing culture that undermines the importance and significance of womanhood".

To be sure, in the past few months, many women going about their normal day job have been assaulted by security agencies in Abuja and its environs under the guise of ridding the city of 'prostitutes'. Should women and girls now go around the city in fear?

7th July, 2019

On the 27th of June, the premiere of the film, 'The Prosecutor' was held in Abuja. The film documents the activities of five prosecutors in various parts of the world in their search for the truth as regards GBV. It was an evening when attendees had 'intimate' conversations with Nobel Laureate, Dr. Dennis Mukwege, who has spent the better part of his working life protecting victims of GBV!

Let Dennis speak for himself: 'We need to galvanise political will to ensure that victims of sexual violence are receiving all necessary assistance to recover from their physical and psychological wounds and are economically empowered to start a new life. They should be integrated into the society after their full recovery' - Dennis Mukwege

On the culture of silence as regards GBV, Dennis said: 'Silence is the perfect tool which helps the perpetrators to continue to operate with impunity. Survivors who are breaking the silence are key to ending the cycle of violence' - Dennis Mukwege

It is worthy of note that the three films featured in this post ('Sandra's Cross', 'Silent Tears' & 'The Prosecutor') are aimed at showcasing the level of destruction of societal fabric by the despicable phenomenon of GBV. All hands must be on deck to stem the tide of this negative act...

            Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa on the red carpet @ the premiere of the film: 'The Prosecutors'


Saturday 15 December 2018


Photo L-R: Charly Boy Oputa & Lady D

It is not often that you see Charly Boy Oputa in the serene mood in which he was enveloped on the 15th of December, 2018. What was so special about that day? He took the love of his life, Dianne, with whom he had lived for the past 40 years to the altar, finally! I was at the event. But the invitation earlier in the day was informal, via a phone call to a friend of mine, and I was present. The phone invitation went thus:

Charly Boy: Please come to the house at 4pm today!
Friend: What's happening in the house today?
Charly Boy: Oooh, you too like story, just come to the house. No African time, you dey hear me so?

The implication of the above was that we did not know why Charly Boy had invited us to the house, but as faithful friends, we obliged him, and went all the same since he is full of surprises. But we never saw the shocker we got coming. I thought it was another protest about something he was averse to in the society. I did not know that radical Charly Boy was formally getting married again at 65! The first marriage, which he contracted before he left for the USA below the age of 25 years had to be annulled for another wedding to be contracted in the Catholic Church.  Charly Boy had been pursuing the required annulment for the past few years. The letter of annulment for the first marriage was presented to the couple alongside their marriage certificate.

Guess who officiated at the wedding, which true to the groom's style, was held in the evening at about 5pm at Christ the Redeemer Chapel/Coventry located at 8/14, 4th Avenue, Gwarimpa Estate, Abuja. This was the very first time in my life that I would be attending a wedding in the Catholic church in the evening! Trust Charly Boy to be different, always. When we arrived his house, a few minutes before the church service for the wedding ceremony was supposed to begin, Charly Boy was still in a track suit with loafers adorning his feet! When we asked him why he invited us home, he said: 'they say they are getting married...' We then asked him to be specific. This inquiry elicited his volunteering the information that he was the one getting married! He now asked us if the track suit was appropriate for him  to wear to the wedding. He resoundingly got 'no' for an answer.

It was then Charly B went to change into a three-piece suit without a tie! By the time he got to the Chapel, he had only his waist coat on him! Pretty Lady Dianne was wearing a champagne/gold wedding gown and was carrying fresh red roses! She looked stunning! She could beat any young bride hands down! The next shocker was that everyone accompanying Charly B to the Chapel should leave his/her car in his house and go in the pre-arranged 'Kekes' (chain saws) to the chapel, which was a few metres away. Lady Dianne rode in one of their posh sports cars to the church, with one of her sons driving her, while Charly B rode solo in a Keke. I was in a Keke close to Charly B's, so I could view all his stunts, and I was not in short supply of same. First, he lay in the back of the Keke with his foot in his shoes sticking out. The next stunt was when we were near the church. He got up in the Keke and began waving to an admiring crowd via the open roof like many Presidents are wont to do.

