Legal War Against Pornography – By Nonso Anyasi



A psychology war is currently brewing in Nigeria. This is the serious decade-old battle between serious literature and pornography. The contemporaneous Nigerian society has been so bastardized by the influx of Western culture that we seem to be losing our foothold on our sense of values. Many Nigerians have assimilated to a significant degree, a multitudinous memorabilia of the Western culture that it would not be surprising to discover that many Nigerian youths dream Western dreams.

Pornography is that aspect of literature that is designed to entice the consumer sexually.

It comes in diverse forms, including writings, recordings, still pictures, motion pictures, Facebook statuses and profile pictures, Blackberry Messenger display pictures, and Skype I.m’s.

It is very sad to note however that pornography in its different forms is gaining the upper hand in this colossal battle.

It is no doubt intriguing at the rate at which the Nigerian public, especially the social networking sites, is being flooded by an influx of pornographic materials in its different forms these days. One can hardly visit a social networking site without being assaulted by a superfluous and redundant display of the mammary glands, and pictures of nude women in highly beguiling postures. These apart, the most annoying fact is that many Nigerian youths, most especially the females have taken to engage in an empirical experiment. Most indolent Nigerian youths unabashedly portray these animalistic attitudes in their vulgar mode of dressing and uncouth behaviour. And many of them are not ashamed to give Section 39(1) CFRN 1999 as the ratio for this primitive behavior.

In view of this obnoxious cankerworm that is eating deep into the recess of the Nigerian public, can it then be said that the framers of our constitution did not deem it worthwhile in balancing the freedom of expression as guaranteed in Section 39(1) CFRN with adequate checks on its abuse as other countries have done? The answer is very glaring. The Criminal Code which is an act of parliament that is in conformity with the totality of the constitution makes express provisions relating to this demoralising phenomenon. Section 233 of the Criminal Code Act under paragraphs A-F expressly prohibits any obscene article or publication. Subsection (B) went to great lengths to define “article” as used in this context to include: anything capable of being or likely to be looked at and read or looked at or read, and includes any film or record of a picture or pictures, and any sound records. Thus, going by the extensive definition of the Criminal Code Act, anybody who posts any picture on Facebook, Blackberry Messenger, Twitter, Skype, or any other social networking site which fulfils the intention listed in Section 233(B) and which also by virtue of Section 233(C)(1), is intended to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it; such a person is by virtue of

Section 233(D)(1), guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding four hundred naira or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or by both.

The English court of appeal the case of Shaw v DPP (1961)2 All ER 446, held that the courts have a residual power to enforce the fundamental purpose of the law which is to keep law and order, and that there is an offence known as conspiracy to corrupt public morals.

This judgement was upheld by the English Court of Appeal in DPP v Whyte (1972) AC 849, where it held that the court is duty bound to conserve safety and order, as well as the moral welfare of the state.

Thus, going by the astute provisions of the Criminal Code and the stand of the court on the issue, there is no doubt that many a student would spend at least half of his/ her academic calendar anguishing in gaol due to the lackadaisical attitude of the Nigerian youth towards the issue.

This writer would therefore like to sound a timeous note of warning to anyone who is guilty of this unwholesome attitude to beware, for a day of reckoning is coming when we will be to account for our deeds and misdeeds on this planet.

I am Oluwanonso_Esq on Twitter



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