Assaults, dangerous jokes and Nigerian comedians: the dangers and liabilities
The dire situation of the Nigerian economy leaves one with few options on how to be happy. One of the few means Nigerians seek to relieve themselves of the mental torture Nigeria subjects them to is by watching comedy skits. Of course, you need to laugh off your sorrow by watching and listening to that talented comedian, either live or on Instagram. Different comedians with different styles and tactics of doing their job. In the end, they all want you to laugh. But what about dangerous jokes that involve assaulting others?
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In case you are not Nigerian enough to know about comedy skits which involve assaulting people, read this paragraph carefully. In Nigeria, there are some comedians whose method of cracking jokes is by recording scenes of how they assault people or get them scared. They punch or kick the victim and run away. In some instances, these comedians tie snake-looking objects on people to get them scared. The person runs away for their dear life. There are several other dangerous jokes in Nigeria – jokes that can really injure the victim and cause serious bodily harm. The subsequent part of this article shall address the dangers of such jokes and the liabilities that can arise.
What are the dangers of these comedy skits?
These comedy skits are very dangerous. Of course, that is obvious. In most cases, when the assault or the scaring occurs, the victim runs after the assailant comedian to avenge the assault or runs away as a result of the assault. There is a possibility that the person injures themselves as a result of this. Some of these assault comedies are even done in market places and public roads. The victim could run into a speeding car. The victim of the assault could even have a health issue which could be worsened by the assault. There are several other potential dangers associated with these comedy skits. Of course, that is reasonable.
What does the law say about this?
In Nigeria, assaulting a person is a criminal offence and a civil wrong. It means that the assailant could be jailed by the state and still be sued by the victim to recover damages. However, if the victim consents to be assaulted, there would be no criminal or civil liability. The law is that a person that consents does not complain.
In this case, it is possible that the assaults are staged and no injury happens. However, it usually does not look like it is staged. In fact, our correspondent, Abolade Akinkunmi, has witnessed one before, though, it was a light assault and there was no injury. Thereafter, the assailant comedian apologized and told us it was a skit. He showed us where the cameramen were and we pardoned him. It was a university campus and we all needed to support the hustle of a fellow student. In many other cases, the assaults are heavy and the person could be injured.
A person that assaults another person without their consent could be jailed for it. It is irrelevant that it is a comedy skit. In most cases, the victims of the assault accept the apology. That is why we probably have never heard of any assault comedian that has been jailed. However, if the victim refuses the apology and insists on a court action, the comedian would be guilty and liable.
It is important that public agencies and institutions educate people and these comedians on the danger and illegality of such comedy skits. Upon default, examples should be made out of some of these comedians by jailing them so as to dissuade others from assaulting people in the name of entertainment. That would ensure that there is safety for everyone. If I am assaulted, I would ensure that I injure the comedian and still sue him for assault. Of course, I would plead the defence of provocation in case I am sued for also injuring the comedian. You should also do the same so as to contribute your quota in ensuring that such a comedian never gets to assault others again.
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