I happened to be in the temple of justice recently when the drama ensued. The accused person, an elderly man of about fifty to sixty-something years, whom, from the proceedings it was established has fathered many children, was charged with the offence of defiling minors – mostly girls.
The prosecuting counsel having proved his (the accused’s) guilt beyond reasonable doubt, it was time for the judge to give his judgement. The accused’s lawyer was given the chance to make his closing address. The defence counsel, perhaps cleverly or maybe inadvertently, decided to give the accused person the whole ten minutes allotted him to address the court. All was silent such that we even heard our slow breathing. The accused man, wearing an apparently fake remorseful look, started off with the most ridiculous of remarks: “Na satan ooo, na im cus am. Abeg make una helep me, I no go do am again. Me, I get am plenty for wife and shildren. I no say…” I instantly noticed a matronly woman, obviously her heart the most gnawed and stricken and her head reeling from the horrors the accused had created, silently stand up and make for the exit as if she was trying to go and ease herself. She however retraced her steps and stealthily stole behind the accused person, still unnoticed by anyone except me, and from there stretched out her right hand, and landed three numbing/jolting thunder-strikes on the accused’s face in quick succession. Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! A feeling of disagreement echoed through the accused man, harder than a scream, but as definite as thunder. The sound of the slaps ricocheted off the whole courtroom like the bark of angry thunder in dry season. The accused man stopped mid-sentence, his unspoken words hanging dangerously from the hallowed courtroom ceiling; surprise and fear trickling over his skin like high-voltaged electricity. Luckily, for him, a policeman, half asleep or half roused was nearby. The policeman instinctively jumped at the woman to prevent more thunders from barking inside the courtroom.
When later the accused was being led out of the courtroom into a waiting Black Maria, the same woman walked up to him again. But this time, the prison wardens and policemen leading the accused were alert and on their guard. She shot him a long scornful and enraged glance, mustered enough inner strength and muttered in a high-pitched scream, loud enough for everybody to hear amidst the whole frenzied talk: “I hope the devil enters somebody else one day and he does the same to your own daughters, too!” She hurriedly stomped out of the courtroom, seething with unsatisfied anger.
I filed the incident away in the innermost recesses of my memory, to be recalled when the need arose. That need perhaps would never have arisen had it not been for the current spate of disturbing news making waves round the whole country of children being defiled and desecrated. I have always tried to imagine the huge volume of explaining humans will have to give the devil when the time eventually comes. One sure thing, the devil won’t take it lightly with the majority of the explanations, and I might add that he would be astounded and petrified at the same time. The devil takes the blame for the theft, rape, affray and so many other unmentionable acts. So much for the devil bearing the brunt of our every actions, the products of our own free will. Sometimes, I wonder how the devil must really have been feeling from all the name-calling and finger-pointing. The worst of it is that very irritating report in which the suspect will speedily heap the blame on the devil. As in where a depraved and demented (of course, you are free to add idiotic, stupid, moronic and imbecilic) sixty-year old pedophile would hurriedly blame the devil after being caught. And the case of the petty thief coming on the pages of newspapers and TV screens to declare that indeed it was the devil who magically appeared behind him to push him into stealing.
I would be risking everything on my hunch to claim that indeed the devil does enter humans to commit such grievous crimes as murder or rape, but I think the claim is worth it. For in the case of the madman, who’s mind and reason is absent, who butchers somebody else, he didn’t do it of his own accord, technically speaking. It was an agent inside him that did it, technically speaking.
However, it is man’s custom to always want to rationalize his heinousness by complaining that the devil took firm grip of him which led him to committing one grievous crime after the other. In our sophistication – or rather, affability? – we virtually shrug aside the immoral individual such that we invariably encourage his degeneration into darker thoughts and evil machinations. To ‘remedy’ this, it became the habit of man to engage in one crime after the other; an infallible sign of galloping ‘crime-philia’ or ‘evil-mania’. Such cases degenerate rapidly and are usually incurable. The only way out being to self-destruct, after the criminal had regrettably done away with many unsuspecting victims.
