That’s her.” He whispered to me after nodding his head in response to a greeting. The fair complexioned lady who greeted cat walked hurriedly past us. She was wearing a cream-colored bum-short and was shaking every shakable asset she possessed in her body. I could barely get a glimpse of her face, but from the little I saw I knew she was young, maybe a little too young for my friend.

How old is she? I asked.

“16 Or maybe 17,” he replied as he led me to the car.

“Mr. PDP”. I teased him. He smiled revealing a set of perfect teeth. He looked so stylish in his khaki coloured blazer and skinny jeans. Mr. PDP was handsome and he knew it. One could have never guessed he was married and had three boys. His dimples that sat comfortably at the centre of his cheeks branded his looks and aided him in his hobby, womanizing.

Mr. PDP wasn’t a politician, no. On the other hand he belonged to a different  kind of party. He believed in a government for himself, of himself and by himself. I had nicknamed him PDP during our youth service days when I suspected that he was a pedophile, not that I actually caught him and he had grown oddly comfortable with the name.

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Mr. PDP wasn’t interested in women, the only woman he ever got involved with later became his wife, and he wasn’t gay either, he was just more attracted to a different category of women, immature ones also called teenage girls. Hence the name pedophile stuck.

“Statutory rape is a punishable crime mitch” I called him his real name.

“Well, it’s not technically rape, after all, they want it [it is evident in their dresses and general way of life] and I am only helping out” he said as he buckled up his seat belt and drove off.

Mrs Collins made a huge mistake last week and now she is being ridiculed in town. It started last week when she decided to go to the agency, which is responsible for employing new house cleaners. Her last maid, like the others had ran away and the thought of going to the recruitment firm alone bored her. We could not understand why the girls were always so determined to shorten their stay so we could only attribute it to her impatience and her insatiable demeanour.

Our curiosity was about to be satisfied when she invited Mrs Akpan the estate gossip to tag along with her. At the agent’s office, she orally presented a list of her ideal maid, gushing out her irritations and dissatisfaction about the previous ones. The impatient agent replied defensively “Madam, I am no longer referring any female home assistant to your house since your husband will not stop pressing them in intimate places, my girls have had enough,  Haba! They are still growing o.” The silence was ear-piercing, Mrs Akpan heard it, now the whole estate has the full gist.

Statutory rape refers to when an adult has sexual relations with a minor below the age of 18 with or without the consent of the minor. Unlike Mr. PDP defence’s statement, the consent of the minor is irrelevant since psychologically, the minor is mentally unfit to make the best choices, so, the law protects them.

In Nigeria, the crime is common and unfortunately often neglected, but the law remains just, it is illegal. “Love” is not an excuse to have sexual relationship with a minor, adventure isn’t either and neither should their curiosity or willingness.

It hurts me when I see others like Mr. PDP, adults who are supposed to help protect these young ones yet they exploit them. Teachers who are paid to tutor students in mathematics tutoring the kids in immorality. Neighbours who are meant to collectively raise a child after all an adage says that it takes a whole village to raise a child, yet these ones take advantage of the absence of the parents. When they see young girls whose body has developed because of hormone altering foods. In addition, bosses, cruel ones who commit these crimes with the promise of preferential treatment and the cruellest of all is Mr lecturer.

Some of these predators go as far as quoting bible scriptures or quantity verses to support their crime. While others justify themselves with the excuse that the girls wanted it. I wonder if their 15 year old daughter brought home the man who satisfied her lust would he be welcomed with a hug or a slap? Hmm… There is God o.

Let’s psychologically analyse this, these kids have little or no choice at all in the matter when approached, they assume that if you had asked them out then it must be right and the moment love drops from a big brother like you, they are gullibly swept away by the fantasy of having a life with you. They are not fully informed on how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy or S.T.D. They would later look back on those years and I am sure you won’t be receiving a thank you card from them for empowering them to make those mistakes.

What about the parents of these minors any stroke of blame? Yes, child work labour contributes highly to statutory rape, unsupervised online conversations make them easier preys (join facebook because of your kids and send a friend request), violence at home fosters loneliness hence making them gullible and parents, train your kids ,teach them especially girls to shun immorality.

Don’t be Mr. PDP, don’t be the pedophile, don’t be the one who falls in love with a child. I believe mature love is disciplined, considerate and respects boundaries. So, Let’s guide our emotions and quit the selfish acts.

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