husband and wife quarelling, alarms of theft, customary judiciary council, town-wide investigation
Church credibility at stake – burglary witnessed live !
What here follows is not a diversion, but a necessary and true account of what transpired in that Ijebu town community, with clear implications for church credibility among the populace.
Arowona’s aunties were gone back to Lagos city, his mother and father were gone back to Ibadan city where they ran one of their chain of shops. Only a small boy in primary school, Arowona was left to live in a big house with just a young, house-girl to help sit in his shop while he was off to school. The house was his father’s half of a big family compound, with the other half of the big compound occupied by relatives from his auntie’s line of Pariola family. The land of the whole neighbourhood of their Oke Shopin district originally belonged to this Pariola family. Arowona’s father, baba Ilorin got the portion he built this house on from Iya Pariola herself, adjoining another land piece that Pariola gave to her oldest daughter, Iya Egbe so that they could all live close together in one big compound. The majority of Africans each belong to some family compound on family-owned land.
Arowona and his older but illiterate house-girl always both slept upstairs on the floor in his father’s parlour (sitting room) above his shop. Their big, front, glass windows face the town’s main street, and some louvre windows faced a side street from which they could look towards their neighbour’s side wall. The two houses had similar windows facing each other from across their side street.
From his shop’s sales, being whole-sales at that, Arowona always had considerable amounts of cash in a safe at home until his parents returned fortnightly to empty it. To alleviate Arowona’s fears of night burglars, an elderly neighbourhood night-guard nick-named Jantioje had instructions to come by in the shop now and then, during his evening patrols. On such visits, Jantioje often told stories of his heroic adventures and past hunting encounters as a guard and retired hunter. The following is not one of such hunter’s tales but a real first-hand experience of Arowona and his house-girl Doyin, awoken by the loud sound of something heavy falling down with a loud thud outside near them in the depth of the dark night.
Shaken with fear, Arowona and his house girl Doyin, slowly and quietly went on tiptoe to pip through louvre openings in a window to see what made that heavy noise. It was not Jantioje the old guard, for there was no sign of him that night. In those days of the early 1950′s, there was as yet no electricity in the town, nor in the whole region. Hence, no street lighting of any type whatsoever, except slight moonlight in which everything was at best in silhouette. All they both saw at first was very still, and unidentifiable in the dark night, until the sound of quarelling shouts from the house of the side-street neighbour – Omo Oba’s house became ever more audible. The name Omo Oba means prince; the neighbour’s father was once a local king.
Still afraid, the two frightened youth kept watching through the slits of their window louvres, careful not to be noticed by anyone outside. Then suddenly, from that Omo Oba’s house directly facing Arowona, a window upstairs opened, some human figure bent outwards to murmur quietly to two full grown adults below on the street who were carrying away some big whitish package towards a dark corner. The guy from the windows upstairs dropped another big package down to the other two on the ground to catch, but the package hit the ground with the same thud sound that had awoken Arowona and Doyin. That was how Arowona and Doyin knew that they were witnessing a robbery of their neighbour’s house – in fact Omo Oba’s room upstairs. But the two young secret observers could not understand the sound of quarelling loud voices from downstairs towards the back of that same neighbour’s house.
The next morning, stories went around about a husband and wife in that neighbour’s house who had been quarelling that night so that the head of the household – Omo Oba himself – had to go downstairs in his house to help the couple settle their quarrel. Hours later when Omo Oba finally returned upstairs to sleep in his room, he realised that many of his clothes had been stolen from his cupboards. That is when alarm was raised about theft, and a call was made for security action at the town level. It was not so much the police in the tradition of British practice, but the local customary judiciary council in the tradition of native African practice led by the traditional chief Balogun that immediately mounted a high level investigation into this case of theft in that house.
- Continued in Kobolese – African effective solution to burglary wave
Iya-Ilorin, baba Ilorin, baba Onitsha, mama Eko, Iya Egbe, religious prudence
Trade and Appellations of Pariola family -
Appellations used for members of Pariola family reflect their wide geographical reach with trade into distant towns outside their native Ijebu land. Some in the family were referred to as Iya-Ilorin (meaning the elderly woman of Ilorin) on account of huge whole-sale personal trade supplying palm-oil, colanuts, and gari from the south to Ilorin and returning with rice, groundnuts and millet from the north. Another, a cousin or brother was called baba Ilorin (meaning the elderly man of Ilorin) on account of the chain of hardware shops he established in Ilorin, Ibadan and Ijebu where he sold nails and fittings. The same baba Ilorin later diversified into the wholesale of baking flower and stock fish, imported through Lagos from Europe.
