With the recent crisis in Kaduna State, Northern Nigerian, which broke out on Thursday 18th October, 2018, the almost immediate spill over on Sunday 21st October, 2018, and then the Friday 26th October, 2019; this latest one following this breaking news:
“KIDNAPPED AGOM ADARA MURDERED
The king of Adara, Kachia LGA, Southern Kaduna, His Highness, Dr Maiwada Galadima, Agom Adara, who was kidnapped on the Oct 19, on his way back from a meeting with Gov El-Rufai has been murdered after the payment ₦5 million ransom.”
The criticism has been centered on this being a political killing….
Some want it to be known that the State Government under the leadership of Mal. El- Rufai has shown it’s clear disdain for southern sections of the State because of the incessant problem in these areas.
The Fulani herdsmen tagged conflict in these southern most part of the state has not fully abated & a majority of these sections had voted against the ruling party in previous elections, regardless of the official results announced after the last LG elections.
Governor El-Rufai’s utterances & actions, since assuming office has been said by some critics to have breeded the current crisis and killings going on in Kaduna state. To these persons El-Rufia’s utterances have always been laddened with hate for these particular section of the state.
Watch this video https://t.co/oyxtG897V5
But though El-Rufai is not known for moderation & tact in his blunt utterances, but he is not entirely wrong.
It is true that the narrative on BOTH sides has been lace with more exclusive undertones than unconditional peaceful overtures.
The Story of Kaduna’s reoccurring ethnic-religious crisis is that of endless reprisals.
I read the perfect most story recently that all the people in Kaduna must read.
A delightful cousin of mine had put it up on whassap.
“At the time of Obatala The King in Yoruba land,
Three people came to him dragging a young man with them and said to him:
Kabiyesi!!! (Your highness) This man has murdered our father.
Obatala: Why did you kill their father?
Young man: I’m a goatherd. My goat ate from their father’s farm, and he threw a stone at my goat and it died; so I also took the stone and threw it at their father and he also died.
Obatala: Because of this, I pass judgment on your charge of murder by sentencing you to death.
The Young man said:
I ask for 3 days before you execute the judgment. My late father left me some wealth and I have a sister to take care of. If you kill me now, the wealth and my sister will have no guardian.
Obatala: Who will stand for your bail?
Young man: Looking into the crowd, he pointed at Lamurudu.
Obatala asked: Do you agree to stand for him, Lamurudu?
Lamurudu answered, Beeni (yes).
Obatala enquired further: You agree to stand for someone you don’t know, and if he doesn’t return you’ll receive his penalty.
Lamurudu answered: I accept.
The young man left but after two days, and into the third day there was still no sign of him.
Everyone was very afraid for Lamurudu who had accepted to receive the penalty of death if the man failed to return.
Just before it was time for dinner, the Goat Herdsman appeared looking very exhausted and he stood before Obatala.
The Young man spoke up: I have handed the wealth and the welfare of my sister to my uncle and I am back to receive the penalty.
You may execute the penalty now.
In great shock and surprise, Obatala said: And why did you return after having a chance to escape the death penalty?
I was afraid, it will appear that humanity has lost integrity and the ability to fulfill promises kept”.
Obatala turned and looked at Lamurudu and asked him: And why did you stand for him?
I was afraid, it might appear that humanity have lost the will to do good to others.”
These words and events moved the brothers who had wanted justice for their father’s death very deeply and they decided to forgive the young goat herdsman.
In furious anger, Obatala asked “Why?!!!”
We are afraid, it will appear as though forgiveness has lost place in the heart of humanity.
I have also share this beautiful message and passed it on with the hope that it might be a reminder of how forgiveness is an integral aspect of peace. Such that doing good may not be ever lost to us.
I encourage all the sides in Kaduna to embrace peace, forgive & forget all the ills supposedly done to them in the past or present. Let it pass on, or else I fear that…. Our humanity is slowly being lost.
Be safe & God bless you always.
Recently I was moved by a tweet I saw from a young man, asking for a job. He had just completed NYSC & wasn’t looking forward to wasting away at home.
I responded with a small donation because I have assisted a number of young people already with light loans & didn’t have any loose funds to give out.
We chatted briefly on twitter, publicly & the response was stunningly unexpected. Two days in & I’m at 94 messages on my DM for similar requests.
Yes! I’m well aware that many of these requests are opportunists, looking for freebies. Still lots are obviously genuine claims & it hunts me that I can not do much.
Below is my exchange with one of these young lads:
“Good morning sir. My name is Ayeni Opeyemi. I’m a graduate of landmark university. Graduated with a second class upper. I just completed my Nysc.
“I have interest in agriculture so I did a lot of research and decided to venture. I tried my hands on cucumber farming in small scale to see how it’ll go it went okay even though the farm was underfunded.
“Now I realized that vegetables are costlier during dry season and I decided to tap into that. Presently I have 3 plots. I’ve bought the pumping machine and made ridges. I also bought manure. But I still need some other things to be able to kick off. Like taps, pipe , seeds pesticides
“I’m currently engaged in a teaching job so as not to stay idle and the salary is really small. I saved for 2 months to get to this point.
“I don’t know if you’re willing to assist me further. I’ll provide picture evidence tomorrow.
“That’s the land sir. I know pictures don’t prove much because a lot of people do this. But if you’re less busy and willing we can do a video call.
“I really need help because I know I can make money from ugwu”
I had replied:
“Yemi I’m of very limited means myself. I can only help a few people at a time. I’ve exhausted what I have for now. Sorry.
“But I’ve passed on your appeal. If you’re not assisted now, because of the time sensitivity of your trade, dont be discouraged, there will be other projects. God bless.”
“Thanks for your reply and your attempt to help sir. I really appreciate. I’ll make a video later today and send it to you on my progress so far.”
I wrote back:
“Thank you for understanding. I can only promise to pass on all you send. But I’ll need your permission to send it publicly too. It looks to be more effective that way.”
Yemi was excited:
“Wow, nice one sir. Are you going to upload the chats or the video. You can upload that. I hope people will watch and be willing to help. Thanks so much for all your effort.”
So this exchange with Yemi gave me an idea and I tweeted:
“Dear friends, I’m of very limited means myself. I can only help few people at a time. I’ve exhausted what I’ve for now. I’ve been overwhelmed with near a hundred appeals since Monday. Pls I understand your phlight but I can’t do much but pass your appeals on. God bless.”
But then that felt like running away. So if you’re reading this and you want to join me in making a TINY dent in the HUGE bowl of the truly sincere needy young Nigerians, aspiring to make a decent living, please send a donation. Details below:
Y. S. Baikie
First Bank Nigeria PLC
Nigerian Naira: 3021446578
US Dollars: 3073727720
Nothing is too small & everything will go to assisting these young people, regardless of sex or creed.
Thanks & God bless.
Hook up on twitter @YasNiger
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe
This is a metaphor of what the Talakawa refer to as ‘Kashin Dankali’ used in Hausa to exemplify societal oppression of smaller potatoes beneath that always bear the brunt of the bigger ones above. It was an analogy made popular by Malam Aminu Kano after the Sawaba Declaration of NEPU in the 1950s.