Mainly family members were invited. There were only a few us who were not family members. There was no force, unlike many other weddings. The church service which lasted less than an hour, was with Mama Oputa, Charly B's mother in attendance. Tears of joy were rolling down her face throughout the church service because the wedding made her nostalgic about her late husband, Justice Oputa (Charly B's father) who wished the wedding took place in his lifetime. Guess who conducted the service? Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, radical Catholic Priest who stood firm during the protest against the proposed draconian Bill to regulate NGOs in Nigeria. Kukah fought on the side of the masses to ensure that the Bill did not see the light of day! The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Onayeikan was also present to add positive flavour to the ceremony. The Sponsors of the wedding were Mr. & Mrs. Pius Akhaaz who presented a lovely copy of the Bible to the newly weds.

Bishop Kukah was quite hilarious in his sermon, where he  traced his relationship with Charles & Dianne Oputa to the 1990's. Kukah said 'Charles & Dianne say our Mumu Don Do, let's bless our union after 40 years'. Kukah referred to when Charles & Dianne visited him in Lagos and their power bike packed up when they were about to leave the former's house. Charles simply said to Lady D: 'Start pushing'. What saved  the day was the fact that Kukah could locate a slope on which the bike
could slide. Then Charly B joked about the incident, saying that it was Kukah that saved Lady D from unnecessary stress.

Kukah said: 'I am here because Papa is smiling in heaven and Mama is alive to see this day. Let us approach the throne of Almighty Father with grace and confidence. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of fortitude. The grace of God is available to us in our time of need. Look up to Jesus Christ, the throne of grace'. Charly B said Dianne proposed to him in 1980, and they met two years earlier, in 1978. Kukah continued that Dianne has kept faith and happy is the husband who has a good wife. A silent wife is a gift from God. According to Kukah, the enemies don't believe that Charly B can keep a woman for any length of time, least of all, 40 years while admonishing the newly weds to be reconciled to Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Onaiyekan said 'it is one thing to marry, but another to marry according to the sacred sacrament. Whenever you can convert your marriage into a sacred one, please do so and we thank God for your life'. After the exchange of vows between the couple, Charly B did a bit of marriage counselling viz; 'Marriage is about coping with a couple's incompatibility and it requires openness, respect and friendship'. Charly B then turned to Lady D, saying: 'You are my new bride and I'm applying to remain your new groom for at least the next 40 years'. Lady D's response was a warm embrace for her loving husband. Charly B promised to be useful to the parish not only as a parishioner, but a willing mentor for younger couples and individuals.

There are a number of takeaways from this short, but unique wedding ceremony:

*It is a form of conflict resolution between the Catholic Church and more radical elements on the fringes like Charly Boy. Although the church insisted that Charly B annul his former marriage before a new one could be contracted, the groom's non-conventional mode of dressing, wearing only a waistcoat on his wedding day, was overlooked. His 'crowded' fingers, with a big silver ring on each finger and 'shouting' silver jewelry adorning his neck on his wedding day were also overlooked! In times past, the conservative Catholic church would have frowned at the groom's rings, etc. This is progress that could keep some 'borderline' Christian youths within the Catholic fold, an advantage of liberalism which makes the Pentecostal churches more appealing to the youth!

*Charly Boy is a unique brand that speaks the language of the youth. The fact that their idol has finally married the same woman he has been with for 40 years could make church marriage 'fashionable' once again among the youth.

*In spite of his tough, 'bad boy' public image, Charly Boy does not take hard drugs or drink alcohol. He's in fact a good role model for the youth. Besides, he has volunteered to mentor the younger ones during his speech at his wedding. The Catholic Church and indeed the society should leverage on this unique offer. Individuals and groups should offer the wherewithal to enable him actualise the positive mentoring.

*Charly Boy is by no means a straggler. He is by any means a comfortable man who has made his mark. All his struggles are to make the society better. See for example his 'Struggles' reflected through paintings in my Blog Post -

*I have said so much about Charly Boy. But what about Lady Dianne who has stood by him these odd 40+ years? Without Lady D, Charly Boy might not have been this successful. Dianne has taken care of the home front all these years efficiently and effectively. She is the 'silent wife' that is a gift from Almighty Father to 'hurricane' Charles Oputa. She has raised successful children and is no pushover as a businesswoman. Kudos to you, Lady D!

*Charly Boy and Lady D have shown that you don't need to rob a bank in order to have a nice wedding ceremony. Charly Boy rode to his wedding in 'Keke NAPEP' and had a modest reception in his sitting room! He is a man of means who could pull an uncontrollable crowd if he announced the event, but he chose not to, restricting same to some family members and a few friends. Empty vessels make the most noise!