His brother was called baba Onitsha (meaning the elderly man of Onitsha) on account of his settlement in Onitsha, a major trading town of the Ibo people across the Niger river in eastern Nigeria. In the same way, several of Pariola’s grand daughters were called mama Eko (Eko is the native Ijebu name for Lagos) on account of their textile trade among the elite class in Lagos. Though named with Ilorin, Onitsha, Lagos and other towns, these were all Ijebu men and women with Yoruba roots, but strong social though not direct political influence.
So was one called Iya Egbe, meaning leader of a social club, in reference to her being the chairperson of the most senior (oldest) ladies age-group society in the community. Even the king himself, with all the pomp of his entourage, would stop in her house to pay homage to her every Sunday on his way to church. Such high respect accrued to the Pariola family because their ancestors formed the first dynasty of Erelu kings of that town until their Erelu VII abdicated in favour of full-time devotion to trade rather than to rituals in the 19th century.
From the above, the prudence of showing allegiance to northern Muslim emirs and kings in Ilorin, Ogbomosho, Oyo and Ibadan towns was balanced by not posing any opposition to southern Christians in Lagos and back home among the Yoruba elite. In practice, members of the Pariola family in Ijebu claimed to be Muslims among their Muslim neighbours in Oke Shopin district of their town, but readily sent their most promising children to St Jame’s, St Luke’s and All-Saints Christian schools in Ojowo and Atikori districts in Ijebu.
In Muslim Ilorin, Pariola’s little grand-grand children were sent to the horror of Muslim classes that taught children to cram unexplained Arabic words and symbols by force of long whips made from the hides of dried, tough, long, cow tails. Pariola’s grand-daughters, and there were many of them, all had sufficient basic Christian schooling in Lagos where they mixed and married with the rich sons of urban Christian elites. Small local church communities with their attendant vibrant African music, the lighting of candles, excited show of spiritual possession and vibrant private prayers for specific individual problems therefore often made strong impressions on them. European impact had begun among these people.
The overall result of their religious prudence was that Pariola family members were never strong religious adherents to preach solemn sermons to anyone, nor fanatic followers of any denomination of any religious sect. They remained part of the audience, never a part of the priesthood.
Continued in Aladura Apostle – the church Priest
Oduduwa emigrates from Islamic violence East Africa to Ile-Ife, Oyo, Benin, Ijebu,
Origin of the Yoruba people
Sometime around the sixth or seventh century AD, social unrest arising from the violent spread of Islam directly threatened the political and religious life of one prince in East Africa. Somalia was perhaps then recently conquered by marauding Muslims who had been strongly resisted by Coptic Christian Ethiopians. Determined not to abandon the pagan tradition of his ancestors, but also to avoid too much destruction of his people, the prince in question – Oduduwa chose to emigrate with all his followers to found a new settlement.
Unwilling to engage in wars for seizing land already occupied by others, his search for new territory took him over thousands of miles and across several rivers and mountains until he finally arrived at the spot in the West African rain forest where he founded Ile-Ife and established the Yoruba kingdom.
Continued in Origin of the Ijebu people
Aruno Ishola Apala music, D.Sc Nobel Laureate, multimillionaire - yet poor ! Why?
African development struggle amidst hindrances – a Yoruba case
Much has been written by Europeans about Africa’s development, without specific reference to the dynamics of change within generations of extended African families and communities. Let us cover some of this neglect by treating the direct experience of one notable native African family among the Yoruba tribe in West Africa, the shift in their local power, their change of fortune and manner of wealth, the transmission or loss of resources between generations, religious choices made and much more.
Violent political changes, colonisation, poverty and previous lack of educational opportunities have had severe influence on the slow pace of Africa’s economic development. But despite these, many reputable Africans do populate the faculties of institutions of higher education at home and abroad. Africa has produced Nobel Prize winners, including Wole Soyinka – a Yoruba. Many African families have become extremely rich industrialists, such as multi-millionaire Odutola who set up modern factories for making tyres, mattresses and household products. Yet after such successful individual Africans die, their wealth, fame and work simply go into oblivion.*
So it was with the highly successful Yoruba musician Aruno Ishola who made the Apala genre of music popular even outside Nigeria. So it was with Ayo Awojobi, the Nigerian engineering professor with D.Sc degree (note: that is higher than Ph.D) from London’s Imperial College who rated among the topmost high-tech specialists on the planet.
Why upon the death of a prominently successful African (successful by international standards), does their prominence vanish with them rather than be transmitted to the generations left behind? Answers to this may give clues to the perpetual puzzle about Africa’s slow rate of development despite the continent’s big stock of academicians and despite the continents huge natural and human resources. From a practical case, let us seek some clues to this problem.