So ‘Kashin Dankali’ signifies how elites subjugate the downtrodden in the North irrespective of religion or ethnicity. Back then the political differences in the North were ideological. Today they are religious. The implication is that instead of making progress the North has backslidden. ‘Kashin Dankali’ almost 70 years later begs the question of why the Buhari administration discontinued the Almajiri school projects started by Jonathan. The answer is very simple and straight forward – the political North is so narrow minded and conceited that holding power in the interim is more preferable to it than planning for the future of its younger generation.
Simply put as far as the Northern intelligentsia is concerned dominating defense and security portfolios including headship of NNPC, NPA, FCT ministry among many others is more expedient than completing the 400 Almajiri schools earmarked across the North. Apparently to the ruling APC in the North an Almajiri child voter is more equal to an educated Talakawa leader of tomorrow. A more equitable Arewa is therefore not on its agenda. That is ironically among the root causes of the Boko Haram insurgency which now has become a political weapon in the dubious hands of the same mischievous Northern elite.
The first private university to be licensed in Nigeria was located in Rigacukum along the Kaduna- Zaria expressway as far back as 25 years ago. To date it has never admitted a single student nor built any lecture hall. In fact it is now a secondary school under Turkish management. Contrast that with the number of private universities springing up along and off the Lagos – Ibadan expressway within the last 10 years. Jonathan thought he was doing the North a favor when he located 9 of the 12 Federal Universities he established in the North. Not only that the former president elevated FCE Kano and Zaria to the status of Universities of Education. Both gestures were set aside when Buhari became president. With Alvan Ikoku at Owerri and Adeyemi in Oyo ambushed in the cross fire.
The newly established Nigerian Army University by the current Buhari administration would have brighter prospects because it is located in the more cosmopolitan Southern Borno. The high inter-communal harmony and level tolerance of that part of the NE are the reasons why the BH has repeatedly been unable to make any major foothold there. But what does not add up in the North is fact that our elites are mostly of humble background that were educated at public expense while their children and wards are so cut off from their grassroots and so expensively educated in private schools. Gone are the days when the son of a messenger will share the same class with that of a Perm Sec. That marked the beginning of the end of education in the North.
The man formerly known as Lamido Sanusi Lamido described it as a misplaced “12th century mentality” based on religious ignorance. I totally agree with him. Currently the Hon Minister of Education is a Northerner so are most of the heads of the ‘juicy” agencies under him. Yet the North still wears the dishonorable badge of educational backwardness under the current dispensation.
Will Atiku be any different if he becomes president? I humbly stand to be corrected but between Buhari and Atiku all their children were tertiary educated abroad. That is why both of them don’t have any comprehensive agenda on Education in Nigeria. Both candidates are fundamentally the same in ideological perspective.Truth is the differences between the North’s political elite are only in their bank balance, personal character and level of socialization but as far as ‘Kashin Dankali’ is concerned they are the same kind of oppressors Aminu Kano had always warned the Talakawa about.
2019 is therefore a Hobson’s Choice. A precarious situation where all the major options are just not good enough for Nigeria.
By Lukman Babalola Sanni
Just 17 years ago, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they were bankrupt. This will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years – and most people in those industries don’t see it coming.
It will happen with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs. Software disrupting 90% of traditional industries within 5-10 years. It is amazing to think that Uber is just a software tool, they don’t own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.
In the US, young lawyers can’t get jobs. Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. Watson already helps nurses diagnose cancer, 4 time more accurate than human nurses. Facebook has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.
In 2019 the first self-driving cars will appear. By 2022 most of us won’t own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up and drive you to your destination. Our kids will never get a driver’s licence and will never own a car.
Cities will have 90-95% less cars, parking space can become parks. We now have one car accident every 60,000 miles, autonomous driving will drop that to 6 million miles and save a million lives each year. Many car companies could become bankrupt. Without accidents, insurance will become 100 times cheaper, the car insurance business model will disappear. Real estate will change, because working while you commute will enable people to live better further away.
Cities will be less noisy because cars will be electric. Electricity will be incredibly cheap and clean: Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than new fossil installations. The price for solar will drop so much that coal companies will be out of business by 2025.
With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination now only needs 2kWh per cubic meter. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as they need, for nearly no cost.
One of the major beneficiaries will be health: There will be companies who will build a medical device called the “Tricorder”, that works with your phone, taking your retina scan, your blood sample and when you breathe into it. it analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease. It will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medicine, nearly for free.
The future is already here.
*Is Nigeria Ready for the Future?*
Are Nigerians ready for the future?
The changes are quietly creeping in on us;
*Who is using Post Office today?
*In the last 2 years many people have not bought or read newspaper.
*TV and cable TV is on its way out with smart TV connected to internet and you can watch millions of channel with your data.
The future is already here. Are you part of the future? Are your children part of the future?
Second part of the series from the collection of short stories…
Everyone Hates The English
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Joe is the last born and just belatedly finished secondary school at twenty. He didn’t look his age and appears to be age mates with Thomas, his fourteen year old nephew and Mammy’s first child. Most people assume they are both Mama Cyril’s final twins and the family gives its tacit approval to that innocent mistake.
Joe is glad to hear credentials wouldn’t be needed for the trip because he has none. He had accidently burnt his birth and basic school certificates with old
magazines after a general house clean up two years back. When the call to leave all documents with Mama comes, he plans to lie that he had misplaced his somewhere in the house. He didn’t sit for his final secondary school exams just a month earlier.
He chose to buy a new iPhone with the registration fee Mama gave him instead. As such, there wouldn’t be a new certificate for him in a couple of weeks either and all hell will break loose when Mama Cyril learns this too, after a futile search for his older certificates. Being far away in Europe when she discovers will be a life saver.
The planned trip to Europe is God sent for Rueben also, he is the third boy and second to the last child. He is the most industrious of the seven, works at almost
everything, everywhere and for anyone. He is hardworking and gifted. He kept getting all sorts of training from various people on diverse technical disciplines.
Rueben is never idle and always involved in something to earn a buck. He also contributes to the upkeep of the large house hold from his meager earnings without
batting an eye. Mama Cyril could always depend on Rueben to do his best for himself and for everyone else. Rueben had worked his way through his five
gruesome years in a federal tertiary technical institute, graduating with distinction.
It is a marvel that Rueben has been unable to secure stable decent employment.
Rueben has big dreams of making it abroad. He has enough talent, ingenuity, training and drive to make it under the dedicated and selfless guidance of those
knowledgeable white men, where his abilities and capabilities will be properly rewarded. That hasn’t been the case back here, where he needs to know someone well placed to get employed. Everyone in the family knows Rueben has the best chance of making it in Europe. If Mama Cyril will have two of her children stay behind to assist her, it will include Rueben. But none were more deserving of the trip than Rueben and his older sister Monica, the only other graduate in the family.
Monica is Mama Cyril’s second daughter and third child over all, her favourite and the brain behind Mama Cyril’s business success. None of Monica’s advices
ever goes wrong, she is Mama Cyril’s right hand and that explains why Mama Cyril refuses to let Monica marry the man she claims to love. The chap seemed
decent enough, with a steady job. But Mama Cyril always found something wrong with him to jibe at. The chap’s effort in chipping in his bit to assist with Monica’s
schooling was of no consequence.
Mama Cyril claims he comes from the wrong tribe and cultural background. She insists he is destined for no good because of his name, Shawulu. That is Saul, the devious man who killed decent folks in the Bible.
