10 WAYS TO KEEP YOURSELF OUT OF DANGER DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON

We are in the ember months and people’s evil embers are beginning to burn by this time of the year. I don’t know why wicked Nigerians like to do rituals during this period and I don’t bleeding care but I care about my life and yours. I want to be here next year, still writing and I would be blessed if you also with me, enjoying my work.

From now on, everything will begin to happen so fast; there will be a lot of movement from here to there and that means, more mayhem and more accidents. So I tried to put together the following tips to help you stay out of danger as you go about your business.

  1. 1.       Do not board a strange car

For those of you travelling by road, make sure you go to a reputable motor park and board a car from a reputable, registered transport service. Many people, in the name of cheaper transport fares have died foolishly. They leave the park and stand by the roadside, seeking cut-rate transport and most times end up in the hands of ritual killers. Please, if the fare will be an issue, start saving up from now or better still, don’t make that trip. Nigeria is not as it used to be in those days when you can hitchhike and get away with it. Biko, let’s learn from oyibo films.

  1. 2.       Do not pick a strange person

Okay, so you’re the one driving and somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, you see someone stopping you and begging for a lift and the angel in you stirs you to help the person… I would advise that you do not do it. A story is told of a family, who out of the goodness of their hearts stopped to help a pregnant woman and they got accosted by armed robbers who robbed them, took one of their sons and forced them to drive off. When they returned a while later with highway policemen, they discovered their son’s severed head and there was no trace of the robbers/ritualists and the fake preggie bitch. Please, don’t pick anyone, unless the person is dying. And that one would have to be a question of conscience. If the case is that severe, drive to the nearest police checkpoint and draw their attention to the person needing help.

  1. 3.       Run a quick ‘sharp eye’ check on the passengers

If you’re about to board a taxi or bus inside or outside town, please do look carefully before you get in. It would surprise you what your eyes would catch when you take just a minute to study the faces you’re going on a trip with. Our problem is we are always in a hurry and don’t observe our environment and often times, end up in deep trouble. Look for shifty eyes, shifty hands, restless demeanor, doped expressions and the like. Granted, many Nigerians look worrisome (to put it mildly) and their faces can be unreadable but it won’t hurt to be a little extra careful. Ladies, make it a rule not to enter a car or bus that has only men in it. I know that these evil people also use women to do their dirty deeds but some of them are stupid enough to show their hands before they even start and you can use that to your advantage.

  1. 4.       Tyre Check

Yes, do check the tyres of the vehicle you’re using before you leave. It is very, very important. Some of these drivers live life on the edge and because they keep coming out unscathed, they care not about the state of their vehicles because it is cheaper for them that way. Check the tyres and draw everyone’s attention (including other passengers) to anything you find amiss.

  1. 5.       Avoid fast transport services

Everybody likes to get to their destination on time but nobody wants to get there dead. There are road transport services that are known for flying round the country. Please, do avoid them. Flying is for planes and not cars. Pick a transport company that is very particular about safety. If you somehow find yourself in one of the notorious cars, where it is very obvious that the driver is high on something, please avoid shouting angrily at him as this may fuel him to act more erratically. In a calm but firm voice, tell him to slow down and take things easy. Tell him you’re impressed with the way drives and that he’s really cool and blah, blah, blah, but you’re not so sure about the other motorists on the road and that they might be the ones to run into him carelessly. If he still won’t listen, ignore him, remain calm and pray you get to your destination safely.

  1. 6.       Don’t do James Bond

This is not my prayer for you; far be it from me to even imagine it on your behalf! But e dey happen. Somehow you got accosted by robbers or you entered one chance, abeg, don’t argue with them or try to escape when you’re seeing a gun pointed to your face. Just give them what they want. Well, unless you’re Jet Li and can fight off all of them. If they ask for your phone, don’t even demand for the SIM, just pass it to them and avoid looking in their eyes. Please! I lost a neighbor and a very good friend to this foolishness. They got the cash he had and they were leaving but he felt compelled to run after them to fight the one with his money and that was how he got shot and died, leaving his young wife with two children. Abeg, no do James Bond. Leave it for the movies.