As a project of Factuality Research Library, as author I recently (2008) visited 17th century slave-trading centres in West Africa looking for surviving traces of the Slave Trade. Personally, I lived and worked in Europe and America for decades, and published outstanding books over the origins, nature and impacts of English and Dutch cultures which are often covered in the term Anglo-Saxon. This direct account on Africa is from first-hand experience; it is relevant and most likely to be revealing in ways not earlier so viewed.
Hopefully, the following insight on African life cuts deeper into African culture than western views could, if only because it combines highest level western education with academic work experience in Africa, America and Europe with the rare advantage of both the social sciences and the technical fields. In this account, I want to pool these advantages in unveiling deep-lying trends of change in several generations of an West African family – Pariola family – one I know only too well from life as a Yoruba and Ijebu. Continued Do see:
- Origin of the Yoruba people
- Origin of the Ijebu people
- Religion confronts African Trade
- Trade and Appellations of Pariola family – an Ijebu case
- Aladura Apostle – the church Priest
- Foreign religious hypocrisy corrupts Africa
- Church credibility at stake – burglary witnessed live !
- Kobolese – African effective solution to burglary wave
- Utmost disgrace – parade of Aladura church-priest as burglar
- Faith without understanding – the lesson
Categories: Ethics, Geography, government, History, Morals, Odd Justice, Public, Regulators, Religious Unholy, Strange culture Tags: Africa, crime, culture, ethics, Geography, History, justice, Nigeria, regulation, religion, safety
A prophet's religious spiritual awakening into crime, Anti-Theft Society,
This is a first-hand narrative of the amazing abuse of the power of the religious cloak of a pastor who in desperation chose exile from the kingdom of Oba Orimolusi – a medium-sized Yoruba town in the 1950′s. It is told by an eye-witness young boy – Arrow – who together with hundreds of adult men, women and children actually followed the effective local drive for justice in the Oba’s kingdom that at the time suffered a wave of burglaries. Everyone, from the king down to the school children and their families, supported the public call for action, vigilance and justice.
Like in other places around the world, the fear generated by the crime wave induced more people to pray for safety and security, seeking religious approaches to comfort and wealth. In particular, small protestant, local churches benefited, which were set up by individuals without special training for the purpose, but nevertheless portrayed all paraphernalia of religious purity and spiritual awakening.
One such church was that founded in the town’s quarter Agbole Olowu by Woli (literally meaning ‘prophet‘) – a tall, lanky, strong, dark man always clad in a long white robe with a wide apron embroidered with the Holy Cross. In his cloak and robe, he was the perfect image of an apostle of Christ. Woli’s church style easily appealed to women by featuring loud singing, clapping, dancing, praying aloud with feats of spontaneous spiritual possession, bodies shaking, speaking in tongues and muttering strange sounding words that only prophet Woli could translate. Amidst shouts of ‘Hallelo ! Hallelujah!’, and cries of confessions of sin, the prophet would ring his bell as he read portions of the Holy Bible – usually the Psalms. Periodically, he took his followers to a nearby river to baptise them in ordained water of God, reading the section of the bible in which Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.
Ceaselessly evoking ‘the name of Jesus Christ‘, he would talk with ‘visions‘ of past and future events he had seen concerning specific individuals there present, warn someone of impending dangers if this did not repent, and recommend that the individual concerned should come into his secret inner prayer-room for exclusive prayer-sessions lit by candles blessed by him. That encouraged many women to seek his help against the challenges of tough times in their homes, in their trade, in their family ties and in their major decisions of life. That also brought him into close intimacy with some of the women, thus provoking possibly sexually loaded advances from him.
Rumours were fed by the ecstasy of the setting, in particular the evening sessions that usually indulged him with long secret moments with some woman alone, while he washed her in prayer-water to cleanse away her sins or ward off her impending danger. Loud music and dancing by others outside, always diverted public attention away from whatever he was up to with the secluded woman of the moment. As Woli’s church grew, he commanded certain respect in the community, even among non-members of his home-made church.
Meanwhile, the wave of burglary in the town led rich households to hire night-watchmen to parade their neighbourhood at night to prevent any raid of their own homes. From this practice came the song about one such night-watchman called Jantioje Alatoto, and his wife Wura Olomi Enu. On one occasion at night, Jantioje actually caught a burglar in the act, shot the culprit who fled, bleeding along as he escaped into the nearby woods. The following morning, traces of his dripped blood were followed to the burglar’s hiding place deep in the forest of a river valley, to recover some of the goods he had stolen. But the burglar had escaped anyway. To combat such, the town set up a body called Kobolese – meaning Anti-Burglary Society – in which most men voluntarily became active members, if only to show their innocence.