On the whole, I say hearty congratulations to Charly Boy & Lady D. May you continue to see more of your children's children in good health and prosperity...

                                             Photo above: Mama Oputa (Charly B's mum)
Above photo: Charly Boy & Lady Dianne at home, ready to go to the Chapel for their wedding. 'Keke NAPEP' (tricycle) behind the couple transported Charly Boy to the venue!

Friday 14 December 2018


Two notable artistes: Prof. Tola Wewe and Charly Boy Oputa held exhibitions at two unique venues in Abuja on the 8th of December, 2018. Tola Wewe's was labelled 'Apewo', which literally translates to 'works of art that attract a multitude of viewers' while Charly Boy Oputa's was titled 'The Struggle'. Tola Wewe's exhibition had a very different flavour from Charly Boy's. While Tola Wewe's is of the University of Ife, Department of Fine Art genre (I am also a 1980 alumnae of 'Great Ife'), Charly Boy is a Musician and Social activist. 65 year young Charly Boy (husband, father and grandfather), popularly called 'Area Fada' and Convener of the #OurMumuDonDo Movement takes pride in being the 'conscience of the masses'.

I begin with Tola Wewe. Tola had over twenty paintings on display at Thought Pyramid, Abuja. Most of Tola's paintings were abstract and his favourite medium was 'mixed media/acrylic on canvas'. Tola made me nostalgic about my late friend, Prof. Segun Adewoye, a Physicist and Art enthusiast who was an avid collector of Tola's works in his lifetime. Apewo, the painting which bore the title of the exhibition was mixed media on canvas - an abstract painting which depicted a multitude in one location viewing 'something' (Tola's exhibition?). Other paintings were: 'All roads lead home'; Ayaba (The king's wife); Awon eleye (Witches' faces in phases); The eye is sharper than the knife; Aje (Divinity of wealth); Gathering at the marketplace; Dance of the gods; Arrival of the visitors; My dream comes true; We walk through the fog of reality; Seven songs; 'Bojuboju' (Hide & seek); 'Irewole' (Fortune has come to us); Before the cell phone was born; 'Afifilaperin' (The one who killed an elephant with his cap); Eyo masquerade; Forms in the dark, etc.

Why the title: 'Apewo' for Tola's works? The answer to this question can be gleaned from Prof. Moyo Okediji's preview of Tola's solo exhibition. Prof. Okediji is a Nigerian Art Historian at the University of Texas, Austin, USA who said: 'The Ifa priest says your painting is from the lineage of 'Digbe', a special cocktail of 'Amuluodu' that rarely appears. It refers to a specific literary verse called 'Apewo'. The original domain of the painting is therefore musicality. Tola's artworks in Apewo are a combination of literature, music and body language in a series of ritualistic gestures reminiscent of performance art. Tola has become a vessel of divine messaging, conveying encoded motifs of spiritual vibrations from above the abode of mortal beings...'  See

Charly Boy's exhibition was about his many 'struggles' with the social and political system in Nigeria. On display were unique, never seen in public photographs of Charly Boy, depicting him complaining about multifarious issues like: Confusion (in Nigeria); Identity (as Nigerians and not as ethnic bigots); Struggle (for transparency/free & fair elections/...); #MeToo campaign (women coming out of the closet about sexual harassment); Money in politics (prebendalism); Pollution (in our cities/Niger Delta, etc); Social media (indiscriminate use of fake news/hate speech on many platforms); Bridges (across Nigeria); Responsibility (of the government & indeed the citizens); etc.

During Charly Boy's exhibition, there was a Spoken Word interlude by five outstanding performers:

*Reginald Ofodile (Poem) - 'Individuals in communities & some models'
*Brain Box (Spoken Word) - 'Fighter', fighting for a better Nigeria
*Deji Ige (Poem) - 'Where are those days?', reminiscing about the good old days in Nigeria
*Ms. Bukunmi Olukitipi (Chereography/Dance) - 'The Struggle', depicting the many struggles of Charly Boy)
*Bobby (Tap Dancer) - Making joyful noise with his shoes 'tapping' on a wide wooden board

Indeed, it was an evening to remember, 'migrating' from one exhibition to yet another - both of them had distinct messages via different platforms...

1st photo below L-R: Mrs.Yemisi George, Charly Boy Oputa & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa
2nd photo below L-R: Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, Prof. Tola Wewe & Mrs.Yemisi George

Related Links

*Art in the corridors of power