By Kayode Taiwo Olla
There has always been the notion that writers champion an activist denunciation of such gross ignoble human practices as racism, terrorism, but also sexual harassment and molestation. This all the way true but for a few surprising examples of the very presence of sexploitation in the very circle of fighters with the pen sword once in a while, until brave disclosures are made of the perpetrators deeds by those who had them dare to cross their path. This was the case with the award winning Nigerian poet Chijoke Amu-Nnadi whose scandal of series of sexual harassment with much younger and less prominent younger ladies in the Nigerian literary circle has started to spread like wildfire.
The revelation had started gradually later last year when younger writers had began to hint on Facebook about the fact of a literary figure sexually molesting young female writers, without giving specific details as to who they were talking about. This was not until the another writer called Daniel John Turaka shared a post on Facebook on January 13 where he actually disclose more specific details of the rumored harassing writer.
This was corroborated by the long, detailed post on Facebook from Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido of the Whole WoMan Network in Canada, where she actually made a disclosure of the person of the then alleged culprit of the case while she also submitted that intelligence-aided investigations were already actively ongoing on the case. She further encourages anyone that has any intelligence about Mr Amu-Nnadi’s exploitative involvement with ladies “to speak to her directly. She also made clear that Mr Amu-Nnadi had been contacted and informed about the allegations he needed to answer for within 48 hours from the sent electronic correspondence after which the proceedings of the investigations and towards legal verdict and penal justice will continue regardless. Mrs. Ume-Onyido stated further in the Facebook article post that the intelligence electronic agent they worked with attested that the Facebook message was seen by him regardless of his manipulations on his account.
(Read Juliet Kego Ume-Oyindo’s full post here.)
A number of Facebook posts and blog shares from ladies in the Nigerian literary circles that had been affected previously, subsequntly confirmed and reinforced the allegations. The first was from one Miracle Adebayo, a female freelance writer based in the federal capital city Abuja. She revealed how Amu-Nnadi, a middle-aged man, had met him for the first time in the 2015 edition of the Ake Arts and Books Festival that held in Nigeria, where he always called her “my daughter”. Poet Amu-Nnadi was a masterclass keynote speaker of the Ake Festival literary. She further revealed how the poet had kissed her quite abruptly in a little moment her friends cae down from the car to buy something. Miracle Adebayo also revealed that the notable poet subsequently pressured an altogether repulsed her to have him “give her a head” during the event. Miracle also noted that she has been finding it psychologically challenging to swallow her saliva since then, until she could take things no more and had to speak in the event of ensuing disclosure.
This is how Miracle Adebayo describe the happening:
“However at some point during the festival, I was in his car with two other people. He specifically asked that I sit in the front seat while we drove to get food. I didn’t object because I saw no big deal there.
“Along the road, we stopped for the other occupants to get something from a shop. In those few minutes; Amu-Nnadi, a man I thought I could trust, forcefully kissed me.”
(Go here to read her full post.)
The second victim of Mr Chijioke Amu-Nnadi was the young Nigerian writer Mary Ajayi who met the older writer Amu-Nnadi at the Writivism Literary Workshop in Uganda in 2015 as she served in her role as Writivism blog editor.
She reported her encounter with the poet’s molestation thus:
“As I greeted him and introduced myself, he hugged me. Then one of the minders… and I accompanied them upstairs to settle in. After we found their rooms, we all made to leave. I was going back to the ground floor to continue work; he offered to see me off a bit. When we got to the first floor (his room was on the third), we stopped to wrap up our chit chat. I didn’t see what happened next coming. It just did.
“He cupped my face in his hands and kissed me.”
(click here to read full post.)
The brave talking up of these ladies on Facebook was instantly greeted with agitated responses from friends and fellow writers on the social media. Nobody seemed to care anymore about saving the face of the perpetrator literary giant anymore than exposing “the truth” has the responses tag was as it grew. There was quite a clear commendable stand against the form of sexual molestation and all its expression.
The accused poet who had at once disabled his Facebook account suddenly reappeared on the Facebook social media to craft an apology meant for those adopted and tagging along the President of the Association of Nigerian Authors Denja Abdullahi and the iconic Nigerian literary critic Irheola Ikhide, in the process.
The apology on Facebook went thus:
My dear friends and colleagues, I have read and heard a lot that has been said about how my manner of interaction with some younger female writers within our literary commune has been quite inappropriate. With sincerity I accept responsibility for the hurt a writer’s excesses have caused you all. I wish to humbly seek a lasting healing for all affected and all concerned because it was not my intention to hurt anyone. I truly regret this. I am deepy sorry and I apologize without reservation to all affected. DO FORGIVE. Thank you all for reading and for your understanding.
Denja Abdullahi, The President, ANA
The apology seemed to rejected by most part of the younger literay community on the basis of its sounding contrived and quite a shallow and base admittance to put an end to the growing tension while saving face and still maintaining a superior air. According to some commentors on Facebook, his apology was made with such a superior ai as though he rightly deserved it and the victims do not even deserve a personal apology as well than a public quite random Facebook apology. There were others who believe that his apology should suffice and put an end to the development so far. Mrs Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido of the Whole WoMan Network Inc. had, however, had however reacted to the apology as not putting an end to this yet as the case was just not about the literary space.
Presently formal investigations are ongoing to probably bring the perpetrator to book while also seeking reconciliation where necessary, according to Mrs Ume-Onyido. As at the present, the young women involved have not yet declared an intention to press charges against Mr Chijioke Amu-nnadi.
Sources: Facebook, LindIkejisBlog.com, BrittlePaper.com