In Oke-Sopin quarter of the town lived a young boy – Arrow – alone with a house girl, keeping a shop for his parents who had other shops in other towns. From the sales from his shop, Arrow always had relatively large sums of money in house. He was therefore often afraid that thieves could burgle into his house on the hillside as he slept in his father’s parlour above the shop. As a result, he was easily awakened at night by any noise from the surrounding. The more so, there was still no electricity and hence no street lighting in the town back in the 1950′s. Moonlight provided the only light outside at night.
One night after closing the shop, and eating dinner, Arrow and his house-girl Doyin settled down to sleep upstairs in the parlour above the shop. Deep into that night, he and his house girl were awakened by the voices of people quarrelling in the house next-door. There lived prince Omo-Oba, son of a deceased Oba of the town, hence rich, in a large household with many rooms front and back, plus a two-storey front building, like Arrow’s house. Apparently, the noise was from a quarrel between a husband and wife in that house, with their housemates trying to settle the quarrel. Prince Omo Oba’s parlour and bedroom were also upstairs in his house next-door, with the side windows facing corresponding louvre windows in Arrow’s house.
Tired and sleepy, Arrow and his house girl tried to continue their night’s sleep, but then heard one heavily thudded ‘boom!!!’ sound – suggesting something heavy that fell outside. Scared and alert, Arrow and Dele both very quietly tip-toed to their louvre window facing the side where the sound seemed to have come from. There through the slits of the louvres, they saw in dark silhouette, two dark men below on the side street facing prince Omo Oba’s house, with some large bundle on the ground next to them. They saw how the two men picked up part of the bundle, fidgeting with it, then carrying and running with it heavy in their hands as they ran towards the back of the house in the direction of the woods.
Soon, Arrow and Dele saw the two silhouette figures run back to take position again. Scared to death, keeping frozen still, and afraid to be seen, Arrow and Dele watched every move of the two silhouette figures outside. They also saw a third silhouette figure appear in an open window upstairs next door, who threw another bundle down from prince Omo Oba’s room to the two waiting men below on the side street.
All that time, the quarrelling noise from that same house next door continued intermittently, apparently from some room downstairs towards the back of that house. Later, the quarrelling sound died out for a little while, and the night seemed to become quiet, only to be followed by a loud alarming shout from upstairs by the voice of prince Omo Oba himself. The following morning at the break of daylight, neighbours were alerted to hear that Omo Oba’s bedroom upstairs had been burgled at night and his expensive clothes stolen from his wardrobe while he went downstairs to help settle the quarrel between a couple in his household. This very case got all attention possible from the town’s local justice system to investigate with the participation of everyone in the neighbourhood.
Town authorities were consulted, the magistrate court judge – Balogun, a man of very high integrity was made chairman of a special enquiry to investigate the case. The investigation was assisted by leaders of the Kobolese Anti-Burglary Society. As a result, a housemate of prince Omo Oba was accused, who confessed and named the rest of his burglary team. They were all arrested. Most amazing of all was the discovery that the popular pastor – Woli was among those accused. Not only that, from interrogation of the team of burglars, the shocking fact was revealed that the brain behind the whole burglary operation was the pastor – Woli, the prophet of God. The very man who had been baptising others and speaking in tongues in accordance with the Holy Bible. This did not only mark the end of his preaching career. The punishment handed down was befitting, creative and very effective.
After weeks of imprisonment of the team of burglars pending investigation, the town made a special day of their final day of court trial with extensive public participation in punishing them in a very unique way more devastating than the death sentence. The burglars, all three married men with children, were paraded stark naked through the main streets of the town from the big market square in Atikori quarters, kilometres away to the king’s palace, followed by a huge crowd of school children for which schools were closed just for the occasion. Women and girls were encouraged to line the streets to see and spit at the handcuffed thieves. These were wearing a scanty garment of thorny ‘werepe‘ leaves that awfully itch the skin, while anyone was allowed to flog them with cow-hide whips. With this great humiliation, the pastor and his team were matched to a school yard where school children booed at them, everyone shouted ‘thief !, thief ! thief !‘ at them, and they got public flogging by Kobolese members before being matched to prison to serve jail terms. As if by magic, the wave of burglaries in the town stopped there and then.
Years after, when they were finally released from jail, the thieves vanished from town and were never heard of again. The wife of the pastor quit his home, and nobody ever heard of him or his family after that. One huge impact of this very case derived from the sheer religious hypocrisy of the pastor’s church. Not only did his church collapse totally, thereafter, nobody ever dared attempt to set up such a one-man’s church in that town again; if only because everyone had become suspicious of religious delusion and of whoever wears apostolic garments. The fugitive pastor in effect brought a unique amazing local solution to a menacing problem of waves of burglaryabout sixty years ago. That generation of people is gone, and the menace is now creeping in again.
unreliable, corrupt, at war with itself, degenerating, social blindness, armed robbery, thief-money, police
Nigeria – no nation. Only a territory at war with itself.
