Public display of obscene materials especially pornographic books and materials has often been frowned at by public analysts and moralists, however, an investigation carried out by The Punch reveals that these obscene materials are now publicly displayed without shame or inhibition at Major motor parks in Lagos. Read the full article below:
There is no dull moment at Obalende Motor Park. Almost every time of the day, there is a beehive of activities at the park.
Voices from rickety loud speakers mounted on commercial buses alternate between lewd music and frenetic calls for passengers. But the first gains go to roving petty traders who hawk chilled soft drinks and other edibles they sell to commuters.
Near the bus terminus are more established ‘ad hoc’ activities. This sub-sector is replete with cobblers, ‘vulcanisers’, food and compact disc vendors and others who contribute, in no small measure, to the economy of the park. They make less fuss about their wares yet they command the attention of passengers and commuters.
Last Friday was no exception. By noon, two young men dealing in compact disc sales had set up wares and were already attending to customers. With the rippling muscles and six packs of boxers on the jackets of some of the discs, the setting seemed normal at first. But a closer look revealed differently. Nude women and men posing in different erotic postures were on the jackets of many of the compact discs. It was obvious that the majority of his products displayed so openly are pornographic.
Our correspondent who had watched the men from inside a commercial vehicle alighted to get a copy. Sitting by the side of the stall was an old man printing tickets to people who seemed oblivious to the ‘wares’ displayed beside them. While some passengers streaming into the terminus stared openly, others abruptly averted their gaze, refusing to make further eye contact with the materials.
Pointing to one of the CD, the journalist haggled with him over the cost and probed him on the appropriateness of his business. The products cost a token N150 each.
“Make u dey hide dis thing nah. If task force catch u, na wahala be that’, she started.
“Which task force? Na before bi dat o. Once you settle, you are okay,’ he said.
“Dem dey collect money? Dis country don spoil’’
“Before nko? Dem no get their price?
Later, our correspondent made a detour out of the terminus to the other side, where she met one of the unit officials of the National Union of Road Transport Union. Behind her, business activities continued, not missing a beat. Efforts to speak with the chairman of the unit were not successful as it was learnt that he and other key officials had gone to Onikan Stadium for the declaration of a governorship aspirant, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode.
However, findings by our correspondent showed that sales of pornographic materials are a norm in many motor parks in the state. From the popular Okokomaiko park, Agege motor park to those in Iyana-ipaja and some others, sales and display of pornographic materials unfold with varying degrees. While some hide the materials, others care less, flaunting erotic pictures on posters.
While the state’s new traffic law does not overtly address issues of pornographic and decency in motor parks, a human rights lawyer, Mr. Fred Agbaje, told our correspondent that Governor Babtunde Fashola in 2010 signed an executive order proscribing the sales, broadcast and display of pornographic materials in open places, including motor parks. In addition, he pointed to sections 149 and 150 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State which prohibits the publication of obscene matters and performance of obscene plays.
“The government has provided the law to regulate such morally offensive activities in our parks and bus stops, it is now left for the police to ensure that violators are arrested and prosecuted before the appropriate courts.
“But if the police choose to look the other way, you can’t blame Fashola. You can’t blame the chief judge. But the environmental taskforce who are busy arresting people who indiscriminately cross the road at Ojota should also keep the society free of this morally-provocative business. If we don’t care about our own moral as adults, shouldn’t we care about the moral upbringing of our children? This is why the government must not stop at merely criminalising such things at parks, it should go further and see to it that the laws are implemented and offenders punished,’’ he said.
According to the Faculty Director, Soar and Heritage, Mr. Sola Adeyiga, location still plays a role in the viability of any business venture. He said this business tenet was understood by many players no matter the legal status of their trade.
Adeyiga added that the primary business of bus terminuses make them attractive to petty traders who may not be able to pay exorbitant fees for lock-up shops in the metropolis. He however, noted that this was not an excuse for government agencies to allow illegality.
Efforts by our correspondent to reach the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, on Monday were not successful as he neither picked his calls nor responded to a text message sent to him.
However, in a telephone interview on Monday, the Secretary of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Lagos State chapter, Dr. Matthew Oloko, said he was not aware of such activity at motor parks.
“I don’t know anything about sales of pornographic materials at the parks. This is the first time I will hear such a thing and it has not been reported by any of our unit chairmen,” he said.
Culled from The Punch