  1. 7.       T.Y.O.P

Going for a party to mingle with total strangers? Take Your Own Poison. If it’s an open bar, then that’s good but if it’s not, make sure you avoid drinks already poured and handed to you. Parties today are a good place to rob and rape people. Be warned.

  1. 8.       Don’t drink and drive

We all know this, but surprisingly, some of us act like we don’t. Someone was relating to my hubby and I how high he gets when he drives, that all he sees are binary digits on his windscreen. You don’t even have to get to that point to know it’s bad. If you’re the one driving, don’t drink. Buy your drink and take it home or get someone sober to drive for you. I lost my best friend to this and it still hurts like hell. I don’t want to lose you too. The alcohol companies never shut down when their victims die because they believe they sold their products to adults. Act your age and stay alive.

  1. 9.       Play Safe

Did you think I wasn’t going to bring this up? Come on, it’s the holidays. People save up a lot of money for this time of the year and get bonuses and loads of gifts. This generally means people are happier at the end of the year (or either really depressed). Either way, they are vulnerable to a lot of things, sex being top on the list. Caution is thrown to the wind and so are people’s good judgments. Please, use a condom. Studies show that the most common birthday is September 16, meaning that most babies are conceived during the Christmas holidays. If you’re not ready to be changing diapers by this time next year, hold bodi.

  1. 10.   Trust your instincts

Ever ignored that tiny voice and paid dearly for it? Please, don’t try it this time around. When it tells you not to get into that car or pick that girl, then don’t do it. In 2002, I had to take a taxi from Jabi park in Abuja to Jos. While at the park, I met this really good looking guy and his driver who were on their way to Jos. They were at the park to get some stuff before heading up. So while they waited for the arrival of the stuff, the guy and I got chatting and believe me, I was falling for him by the minute. Finally, when it was time for him to leave, he offered to take me to Jos. Now, all I had on me was my transport fare and a hundred bucks. I imagined how much I would be saving, plus, his lovely company in a sleek car all the way to my doorstep, and the idea seemed kind of inviting. However, I didn’t know this fine guy from Adam and I didn’t want to risk my life, so I declined, took his number and we parted ways. Anyway, we hooked up in Jos the next day and continued where we left off but he respected me for trusting my instincts. I keep imagining if he wasn’t what he said he was and I had ended up in a high priest’s shrine. *imagining…* God forbid!

Okay darlings, please beware, be smart, be careful, be safe and don’t drink and drive. Trust that small voice all the time and with time, it becomes a very big and wise voice that guides your thoughts. Ladies, that Maybach might not make it back, so avoid being blinded by all that glitters. Nothing is worth your life.

Before I leave, a couple of friends and I are doing some charity work with sick babies at LUTH this Christmas. It’s nothing too much but it does go a long way. If you want to join us or if you want to donate, even as little as a thousand bucks, please email me at oskedascripts@gmail.com or admin@blogemcity.com

Thanks!

The Stilettos [Secondary School Tales]

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Shorter days, longer nights… darkness seemed to arrive early for the girls in Fatima Dorm during the harmattan season of 1989. But the night was never truly dark for them. After food and night prep, the girls always gathered around Omasan. She was a tall, slim girl who was beautiful, boisterous and loved to entertain them with her up-to-date dance moves. Of course, it was against the rules to dance to or listen to secular music but she had her little tape player with her. It was one of those funny things that had a handle one had to wind before any sound came out. She also had a mix tape of the latest disco and dancehall songs and taught the others the moves all the cool guys and girls in America loved boogying to. Her father was rich and they had a second home in Chicago where her elder sisters lived. They were the ones that took her to the disco halls and introduced her to boys and taught her things girls her age shouldn’t know. She was 17 going on 30. She had seen all, heard all, done all. School would have been hell for the girls in Form Four if she had not been part of it.