Shawulu ‘s eyes were either too large or he squints a lot when he stares at folks, resembling a thief surveying his next target. Shawulu comes to the store too often and disturbs Monica in her duties. Shawulu stays till late when he visits Monica at home, no decent man does that. Shawulu doesn’t even bow when he greets Baba Cyril. Then there was the most unforgiveable act of all. Two years after Monica graduated with a degree in Business management, Shawulu intentionally got her pregnant to force the difficult Mama Cyril’s hand into consenting to the marriage between Monica and the hateful Shawulu. Thus Mama Cyril summarily refused to
entertain any more talk of their marriage when she finally got her best excuse.
There was no reasoning with her from that point on and the sole child Monica added to the house hold was the only grandchild Mama Cyril celebrated with an
official naming and church Christening fanfare, all in aid of wrestling Monica from
the affectionate clutches of Shawulu. The incessant visits by Shawulu’s people to placate Mama Cyril and make amends for their son’s shameful act was unaccepted. Baba Cyril benefited from these many visits because the delegations always
came bearing gifts, which didn’t interest Mama Cyril in the slightest and the crafty old man did as he pleased with, after they leave. Monica respects her mother to a fault and kept appealing to Shawulu to wait and be patient.
Shawulu will wait forever, if Mama Cyril got her way. This trip will seal Shawulu’s fate, that is that. A quick run down on the progress so far reveals that Monica was excited about
the trip, yet not entirely sold on the idea. Not telling her beloved Shawulu about it was going to be exceptionally hard but Mama Cyril will always have her way with Monica, that much is certain. So Daniel, Mammy, Joe, Rueben and Monica were all in. Rose is still work in progress but if many men, mostly with the intelligence
quotient of day old chicks, could persuaded her into bedding them, surely making Rose catch a boat to Europe wouldn’t be as hard as tackling an algebra equation.
That leaves out Cyril, first born of the house. Mama intentionally left him for last because he could easily scuffle the whole thing before it even started off, if he
so desired. It was her plan to hear all the others before Cyril. He was the only one she earlier told why she wanted to speak with everyone that late at night. She asked him to keep his thoughts to himself, until he hears all the others. Cyril will keep his word, if he can be convinced to give it. She convinced him and now it is his turn. Mama Cyril had already decided that if Cyril isn’t going, he will have to deal with not being able to stop the others from going. There is never telling before
hand what Cyril will like or will not like, he is that unpredictable, even to his mum.
Cyril is not a social retard, he is just simply too blunt. His mind and mouth had merged into the same cognitive organ and he quite innocently doesn’t think things
through before he speaks. Words just come gushing out his mouth like piss as soon his lips part, just as he would when he opens his fly to ease his bladder. He doesn’t
consider the implication before making a statement, even for the briefest second. Cyril is well aware of this shortcoming of his for years and he had simply come to one conclusion about it, without making the slightest attempt to change it.
Cyril concluded that he can not lie and get away with it. As a direct result of this, he actually doesn’t lie casually. It soon became so obvious that he didn’t lie as
often as those around him. Everyone needs to steer other minds wrongly once in a while, to deflect hostile reactions at least. Cyril struggled to socially relate with the people around him. But for someone who is considered a social nerd of sorts, he is still relied on to be sincere in all his dealings. Everyone listened to him keenly.
“Don’t you all see the news?” Cyril started. “People are dying every day in the Mediterranean sea, that is if they make it that far.” Mama Cyril was ready for that.
“That is if you rely on smugglers and we are not,” Mama Cyril returned.
“Besides it a risk worth taking,” Daniel quickly added.
“Risk our lives and die in a strange land, like wild animals? You call that risk
worth taking?” Cyril returned, but Daniel didn’t answer. Unlike Daniel’s carefree attitude towards life as a whole, Cyril’s approach to life is much less mechanical.
He trusts the human nature to disappoint and this is solidly based on his proven notion that human beings will only bend their nature as far as their joints allow.
“Mama, I suggest you forget this plan. Use the considerable amount you plan to spend to either improve on your business or build the house you have planned.”
Cyril had said his honest mind and that was good enough for his mother, who ignored the audible snicker from Baba Cyril. She was well aware why her husband
chose that moment to insinuate his disapproval. The man couldn’t stand the thought of all that money saved in the bank, out of his reach to squander away on hard liquor drinking and frivolous gambling. To hell with him, Mama Cyril thought.
“Are you contented being the long serving Head master of a private primary school with a rarely paid salary? You are not paid on school holidays, that is a quarter of the year. You can hardly meet just your own personal needs. You have worked there for ten years, with nothing to show for it. You are thirty years old, still with only a lowly teacher’s diploma and still living with your parents. You are unmarried, you can’t save or improve your education, can not get another job and fully dependent on your family for your needs because you earn close to nothing.”
Joe had only meant to sum things up nicely for Cyril but he had by extension touched the minds of all the other too. It had hit home to the others that what was different about Europe was they could have a fighting chance at making their lives better. Cyril knows better than to stand in the way of their dreams, if he was not going to do something about his. He didn’t have to say it, they just all knew he was not going to be difficult, if all the others were decided on leaving for Europe. Though Mama Cyril couldn’t predict her first son, she maneuvered those she
could predict into shackling his unpredictability, such that it is of no consequence if he reveals to be difficult. The simple truth might not ever change, but it can be
ideally shaded. Mama Cyril was spot on in her assessment and reeled in her catch.
Rose was still undecided, she is not sure she will get as much attention from white men like she is getting from black men. She couldn’t possibly compete with
those elegant looking European women out there, with their classy clothes, delicate make up, sophisticated way of walking and sexy way of talking.
“They may not even take us to England and Europeans only speak English in
England,” the stupid Rose was telling herself. She was terrified she wouldn’t be able to cope in Europe and was getting increasingly worried that her siblings will not let her off. Rose didn’t like the uncertainty that came with life in Europe, not to
mention the dangerous difficulty of getting there. Daniel intently watched Rose stiffen her back, without relaxing her stomach
muscles. Rose always has this expressively suggestive manner of carrying her elegant body. Her emotions are clearly revealed in her body language. Initially
Daniel couldn’t appropriately decipher her exact thoughts, then he figured out she was planning on not going with them. But Daniel wanted Rose to come along more than any of the others and for a good reason too.
A month or so earlier the elastic string holding Rose’s under pants suddenly snapped beneath her flowing gown, just as they started the long walk back home from church. With nothing to keep her panties from falling down to her ankles, the silly girl had tried to hold her loose panties in place without using her hands. As a
result, she had to walk with her thighs clamped up. Daniel had noticed something was wrong, inquired and Rose told him of her predicament. He offered her the use of his belt and had to wear his trousers up just that once, in her honour. Every male eye trailed her every move that day too. She had dropped four children already and yet every man still drooled over her. She had to come along with them to Europe.
They will need her out there. The others don’t know it yet but Rose might just hold the keys to their success in Europe. Rose is suited for the role Daniel had in mind, more than the cagy Monica with her proper ways or the aging Mammy, who looked every inch a mummy. Rose could quite easily sustain the lot of them in
their earliest days in Europe, until they can settle in later. She only needs to bat her eyes or wiggle her fanny a couple of times. If they are lucky, she could bloom into a fruit for some unsuspecting rich white dude and settle two thirds of their worries.
