The Call Against Cyberbullying Of Women In Northern Nigeria
For a long time, women across the globe have subjected to subjugation because of their gender. And this is even worse in a conservative society in which socio-political relations are determined by strict religious values. The prejudices of our society against its women are notably alarming and call for serious check and balance especially in this digital era that allows misogyny, sexism and humiliation to flourish on the cyberspace like an inferno in a dry forest. Nigeria is not an exemption. With its diverse ethnic groups and cultures, it also suffers from these social repercussions.
The northern part of the country (fondly called Arewa), in particular, where Islam flourishes, is characterised by conservative norms, beliefs and ideologies that play a greater role in how women are treated. The men in this society are ‘naturally’ dominant and active while women are subordinate and passive. This misogynic trend is notably demonstrated in every sphere of life in this part of the world, the Arewa cyberspace inclusive.
Any social movement or opinion expressed by a woman to enhance and improve herself ignites debates that are laced with casting aspersions on women and self-righteous indignation under the guise of being Moral Police. Moreover, the important cause on social space is a panacea of “conspiracy of silence”.
In countless scenarios, minor misconducts committed by women are intentionally distorted as serious atrocities against God and society. On account of the 21st century and rapid advancement of the internet, women from the North have taken the centre stage to speak against weakest and vulnerable people on social media. And by all means, such effort deserves acknowledgement, not antagonism.
Popular Kannywood actress Rahama Sadau, for instance, was bashed for her choice to improve on her acting career and for featuring in a song “I Love You” with the Hip-Pop artist ClassiQ. For cuddling a male, she was expelled by the Motion Picture Practitioners’ Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), Kano branch in 2016 as well as bullied for ‘forsaking’ her Islamic faith in America after she was invited by international artiste, Akon.
Celebrated journalist Kadaria Ahmed is constantly abused, issued death threats and tagged unprintable names for her decision to fight for the poor masses in her home state, Zamfara. Yet, without the efforts of Kadaria, the brutal massacre of helpless citizens in her hometown would have arguably not attracted the attention of the Federal government and Zamfara state government.
Northern feminists, Fakharriyyah Hashim and Maryam Awaisu, are harshly bullied for promoting #ArewaMeToo, a movement meant to safeguard women and LGBTQ rights, promote girl-child education, speak against gender violence and fight the rise of paedophilia.
Former Minister of Environment and current Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina J. Mohammed, is not excused from cyberbullying as she was once misrepresented as “campaigning for same-sex marriage” after her thoughts on an LGBTQ post. It would appear that accusers are oblivious of the fact that Mohammed is an official of the United Nations and vows to work according to its rules and regulations.
In a similar vein, international footballer and Super Eagles striker, Ahmed Musa received all kinds of insulting for marrying a Christian woman from the southern part of the country. Albeit, any person has a free will to decide his own choice either good or bad. Islamic faith doesn’t prevent to do so.
What is more? The recent uproar against the invitation of Fakkrihayyah and Maryam to the ABUFEST 19 (Ahmadu Bello University Arts Festivals) which, in turn, led to its postponement is the solid description of our glaring hypocrisy against the women-folk. Ironically, most of its outrage is from the western-educated citizens.
These horrendous habits highlighted above are just a few out of many and are gaining momentum by the day. There is an urgent need to educate the Arewa community that while they are far behind with pointless social wars on trivialities, the world is becoming more liberal and providing women with equal opportunities as their men counterparts so that they can compete and promote national development. Our incessant bullying under the guise of culture and religion will continue to draw us back while other parts of the world prosper in technology and social enhancement.