Omasan also dominated the world around her during classes. The boys wanted her, juniors looked up to her with an adoration reserved for role models and the teachers doted on her because she always made teaching worth the effort with excellent grades. But no one knew that her dark side was as real as the light. She kept it hidden so well, masked by her ever lively persona. No one had ever seen her cry or sad. She had been seen on occasion get really angry. The first time was when a boy had made a derogatory remark about her in class. Omasan left the section apportioned to girls, marched to the boys’ desk which he shared with two others, and flung his face with a nasty slap. The second time was when Miss Boma, their math teacher, had called her spoilt and rotten and ordered her to remove her earrings because they were, in her opinion, too flashy and carnal. Omasan objected not and obeyed the woman but turned into a raging bull the next day when she saw the same earrings adorning the woman’s ears. There were different versions of the type of words Omasan said to her in class that day but the 17 year old was suspended for two weeks for her rudeness to the woman. No one gave Omasan an award for her behavior but it was glaringly obvious that Miss Boma had gone too far.

A tall, strikingly beautiful woman, Miss Boma made Omasan her worst enemy. She hated everything else too—her fellow teachers for being too lenient, the students for being unruly, the principal for not running the school the way she envisioned and life itself for dumping her into this miserable terra firma where men used women as they pleased. In conclusion, Miss Boma was everyone’s worst nightmare and she made no apologies for being the person she was. Easily heard a mile away because of the rhythmical sound of her pointy stilettos, a noisy class in a flash turned into a group of students with heads bent studiously going through their textbooks. Not a peep would be heard except the sound of the kois-kois, kois-kois, kois-kois that usually announced her coming. She would stop in the middle of the class, place her hand on her waist and with wide eyes fish for a poor victim to unleash her terror on. Omasan was always her quarry but the girl took it all in and waited patiently for a perfect moment to put the fear of God in the woman because it seemed the first assault of curse words she had rained on the mean creature had not gotten to her. Someone needed to put the woman in her place.

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“Lights out!” one of the prefects called but the girls in Yellow Room didn’t bother to obey. They were having a dance fest around Omasan’s corner as she taught them the Butterfly dance in rhythm to Milli Vanilli’s Baby Don’t Forget My Number. However the party was cut short as sounds of girls from the opposite block running into their rooms in a frenzy interrupted them. In seconds, everyone dispersed, lights went out and not one soul was seen across the square that demarcated both blocks. On Omasan’s block, the whispers “she’s coming! she’s coming!” spread round like a ripple until someone switched off the lights. Nonetheless, Omasan’s music remained playing.

“Off that thing!” someone said in a sharp tone and Omasan picked her cassette player and angrily settled into her bed. She watched the girls running to their bunks to hide like mice scurrying from a cat and she sighed. The scene was never different; every night, it was the same thing. Just yesterday, the cat had appeared unannounced during siesta and both junior and senior girls scampered to their rooms and in their headlong flight to safety, left buckets rolling on the floor, wet clothes strewn around and the tap by the garden running in full force.

The cat, Omasan’s staunch enemy, Miss Boma, walked into the dormitory, stood on the concrete slab where the running tap was situated and called out in a ghostly voice to every girl born of a woman to appear in front of her before the sweat she wiped off her brow dropped to the ground. There was no little rout as the teenagers rushed out and lined up before her.

Miss Boma stood tall and beautiful, her jerry curls shining under the sun and her bright, red lips curled in a crooked smirk. She was the Nigerian version of Vanessa Williams but no one called her that for fear of swelling her head.

Miss Boma strolled from left to right before the girls, tapping her cane in her hand in rhythm to the sound of her shining blue stilettos which seemed to be in a vortex that protected them from the splattering tap. Each time the drops of water came in contact with the pair, they immediately slid down as if scared of their shining blue surface.

“I can see that you girls are beginning to grow horns! No, some of you are growing testicles! Do you know what testicles are?”

