There are many things we’ve come to associate with Kwara State and Ilorin town in particular; lavish durbar ceremonies complete with horses and men and women exquisitely garbed in ceremonial regalia, weddings that last an entire week and marriage traditions from Northern Nigeria and Ilorin’s yoruba ancestors, royalty and Islam. We might soon have to add strip clubs to Ilorin’s iconography if the city’s religious leaders are to be taken seriously.
As always with Nigerian news outlets, The Guardian Nigeria’s report on this story suggests that the Imams of Ilorin have begun to conflate acts of debauchery by young women who strip to their underwear at parties hosted in the cities hotels and take provocative pictures in actual strip clubs where women hired and paid to perform the singular task of taking off their clothes in exchange for a daily wage. Right or wrong, their response has been swift and I dare aggressive.
The Imams of Ilorin have brought this phenomenon to the Emir of Ilorin’s attention, who in turn summoned many of the known hotel owners in the city and ‘admonished’ (a fancy word for threatening) them for allowing such shameful acts be performed within their premises. The report also suggests the Emir insinuated there were ‘consequences’ for allowing such ‘acts’ be performed in Ilorin.
First off, the hotel owners are just that, hotel owners. They need to make a wage, especially in a town like Ilorin where religious beliefs have already stifled their most reliable source of income – alcohol.
If a few young women, perfectly in control of their agency decide to go topless and dance on a few tables, it is not the obligation of the hotel owner to stop them. No one can really police another person’s choices, and no one should even try to.
There are more important problems than what women – and men – do on their own time, perhaps our eagle eyed Imams can train their all-seeing eyes on the Kwara State legislature and expose the corrupt officials there.
Just a thought.