Nigerian Comedians Unite Against Rape Culture

By Nwachukwu Egbunike 

Fourteen Nigerian comedians have taken a definitive stance against rape culture by making a commitment to stop making rape jokes. 

This was done in a 1.43-minute video clip featuring top Nigerian comedians in this order: Ali Baba (Atunyota Akpobome), Seyi Law (Lawrence Aletile), Broda Shaggi (Samuel Perry), AY (Ayodeji Makun), Lasisi Elenu (Nosa Afolabi), Frank Donga (Kunle Idowu), Mr. Macaroni (Debo Adebayo), Maraji (Gloria Oloruntobi), Real Warri Pikin (Anita Asuoha), EmmaOhMaGod (Emmanuel Edunjobi), Taooma (Apaokagi Maryam), Kenny Blaq (Otolorin Peter), Josh2Funny (Josh Alfred) and MC Lively (Michael Amanesi).

The clip starts with Ali Baba, Seyi Law, Broda Shaggi and AY emphasizing that these lame excuses are usually made for these jokes: “Telling a rape joke doesn’t mean I condone sexual violence,”  “Come on! It’s just a way to get people to laugh,” “It’s just a joke,” or “If it’s so bad, why did everyone laugh?”

This was followed by Lasisi Elenu stating that “these excuses are no longer acceptable” because, according to Frank Donga, “one in three women have experienced some form of sexual and gender-based violence, (SGBV).” This  “means that when you joke about rape, one out of every three women in your audience is negatively affected,” Mr. Macaroni asserted. 

Maraji, Real Warri Pikin, EmmaOhMaGod and Taooma further emphasised: “So, basically they have bought a ticket to relive their worst nightmare. Adding to their pain and undermining their suffering.” As though these were not cruel enough,  jokes of this nature, normalise rape culture and perpetuate violence, which makes it harder for survivors to speak out, “especially when audiences laugh…We have to stop turning survivors of sexual and gender-based violence into collateral damage, just for laughs. Because rape is not a joke!” 

Kenny Blaq admitted they have “contributed to this [rape joke] culture” in Nigeria, before coming together to put a stop to it. 

Six years ago, Nigerian comedian Basketmouth, known as Bright Okpocha, drew public ire with a joke that inferred that Nigerian women deserved to be raped if they decline sex by the second date, reports the Nigerian Guardian newspaper. 

The backlash against Basketmouth did not die out. In 2019, he was listed as an ambassador for the sexual and gender-based violence campaign by the delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS (EU in Nigeria). This instantly revived public outrage by Nigerian social media users which resulted in his losing the appointment.  



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