She waited but no one dared answer.

“Boys have them and that is why they behave like pigs and goats and dogs! And it is a shame that some of you now have those same testicles, like Omasan!” She pointed the cane at Omasan and the girl rolled her eyes exasperatedly. She knew the gathering wouldn’t end without her name being mentioned, so she braced herself for more trouble.

“Omasan believes that her spoilt, heathen, American lifestyle should be shared with the rest of the school and some foolish girls have decided to follow her. Monkey see, monkey do, ehn? Well, let me let you know that I am the only one here you monkeys should be obeying! You should be afraid when you hear the sound of my shoes from afar and none of that lady kois-kois I keep hearing from your lips these days. My name is Miss Boma! Not lady koi-kois or Aunty. Miss Boma! And these are stilettos! STI-LE-TTOS! Do you hear me?!”

“Yes ma!”

Miss Boma pulled back with surprised satisfaction at the quick chorused response and fixed her stare on Omasan.

“Omasan, I put you in charge of… What are you girls supposed to be doing now?”

“Siesta!”

“Okay, everybody, just go to sleep.”

The girls weren’t sure they heard her correctly.

“SIESTA!!!”

The scrambling back to the dorms began…

“STOP!”

The girls stopped…

“Do you have testicles? Walk like ladies to your rooms and Omasan?”

Omasan turned around as the girls took slow steps back inside.

“Come here!”

Omasan dragged her feet to her.

“Does something seem out of place here, Miss America?”

Omasan looked at her blankly.

“Buckets littered around, clothes on the ground, the tap behind me running… What do you think should be done?”

“Call the girls back to clean their mess?”

Miss Boma smiled, looked to the sky briefly and walked to Omasan with slow, deliberate steps. “I give you ten minutes to clean this place.”

“But ma–”

“TEN!”

Omasan squeezed her lips together to ward off tears.

“Oh, she’s going to cry. Hop to it before I tear you to pieces!”

Omasan turned around and Miss Boma slapped her cane on her bum with a nasty swack .

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Lady kois-kois is married to sa-tan

Back in the day she was a man

with testicles inside her pants

she has no heart because it has been damned

lady kois-kois…

“Shhh! She’s here!” Omasan’s bunk mate whispered but Omasan continued her song in rhythm to Miss Boma’s approaching steps. In her head, she already knew how many steps it would take the witch to get to her corner so she kept on with the song until Miss Boma approached her and stood over her head.

“Did I hear humming around here just now?”

Omasan’s eyes were shut tight.

“Omasan!”

The girl sprang up.

“Clean your corner; it’s dirty! The rest of you, go to bed!”

Kois-kois—kois-kois—kois-kois… Miss Boma tapped away.

Lady kois-kois is married to sa-tan

Omasan resumed and the girls burst into laughter so loud they did not realize the kois-koising had stopped.

“Oh God, she heard, she heard, she heard! She’s coming back!”

Bunks squeaked, blankets ‘whooped’ and the room fell dead silent again but Omasan remained awake. She was cleaning her bed as the moonlight from her window illuminated her corner. They said something snapped in her that night, that a familiar demon that often got her into trouble kept her singing that song. It danced to the rhythm in her head as it pulled the strings of her tongue, forcing her on. It cared not that Miss Boma was standing behind her, pure wrath sketched on her features as she listened to every word.

Omasan straightened her bed sheet and went into a crawling position to lie on her bed but the enraged Miss Boma landed both of her flattened palms on her back and an unwelcomed pain spread over Omasan’s vertebrae with a cackling ripple and she screamed out. The girls peeped from their blankets as Miss Boma dragged her prey out of her bed and pushed her with cane lashes out of the Yellow Room.

“So I am married to satan, ehn? You will see what that means! Useless child! Today, we will go and visit him! Oya, be going!”