As if on cue, Rose batted those thick eyelashes of hers and looked straight at Daniel with eyes like glittering dark brown gems set in white marble. He smiled
and winked at her, urging her with a nod. She smiled back, like some strange inter-galactic alien in a beautiful female human disguise. Rose is his favourite sister by far and she is most fond of him too. He knows how to play her and get favours off her. He was certain she will play this ball and many others too, later in Europe.
It was very late, Baba Cyril yawned and shifted in his seat. They weren’t asking for his consent as usual but he realized he could still get paid if he played his cards right. He only needs to insinuate some subtle threat that could throw spanners in their works. He is not as stupid as his wife makes out. So without minding that his sudden contribution doesn’t relate to the discussion, Baba Cyril shuffled his cards.
“Davido is expecting payment from me tomorrow,” he disclosed.
“Who cares?” Mama Cyril returned and glared at him. Baba Cyril’s stare didn’t waver. His wife knows him very well, he can be cheap when his silly threats are
nipped in the bud. But when ignored and not appeased early enough, he could cause enough stink to attract unnecessary attention. With this important plan for a mass European trip, it is better not to risk it in calling his bluff. The stakes were too
high and he just might do something stupid. Just telling Shawulu before hand will
be distraction enough. Baba Cyril had to be settled and Mama Cyril backed down.
She nodded at Monica and the smart girl responded appropriately. The best
leaders never reveal when they concede, subordinates do it for them so they will never appear weak. Mama Cyril is never weak, rather it is her forte to feed on other people’s weakness and Baba Cyril represents a steady promising field for her most
influence. Once his meals are on time and his daily gulp of medicinal gin is within reach, he rarely makes trouble at home. But the most quarrels the couple have is over his weekly heavy drinking and gambling at a local shack, ran by the respectful Davido. The sly Davido sells locally brewed gin and also doubles as a bookie.
Baba Cyril will run one silly scheme after another around the house and in the community, to fund his weekly evenings at Davido’s. But when there is nothing to be had, Davido is willing to extend some credit to the elderly fellow because he is
confident one of Mammy, Rueben and Monica will always pay up.
Mama Cyril never does, she would rather die, like she repeatedly says at the top of her voice. This is just his latest scheme and a highly lucrative one at that. Monica left the sitting room briefly and returned with a number of crisp money notes of the highest
denomination. Baba Cyril never had it this good. As soon as he received the money from Monica, in full view of everyone, he inspected the notes in the faint candle light. Satisfied with the illuminated imprint of the inserted hidden silvery security
components, he put the money in his pocket and grinned. A metal picture of Judas Iscariot receiving payment for his kiss of betrayal flashed across Cyril’s mind, but
not even the devil would dare to wrestle this hand-out from Baba Cyril now. He will be contended for a couple of weeks and if this hyped European trip is still pending after then, who will deny the old man’s right to have another go at the golden goose. But this night he played along as expected, sang the tune paid for.
He nodded and retire for the night with a spared parting good word to aid his wife.
“You children listen to your mother, she only means well for all of you.” Cyril willingly accompanied his eager mother to the hotel this time around. It
was unanimously agreed by everyone that Cyril should get fully involved in every aspect of the arrangement from then onward. His good eye for probity will come into very decent use to ensure there is no foul play or the family is not taken for a ride by dubious fraudsters. The elderly white man Mama Cyril had met the first time, instantly recognized her the moment she entered the hotel room with Cyril in tow.
When they exchanged greetings, Cyril got his first of two pleasant surprises of the night. In Mama Cyril’s narration to the family about the details she got from her
earlier visit, she said Mimi had called the elderly white man in charge, Mr. Bill.
Cyril already had established suspicions of the whole arrangement, so he had
expected to meet some bossy north African, a sort of middle man for his Arab brothers, taking full advantage of the confusion in their nation to make a fast buck
by smuggling sub-Saharan Africans into Europe. But there was no chance of a mistake in identifying where Mr. Bill is from, he looked it and his accent said it.
“You are English?!” Cyril’s querying remark was laced with his surprise.
“Who did you expect to meet, some ancient Roman?” Mr. Bill responded with a smug grin.
Cyril didn’t acknowledge the joke but he looked more relaxed as Mr.Bill offered them seats. Once seated in one of the two armchairs in the sparsely
furnished hotel room, Cyril faced their elderly European host sitting on the side of the only bed and started off his questioning, with Mama Cyril quietly looking on.
“What is the country of entry?”
“Depends on where the boats arrive or where the intercepting joint European Naval forces take migrant boats to. It is likely Italy or Greece,” Mr. Bill explains.
“You’re sure about this?”
“Nothing is certain in this business but nine out of ten times, the task force is involved and take the boats to Italy or Greece, where the migrants are processed as
legal refugees. But surely you know that once you enter one European country, you can enter all the others?” Mr. Bill fished, hopeful Cyril doesn’t just look educated.
“I do,” Cyril replied but clearly he was not done yet. “And the safety of the trip across to Libya, is that guaranteed?” Cyril asked.
“Yes it is, as well as accommodation and security, up till the point of departure
from the Libyan coast. That is what you will be paying for. Extensive arrangement
that involves seasoned transporters, senior border posts officials, top military brass and government officials in all the nations involved, is in place. I came here after setting it up and I assure you it is working faultlessly and I can prove it now.”
Mr. Bill reached for his cell phone and called a line. From their seats, Mama Cyril and her eldest son could hear the other line ring and a female voice answer.
“Mimi, how are doing?” Mr. Bill spoke into the cell phone resting on his right cheek. Mama Cyril smiled at her son and her eyes almost said: ‘I told you so.’
They already knew Mimi left just three days earlier and hearing it had rushed things for their family. Mr. Bill handed the phone to Cyril, electing to satisfy the son’s more pronounced doubt ahead of his already convinced mother’s.
Cyril accepted the phone, placed in on his right ear and spoke. It was certainly the excited voice of Mimi. No doubt it was Mama James’s little girl at the other end of the line. The notable delay in their exchanges was further prove that Mimi was indeed in a very distant place. She had only good things to say about the efficacy
of the whole arrangement. Mimi said her boat trip has been paid for and she will be heading across the calm Mediterranean waters very early the next morning.
Mama Cyril had her turn. She incredibly managed to scream out enough pleasantries, prayers and information in a single minute to last the girl’s lifetime before reluctantly handing back the phone to Mr. Bill. She withdrew her chubby arm, which looked rather like an enlarged midget’s sinewy arm. The fold of fatty
flesh casing sort of shrunk her arms and completely hid her elbows from view.
What stood out for Cyril was that Mimi still had her phone, but he didn’t say it out loud. He reasoned that after money, phones are the first items lost or taken away from persons either held against their wishes or in any kind of difficulty.
Mama Cyril was elated to see her son’s nod of approval and the rest was routine, handled by Mama Cyril and Mr. Bill. Cyril watched his mother make full cash payments for six places on the next available vehicle leaving for Libya. Mr. Bill apologized that the next four buses leaving the next day were already full, but he assured Mama Cyril her children will leave in a couple of days.
