Interview Thursday:"Is not the State right to tell citizens how to dress and is a blatant violation of individual and collective

Sokari is the outstanding and legendary publisher at Black Looks blog. She is a Nigerian blogger that has being blogging since 2004 before I even know what blogging is all about.

was part of a group of bloggers who connected the world leaders at the
G20 summit in London to the rest of the world. She is an activist of
note that fights and defend human rights in all sphere of life.

It was a great pleasure for me to have met her at the Info-activism Camp
in Bangalore India, where we became friends. She share with us her view
on Niger Delta crisis, the resuscitation of the indence bill
proposition and LGTBI rights.....

What is your view about Niger Delta crisis?
is an act of war by the Nigerian "military" government against the
Nigerian people. This attack is the latest in a series of systematic
attacks against Nigerians of the Niger Delta which has been on going
for the past 20 years from Babaginda, Abacha, Obasanjo and now this
pathetic individual who calls himself President when in fact he was
never even elected - unless you call rigging an election a legal
process. What is unfortunate
is the failure by the weak Niger Delta states leadership - Senators,
representatives, governors, traditional rulers - to come out and
condemn these acts of violence against ordinary people and their land
and property
. The other unfortunate aspect of this is the focus
on MEND and other militants by the Nigerian media and public. This
focus is what the Nigerian government want people to do instead of
focusing on the brutality of a government attacking its own people over
and over again. As for the militants they themselves represent a step
in a long process of resistance and struggle which due to the violence
of the Nigerian state has now led to the growth of the militant
movement. Personally I believe that resistance and struggle should be a
non-violent process - the militarisation of the issue of the ND is not
the answer.

Do you think the government has done enough to end the crisis and bring about peace?
the Government and their puppets (see above) are the ones causing the
crisis. People want schools, hospitals, roads, electricity - whether in
the ND or elsewhere. People
no that it is the oil from their land that has fed the country for 50
years - built Lagos, built Abuja - but they have received nothing
The ND leaders are also guilty of corruption and betraying the people -
always ready to be bought off by the Federal government.

Do you think the militants are representing the people of Niger Delta or are they fighting for their own personal gain?
Yes, I do think the militants represent the ordinary people of the ND. Where they fail is they do not appear to have any idea of what they would do if they did have control of the region.
How would they govern? What is their endgame? They do not appear to
have a civilian branch which has some idea of what kind of social,
political and economic organisation they would put in place. This is
not the way to conduct a struggle.

What do you feel will help in resolving the Niger Delta crisis?
The struggle in the ND is applicable to all Nigerians. We are all affected and involved in one way or the other. It is not a question of ethnicity but of governance ie corruption, mismanagement but most of all GREED!
If all Nigerians collectively chose to protest against all of these and
refused to accept thieving leaders then the ND issue would be solved
because then the region and the rest of the country would be developed
as it should have been. there is no economic reason for Nigeria to be
poor and to lack decent roads, hospitals, schools, electricity and
water - no need at all.

a human rights and feminist Activist, do you think the Nigeria
government is reasonable about the denial of the existence of gays and
lesbians in Nigeria?

No, I think they are ridiculous along with the religious hypocrites of all types. Everyone knows LGBT people exist and have always been part of Nigeria since time. Nigeria is no different from anywhere else. They can deny all they want but that will not change the fact that LGBT not only exist but exist amongst the government itself!

Is it a wrong thing for any individual to have sexual preference and do you think LGBQT are western ideas?
I dont, it is not wrong for two consenting adults to love each other
and want to build a life together. It is not the end of the human race
because not everyone is LGBT and never will be. I have heard men
condemn sodomy between men - yet these same men commit sodomy with
their wives! There is so much hypocrisy amongst Nigerians and the
continent especially amongst religious people. In fact the more
religious the more intolerant and less accepting of difference amongst
people. These people are
quite happy to take up a Western religion and worhsip a god who is
white with blond hair and then have the audacity to say that LGBT is
unAfrican. How unAfrican are blond men?

Ekaete is bringing forth the bill of indecent dressing in Nigeria, how
do you think this will affect the fundamental human rights of the

Again this is borne out of a culture of religious intolerance and repression. The
state, is not their to tell citizens how to dress and is a blatant
violation of our individual and collective human rights. Who are they
to dictate what is decent or not. Even if one goes back to tradition
and 200 years ago - how many traditional atires dressed women in short
wrapper and even bear breasts or men with bear chests and arms?

Rather than focus on these kind of repressive dictates rather they
should be putting all their efforts into ending the real disgusting
behaviour known as corruption and greed. People want to tell me how to
dress yet they cannot even provide a decent clinic or electricity
because they are busy stealing money - how stupid and ignorant is that?

What do you advise the concerns Nigerians to do in order to stop the passing of indecent dressing bill?
the Senate - attend the sessions and present the case against it.
Refuse to adhere to the dress codes - can they arrest everyone?

No they cannot. What did the Black people in the southern US do when
they were refused access to certain eating places etc. They refused!
What is wrong that we cannot mobilize a campaign against this! So what
we must all start walking about in long gowns covered from neck to our
feet, because once they start they will not stop believe me - I cannot
see people agreeing to this kind of nonsense.

the 10 years of democracy in Nigeria, I am yet to see any great impact
it has made, do you share this view with me, if yes, how can we improve
in Nigeria?

Yes you are right. Democracy in Nigeria is a lie. We are no more democratic today than 20 years ago. In
fact I still believe we live under a military government since it seems
our leaders come from that group directly or indirectly and have the
same mindset.
Does anyone seriously believe Yar'Adua is running
Nigeria. (I refuse to call him president because he was not elected. No
one in my village had the opportunity to vote as the polling booth
never opened and that was repeated in many places) I think I have
answered this above but ultimately Standtall, it is the responsibility
of Nigerian citizens to bring change. It will not come from the
leadeship but from ordinary people and civil society.

Who is your role model and why is this person considered your role model?
be honest I don't have an individual role model as such. What I do
aspire to and the people I celebrate and honour are those human rights
activists who have often put themselves literally in the line of fire
and make a stand for what they believe in. Writers, poets and artists
who use their creative talents to challenge injustice. They are
everywhere and many are ordinary people whose names we may never know.
These people are my role models, heroines and heroes. In Nigeria women
such as
Hauwa Ibrahim, Margaret Ekpo, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and of course Fela. Ken Saro-Wiwa and Adaka Boro {Ijaw activist of the 60s). My dear friend Victor Mukasa a human rights defender and LGBTI activist from Uganda, writers such as Aminata Sow and Mariama Ba of Senegal; Another good friend, South African lesbian activist and photograher, Zanele Muholi; The late great Sembene `Ousman
- film maker and activist; young people who are free - free because
they respect and honour their mothers through history and have the
strenth to stand up against intolerance and ignorance like Dominican
and South African rapper & poet -
PlanBe; and finally ALL MY SONS are my heros too!

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