Everyone in Nigeria and most of those who have had significant contacts with the place will agree that Nigeria is most accurately described by the single word – UNRELIABLE. Why is Nigeria – Africa’s most populous administrative territory not a nation nor a real country? Why does Nigeria not meet the most elementary criteria for any nation and country? To begin with, the name already says a lot. Nationhood has a definite meaning, and to be a country requires a certain control over own affairs – including security and protection of own people, own finance and banking, basic infrastructure facilities for transport, health care, education and identity.
As to identity, the name Nigeria came from an abbreviation of Niger Area – a meaning so vague, it affords no clearer identification than ‘somewhere around the Niger river‘. Mind you, that river flows for more than 4100 kilometres from Mt Kissifougou in northern Sierra Leone and Guinea through some four or five countries before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean just before Cameroon where the West African coast takes its big bend southwards. So vague was the description by Mrs Lugard in a letter to her friends in England, given as her address from an undefined territory in West Africa. Since her husband Lugard was to be lord and Britain’s colonial master over the folks he hardly knew nor cared about, her vagueness gave the territory the name – Nigeria.
Until today, the area covered by the name Nigeria is still so vague as to its northern borders that some individual tribes and clans sometimes actually claim to be within Nigeria, and at other times claim to be just outside Nigeria. Some northern provinces of Nigeria have misused this point to boost their electoral quotas in national elections by driving masses of such border folks to come into Nigeria and vote as Nigerians. In addition, definition of its eastern coastal border is still a subject of serious dispute with neighbouring Cameroon republic at the United Nations.
One can argue that Nigeria is not the only African republic with border definition problems, and therefore its geographical definition issues should not automatically rob it of nationhood. If so, what would it still take for Nigeria to be a nation? According to the authoritative Oxford English Dictionary, the English word nation means a community of people of mainly common descent, language, history and customs sharing one territory, government and political institutions.
Nothing has divided Nigeria more surely than the lack of common descent, language and history of its numerous folks, despite six decades of the post-colonial experiment to forge a marriage of mutually unloving parties. That was and still is the harsh fact. What love, tolerance or affinity is there between the Hausas, the Yorubas and the Ibos who form the overwelding majority (perhaps 90%) of all folk groups that form the Nigerian population? How can they love each other when they know so little of each other?
Even today, many learned Nigerians and local political leaders including oba’s and emirs from both the north and the south do not know the names of the tribes, let alone the names of the languages, nor the history nor the customs of the many other folks with whom they now share the name Nigeria. When government ministers and parliamentarians are not even sure what tribes there are, how can they be aware of the impacts of their parliamentary decisions or government on those various tribes?
How can they understand or promote the feelings and needs of folks whose existence they are not aware of? With dozens of languages as different as English is from French, and more than a hundred dialects, Nigerian folks have hundreds of complex local patterns of customs, values, norms and internalised rules unknown to their other folks. Folks cannot claim to be united as a country – Nigeria – if they do not know each other.
Its very huge population of which Nigeria so proudly calls itself ‘biggest in Africa‘, makes it far too divergent and complex for its various folks to understand and appreciate each other’s ways. That makes it too complex if not impossible to convey meaningful respect for each other. This is evident in the regular outbreak of massacre of southerners by northerners in northern towns like Jos and Kaduna. As I write these lines on Easter Day in 2012, world news is again reporting the senseless killing of over forty southerners in the northern town – Kaduna as fanatic Muslims butcher victims just to discourage Christians from celebrating Jesus life.
To date, no government in Nigeria whether municipal, provincial or national has ever addressed this unnecessary mass killing effectively. This serious failure continues irrespective of whoever leads the country – northern parties or southern parties, northern president or southern president. Such repeated massacre with impunity is intolerable in any country. The question is do Nigerian leaders really care? If they do, what stops them from acting effectively? Surely not Nigerian law. Until and unless Nigerian government meaningfully enforces its laws, it cannot rightfully claim to run a country.
Huge differences as to the appreciation of education, religious openness, economic determination, personal drive and resourcefulness translate into sharp differences in what is perceived as opportunity, national purpose, needs and desires.
Add to this extreme partisanship in all forms, and the stage is perfectly set for corruption of the worst kind. One has seen highly expensive road-paving and bridge-building equipment piled up in a tiny northern village that has no river over which a bridge is needed, and with no motor roads coming or going to anywhere. Yet, the equipment and needless bridge that lies wasted in that village cost several ,million dollrs of federal money. Meanwhile some thousand kilometres away, large Nigerian cities are connected by highways with potholes big enough to serve as burial graves. This is no exaggeration.
