IN DEFENCE OF BLESSING ODAMA 

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Monday Letter2 

Just under a couple of years ago, Nigeria was shocked about the attitude of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) in its shoddy handling of the case involving the abduction and murder of Joy Odama by an obviously well-connected “Alhaji”. It was clear for all to see that the NPF was reluctant to prosecute this murderer and the police did its utmost to disparage the character of the dead.

Moshood Jimoh, the NPF’s spokesman, was obviously acting under some kind of instruction to cool things off. That was until the Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, took up the cause of justice for the late Miss Odama and vowed that the culprits would be dealt with. That statement of purpose resonated across Cross River State and the people would not forget when the general election of 2019 comes around; it is just condemnable that Joy would be killed because the NPF tried to paint a picture of her as a “Southern Christian ‘runs girl’.” And on 24th November 2018, the way the story of Joy’s surviving sister, Blessing, was carefully serialised in multiple media houses and splattered on newspaper pages with salacious undertone was simply suspicious and methinks it was a poor job done to get at Gov. Ayade and the people of Cross River State.

What I sensed was that a sting operation was conducted using resources of the state, which should have helped our soldiers fighting Boko Haram in the Northeast, to bring gross disrepute to a poor, young girl who was just struggling to get by. What anyone would conclude from the news spread was that the house of Odama produces prostitutes who roam Abuja to entice and blackmail innocent, “holy,” married Muslim men. If this was a police operation to soften the case against that “Alhaji,” and it sure looks like it, then the alarm Dr. Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate, raised about the extrajudicial slaying of Michael Adikwu who masterminded that Offa robbery should be heeded.

It is so bad this country demonises young Christian girls as “prostitutes” whenever it serves the interest of the Muslim North. No wonder there is an exemption statute of the NYSC that female Muslim graduates of the Northern extraction cannot, on account of their “purity,” be posted to Christian-dominated states in order for them to avoid “contamination.” Blessing Odama is not a prostitute and justice must be done for Joy!

 

Sunday Adole Jonah,

Department of Physics, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State