Friday, April 21, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Sexual Repression and Extremism in Northern Nigeria


55. Surah Rahman

56. Surah waqiah

57. Surah al-Hadid

58. Surah al-Mujadalah (She that disputes)

When a usually adversarial non-Muslim takes it upon himself to write a provocation // "a provocation " on as sensitive and controversial a subject as "sexual repression and extremism in Northern Nigeria", he should at least succeed with his avowed intention to provoke and not be surprised or dismayed by the ire or the fire of jahannam that should be coming his way, eventually, if not now, later.

Free sex and marriage is mostly for the Northern Nigerian bourgeoisie, the "older, mostly Western educated, well off men." Is this a fact? Does the Northern Nigerian Bourgeoisie and aristocracy mostly comprise "older, mostly Western educated, well off men"?

The loathsome wording of the entire eight paragraphs - perhaps not scientific language or the impartial language of sociology - although the reality being described could apply equally to the the unhappy situation in e.g. Egypt in the early 1990s - where a trainee medical doctor earned $50 a month and with the cost of accommodation so prohibitively expensive for decades young people could not afford to get married. As to "sexual repression" in e.g. India - despite the erotic sculptures in the temples - the repression comes from the social and economic - and since prostitution is not taboo in India, the stench of semen must still be pervading the red light district in Bombay, invaded every evening by hordes of Hindu men in search of sexual fulfilment...

In this instance, the provocation goes beyond his target audience at the university of Pittsburgh most of whom are probably not from Northern Nigeria or familiar with the kinds of sexual repression or extremism which is the main focus of his lecture. What is not clear is whether or not it's the "short excerpt" presented for our titillation that is the fulcrum of the provocation Professor Moses Ochonu intended - and why he should hide/ conceal some of the provocation or shy away from presenting us with the full-Monty of provocation if indeed he is serious about his own honesty and intellectual integrity in the face of a hostile environment even here in USA -Africa dialogue in cyberspace.

Far from satisfied with this "short excerpt", for the very same reasons of fairness, I should like to concur with Professor Malami Buba in requesting that for contextualisation the whole lecture be posted, so that we can all have a good time...

Alhamdulillah : There's hope on the horizon : That should the economic situation of the youths be improved then repression will cease, recruitment to Boko Haram will end....

On Thursday, 13 April 2017 03:26:13 UTC+2, wrote:


(A short excerpt from my recent lecture on Boko Haram at the University of Pittsburgh)

by Moses Ochonu

Muslim-majority Northern Nigeria houses a sexual economy in which access to sex and the female body, whether mediated by marriage or concubinage, is almost exclusively reserved for older, mostly Western educated, well off men. 

The region, moreover, is home to a culture of sexual repression in which the expression and pursuit of desire is constrained by status and financial resources. The result is that sexual frustration coexists with and is exacerbated by the inability of young, uneducated and thus unemployable Muslim youth to access sexual resources and other benefits of heterosexual relationships. Even Western educated youths lacking viable footholds in Nigeria's secular economy have found themselves unable to fulfill this cardinal Northern Nigerian ritual of masculine accomplishment. 

In other words, the masculine and patriarchal honor associated with marriage and the ability to cater for a family is elusive for many youths lacking access to the secular economy as a result of either their own lack of Western education or the dearth of employment opportunities. In a patriarchal culture in which male honor is defined by the ability to control and manage women and children in licit marital and paternal relationships, the frustration of not having the means to marry, licitly satisfy your libidinal urge, and raise a family, causes disillusionment with society as it exists and encourages a yearning for the kind of caliphal and paradisiacal Utopia advertised by Boko Haram. 

This rejection of Nigerian secular society and the concomitant allure of a terrestrial caliphate or an extraterrestrial paradise is intensified when the indoctrinated Muslim youth sees Western educated coreligionists and Christians engage in both licit and illicit sexual relationships with women. This is one of the silent but rarely acknowledged drivers of youth vulnerability to extremist indoctrination in Northern Nigeria. This frustration catalyzes a jealous rage directed at those who are perceived to have monopolized the sexual and marital resources that are the markers of healthy Muslim masculinity in this society. 

It is no coincidence that rapes, the kidnap of young girls, and other sexual crimes have been rife within the ranks Boko Haram. Raids on the camps of Boko Haram have consistently turned up viagra and other sexual enhancement drugs as well as condoms in large quantities. 

Many youths flocked to Boko Haram partly because they were promised wives on the free as well as female captive concubines that could be sexually enslaved lawfully in the warped doctrine of the sect, in addition, of course, to power, honor, and the masculine dignity that eluded them in Nigeria's secular, materialistic, and modern (infidel) economy. 

Several decades earlier, young Northern Nigerian Muslim men desiring marriage and licit sexual relationships in a more liberal and affordable framework, had flocked to the Izala Salafi movement, which denounced expensive marital rituals and ceremonies as Bi'dah or even shirk and democratized the marital and sexual space for its adherents. 

The entwinement of extremism, sexual repression, and a patriarchal economy of honor is one of the keys to understanding extremism in Northern Nigeria but it is rarely broached let alone discussed.

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