We have reached that epoch of our existence where people do anything doable provided it translates to food. Stealing, ritual killing, kidnapping, deception, lie, prostitution are now “norms” and “values.” No one is safe. One can be defrauded at any moment and under any circumstance. The most innocent looking person might end up being the hardest and most ruthless criminal. What am I saying? To get what to eat, parents do not trust their children anymore; it is also risky for children to trust their mothers in this age. We have come to this miserable point in our national life due to economic hardship. No atrocity, no matter how atrocious, sounds shocking anymore. The only justification is if it can get something down the stomach.
For clarity, in those days, evil people engage in money rituals to make quick money and be known for their wealth. In the present day Nigeria, things have become so critical that rituals are made not to be rich but just to get what to eat. Can we just call it food ritual? If we overcome this hardship one day, we shall be thankful to our Creator. The deceptive palliatives have only added to our woes. Under the disguise to distribute palliatives which will, most likely, not get to me and you, rice and grains were mopped from our markets. We have to pay through the nose to buy a measure of rice, a measure of beans, and a measure of grains.
People are committing suicide. I mean those who could muster some strengths to make it to the suicide tree—with suicide rope in their hands—in the suicide forest. Many died of hunger right in their homes before their love ones. Our rulers keep asking us to be patient as people continue to die while they lavishly envelop themselves in their cocoon of lavishness.
Military takeover here and there. Yet no lesson was learnt, is learnt, and shall be learnt. They are desperate to see democracy in Niger Republic while the inferno (hunger) at our home fronts continue to overwhelm all of us. They fail to realize that when the cup of iniquity is full, filled to the brim and spills, they will become the next prey to be consumed by the poor. I hope the time will not come but it is fast approaching, encroaching, and advancing.
Maybe our rulers do not know. Perhaps those who caution that they should not be advised in public but only in camera while holding their hands refuse to tell them. Married women now practise trade by barter. I do not mean Garri for Àgbàdo, Tuwo for Dan Wake, or Okpa for Nkwobi. I mean trading and bartering with what exclusively belongs to their husbands for cups of rice or of beans or of grains. For a tuber of yam, for a loaf of bread, or for a few naira notes. In some cases, with the knowledge of their husbands. But what could the helpless husbands do? If you think that is wrong, and indeed it is wrong, the available alternative is to commit suicide or be patient till death arrives. The hunger under this regime kills, it does not show mercy.
What a husband jealously guards because it exclusively belongs to him—and to him alone—has become what he generously gives. Not because he has become so morally bankrupt but because he has to get something into his stomach. We are in a terrible situation, in a pathetic condition, and in a critical state. Should we come over it, we shall thank our Lord.
O my fellow men! This is the time to show mercy. This is not the time, and no time is forever appropriate, to exploit the vulnerability of the vulnerable housewives, the helplessness of the helpless ladies, and the Innocence of the innocent girls. Trading a cup of rice, or any amount of food, for what is between a woman’s thighs is despicable to the core. It invites the Divine Doom and destroys the fabrics of the society. Men must desist.
The great sage of all time once admonished on how to get out of an unsubduable predicament like we are in now. Then he narrated an anecdote and there is a lot to learn from it:
“While three persons were traveling, the night fell and they had to enter a cave in a mountain in order to spend the night. A big rock rolled over and blocked the mouth (entranceway) of the cave. They said to each other: Nothing could rescue you but invoking God with the best deed you have performed (so that God might remove the rock).” One of them said, ‘O Almighty! My parents were old and I used to go out to collect wood. On my return I would milk (the animals) and take the milk in a vessel to my parents to drink. After they had drunk from it, I would give it to my children, family and wife. One day I was delayed and on my return I found my parents sleeping, but I disliked to wake them up, or to feed my family before them. I waited with the vessel in my hand with my children crying at my feet (because of hunger) until dawn when they woke up and drank their share of the milk. O God! If You regard that I did it for Your sake, then please remove this rock so that we may see the sky.’ So, the rock was moved a bit but it was too small for them to get out.
The second said, ‘O God! You know that I was in love with a cousin of mine, like the deepest love a man may have for a woman, and I tried to seduce her but she refused, until one day she became in need of money, and she came to me for help, so I offered her one hundred and twenty Dinars (gold currency) provided she gives in to my desire, and she accepted. When I sat in between her legs, she said to me: Fear God, and asked me not to deflower her except rightfully (I.e. by marriage). So, I got up and left her, though she was the most desired and beloved to me, and made her keep the money. O Almighty God! If You regard that I did it for Your sake, kindly remove this rock.’ So, the rock was moved a bit but it was too small for them to get out.
Then the third man said, “O God! Once I employed workers, and I paid them, except one who left without taking his due share, so I invested it and from it great wealth developed. After some time that man came and demanded his money. I said to him: Go to those camels, cows, and the shepherd and take them for they are all for you. He asked me not to mock him. I told him that I was not mocking him, so he took it all and left nothing behind. O GOd! If You regard that I did it sincerely for Your sake, then please remove the rock. So, the rock was removed completely from the mouth of the cave, and they came out walking.”
Nigerian men who have what to give at this critical time should give for the sake of God and humanity. They should not seize this moment as “opportunity” to satisfy their carnal desires. Yes, you have enough today while some are in need today. It may be the turn of your wives, your daughters, your aunts, your sisters, and even your mothers tomorrow who will be in need. Do you like that they should be abused the way you abuse others?
Dear President Tinubu. I learnt there is another coup in Gabon, hope our military men are battle ready. You may wish to force democracy down their throats as poverty continues to send to graves those you were elected to serve. We shall all account for our deeds before our Creator. But this is the condition of some Nigerian housewives—trading what is between their thighs for what to eat.
The great sage who narrated the anecdote above was Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessing be Upon Him). May Allah ease our affairs.