Growing up, I thought the only important thing one must be sure of is to be self reliance – get a job and live within means. Then I realise that when it comes to the way women are treated in Nigeria, even in the south with all our education, it is a tough world out there. One is always expected to shrink a little so male counterparts could be assured their masculinity is intact.
The incident that happened a few days ago in Rivers whereby Mr Ayodele Kumapayi directed his male staff to cut off braids and hair extension of female staff because their long hairdo violates the FRSC dress code was nothing short of a boss in a position he was emotionally unqualified for.
Nigeria is never short of dramas but our dramas are peculiar, often it is something that is big enough to challenge societal norms, we are not there yet. The way women are treated are unwritten rules experienced at home, heard in market places, preached to in faith gatherings – often it is always about who is head and who is tail even in places where there are clear hierarchies.
In the end it only takes one man who is drunk with power his job title has afforded him to humiliate women serving under him in the workplace.
The hair rule of the Nigeria FRSC is that women must keep their hair under the beret, fair enough.
There is a time and a place for everything. If a number of women hairdo did not meet a set standard by the organisation they server, then one would expect there is a procedure for warnings and perhaps discipline. If there is none, then one can always start somewhere so everyone is reminded of the rules and why it is important.
However, to give orders to have grown women humiliated by colleagues cutting off their hair with all staff members in attendance to my mind has nothing to do with upholding FRSC dress code, it is power drunk boss gone mad – harassment.
Just looking at the BBC pictures online, one thing that I found most unsettling here is the fact that these women stood there even though no one held them to the ground, it was only one power drunk officer boss yelling orders, why didn’t they pick up their bags and leave, at least to escape the harassment?
This is why I think Mr Kumapayi does not deserve to be in the post at all. He was well aware of what he was doing, he only wanted to humiliate the women and to instil fear to fake respect
He knew these women have family to support, so they’d rather stick to the job and face the humiliation than to risk dismissal, unemployment rate in Nigeria is no joke.
Beyond economic freedom for most women in the south is battle to break the yoke that need not be. Why can’t both sexes work together with mutual respect without one needing the other to shrink? That is the next level for us.
I am happy to read that Mr Kumapayi and other officers have been ‘recalled’ whatever that means in FRSC language. I hope that he is demoted, that’s the only way for him to get close to how those ladies must have felt.