She led her to the garbage collection room outside the dorms where the girls usually dumped the day’s dirt for the cleaners to clear the following morning. The dirt was often carried to a place called Satan’s Hill, a quarter of a kilometer away from the dormitories and dumped into a deep gully that separated the school from the cold, huge mountains that towered above the entire expanse. No one had crossed the gully for fear of an alleged ‘bottomless pit’ hidden from the sight of the human eye that swallowed everything that went into it but never filled to the brim.

“Oya, start by carrying that drum!”

Omasan looked at the plastic drum Miss Boma’s cane was pointing at. It was teeming with roaches and maggots, and saliva filled her mouth immediately.

“Quickly, pick it up!”

“Please ma,” Omasan begged, “I am sorry.” She knew she had no option. If Miss Boma reported her to the principal, it would be her last strike and she would be expelled and expulsion meant living in Nigeria with her mother.

“My friend, pick it up!”

Omasan searched for the demon that had encouraged her earlier but it was on its usual hiatus. In tears, she lifted the drum and swearing under her breath, made her way to the hill.

The scariest stories she had heard about Satan’s Hill were of the wailing, restless souls of an aborted baby that had been cast in the bottomless pit and a former head girl who had missed her step and came crashing down into that same pit. They said their bodies were never found and that at certain times at night, one could hear their wails carried by the wind, reaching as far as the main school gate which was over two kilometers away from the hill. Omasan had never believed those stories.

Sweating, despite the freezing Harmattan weather, Omasan finally reached the peak of Satan’s Hill and brushed away the maggots that were squirming around her hand. She pushed the drum and emptied its contents down the hill. A strange animal hooted in the distance and both ladies shivered.

“Pick the drum, let’s go back and get the others,” Miss Boma ordered and waited for Omasan but Omasan remained standing. “I said pick the drum!”

Omasan felt it before it filled the large veins that stood on the sides of her neck with its rage. Usually, it made her stomach churn before it began its work but now she felt no churning, just her veins pumping and her chest heaving. Her demon had taken over fully.

Miss Boma slapped her back with her cane. “I said pick the drum, my friend!”

“No!”

“What did you say?”

“I said no! I will not carry any more garbage! In short…” she lifted the drum and threw it over the hill, “to hell with you and I don’t care if they expel me, I will tell my daddy to destroy your life for all that you’re doing to me! You’re a bully!”

Miss Boma burst into laughter, her garbled sound echoing in the darkness as it hit the mountains, bounced off them and spread through the dark trees.

“You will report me to your daddy? And what will he do, child?” she laughed again. “What will he do that he has not done before? Your daddy used and discarded me like a piece of rag because you and your sisters made sure of that! Oh, Omasan, light of her daddy’s eyes,” Miss Boma pushed the teenager’s lips with her cane. “You are just a child and do not know what it means to have your heart broken by a man, to have him promise you forever only to abandon you a few weeks to your wedding, to have him give you a taste of the blessed shores overseas and snatch them off your hands before you can even breathe!” the woman said breathlessly, her hand in the air like one looking at something only her could see. There was pain in her eyes and if only Omasan was old enough, she would have understood it. All she saw was a woman who wanted to take the place of her mother and the riches that belonged to her and her siblings.

“Do you know what type of shame I faced? The pain I went through? The sleepless nights I shared with the devil who was telling me to kill myself every time?  Do you have any idea?! No, you don’t because it was all your fault. Your daddy told me specifically that marrying me will tear you apart because you are still very attached to your mother and the divorce was still hard on you. You are the reason I have no husband today. You!” she slapped her cheeks with the cane. “So why are you surprised that I am now satan’s wife sent to give you hell? Ehn? Why are you surprised? My friend, will you march back to the dorm and get the remaining drums before I beat the America out of you!”

Omasan shook in the cold, crying silently. Her rage was still seething beneath the surface but it lacked its initial venom because her demon had disappeared again. It hated when she was weak; it feasted on her pigheadedness and ire. Miss Boma had struck a cord and she couldn’t fight on, not with those words she had just heard. Defeated, she started off to the hostel first and had walked a good distance when Miss Boma called her back. “Come and remove my stilettos from this thing!”