Rather than develop, Nigeria has been regressing for decades now. Strangely enough, the very big cities and industrial regions which are starved of much needed basic resources, are the very ones contributing the most to the industrial output of Nigeria. This is a most uneven factor behind Nigeria’s degeneration. It is for example the issue at the very root of the Ogoni problem which still remains unresolved after more than half a century of neglecting the oil-rich Niger Delta region while the desert dry areas drain federal money.
The Ogoni are not the only ones so neglected. Nigeria used to be the world’s biggest supplier of palm oil, cocoa, kola nut. Due to government negligence as to development budget and incentive policy, southern Nigeria lost its capacity to produce these essential ingredients of modern industry.
Since independence, northern export of ground nuts which was once the world’s highest, has dwindled to a halt. Palm oil and products derived from it are a vital motor of the world’s pharmaceutical industry today. Malaysia and Asian countries which now lead the world export, started by importing the plant and seeds from Nigeria. Cocoa is a vital ingredient of the world’s chocolate snack sweets, drinks and food. Nigeria lost its great potential in these vital sectors by over-relying on crude-oil income.
An effort to develop viable rubber export in southern Nigeria failed due to lack of federal government support, and misplaced preferences by government ministers too blind to see local opportunities outside their own tribal locality.
Even national interest is allowed to suffer under local partisanship in development efforts regarding infrastructure. How can one otherwise explain the fact that Nigeria – Africa’s most oil-rich territory that supplies the USA and Europe with very significant proportions of their crude oil needs, must itself import petroleum?. It is a shame that Lagos motorists have to wait in long queues to tank for fuel, and at higher prices than in other countries that burn Nigerian crude. That would not happen if Nigeria were a real country. That the Nigerian government is so very irresponsible in this respect, deprives the territory of being a country.
Today, Nigeria is much worse off than it was as a colony if one considers the state of its road system in much of the south, the archaic state of its minuscule rail-road system, and the disastrous performance of its airlines and shipping sectors. That is just transportation alone. Its national record is just as shameful and disappointing when you look at its internal service system – the postal system, its telephone and communication systems, and its public health services – all vital areas that should have nothing to do with local tribal differences.
Nigeria is the one territory where people do pay for electricity but are sure not to get it; where people have long given up all hope of telephone lines that work; where individuals build houses and cannot rely on the state to provide water supply, nor a sewage system that works. One may say that failure in these essential respects only makes Nigeria a developing (in reality an undeveloped) territory, but does not deprive it of being a country or nation. The one fundamental communal need that any country worth the name should be able to provide for its people, is an ordinary feeling of security and safety of life and property at home and on the streets. Even in this respect, Nigeria fails woefully. How can it then be called a country?
Nigerians from the south are so unsafe in the north, they are too often arbitrarily butchered like animals by another folk as if the victims are not humans. Surely, the victims of such unprovoked violence cannot realistically feel they are one and same people or folk. This security problem is rooted in the arbitrary way the British and the French claimed and defined colonial territories, without consideration of the folks who got lumped up as Nigerians without affinity for each other.
Their definition was as arbitrary as telling all those in a huge crowd in some old-fashioned, open-air market to freeze and stay put wherever they stand at some one moment, and then inform them that each and everyone should henceforth take whoever is standing next to him or her at that moment as own spouse and family for the rest of their lives. Such is the forced marriage between Nigerian folks.
Of course, marriage does not work like that. Yet that disaster caused by Britain was continued by the post-independence experiment called Nigeria. As folks, the Hausas, Ibos and Yorubas are more different between them than the Russians, the British and the Portuguese are. That is so geographically, linguistically, culturally and in religious outlook. Unfortunately, there is very little effort to learn more about each other as is needed to get along well together.
As a result, Nigerian politics is driven by tribal opportunism, personal greed, share illiteracy even in some high places, and lack of appreciation of each other’s innate values, desires and needs as humans. This last point could be called social blindness to each other, causing great disrespect for human values. This disqualifies Nigeria from being a real country.
Social blindness makes it easy for one, who in the Biafran War lost all family possessions, not to feel too much compassion for another who was recently victim of armed robbers. Nor can a fanatic Muslim who takes non-Muslims to be kafirs unworthy to be humans, ever know the pain of Christians whose homes get burnt down simply for being in a Muslim-dominated town.
Inter-communal feeling suffers even more seriously when some group is overwhelmingly better educated, or is more successful in trade and industry, or is professionally more serious about career pursuit than the other group. Feelings get dangerously opposed to each other if in such circumstances, the least motivated or least prepared group gets the most power to decide over the output and resources of the more serious, more productive group. For too long, this has been the situation in Nigeria, especially in that divide between the north and the south. Yorubas and Ibos are able to respect each other’s industrial, religious and cultural attitudes more than the northerners are able to respect these folks.
