DREADLOCKS AND INDECENT DRESSING: No Law, No Offence Applies In Delta — Oghenesivbe

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…advises youth to embrace strong moral values, ready to lead.

In the past couple of weeks, social media platforms have been unfortunately saturated with all kinds of needless threats and propaganda, directed at the state government, as a result of fake news engineered by some mischief makers and detractors; who are hell bent on causing disaffection between a segment of the social strata and government of Delta State, on the alleged criminalization of indecent dressing, dreadlocks, arrest and prosecution of offenders.

A particular video of a female adult who claimed to be a prostitute also trended, displaying her so called “indecent dressing” and vowed to mobilize against the state government if the ancient profession was banned and offenders prosecuted or chased away from the state.

In a statement on Wednesday, and made available to newsmen in Asaba, a legal practitioner and human rights activist, Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, Esq, said that the issue of dreadlocks and indecent dressing by some youth and adults in the state does not constitute any criminal offence known to law.

He disclosed that “Nullum crimen sine lege,” is Latin for “no crime without law.” The phrase, according to him, reflects the principle in criminal law in Nigeria, and international criminal law that a person cannot or should not face criminal punishment except for an act that was criminalized by law before they performed the act.

The Attorney-at-Law and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, averred that offence can only exist where a law or laws of a state or an Act of the National Assembly subsists, directly prohibiting and criminalizing an act by members of the society, and that in the instant case, there are no enacted state laws or federal legislations in Delta and Nigeria criminalizing wearing of natural or unnatural dreadlocks and indecent dressing, except in Sharia States of Northern Nigeria.

Oghenesivbe, who was the Spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the just concluded 2023 general elections in Delta State, assured that the governor Sheriff Oborevwori administration is people focused and people friendly with the primary objective of rebranding our youth and prepare them to participate actively in leadership roles in public and private sectors, and as such cannot be part of any action or inaction that negates the rule of law and breach of fundamental rights of citizens in the state.

He, however advised Delta and Nigeria youth to embrace strong moral values by dressing moderately within and outside the state, so that society can perceive them as ready and responsible enough to take up leadership roles cum positions in public and private sectors, adding that you are addressed based on your mode of dressing, meaning that the measure of respect you get is first determined by your physical appearance and decency.

On the issue of prostitution, Barrister Oghenesivbe, pointed out that the ancient profession had long been criminalized in Northern Nigeria, under the Sharia Laws, and therefore constitutes criminal offence by deviants and those who engage in the illegal act of prostitution in Sharia States.

He, however noted that enforcement of laws against offenders remained a major setback due to the overwhelming nature of widespread prostitution in Nigeria, and around the world.

“Prostitution in Nigeria is illegal in all Northern States that practice Islamic penal code. And to that effect, Offenders are made to serve punishments in accordance with the weight of the offence, and without exceptions.

“In Southern Nigeria, the activities of pimps or madams, underage prostitution and the operation or ownership of brothels are penalized under sections 223, 224, and 225 of the Nigerian Criminal Code.

“Section 223 of the Criminal Code Act deals with procurement of women or girls, while Subsection 2 of the said section expressly mentioned “prostitute”.

“The section makes act of prostitution punishable with two years imprisonment; the act of procuring a woman or a girl in order to become a common prostitute.

“The weight of the law in Southern Nigeria is on ‘procurement of women from their abode, and underaged girls below age 18’ which is why men who procure prostitutes are liable to not less than two years jail term, if found guilty of the offence by any Court of competent jurisdiction.”

Oghenesivbe urged Delta youth to abstain from immoral acts and activities, urging them to continue to support Oborevwori administration, because of the foreseeable benefits for unskilled and skilled youth as encapsulated in the M.O.R.E agenda that is already being implemented in the state, and to their benefits.

“Ignore antics of propagandists who uses social media platforms to instigate disaffection between government and the citizens of the state. They don’t mean well for our collective advancement and development as a people, and as a progressive state.

“The reasonable number of youth serving in governor Oborevwori administration attests to the fact that youth are also major State holders in the M.O.R.E socioeconomic blueprint of the state, and must of a necessity stand firm to defend and support the youth friendly governor and the state government in advancing Delta from 2023 to 2031,” Oghenesivbe said.

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