So far for the most heinous crimes as rape and murder, is the invincible hand of the devil involved? I think not. That is if we can see the devil to ask him, but since we can not, let me continue. The devil is cunning and tricky enough to know that he would only have to dangle before men that thing which they cherish most and they would tumble head over heels into his devastating firm grasp. With his hand firmly on the bait, the devil would start a sinister and deadly demonstration, and a slight nip of the bait will ignite a fire like a pile of dry kindling; a fire so devastating and ragingly difficult to put out. Take for instance, the serial rapist who is in the custom of pushing the blame on the devil, or the dogged armed robber, or even the cold-hearted murderer, is it not as a result of the devil presenting before their paths those thing which make the commission of their crimes so easy that they enjoy committing the crimes and subsequently push the blame on the devil? The devil played upon their feelings as carefully and skilfully as a first-class artiste plays upon his instrument, dangling nudity and sexual perversion alluringly before the rapist and hapless victims regrettably before the murderer. And when eventually their cups get filled, the blame automatically shifts to the devil even though they had chosen to fall into his trap with their eyes wide open.
When in the upheavals of a distorted life which some want to flee from but which some others want to engage in happens, those who had accepted to embrace such demented lives will slip into things much worse than the devil himself, and in the process, the resultant effects they will display would be the products of some poisoned and warped thoughts. So when next one might want to blame the devil for crimes committed personally, one should take deep breaths, thoroughly examine one’s life and be certain he/she hasn’t provided the devil that enabling environment to perfect his purpose. The devil does not require so much as a whole man to engineer his devious purpose; the most minute opening in man’s heart is enough for him.
Let me suggest a little way in which I think we can bypass the it-was-the-devil blame syndrome. Once that particular devious yearning obsessively rears it ugly head, just blank your thoughts and pretend it never crossed your thinking horizon. To illustrate, a teeter-totter victim in government service resolved his problem in the original manner. When he got a case that he could not fully decide, he would simply remove the file from the office at night and throw it away. To demonstrate further, ruminate on this: my good friend, Nkem, the reverend father, told me sometime ago that whenever he sees nudity being shamelessly flaunted before him, he metaphorically gorges out his eyes, throws them into the fire and continues his business blindly.
In conclusion, then, let me state my position without qualification or equivocation. I stand solidly behind the school that man is responsible for his every deed. As for the kleptomaniac, seeing somebody else’s unprotected property doesn’t call for it to be stolen. The man going about defiling little girls should be made to understand that he must bear the consequence of his deeds. That is why the criminal justice system is there. The judge will without bating an eyelid sends him to the dungeons known as Nigerian prisons – that is, if the gallows or the execution chambers do not favor his undeniable presence, first – where after cooling his sorry behind for years on end, he would definitely think twice before mentioning the devil’s name. Coupled with he fact that he would be so damaged and worthless that even the devil won’t fancy his shambolic life as a good host anymore. Thank God in our jurisprudence, one would have a hell of a time trying to convince a judge that it was the devil’s deed, not his.
It’s time people start facing reality. Crimes are naturally the result of the whims and caprice of a free-thinking, free-acting individual. Crimes are not made possible by the mysteries of supernatural forces. Every man is responsible for his own deeds, and his actions should teach him a lesson, at least. I find it extremely unbelievable that in this modern age, an individual would still mention the devil when he is caught in a crime.
Sounds pretty insane to me. So for that elderly man in the courtroom who said ‘na satan na im cus am,’ no satan caused anything, but, rather, your licentious libido did. Your uncontrollable urge for sex did it. With this, whenever you see the devil, be sure to prove to him that he indeed took hold of you and cleverly manipulated the crime for which you were charged and how he managed to outfox law enforcement the whole time until your cup got filled.
A word to the sufficient is wise.