The girl sighed and walked back. She looked at the woman’s feet and remembered the shoes. They actually belonged to her, a birthday present from her sister. Two new pairs of shining beauty but Miss Boma had seized them from her as contrabands and the very next day, wore them to school. The blue ones during the day and the red at night. Omasan never told anyone this.

“Oya, take off your socks and clean the shoes.”

Omasan noticed that the shoes were stuck in a mold of faeces and she fished around for a piece of paper large enough to rest Miss Boma’s feet on.

“Please ma, put your left leg on the paper, let me remove the shoe.

“Push her.”

Omasan heard the familiar voice. Her demon was back again. A feverish pleasure tickled her. She was not alone anymore.

“Push her!” the voice was so stronger and louder that she was scared Miss Boma heard it.

“Push her!”  The voice urged on ravenously.

“Remove your socks and clean it, my friend! Do you want to sleep here?” Miss Boma barked as she looked around her uneasily. The air had become eerily still. The trees stopped swaying and a dark cloud shadowed the moon. “Hurry!”

PUSH HER! PUSH HER! POOOOOOSH HER!!!

And without dithering, Omasan sprang up and jabbed Miss Boma with both hands on her chest, sending her rolling down backwards into Satan’s Hill. The woman screamed in sheer terror, clawing the air but she fell fast downhill. Omasan stood at the top and watched as the helpless creature tumbled for what seemed like a hundred times before she hit a dried leafless tree at the base of the gully that broke not only her fall but her left leg with a disturbing, cracking sound. After that, she simply disappeared into the darkness.

© Sally

LET ME BE A BOOK! by Uche Emmanuel Okolo

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I have learnt that the nature of dreams, dreamt today is to be disappointing when it becomes a reality tomorrow. 

I dreamed of becoming a pen, a pen flowing with indelible juice of blue or indigo. A pen marking sheets of flat whitened pulp with calligraphed scribbles. A pen the vehicle to convey deep, wild, free, unabashed and unabated lore and fact through the streets of paper and furthermore into the jungle of mind. A pen, maybe ball point or quill. A pen that soothes itching, spontaneous and radical fingers. A pen beautiful, catching the eyes of many admirers but the disappointment of being the pen is that someday, one day, that indelible ink will cease its flow. 

I dreamed i could be a writer, the eccentric and intelligent creator of fantastic knowledge. A maverick, willfully churning emotions and upsetting notions. A writer, a magician of sorts conjuring fictions and facts using the pen as my wand, using so many different pens to write the destiny of life itself but alas the disappointment of being a writer is that my mortality will reign, I will surely die. 

Now i know what i could be, i could be a book written upon by so many writers using so many different pens. 

I could be a book, words written in sand will be washed away, words engraved in stone will be buried, words written on skin will become parched. Words written on one book may be destroyed! 

Aha! I surely know what i could be, i could be a book printed in many copies, a book translated into many tongues, even if i get destroyed one copy of me or the other will be found in some far off library in Tibet, Rome, Calgary, Antigua or even Calabar. A book i dream to be, i will be.

Aluu- The Other Face of Nigeria

I saw the tears of the oppressed—and they have no comforter; power was on the side of the oppressors—and they have no comforter.

 

There is a general malaise in Nigeria, some form of perverse darkness about this present age. It looms over everything and I’m wondering when or if it is ever going to be lifted. Will the curtains close on this mad drama? Surely we can’t go on like this, because the pale horseman, the one called death has left the edges where the weak and sick and old dwell and is now eating deep into the seams. He swings his sickle and the blood of the young, strong, healthy and innocent overflow. There is no method to the madness that snatches the souls of men these days.

There was once a country but it is no more. Every man is for himself and I really doubt if God is for us all, for men have clearly chosen evil rather than good. For a long time we wondered what sort of animals would strap themselves with bombs and blow up others but we need not look far; the animals dwell amongst us.

