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Published On: Wed, Feb 19th, 2014

Cannibalism versus civilized ethos

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By Abdullahi Musa

Peoples Daily newspaper had cause to write (Feb. 18) on the rampant cases of cannibalism that occur in various parts of the country. It cited as an example a hotel in the South-east where a piece of human flesh was sold as part of the menu for N700 to a man of God. A raid on the hotel revealed two severed human heads, rifles and ammunition.

There are numerous stories relating to cultism that one need not rehash here. But one thing needs to be said: many people believe that cultists, ritualists are highly connected, and are protected from the law. Even if a case goes to court, it will be allowed to drag on for years till people forget about it.

I was tempted to caption this article ‘cannibalism versus national ethos’. But it dawned on me that we have no national ethos in Nigeria. Nigeria’s disparate parts refuse to be united on some common, universal values. Instead, various parts are driven by their cultural norms.

Is it peculiar to the Black race? But we really don’t give a damn about what others think of us. We move about in life with blinkers on. So those who engage in cannibalism and other rituals do not care about the views of external observers. The end, to them, justifies the means. But those who lead us are the ones who should care about our image internationally. That is, if they want to be seen as civilized people. But who cares about civilization? As far as I understand, neither those who govern us nor ourselves care for civilized ethos. Civilized people do not run governments with impunity as we do. Civilized people do not go to war during elections as we do. Our lack of civilization is such that it follows us into our campuses such that cultists turn academic environment into killing fields.

Ironically, neither Islam nor Christianity is able to rid us of these barbaric traits. When you read daily of Pastors duping and raping women on pretext of deliverance from demons in South-West; when you hear of people removing parts from corpses in Hausa in Hausa land, then one may be forgiven that there is an entrenched belief system common to all black men the world over, and it has human sacrifice as its bedrock.

No politician in Nigeria stands for elections without at least a diploma. Many have degrees. But these men and women when they want spiritual assistance they go to the ritualists. They don’t care about the ritualists’ methods. But they have faith in the efficacy of the system. Can one imagine sn Obama or Cameron kneeling naked in shrine seeking re- election victory? The African mind rejects scientific spirit. Our developmental and social problems all start from here.

Abdullahi Musa is reachable on kigongabas”


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