Nollywood actor, Ime Bishop Umoh, popularly known as Okon Lagos, was recently criticised heavily for a video he posted about some policemen who allegedly raped some prostitutes in Abuja. In the video, he described what the policemen did as similar to stealing.
This evidently did not go down well with a lot of social media users, who accused him of justifying rape.
In an exclusive interview with Saturday Beats, the comic actor noted that he would never justify rape and stressed that the reason why he decided to comment on the issue was because he noticed that people were condemning the act of rape and ignoring the fact that prostitution was an immoral act.
“I live my life in such a way that I live for the best and hope for the worst so things hardly shock me. I saw the backlash coming but I didn’t know it was going to get that sort of attention. I saw it coming; I knew I might be misunderstood depending on the level of comprehension of my audience. Humour waters down the sensitivity of some issues. Euphemism is saying something that is very harsh in a mild way. I didn’t justify rape in any way,” he said.
He revealed that the grouse people had with him was largely because he likened rape to theft.
“The issue people had with what I said was that I likened rape to theft and that I said prostitutes do not have dignity. My assertion was to clarify the fact that raping a prostitute is theft and they don’t have dignity. My assertion is metaphorical. If I wanted to use a simile, I would say rape is like theft. Rape is taking a woman’s dignity without her consent. I don’t regret saying that prostitutes do not have dignity; no one would be proud to introduce themselves as a commercial sex hawker.
“I wanted to be fair in my analysis; I was trying to point out the fact that prostitution is a wrong act, so we shouldn’t be malicious by talking about only rape. Why are we canonising one criminal act and demonising the other? Both acts are morally wrong. I believe in humanism; as humans, we should observe the golden rule. I am not trying to say that I am a saint; in fact, I don’t want to be one so that there would be a difference between Jesus and me. It is unfortunate that some women were raped by policemen.
“I am not saying it serves them right, but I am also concerned about the immoral act; prostitution. The level of moral decadence in the country is worrisome. I even saw some public figures with verified social media accounts supporting the idea that prostitution should be legalised; I don’t want to call names. I won’t make comments about something insensitive like that. Rape is bad, but prostitution should be addressed as an issue as well,” he told Saturday Beats.
He further described his respect for women as inevitable, adding that he didn’t owe anyone an apology for his comments on prostitutes.
“Everybody around me is a woman; I have a wife and two daughters; my respect for women is inevitable. I am not going to be shaken; a prostitute is not a dignified person. According to Lucky Dube; ‘the terrible thing about the truth is that, when you say it, you always stand alone.’ I am brave enough to say the truth and nothing will happen to me. I don’t owe anyone an apology,” he added.