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chijioke-amu-nnadi-sexual-scandal

In January, Nigerian poet Chijioke Amu-Nnadi was involved in a sexual molestation scandal. [read here if you missed it]. Three female members of the Nigerian literary community openly accused the poet on Facebook of making aggressive and unwanted sexual advances.

An independent investigative committee headed by Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido of Whole WoMan Network (WWN)— an NGO based in Nigeria—was promptly set up to look into these allegations.

The investigation has now concluded, and the Nigerian newspaper, Daily Trust [read here] reports that it was handed the resulting 123-page document, titled “Chijoke Amu Nnadi and a Community of Daughters.”

The document reveals that a total of 19 women formally made accusations of sexual molestation against Mr. Amu-Nnadi. Some of these women were as young as 16 and reported being repeatedly addressed as “my daughter” by Amu-nnadi who is over fifty—suggesting the misuse of paternal trust in the context of mentorship for sexual exploitation.

According to Daily Trust, the report is exhaustive. A total of 33 individuals were interviewed through out the investigation. The 123-page “report contained detailed accounts of the relationship Mr. Amu Nnadi had with these young women, including records of Facebook messages, text messages and other forms of communications, as well as written testimonies by the victims.”

When news about these allegations came out in January, much of the conversations that followed revolved around how the allegations were being categorized. Was it rape or molestation? And what does this distinction for legal action? Daily Trust reports that “no allegation of rape was made against the poet by any of the girls within legal age.” Instead of legal action, a good number of the victims demanded “either apologies or some kind of supervised mediation with the poet.”

Malam Denja Abdullahi, the President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, went on record in January as being in full support of the WWN investigation. [read here if you missed it]

According to Daily Trust, Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido and her team have since handed the president their report, which he has forwarded to Mr. Amu-Nnadi.

“When the report comes back from the accused,”Abdullahi tells Daily Trust, “there is always a disciplinary committee that will sit down and recommend what needs to be done to sanction him if found guilty. If there are no sanctions there must be justifiable reasons for not having them. We are not a law court but we must find ways to caution ourselves, discipline ourselves.”

Kudos to WWN and Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido for taking up the case and contributing their bit to protecting the interest of women.

We have not read the report, but it appears that the investigation was thorough and was carried out in a professional manner.

We will update you as things unfold.

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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