Mr. Bill emphasized the need for urgency because the situation wouldn’t be the same for much longer. Once the puerile panic that greeted this rapid unprecedented flow of predominantly economic migrants into Europe has subsided, the European nations will most certainly device some expedient international law to revert to the status quo. Mr. Bill stood up to see them out, paused to reassure the silent Cyril that he and his siblings will safely be in Europe before next week.
It was Mr. Bill’s turn to be surprised. He was stunned to learn Cyril is not traveling with the others.
“Why?” Mr. Bill asked.
“The world is full of loud commentators, with deceptive commendations their many willful listeners obviously find admirable and not coy. But I am an exception to the general norm, among the few appropriating critics who equate affirmation of
evidence and the clearly advertised ruse with serious concern,” Cyril started.
“You and I know that getting into Europe is the easy part. But living in Europe, in the most sub-standard conditions, a far cry from illusions perceived, assumed, created and forwarded, is the real tough part. Africans integrating into evidently
hostile economic and social European societies that segregate against foreigners, as they increasing learn to abhor migrants for clogging their systems and worsening
their already precarious situations, is the reality of things. I will rather accept the fair situation I can manage right here, than pursue an elusive pot of gold at the end of some European rainbow.” Cyril was assertive and Mr. Bill was impressed.
A fellow intellect, the English man thought. The elderly white man tarried at the door to explain further. He felt Cyril has earned the right to understand why it
is only fair that Africans escaping war torn regions or economic difficulties or simply seeking to better their lot, must get a chance to pursue a life anywhere they
desire without any hindrance from those who seek to make choices for them, yet
“I am not doing this for the money,” Mr. Bill said. “I am doing it because it is the right thing to do. For centuries European slave merchants own Africans and
traded them across continents as they pleased. Everywhere they took them, the prosperity that was gotten through their unpaid work for centuries funneled into
making these European nations the model economic and social communities they are today. Then there was colonialism, when European nations arbitrary syphoned the wealth of African nations for free and incessantly bullied them with the same
effect, which resulted in making large economic powers of European countries.
“A lot of people consider the abolition of slavery and subsequent independence
of the African nations as an act of charity, a favour granted the most belittled and unjustly treated people in all history. No it is not and any thing that remotely offers
a whiff of reparations should be encouraged and milked till it is drained. What do you think the world’s racial history will be if the black man was styled as the clear
antagonist? Just consider that before you write off your siblings.” Mr. Bill ended.
“You should consider that most of those going over will end up as liabilities.”
“Then it is only fair that they do.”
“It is fair to unsettle the living standards and security of Europe?”
“Certainly! Centuries back it was the superior Europeans that felt they had the God given right to come to Africa for economic reasons. Now it is only fair that
the African have their civilized right to come to Europe for economic reasons too.”
“The long established tedious ways for Africans to legally get into Europe ensured only the best Africa has to offer do migrate. The new trend only dumps from the dreg of the continent. At this rate Europe will be full of the sort of people that it needs the least. It is like allowing locusts to rest on your farm because they
also have a living right to feed. But maybe the English do not really care and it is a continental European problem, since England is still an old independent island, still on it own and just playing to be part of Europe. Still with its own currency in place, as the presence of a Queen imprinted on it.” Cyril remained every bit as steadfast.
“Good people do bad things for good reasons, my friend.” Mr. Bill appeared offended at the insinuation that he is just being more malicious to his European
brethren than helpful to Africans.
Mr. Bill looked the way of Mama Cyril before continuing. She was already near the stairs and screaming into her phone, eagerly
informing Monica of the good news about their trip to Europe in a couple of days.
“It is the least honourable thing I can do to follow in my ancestor’s foot-steps.
An Englishman was instrumental to ending the brutal carting away of Africans from their homes and it is only ideal that another Englishman is instrumental in the
civilized migration of Africans to Europe as an act of reparation. I should have properly introduced myself. My name is William Wilberforce, the Sixth.”
A stunned Cyril gawked with renewed respect as he assimilated this second pleasant surprise. He accepted the grinning white man’s farewell hand shake and watched as the Englishman shut the hotel door behind him, before hurrying to meet his bulky mother, breathless at the foot of the stairs. She had ended her phone call
and was singing her favourite church hymn out loud, in the most jolly of moods.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me,” the aged woman hollered at the top of her happy voice, with a spring in her step. “I once
was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see. Was blind but now I see!”
Mama Cyril sang as she led her eldest son through the hotel parking lot that passes for a bar and also the launching pad for yet another compelled economic
migration from Africa to Europe. Cyril only had thoughts for yet another symbolism. He smiled at the irony of one William Wilberforce ending the old
compulsory slavery and yet another William Wilberforce fueling the new optional slavery. It is somewhat fitting and quite English in its concept, Cyril thought to himself as he resisted the urge to hum along to the tune of his mother’s singing.
Like the song, the general mood is infectious, spitefully civilized and English.
THE END OF THIS SHORT STORY
READ MORE FROM THE FULL COLLECTION
A POINT OF ORDER!
Of recent, the Berom nation has been inundated with an avalanche of hate speeches, write ups, press releases, conferences and even protests by some groups and individuals within and outside Nigeria.
Notable among them are the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN), the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), with various captions such as, ”Matters arising from the Plateau”, “Stop Berom Terrorists now” and “Berom Christians, the real terrorists”.
The Berom nation takes serious exception to this smear campaign which is aimed at demonizing the Berom, heightening religious hatred and intolerance. To us, these narratives are largely blatant lies, others contradictory in terms, misleading or merely the figments of the authors’ imagination.
It is obvious that the purpose of all the write-ups is to change the well known narrative of sustained Fulani aggression and territorial expeditions against the Berom. According to this deliberate distortion of facts and reality, Berom Christians are vilified as evil, terrorists and cannibals fitting exactly into the schemes and justification of our detractors and invaders of our communities.
It would appear logical from their narration therefore, to continually brutalize, dispossess, displace and massacre innocent and defenseless peasants, women and children. It is quite revealing that none of these accounts made any reference to the past and present losses of the Berom in terms of lives, crops, farmlands, sacked communities and the displaced currently languishing in make-shift camps as IDPs. We dare to ask, who killed Rev. Bitrus Manjang, the then retired Vice President, Church Of Christ In Nations, (COCIN), in Rim village? Have the killers of Distinguished Senator Gyang Dalyop Dantong or that of Hon. Gyang Fulani, the then Majority Leader of the Plateau State House of Assembly been brought to justice, not to talk of the killers of a First Class Chief in Bokkos LGA, Da Lazarus Agai, the Saf Ron Kulere? Have we forgotten so soon, several massacres (genocide?) of Dyenburuk (Dogo Nahawa), Gashish and Riyom in June 2018 and most recently, Loh-Pamdyet, where thousands of innocent lives have been wasted?
We find it very dubious to isolate the unfortunate disappearance of Major Gen. Idris Alkali and treat it outside the context of security challenges bedeviling Plateau State now for nearly two decades. In fact, to do this, it would conspicuously imply that thousands of wasted Berom lives do not count, neither do their property, farmlands and homes, even when from their ancestry, they remain unconquered people except for the British. More intriguing is the ignorance being feigned that there are no Muslims amongst the Berom when in fact, thousands of them are indeed devout Muslims, with some highly placed as Sheiks and Khadis. How on earth do we excuse Professors Salisu Shehu and Ishaq Akintola if they both claim not to know that the urban setting and cosmopolitan nature of Jos, the Plateau State capital demands a higher level of responsibility on any statements involving criminality? Again, how acceptable is the narration that every act of criminality in Jos is defined by the twin frames of Berom ethnicity and Christian identity, when indeed armed banditry, robbery and cattle rustling are organized by syndicates that transcend religious and ethnic boundaries?