There is national outrage against the Aluu community over the deaths of Lloyd, Tekena, Chidiaka and Ugonna. It is only a natural reaction to something so grotesque and barbaric and I cannot stop feeling anger over how a group of normal people turned to coldblooded murderers in plain daylight. However, when I watched that video for the third time and listened carefully to the voices of the murderers in the background, I found I was listening to the voices of normal, everyday people.

Before I go on, I want to state clearly that I condemn the heinous act that went on that day and I do not, in any way sympathize with the people that were behind it.

Now, to the Nigerian reality. Let’s separate ourselves from all sentiments and be honest. That lynching was not the first of its kind in our dear country. It has happened so many times; in fact, merely beating and burning those boys for the alleged stealing of laptops and phones would be an unfair judgment when people accused of stealing a measly stick of cigarette and a tin of tomatoes have been lynched in same manner by angry mobs. I tried to put myself in the shoes of the community members who were tired of the robberies and rape incidents that had left them unsafe prior to that fated day, and I came to the conclusion that I could have easily been one of the crowd. I know I wouldn’t have the heart to harm them or may not have had the balls to stand and watch the gory scene but I don’t think I would have done anything to stop them. On balance, the boys would be complete strangers to me and I would be understandably elated that finally, justice would be carried out. I think I would have hung around for a few minutes, talked about what was happening and how ‘God had caught them’ and when it would become too hard for me to bear, I would find my way and face my business for the day. That is what the average, good Nigerian would do. Some might go as far as calling the police but as long as those boys mean nothing to them, that’s the most help they would offer.

People are condemning the persons that released that video into the internet but I want to commend those persons for doing it. I think it woke a lot of us to see how wicked and evil Nigerians can be. All we need is the right setting and the right motive and we turn into animals in an instant. Frustration, economic depression and the ever-present Nigerian hopelessness have created in us, people who seem happy on the outside, untouched by whatever it is their going through, but in the inside possess angry beasts, waiting to be unleashed upon the slightest provocation. We are quick to bless our neighbor but quicker to lay on him all manner of curses including death should he rub us the wrong way. Why then are we surprised that the constant repetition of the word ‘die’ was coming from the lips of the mob whilst they killed those poor boys? For some, it was not a strange word as they have chanted it regularly in their prayers in church to their ‘enemies’; it was only a matter of time that these enemies were to materialize and prayers became answered.

Lost in a nation where our government has turned the blind eye to the death and carnage of its citizens and their property, we too have become hardened to the bloodbath that has become a norm in our society. For instance, countless lives have been lost in the north and this began way before the Boko Haram menace. I remember going back to Jos from school one holiday in 2001, and seeing the streets scarred with burn marks of people’s bodies, and the story was told how the waters under bridges had run red with blood during that first religious riot. I can go on and on with gory stories of the horrors of just Plateau State alone and if you’ve not heard the true story, you’d be shocked at what I’d tell you. And in case you don’t know, the media is not really allowed to report all it sees, to avoid unnecessary panic and stir emotions that could lead to more killings. I remember a case where three bombs were reported by the media to have gone off one Christmas Eve but the real story had it that nine bombs went off that night. Thank God for the internet. At least eye witness accounts count for something these days. But my problem is, whether we are being protected by our government from knowing the truth or not, how have we reacted to this inhumane extermination that is claiming the whole of Nigeria? How many times have we heard about such deaths and expressed intense outrage? Children have been slaughtered, babies in their mother’s arms, entire families murdered and burnt to death, old and young laid to waste, buried in mass graves and we sigh and make small talk and go on like it is normal. Haven’t we been guilty of rejoicing and thanking God for keeping us alive when others were blown to bits by some suicide bomber far, far away from us? How many of us really do bleed when we hear about these crimes against our brothers and sisters? How many of us honestly remember those innocent lives that have been lost due to man’s inhumanity to his neighbor? I have often wondered how easily it is we sing and dance and clap our hands to God in one end of Nigeria when in the other end, someone is being butchered mercilessly.

