By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: In recent times, there has been a brazen rise in near-nakedness and sometimes nudity in the dress code of young girls and women including celebrities. Fashion trends as well as entertainment have gone from being mainly to dress up and make statements, to young ladies going nude.
Television shows, music and entertainment industries have been greatly hit by this trend which doesn’t appeal to the culture of the Nigerian people— a people that take pride in decency and exhibits this through their rich cultural attires, all which aims to promote the dignity of the African woman.
Meanwhile, Nigerians are coming out in their numbers to collectively condemn the rampant display of nudity and sex scenes on television and the social media and it is in line with these, that the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) on Friday, paid a courtesy call to the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), in order to bring to a stop the issue of nudity which the Councils said, is degrading the culture of the people.
The President of the NCWS, Dr. Gloria Shoda led her delegation on a visit to the NCAC Director General, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, for his courageous steps to speak up and clampdown on the sudden surge in nudity and indecent dressing among the female youths.
She condemned the upsurge in public display of nudity, citing the recent video spectacle of near-naked girls dancing in full public glare inside a transparent van in Lagos.
Dr. Shoda, described another scenario where a young lady walked into a mall completely naked, lamenting that such indecent behaviour by females particularly, negates the very essence of Nigeria’s culture
These acts, she described as ‘outrageous and foreign culture’, adding that it affects all Nigerians.
According to her, “We have witnessed a decline in the fashion attitudes of our young females, including, I am sorry to say, in our churches. We also take issue with the incessant use of sex scenes on our television screens.
“The ongoing Big Brother Nigeria Series is an example of these which ordinarily should be behind closed doors.
“NCWS aligns with NCAC and stands shoulder to shoulder with you on this clear degradation of our cultural values. We are saying Enough is Enough, we are no longer prepared to stay silent on this,” she said.
Furthermore, she revealed the need to create television programs with good cultural content unlike what obtains now, just as she extolled NCAC for taking the lead in the campaign against the debasement of the African culture which according to her promotes high moral values amongst young women
For his part, the NCAC Director-General, Otunba Segun Runsewe, said the partnership of interest between the Women Societies and the NCAC will signal a new dawn in the crusade against cultural degeneration and foreign erosion of Nigeria’s culture.
Revival of 2008 Nudity Bill
In 2008, Senator Eme Ufot Ekaette, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women and Youth, introduced legislation titled: A Bill for an Act to Punish and Prohibit Nudity, Sexual Intimidation and other Related Offences in Nigeria 2008. The Bill was aimed to checkmate indecent dressing relating to the notion of fashion for young girls and young women.
Known also as the Public Nudity Bill for short, Senator Ekaette at that time said: The Bill which is against moral decadence in the society and in accordance with Section 45 of the 1999 Constitution,will promote public morality. The Bill which proposes to address issues of indecency and immorality and the preservation of cultural norms and values, never saw the light of day.
However, the NCWS President while condemning the high rate of indecent dressing and nudity which she said, appears to have caught the fancy of female youths in similarity to the Western lifestyle, advocated for the revival of the 2008 Nudity Bill.
“We can look at it again and see some of the areas of challenges and objections raised in 2008 and see how to take it forward”, Dr. Shoda said.
The NCWS also called on female senators and representatives to take up the gauntlet and help to reduce the social malaise.
Also speaking on the 2008 Nudity Bill, Otunba Runsewe informed Nigerians that his Council is working on legislation with the National Assembly to curb the negative trend of public nudity while also packaging a culture friendly television program to excite the youths, with the hope of establishing Nigeria’s esteemed cultural values of time past.
Role of Regulatory Agencies & Religious Bodies
The Councils called on all regulatory agencies in the industry to collaborate and collectively rise to condemn the rampant display of nudity and sex scenes on the television screens and social media platforms.
Religious bodies and faith-based leadership were also encouraged to play their roles by preaching against these bad social practices which the Councils said, have appeared to have captured the attention of the youth.
Cultural Ambassadors of Nigeria
Pleased with the act by the Women’s Societies to have spoken up against nudity and culture degradation as well as the move for collaboration with NCAC, Runsewe conferred the status of cultural Ambassadors of Nigeria on the women.
In his words, “All the women that have come with the society today have made history in this country and all of you will be the face of the new culture movement in Nigeria.
“No country in the world can live without its culture because culture is paramount, very important and critical. Today that the Women’s Council has spoken, the issues of nudity will be reduced drastically,” he said.
He noted that the collaboration by the two Councils will yield the best for the country, as they are working towards having a Stakeholders’ forum to educate Nigerians on the need for culture reorientation.
Both Councils had a common resolve aimed at stemming the current tide of public display of nudity and immorality among youths in Nigeria, as well as redirecting the drift to moral decadence especially among young women.