Meanwhile, the British-induced illusion of being one country has so misled Nigerians into wanting to claim in the resources of each other’s regions, that most people assume that what the other has can be shared. Yet, what is from own area is seen as own thing as people lack the natural sense of true mutual communal care for each other.
In big urban centres where the concentration of people from different regions is highest, this translates into indifference about the security of others. This social indifference plus high unemployment in such areas easily gave rise to high rates of burglary and armed robbery, first in cities, then along highways, and finally also in smaller towns too. Now, nowhere is anyone safe in Nigeria.
Armed robbery and burglary is now so rampant in Nigeria, even aircrafts that upon landing are still taxiing towards the airport gates, get attacked by dare-devil bandits forcing open the cargo doors to get their loot. According to one stewardess, airline crews are so unsafe in guarded Lagos hotels, and attacks on property everywhere got so intensive that KLM has stopped all flight arrivals in Nigerian airports.
Travellers arriving from abroad if identified outside on the street, easily become victims of armed robbers who seek hostages to demand ransom in foreign currency. Women refrain from wearing jewellery, and workers avoid expensive dress to work, just so as not to be targets of street robbers. Stealing has gained a higher meaning in the Nigerian context.
Whereas in many countries, burglars steal just money, jewellery or loose objects from homes, in Nigeria thieves steal your whole house, with emphasis on – whole house. Nigerian bandits come in large groups – often a dozen or more, armed to the teeth like any army, complete with whole trucks to load your things into, even in two or more rounds during the same night.
Sometimes Nigerian burglars even announce to their intended victim before hand that they are coming. To be prepared to appease thieves, most households always keep a bundle of cash ready at hand to give to thieves when these arrive. With ready thief-money, they hope to prevent the need for the armed robbers to use weapons to force victims into submission.
Any weapon available to the police and army individuals are also available to those Nigerian thieves – machine guns, machetes and grenades or whatever can injure people and property. If Nigerian armed robbers come and they find a target house too tightly locked up and cannot enter, they simply burn down the whole house plus anyone who is inside. The ideas is to flush out victims using fire.
Burglars in Nigeria are known to have robbed not just one house at a time, but at times whole rows of houses together, as they hop from the one house to its neighbours, baffling even the toughest private security guards. One can report from first-hand experience as victim that a whole house was so thoroughly robbed, Nigerian thieves stole even the glass windows, the doors of all the rooms, the water taps and flush-toilets, baths and water pipes, the electric meters and electric cables, the built-in double-glass roof window that was imported from Europe, the electric generator, some roofing sheets and much more.
On this one specific occasion out of nine earlier ones, the thieves came deep in the night – at 2:00 a.m for a first loading, and returned three hours later for a second loading of loot from the same house. You would ask is there no police in that country?
That is the very point in this story – that by its very inability to provide that most elementary security service called police, Nigeria disqualifies itself from being a state, nation or country. The very word police came from the Greek word polis meaning a state that provides own security for its members. That was the basis for the modern words politics, policy, polite and polity. There are numerous cases of Nigerian police officers being party to robberies and burglaries.
In the above-mentioned case of one house that got robbed twice in the same night, by the time the thieves returned for their second loading, the security guards and the home owners in the whole neighbourhood managed to so team up that they scared off many of the thieves. They actually captured two of the thieves plus their loaded truck which were therefore brought to the police station for arrest. The police locked up both thieves in a cell, just until bribes could be paid by the bandits and by the victim.
Sadly enough for the owner of the robbed house, just two days later, the police released the two arrested thieves and their truck. The same police refused to return the stolen goods on the truck to the owner till today – now years later. No real country or nation would let its police get away with such a terrible level of corruption.
Quite apart from insecurity from thieves in Nigeria, there is another fundamental definition that disqualifies Nigeria from being a country or nation. Every country has representation abroad, often called embassies or consulates manned by its very own people to care for its own nationals in foreign countries, and to promote its national economic and so-called diplomatic interests overseas. From personal experience, one has too often seen Nigeria’s foreign services (embassies and consulates) manned at important levels not by Nigerians but by total foreigners.
For example, in The Hague, Indonesians handle visa applications of travellers to visit Nigeria, and often turn down native-born Nigerians living abroad. This more than anything else confirms beyond any reasonable doubt that Nigeria is for these applicants not really a state worthy to be called a country.