But you ask, what are we to do? Do we spend our days grieving for something we cannot change? By all means, no! By all means, we are to remain blissful and upbeat no matter the situation, but by all means we also should start taking those deaths like the way we are taking the deaths of the Port Harcourt Four. We should start crying ‘bloody murder!’ each time one innocent soul is lost. If we keep sitting down and praying for some miracle that may never come for our country and each of us face our own way, one day, that pale horseman will ride close to home and we will feel the same pain those boys’ families are feeling now.

For long, we have lived in a bubble of hope where we look forward to things getting better and there’s nothing wrong with that but the disease that eats us which is worse than a failed state or a useless legal system, is the delusion we allow that blinds us from glaring and painful truths, and has eaten right through our society, cut through our social relationships and have now lodged itself deep in our souls.

Things are not better. You might be richer, she might have found her soulmate, he might have just gotten a promotion, God might have blessed them with the baby they have longed for for years but Nigeria is not any better. It is worse than you and I have known it to be. The blood count rises daily. Fear fills the streets. The one smiling next to you might just lynch you if only he hears the word ‘thief’ used to describe you. All I keep wondering is, what Nigeria would be left for the children to come with the way we’re going? Seriously, who are we kidding here? Is it not time to stop and cry out earnestly till someone, anyone who has the power to change things hears? Or have we given hope entirely that things can’t really get better? Yes, it’s end times and things may only get worse but while we yet breathe, can’t we try to do something little in any little way we can? Life has dealt us many blows as Nigerians but let’s stop hoping in a system that fails us constantly and start fanning the smoldering fires of the dormant power instilled in every one of us.

It begins by changing our mentality. A man who does not want to accept the fact that he’s sick can never get himself treated. We also erroneously say we’re better than others and therefore have no reason to complain but I ask: If your neighbor has AIDS and you have Hepatitis B, do you dance around that you have a better chance at life or do you hurry on to treat yourself before you die? Imagine what story we would be telling today if the Nigerians in the Aluu community (which are a sample of all of us) had a different mindset about the sanctity of life.

In conclusion, I beg and plead again that we change. Let’s do away with the tribal and religious biases. No one’s asking anyone to take up weapons to fight the on the streets or protest to the government but we have a serious malady and an inner cleansing is desperately needed. Do not be silent when another soul is callously taken. Pretend it’s a family member lost. Write about it, blog about, tweet it, share it on your Facebook wall, share the pictures. Let’s stop being numb. Let’s not stop talking. The powers that be may not hear us and nothing may change but within, it changes our mentality and may spread to people around us with far-reaching implications than we can ever imagine. Get mad at this madness before the madness gets to you.

Rest in peace, Chidiaka, Loyd, Ugonna and Tekena. Rest in peace our brothers and sisters who have died in the North due to man’s cruel nature especially the recent Mubi 46 and Riyom 14. Eternal rest to the Dana Air victims who should have not died if it weren’t for the Nigerian factor. And finally to all who have been murdered senselessly, painfully and mercilessly, rest in peace. We will not forget.

Aturmercy

“Mummy can I have a bubble bath next time” Nkechi asked

“Sure sweetheart, but its best we do that in evening instead of morning, ok.”

“Ok, mummy.”

“Come closer so I can put lotion on your body.”

“Now go put on your panties.”

“Nkechi! Why are your panties still hanging around your thighs? Do I have to do everything for you? You are almost five you know. Come on! Quickly pull up your panties!” her mother chided.

“You pull up your breasts! They are falling down” Nkechi replied laughing whilst pointing at the not so firm breasts. Her wrapper which was tied loosely around her chest had gotten loose, falling to the ground.

“Why…you little imp! Where did you get a mouth like that?”

“But mum! Dad says I get everything from you” Nkechi replied in her sweet voice.

“Don’t you dare talk back at me! Where did you learn…

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