In our view, “no matter how thick suspicion is, it does not translate into a fact”. The Berom nation strongly holds that the mere discovery of a car in veryunclear circumstances at a particular location does not immediately incriminate an entire community, no matter how much we are hated or demonized. Justice demands that particular culprits be fished out through established procedures of scientific and criminal investigation practiced all over the world. This is what we expect in the circumstance, not for the Nigerian Army to indiscriminately arrest and harass community members and passers-by including heavily pregnant women and the aged with the aim of torturing them and “cowing” them to make statements under duress.
It is unbelievable and indeed ungodly that highly regarded Islamic bodies under the leadership of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, can fall to the low ebb of becoming abusive on fellow citizens. These bodies have chosen to malign and unscrupulously label an entire ethnic nationality as “… a bunch of evil and deadly ethnic supremacists whose brazen show of cannibalism astounded the world…”. How we wish that these Islamic bodies stood up for true religion that considers human life sacred and upholds the tenets of justice to all for the promotion of peace and peaceful coexistence without prejudices to ethnicity, religious differences or social status.
The fact remains that the particular incident being used in this wild allegation and abuse, like many others including Loh-Pamdyet, Dyenburuk, Gashish, Riyom, Jol, Fan and Foron are yet to definitively deal with specific individuals or groups that have been found culpable from an official investigation. Today however, what the Berom nation is confronted with is the biased speculation and religiously motivated campaign to justify the dispossession and extermination of its people.
More fundamentally, we consider the labeling of the yet unknown perpetrator(s) of the disappearance of Major General Idris Alkali, as “Berom Christian terrorists” as not only prejudicial but malicious and inciting, meant only to further entrench religious bigotry and hatred.
Here, the question that demands an answer is whether the so called Prof. Ishaq Akintola who issued the statement by Muslims Rights Concern, MURIC has any evidence that there is an established Christian terrorist network that is Berom either in the said community or Berom land? Otherwise, what is the aim of statements such as “the General was targeted by Berom Christian terrorists because he was a Muslim passing through Berom territory”? What is the basis for calling the Berom a terrorist nation? Have the Berom ever attacked any community within or outside Plateau? Are the Berom the ones fighting in the North East, Taraba, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Benue, Zamfara and Southern Kaduna?
On reading the statements, one wonders whether Berom Christians or better still, Christians in Plateau State have any rights at all.
The disappearance of General Idris Alkali is without doubt, painful and unfortunate. However, this must be explained in a proper perspective of the prevailing general insecurity, the compromised security agents and the quality of governance amongst others. The Berom nation has never and shall not tolerate criminality or cover bad elements in any way. Nonetheless, it shall not fold its arms nor keep quiet when lies, ill conceived narrations and thoroughly biased statements are unleashed in bad faith on the unsuspecting public. We pledge as a people to contribute our own quarter as we have always done to the collective struggle of uniting Nigeria and restoring peaceful coexistence, tolerance and the fear of God in our society.
We encourage the Media to stand on the side of the truth using incontrovertible facts to show the world the forces and factors at work on the Plateau, never to lose objectivity on the platter of intimidation, threats or ethnic and religious sentiments.
As far as the Berom nation is concerned, its people and communities are victims of sustained terrorist attacks by the Fulani which are aimed at dispossessing and annihilating them from their ancestral lands and heritage. On this, it must be said that no matter the terror and killings of our people, not a single inch of Berom land shall be ceded to Fulani occupiers and their cohorts in this 21st century , neither will we succumb to the wishes of paid political surrogates and thugs like one so called Rotdunna Sekat, calling for the deposition of our highly revered First Class Royal Father, His Majesty Da (Dr.) Jacob Gyang Buba and the arrest of former Plateau State Governor, Distinguished Senator Jonah David Jang as accomplices to the attacks and killings in their own land against their own people. How ironic this can be… blaming the victim! The so called Sekat who goes with several pseudo names such as “Kim Bulus” and “Loiusanta”, should rightfully be in the custody of security agents if his concocted and confused claims have any substance or better still a rehabilitation centre where lunatics and substance abusers receive help.
Lastly, evidence abounds for all that care to know that the Berom are peaceful, hospitable and accommodating. That is why Plateau State won for itself the appellation of the “Home of Peace and Tourism”.
Da Iliya Choji Kim
Vice President, Berom Educational and Cultural Organization, BECO
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe.
I personally took the attached photograph on the Plateau earlier this year in June on my way from Kaduna to Jos through Manchok via Vom. I was awed by the engineering genius in the road construction. Barely a week later that same road reportedly had become a killing fields of sorts particularly for delegates returning back to the North East from the APC national convention held in Abuja. That is how precarious that axis of Nigeria despite that many of us are still pretending that the nation is not dangerously sitting on a time bomb following latest events on the Plateau.
Call them potato chips or French fries you can’t have any without the Berom just as you can’t traduce the Fulani and still enjoy your Suya or Cow tail pepper soup anywhere in Nigeria. We are therefore all involved on the Plateau. That nevertheless it would be an act of deliberate mischief and reckless presumptuousness to box the Berom into a genocidal corner despite the circumstantial evidence recently found at a pond in Du District.
This is simply because an alleged crime scene is very much different from a suspected dump site. No doubt there is probable cause for complicity that however does not translate into credible evidence against the entire Berom. Truth is General Alkali and other hapless Nigerians suspected to be victims in the vicinity of Du are actually collateral damage of a longstanding proxy war of historic elite dynamics on the Plateau. That notwithstanding the suspected perpetuators of whatever led to Alkali’s car been found at the bottom of a Du pond must be fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law. Permit me to reemphasize that the rule of law must prevail. While that would bring some semblance of justice and temporary succor for the nation at large what of the fundamental issues that created the enabling environment for the dumpsite to exist in the first place?
The fire on the mountain currently on the Plateau is all part of the symptoms of a deeper malaise caused by the stubborn virus of religion. Merely treating its symptoms without ridding the underlying virus will continuously be an exercise of futility for the nation. If so what then are the fundamental issues bedeviling the Plateau? Jos is a Green Line of sorts which makes it the Nigerian version of Jerusalem. Jos is the home of the Izala sect founded by Samaila Idris a religiously controversial army officer that was forcibly retired in 1978 who hails from Bauchi’s Jahun Fulani clan. He set of up JIBWIS that his one-time teacher Abubakar Gumi became the Grand Patron of. The Sunni Izala is essentially Wahabbist and anti-Sufi. Their openly confrontational stand to all others that don’t subscribe to their teachings does not need further elaboration here.
Meanwhile Jos is also the home base of the Sudan United Mission that was the arrow head of missionary activities in the non-emirate areas of the North. That is one aspect. The other is Jos is the capital city of Middle Belt consciousness making the Plateau a perfect storm waiting to happen in the political North. Under such circumstances the truth and level headedness are normally the first casualties. With Jos being hotly contested historically between the Berom “Gwash” narrative and the Hausa-Fulani “Jas” counter narrative the battle lines are therefore well entrenched and rest is now living history. As the say in the Middle East if the talking stops the shooting starts.
