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Friday, May 24, 2024

Murja Kunya: What Exactly Is That TikToker Doing In Prison?

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So, a popular 24-year-old Kano TikTok skit maker, Murja Kunya, has been sent to prison; but for what exactly?

Last Saturday, she was arrested while booking hotel rooms for guests who had come from far and near for her much-publicised birthday party in Kano. Murja was arrested by the Kano State Police Command.

 

She has been accused of singing immoral songs, dancing to immoral songs, and insulting people on social media. A Shariah Court sitting at Filin Hockey in the Kano metropolis has now ordered Murja’s remand in prison custody.

A Sharia Court in Bichi, Kano state in September 2022, wrote to the Kano State Commissioner of Police to arrest and investigate Miss Kunya alongside other TikTokers for corrupting the morals of the society. She was reportedly arraigned on Thursday on charges that border on defamation of character, vulgarity, public nuisance, and breach of public peace.

And so, our prisons continue to swell with struggling and very ordinary people. People who in most cases are venting their anger over the mismanagement of our common patrimony in different ways.

In the same Kano, Sani Rimo a senior official with the Kano State Hisbah Board, was caught with a married woman in a hotel. SaharaReporters first broke the news about how the commander of the Islamic police was arrested in a hotel in the Sabon Gari area of the city. Rimo was said to be in charge of arresting beggars and prostitutes in the Kano metro area.

Hisbah officers regularly arrest unmarried people caught in hotels, presumably for sexual activities, as part of their enforcement of the Sharia. They are also notorious for destroying truckloads of alcoholic drinks.

 

After the arrest, a deputy Hisbah commander was said to have gone to the police station to bail the arrested officer. And following the publicity the incident generated, the Commander was fired and that was all. His deed was not considered immoral enough to attract harsher punishment. So much for a leader of a group that is high on moral policing! It wasn’t a jailable offence or perhaps jails are not meant for people at his level.

In this same Kano, a governor of the state was captured on video collecting bribe from a contractor and hiding the dollars in the most undignifying manner. Two similar videos released by the Editor-in-Chief of Daily Nigerian, Jaafar Jaafar, showed the governor collecting bribes in dollars and stuffing the wads of money in his white “babariga” (a large robe worn by Nigerians mostly from Northern Nigeria).

 

The video showed the Governor darting his eyes, perhaps towards the door every now and then to ensure nobody was coming in. It also showed the happy governor packing the money into a paper bag under his table just as the names of contractors, the contracts, and those who have either paid or were yet to pay up their bribes to him were mentioned in the video.

The governor denied the videos, saying they were photoshopped. Then he frustrated a probe of the scandal by the state assembly by securing a court injunction to halt the inquiry.

Not quite a month after the video went viral, the governor sued Jaafar and Daily Nigerian for defamation at the Kano High Court and demanded N3 billion as damages. Eventually, he withdrew the matter from court with no reason adduced. Daily Trust reported that the court fined him N800,000 for the action.

Just when people thought the withdrawal of the matter from court would bring relief to Jaafar, the governor moved all the way from Kano to a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja where he requested N5 billion as damages for alleged defamation.

In April 2021 the journalist eventually fled to the United Kingdom with his family over alleged threats to his life.

On account of this, The Cable in an Editorial of August 8, 2021 wrote “Despite persistent calls by authentic advocates of good governance for a conducive atmosphere for a thriving democracy and freedom in Nigeria, the reactionary wing of the ruling class and its agents are not giving any chance for that to happen. The more they are caught red-handed—with self-incriminating evidence—and exposed in the very act of a crime, the more they grow the liver to deflect and seek revenge.”

This is a country where a maximum prison was attacked without the minutest resistance. Terrorists and hardened criminals were freed. No arrest so far has been made. A whole train conveying nearly a thousand passengers was bombed by suspected terrorists. Many died. Most of them, men, women, and children spent over 180 days in captivity, exposed to the elements and harshest conditions. None of the perpetrators have been arrested till date.

Top public servants and politicians loot the treasury dry and either get light sentences after plea bargaining to go and enjoy their loot or they walk free.

Today, as Nigerians groan over the redesigned naira notes, fighting and queuing at banks and ATM machines to withdraw their hard-earned money, POS operators who have little cash to dispense to desperate Nigerians have become the new criminals. They are hunted down and arrested around Abuja like criminals. Meanwhile, the big men whose videos are trending online where they are spraying the new notes at parties are untouched.

Who dares to confront, let alone apprehend them? It is common knowledge that some big men already have billions of naira worth redesigned notes which they are charging some percentages for in exchange for the old notes.

These things are known but they are the untouchables. Nobody arrests or punishes a big man in Nigeria. Only the poor, young, and defenceless suffer. If you are in doubt, ask the #EndSARS protesters.

But again, I ask, what exactly is that young lady, Murja Kunya, doing in prison? Ok, Correctional Centre. What is she being corrected for?

By Lillian Okenwa

Lillian is a journalist, lawyer and Publisher of Law & Society Magazine. She could be reached on lillianokenwa@gmail.com

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