My son’s Social Studies textbook listed a number of Nigerian cultural practices that should be retained and those that shouldn’t. I was surprised when I saw cultism, ritual killings, and bloodletting as some of the Nigerian customs and traditions that should be discouraged. I made a mental note of telling their school headmistress to be mindful of the publishers they patronize but on second thought, I realized this writer is saying what she feels about the country. I believe she thinks those mentioned vices are elements of Nigerian culture. It appears she might be right because, somehow, these vices have found their way into our society and are not planning to leave anytime soon.
Day in day out, we receive bad news about this country. Even though most of them are exaggerated, a lot are true. Just recently a woman was arrested for killing children, pounding them in a mortar, and using their mashed remains to perform rituals for her customers. This sounds insane and out of this world but it is true. She is not the only person arrested for engaging in money and blood rituals. It is becoming a norm, gradually, for people to make money through magic. The age-old tradition of becoming rich through hard work, resilience, diligence, and smartness is gradually giving way to the abracadabra method. The worst thing is that many people no longer believe anyone can become rich without doing these rituals. This is something worrisome and we need to uproot it from our communities before they become fully indoctrinated into our culture.
How about other crimes going on in Nigeria? Of course, every country of the world has crimes it is battling with but we need to talk about ours. Today, Nigeria’s foreign PR is shaky because of fraudsters, especially those that engage in cybercrime. Nowadays, many Nigerians find it hard to get foreign remote works because many international employers are wary of cybercrime. Yes, they know how intelligent Nigerians are but many of them are not comfortable trusting us.
Even we Nigerians don’t really trust one another. This is simply because we have allowed the culture of lies to find its way into our society and we gave it a seat among the elders. Today, traders uphold the ideology that honesty doesn’t pay. You hear things like, “You have to learn how to lie if you want to become a successful businessman.” So what then are we complaining about when the country breeds more fraudsters and crooks since we all encouraged it?
Let us look at the ones currently eating up the whole country: insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen-farmers clash and the rest of them. As outrageous as this might sound, know that none of these vices started overnight; they were birthed, nurtured, and groomed into the monster they have become by us. Insurgency in the Northeast didn’t start all of a sudden. If you don’t know how Boko Haram started, I suggest you research that and see how it was enabled and used by the community and political leaders, respectfully. What about kidnapping as a source of income? Do you remember how the Niger-Delta militants introduced that culture and how it was ignored until it got out of hand? Then we thought they were dealing with expatriates, later with oil companies, and then with the government. We never knew the monster would grow to haunt us all. We didn’t condemn the act then because we felt it was “not our business.” So now that the bandits in the Northwest have discovered this wicked act as a better way of (making money?) banditry, what has been done about it besides a governor throwing amnesty at them and a religious leader demanding for their “blanket amnesty”? Or will this become a tradition also?
There is no need to point out all the vices that are overlooked in this country for it to be understood that they are being accepted into our culture. The only fearful thing is that the younger generation may come up to see them as norms. And when something becomes a norm, it is already part and parcel of that community. Then, it becomes difficult to uproot because the people will identify with and claim it is their way of life. This is why you should do the much you can to make positive changes in your community.