The Northern Muslim intelligentsia and North’s Christian must find common ground in Jos or there will be much more General Alkalis which an endless number of Zaki Biams or even Odis can never stop. History has a curious way of repeating itself. First as tragedy then as farce.
The Nigerian Army on 15th January 1966 lost its present day equivalent of Chief of Administration then known as Adjutant General in person of Lt Col James Pam. He hailed from Du and his body was never found after he was abducted by mutinous troops loyal to the infamous “5 Majors” from his Ikoyi residence. 52 years later the same institution has lost another Admin chief in Du District under the same circumstances of inter-communal violence as one section of the Nigerian polity angrily raises up against another. Both chiefs have somehow become victims of the inherent contradictions of our nation building process.
Have we not learnt anything in 5 decades? Back then drums of war were beaten right now drums of war are still beaten. Back then also there was anger and revulsion in segments of Nigeria. Right now there is still that same kind of anger and revulsion. What historical inferences can we draw from the unfortunate incidences of 1966 than could serve for us as useful signposts in 2018? That should be the topic of conversation.
Every issue in Nigeria no matter how complicated has a big picture and a small one. In any case apart from its infamous pond what else is Du known for? Du is the home district of Lt Col James Pam, DIG Victor Pam and Air Cmdr Jonah Jang. The senior Pam was the 4th most senior Northerner in the army when the unfortunate events of 15th January 1966 unfolded. His esteemed seniors Maimalari, Kur, Largema also lost their lives alongside his good self.
He was the Adjutant General having taken over that office from his bosom friend Yakubu Gowon who had to proceed to Staff College in the UK. The police Pam was billed to by seniority succeed Gambo Jimeta as IGP but was seconded to the National Guard instead. He would later be Gbong Gwom of Jos in 2004. A tough cop he met the Maitasine sect eyeball to eyeball in Kano, Bulunkutu, Gombe and Jimeta. He also set up the Mopol school in Gwoza.
Many political pundits have put it that if his Mopol hardware ordered from abroad had arrived earlier the coup to topple Shehu Shagari would have failed. As the monarch of Jos he criminalized selling of any Berom land to non-Christians and any Christian parents whose daughter converted thrown out of the Church a source put it to me. He also attempted ridding Berom land of its famed Burkutu small scale industry. He woefully failed.
Little wonder before joining the police in 1958 he trained as a priest at the famous TCNN in Bukuru. Jang on the other hand if it would be recalled was Military Administrator of the former Gongola and Benue respectively under IBB. Shortly earning his first star he was appointed head of air force logistics then almost immediately retired. He is still bitter which trickled down to the rest of the Berom.
IBB ever the Maradona would then appoint Lamba Gwom a former Navy paymaster to replace Domkat Bali on the FEC to water down Berom anger. Worthy of mention is the “Langtang Mafia” that apparently came into ascendancy as the Berom star was dimming. They were AFRC members when Jos South and Bukuru LGs separately created to diffuse Jos North. That is why I had earlier mentioned elite dynamics and its overall effect on what is playing on the Plateau.
Without understanding the context and background of this multitude of diverse factors how can a veritable solution ever be crafted out on the Plateau? God bless Nigeria.
Today I start a series from the collection of short stories…
Everyone Hates The English
Check it out on amazon or Smashwords https://www.amazon.com/Friendly-Foes-Sentiments-Yas-Niger/dp/1530486718?qid=1538349815&refinements=p_27%3AYas+Niger&s=Books&sr=1-18&text=Yas+Niger&ref=mp_s_a_1_18
“GET INTO EUROPE NOW!”
That is the bold catchy caption on the face of the small sky blue complimentary card, with those unmistakable loose cluster of tiny white stars of the European Union logo at the top right edge of it. A closer look at the card reveals it also has a specific time and hotel address printed on it, with a room number inscribed on it as well. But that is all, no name or anything more, just the all important promise for a better life, where even African cattle know the grass is surely greener.
Each person that receives the card or merely sees it and can memorize the easy to remember address printed on it, could go over for more details. The time on the card is nine in the evening, well after working hours. Anyone can go and everyone who has considered going to Europe did, that is almost everyone. Even the bulky Mama Cyril, a middle aged mother of seven mostly jobless children and the added responsibility of providing for the nine grandchildren they gave her, wanted to know more. She had intentionally closed her shop late one evening so she could look in on her way home. She liked all she has heard so far and sought more information.
The hotel premises was full and busy. The open air bar shared the parking lot but there were no cars in it. It was packed full with all sorts of people, young and old, looking healthy and well fed, many of them looked obese and rather well off.
They sat everywhere and chatted purposefully. If only the rich drive cars, then some here had deliberately left theirs at home before coming, Mama Cyril thought.
Those wicked rich sorts always want more at the cheapest rates and Mama Cyril was certain they were here too, set on depriving the poor of this God sent charity.
Only a few were drinking and everyone seemed to be talking to someone else.
Mama Cyril ignored them, snuck round the back and up a short flight of stairs.
Good elderly Christian women like her shouldn’t be seen in ungodly places at dark hours. Idle gossipers will love to give Baba Cyril a new excuse to start yet another fight. The old fool loves entertaining neighbours with his drunken wrestling shows. Allegations of sleeping around will be an effective excuse for her husband of over thirty years, Mama Cyril concedes. So far the two decades long jobless buffoon
relies on claims of being disrespected as the head of the family to ignite quarrels.
The door into the specified hotel room was ajar and surprisingly, there was no queue outside it like she had expected. Mama Cyril looked in and was encouraged
with what she saw. Seated on the side of the bed, attending to two young girls, was an elderly white man. That was a huge relief for Mama Cyril because everyone
knows white people are honest and do not need to cheat poor black folks like rich black people do. Mama Cyril recognized one of the girls as Mimi, the pencil thin
Mama James’s youngest child in their Church choir. Mimi curtsied and greeted Mama Cyril properly and from then on it was simple really. The details Mama Cyril sought came in fast waves and she was soon contented. An hour later, she was hurrying home, singing her favorite Church hymn.
She was happy she came and thankful for Mimi’s assistance in understanding the white man’s explanations. Mimi has always been a smart girl, a very sharp girl. She is the youngest girl to
graduated from the university in these parts and only returned from her mandatory year of national youth service last month. Now little Mimi is soon going away to Europe. If Mama James’s smallest baby goes to Europe, no one will hear the last of
it in the whole community. That shapeless old stick will brag about it forever. Mama Cyril strongly believes wicked angels in God’s heavenly court had conspired to curse her with the worst possible litter of puppies, with most of them inheriting their useless father’s beastly moronic genes. She doesn’t ever heed her own advise on cursing her children.
She only remembers not to, after she does and then forgets to bless them often enough to neutralize the curses. But God knows her thoughts and forgives her words, regardless of their effect. She is reassured.
Her three girls are only good at repeatedly opening their knees to conceive and retrieve off springs for the worst possible fools, while her four boys are a bad mix of gain less dreamers and doers. Half of her children are too selfish to care about anything other than their stomachs and their appearances. It is a nightmare to get most of them to do anything constructive for themselves, let alone somebody else.