What is even worse, the payment for the Nigerian visa had to be paid not to nor at the Nigerian embassy, but exclusively only at a strange Dutch bank kilometres far away from the Nigerian embassy where the visa applicant in Holland has to deposit his visa payment. Worse still, the visa money so paid at the strange Dutch bank is deposited into an American bank account in the USA, not to Nigeria’s Central Bank. That is, Nigeria as a government or territory proves to be incapable of even collecting payment in its own name in Europe and has to rely on a US firm – rather on its own Central Bank to receive its visa fees. This inability to have a reliable central bank, directly disqualifies Nigeria from deserving to be called a country.
As a result of the points given above, Nigeria has built such a bad reputation abroad, that many Nigerians abroad are ashamed to be seen as Nigerians. Which Nigerian graduate in banking would in America or Europe gladly mention at a job interview that he is from Nigeria? Doing so would almost automatically disqualify him or her from being employed, out of fear of being untrustworthy.
The best trained Nigerians with good professional experience leave Nigeria because it is unsafe to live a decent happy life in Nigeria. In the USA alone, there are well over 75000 Nigerians with multiple post-graduate university degrees who will no longer return to Nigeria. The reason is that Nigeria with all its corruption and insecurity has proven itself to be unworthy for deploying their professional skills. In short, Nigeria is not worthy to be their country. Of those left back in Nigeria, most at every level of education, would if given the chance, gladly emigrate too.
Nigerians are known to have settled in Ireland and Britain in large numbers, abusing the social security system of their host countries by claiming multiple unemployment without qualifying for it, by claiming subsidised housing which they then rent out for higher rental fees, and other similar crooked practices.
Categories: Geography, government, History, Odd Justice, Strange culture Tags: Africa, corrupt, crime, culture, economics, environment, ethics, Geography, government, Health, History, justice, Nigeria, police, politics, safety, trade, war
Socrates died for teaching philosophy
Socrates (470-399 BC) drank hemlock poison instead of exile upon conviction for teaching children philosophy, what his accusers called corrupting children in 399 BC in democratic Greece.
Categories: Geography, government, History, Odd Justice, Regulators, Strange culture, Strange Politics Tags: corrupt, crime, culture, ethics, Geography, Greek, History, justice, knowledge, politics, regulation
Mongol empire Silk Route, grandson Batu stopped in Austria
Genghis Khan (1162-1227) ruthlessly marauded Persia, Russia, Afghanistan and central Asia in 1219. He created the Mongol empire, and opened up the Silk Route.
Born in Hentiy, Mongolia to a father who was head of the clan until murdered by the Tartars, Genghis Khan developed wicked traits to extremes. His only education was in Yurt. At 13, he killed his half-brother for stealing his fish, encouraged a cult of fear around himself, was fearless in war, fought for thousands of kilometres, raped women, burnt homes, seized possessions everywhere, but was scared of dogs.
His son Ogedai Khan, and grandson Batu laid waste Krakow in Poland, Hungary‘s Pest (now Budapest) and were stopped in Austria thousands of kilometres from Mongolia only by the news of the death of the ruling Khan.
Categories: Geography, government, History, Megalomania, Odd Justice, Strange culture, Strange Politics Tags: crime, culture, ethics, Geography, History, justice, Megalomania, Mongolia, politics, tax, war
Britain forced China to legalise opium trade, close off all trade
Addiction: Free trade is when Britain forces China to legalise the trade in opium* smuggled by fleets of British merchant ships so that the Chinese population could get addicted to illicit opium habit.
Indeed 12 million Chinese became opium addicts by 1830′s. When the high penalties imposed by China on the selling or smoking of opium had too little impact because of huge-scale smuggle by the British, the Chinese government seized and destroyed 20,000 chests of opium from British merchants.
As a last resort, the Chinese government then tolerated cheaper local opium production to hurt the imports from British merchants, but promptly closed off their huge country – China – to any form of trade with the outside world. Even so, Britain provoked a war in 1842 by sending its navy to sail down into the Yangtze river, and eventually forced China to yield control of Hong Kong over to England.
China did not reopen contacts with the rest of the world until the advent of US president Nixon, thanks to Henry Kissinger’s Shuttle diplomacy in the 1970′s.
Categories: Business Unusual, Geography, government, Health, History, Megalomania, Odd Justice, Strange culture, Strange Politics Tags: British, business, corrupt, crime, culture, drugs, ethics, food, Geography, government, Health, History, politics, regulation, trade, war
Oprichniki secret police, Novgorod massacre
Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584) was Russia‘s first Czar (Tsar), and the equivalent of Dracula before Joseph Stalin’s communist state terror of last century.
Ivan created Oprichniki – Russia’s first secret police, massacred a whole town’s population after sealing off the town – Novgorod – and torturing the people. Despite his intellectual upbringing, he murdered his own son and heir in ordinary anger, and his wife was poisoned.