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No child pics for adult kicks

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Child abuse PHOTO: Getty Images

Following arrest of Nollywood actor Olanrewaju James, popularly known as Baba Ijesha, on 22 April, on allegations of child abuse, this week, the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) said that Baba Ijesha’s would be tried under five provisions of the Lagos State criminal law.

Days after the arrest following accusations made by Nigerian comedian, Damilola Adekoya, popularly known as Princess, against him of raping a minor (when she was 7-year-old) in her care, a CCTV footage which showed the actor kissing and fondling sensitive parts of the body of the victim, surfaced online. The footage, according to accounts by those who’ve seen it, makes for disturbing viewing. And yet, over the last week it’s been circulate many times on social media and via email, with very few speaking up about it.

The video has since been taken off major news outlets following a public outcry and a disclaimer released by, the guardian of the minor allegedly raped by Baba Ijesha, through her legal counsel, Ibilola Subair.

Landa’s Bethel, a foundation that advocates the rights of victims of Child Abuse and Human Trafficking, condemned the release of the video for “jeopardising the case by releasing evidence for persecution or putting the identity of the survivor at risk” while scores of social media users have also called for the CCTV footage to be reported so that in can be pulled down from social media pages in protection of the minor.

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Yet, there were still many sharing, circulating and posting about having seen the video.

KC Ejelonu was vocal in her plea to public about not circulating the video – speaking of her own experience as a survivor of rape on her social media, the actor wrote:

“I am just a young woman who was raped at 10, telling y’all this is wrong…but you want to create your post and justify your actions…

A child molestation video should not be on your page.

I don’t follow most of the blogs on IG but I am seeing notification of those commenting because they tag me. I click on your pages and I see most of you are women; some of you are mothers. My heart breaks; how did we get to this point?

To all the blogs – You have a following, take down the video… do something different for once; I promise you it will not reduce your following. DO THE RIGHT THING…Make a post asking everyone who has the video to take the video down.

But if this is a big task or an impossible task for you, then we have a bigger problem than I thought.

I am fine…I am concerned for others the young girl growing up and seeing that video online.”

This reminded me of a footage that a former client of mine, a Nigerian woman who was of an age and an education to know better, shared via her email with her team, with the note, “See your people o!” The attached video was footage of a child being sexually abused by another. The person who received this switched it off and deleted the email as soon as they realised that’s what the content was. When I was told of this, I was mortified – how could this woman not realise that through her business email she was distributing child porn?

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It was in the early 2000s when I was still an English teacher in a UK comprehensive school that mobile phones among teenagers were getting more popular and with the advent of the camera phone and photo messaging – oh the days before Snapchat with its disappearing images! – the issue of sexting was becoming dangerously rampant. Often unaware that by sending a ‘dick pic’ to a friend, they were breaking any laws, once the children were warned that essentially they were taking part in the crime of making and distributing pornographic images involving a minor, they would very swiftly delete the images and swear never to send anything sexual again.

Almost 20 years on, it is sad to see that, there are grown-ups who are not aware of the implications of posting and sharing this sort of imagery online.

Where does (re) education start? At school, when children from an early age can learn not just about what sexual exploitation is but also about the dangers of sharing indecent images and videos online or via messaging apps? Throughout formative years in workshops by legal experts and digital professionals, and outspoken public figures like KC about the appropriate use of social media and the dangers of misuse? In journalism schools where we educate future bloggers that the video of a child’s molestations should never be used as titillating gossip fodder for clicks?

It is a long journey ahead, and a tough one, but one that has to be travelled so some day in the near future we don’t get to watch child molestation videos for entertainment and 50-year-old women know better than to forward sexual harassment footage to their colleagues.

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