This once it looked like the odds were stacked well in Mama Cyril’s favour to get them all to do her bidding. But she could only hope and pray they even listen. Mimi had already paid for her trip to Europe, if anyone in his right mind can call the amount involved payment. The entire cost is incredibly low by all known
reckoning. It costs ordinary folks an arm and leg to travel to Europe properly and the remaining limbs too, if it is legal. Then every bit of pride and dignity goes with
staying on in the white man’s land. This all inclusive offer is as cheap as God’s air.
Candidates don’t need to be educated or have travel documents and if they have
international passports or are graduates, they are advised to leave their certificates behind. They could easily lose them on the long tedious trip to get into Europe. They can always send for the credentials later, when they are safely inside Europe.
Relatives can easily send them over by registered post, when addresses are gotten. The middle aged white man had explained that the low charges only covers
transportation for the long land trip through Niger and Mali, into Libya and onto the Mediterranean coast. Travellers are expected to hold fares for their boat rides
across the sea, which is nothing much. Accommodation in Libya is guaranteed, where the travellers are known as pilgrims. The pilgrims are kept safe in Libya
until their ride across to Italy or Greece is arranged within a week after arrival.
The Libyans play a key role, ensuring Europeans get the impression they hold back the
pilgrims. But they simply keep them safe while they wait for their paid boat rides.
Then what happens next is completely legal and facilitated by the Europeans themselves. Once the boats are halfway across the Mediterranean, the European
patrol boats must rescue them and help them all into Europe. If the pilgrims’ boats make it near the European shores they are advised to disable their motor boats or puncture their rubber dinghies and wait to be rescued. It is essential they are rescued so that they get treated with more compassion. All the pilgrims are simply welcomed with warm clothes, food and medicine. The cutest Europeans girls welcome them with flowers and hugs at the ports. European governments will give them official documents to classify them as refugees and no one will reject them or deport them because it is against international law to send refugees away. The timing is just right and the public opinion in Europe is still favourable towards the
pilgrims. The world is in turmoil and an opportunity is there to take advantage of.
Mimi helped the much older white man explain things to Mama Cyril. It has never been this easy, cheap or legal for Africans to get into Europe, not since the
abolition of slave trade many centuries ago. With the estimated amount needed by each person, Mama Cyril could easily afford to send all seven of her children, and
she is just a poor trader in the local market. Praise God for all his bounties. She just needs to secure the hefty loan she is eligible for, from her market thrift
and credit cooperative society, which she had been putting off.
She had originally planned to access the credit, combine it with the money she has been saving and buy a plot of land to build a house for her large family. But sending her children to Europe is a bigger and better investment, multiplied into seven places.
For thirty years the family had rented cheap accommodations and a few more years of doing so will make no difference, when a huge mansion, to be financed
with funds from this European trip is assured. Since Mama Cyril started her grains wholesales business just under two decades ago, the quality of life had improved for her family. They paid their bills and live rather well by local standards. Rent is paid, no one went hungry, every school fees and every hospital bill settled. All her seven children still live at home, with their collective nine children added to the
family’s sum. Yet the family is poor because it lacks the official world average and the plenty they see flaunted around them. There is no crime in wanting much more.
“Who will take care of my children if I go to Europe?” That was Rose’s very first query. Her visibly angered mother eyed her with disgust and contempt.
“Shut up,” Mama Cyril snarled. “Who is taking care of them now?”
Rose hissed and looked away, a usual response in her case. Rose ever struggles to talk to her mother. She is the third girl and fifth child, with attractive looks that didn’t help her much. Rose appears to blossom with a new child every spring. Her good looks tripled the amount of romantic advances she gets, with the appending material favours from men of all ages and calling. Rose is not smart, with her intelligence well below average. Coupled with her inability to exercise restraint in romantic settings once she was of age, Rose had popped out four kids in six years. Baba Cyril’s niece called him with news of the last of Rose’s four pregnancies.
He had laughed and asked her to call his wife instead, to tell her directly.
The long banter over Rose’s fourth pregnancy at home went on for months and hasn’t ended over a year later. Mama Cyril had to put her foot down, the trend simply got out of hand and that is the last child yet. No doubt all four girls had their mother’s fertility
rate. Mama Cyril had seven children in ten years and a doctor had to surgically end her ordeal when everything else didn’t help.
Baba Cyril wasn’t consulted, as usual. Rose turned her attention back to her expensive iPhone, same type the female federal minister of finance has. Baba Cyril saw the badly dressed minister caress hers when she came to make more unfulfilled promises to retrenched employees of the defunct government owned telecommunication company after twenty years of not paying their benefits. Baba Cyril couldn’t make sense of why Rose found it or anywhere really. It never makes sense why children are named in this manner, when their names wouldn’t be optimally used. Mama Cyril expectedly turned to Mammy next. Mammy shrugged and looked down at her well chewed finger nails. Mothers always have the most expectations for their first daughters and the shy
Mammy never met those Mama Cyril had set for her. Mammy was the pioneer, she had the first of Mama Cyril’s nine grandchildren and that was considered her first
of many failings to follow.
Pregnant at sixteen and the favourite child of her father,
the roof rose to heavenly hell and back down again. Back then it felt like the worst possible disgrace for a teenage daughter to have a child in her parents’ house. Then
Mammy’s parents incredibly relived the same scenario over again repeatedly, eight more times over. Now it is the expected norm for the girls in the family.
“I will go with Steve,” submitted Mammy. Steve is just two, Mammy’s second
and last contribution to the haul of grandchildren Mama Cyril caters for, alongside her seven children and their hopeless father. Steve has autism and is a handful.
Mama Cyril nodded, proud to see that Mammy is finally living up to her expectation. Mama Cyril hastily interpreted Mammy’s decision to mean she is actually thinking about the difficulty Mama Cyril will have with Steve and it is not just the act of a loving mother towards her challenged child. Mammy always had her uses as the family’s somewhat junior mother. She earns some money and contributes to the family’s upkeep. She fries beans cakes and sweet potatoes at the
top of the street, did so every evening for a decade, except Sundays. Mammy will make a wonderful wife yet for some strange reason none of the her numerous courting male customers ever comes forward for her hand in marriage.
* To be continued …
Today is the Independence Day of my dear country, Nigeria.
And the following poem by Abdullahi Marcel E-dris sums up how most Nigerians feel today…
“So they gathered
Plotted nothing but pure evil
How much more to be murdered
This they planned and executed
Many times over
“It’s a tale of misery
The people wonder what they’ve done wrong
Killings and maiming everyday
The blood and tears keeps flowing
The bodies keep piling
The earth tired of swallowing
“Where are those we voted?
Where are the so called “leaders”?
Those who swore to protect the best interest of the people?
Those who blare sirens everyday…
Those driven in tinted vehicles…
Those whose children never face such harsh realities…
Those who take party issues more important than lives lost…
Those who fuel these crisis…
Those who careless who dies…
“Our worries deepens
Our cries louder
Our losses more
Our pain deeper
Our fears bigger
Our doubts fatter
Our faith thinner
Our laughter fewer
Our joy weaker
Our confidence in you almost dead
Is that of action
That which will bring lasting peace
Ease the pain suffered
Heal the wounds covered.
This we ask
This we demand.
Yes, most Nigerians are so sad & scared today…..