Opinion Corner

CURTAILING BLOOD-MONEY SYNDROME IN NIGERIAN YOUTHS; EDO STATE IN PERSPECTIVE

By Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa

In a clime where pensioners are not paid as at when due, civil servants are often owed their basic salaries, teachers have become laughing stocks and unemployment has skyrocketed, it is easy to abandon time-tested positive behaviorism and embrace sheer survival tactics. Therefore, the need to re-organize landlords associations, street meetings, age groups and other community structures upon reawakened moral consciousness, supported by local government administrations in the state would go a long way to help in the reduction of this set-back.

 

Blood money may be money paid to the family of a murdered person as compensation or money paid to a hired murderer. In the sense in which it is herein discussed, it is largely a reference to ritualistic killing of a person in order to propitiate a deity, believed as capable of miraculously providing stupendous wealth to the worshippers of such deities.

It is an ancient practice which severely diminished with the advent of modern governments and religious practices, especially those of Christianity. As western civilization took its root in primitive societies, such practices took the back burner and became less noticeable in our societies.

What is therefore responsible for the resurgence of this primitive throwbackism? It is debatable whether anyone can in one piece, X-ray all such reasons. However, a few factors can be summarily identified.

First, is the collapse of family morality or value. Growing up in those days, we had strict family supervision about our characteristic mannerism. The family was not only the nuclear or extended family, but the whole community in which a child was raised.

It was difficult to expend a kobo that is unaccounted for as a child without facing serious sanctions. It was a taboo to steal. Your parents would expose you and surrender you for public shaming with black charcoal rubbed on your face and snail shells tied around your neck.

You would be paraded round your neighborhood. It was that bad. Today, families have surrendered such moral requirements in their communities and have succumbed to the deprivation and want imposed upon them by years of public maladministration.

In a clime where pensioners are not paid as at when due, civil servants are often owed their basic salaries, teachers have become laughing stocks and unemployment has skyrocketed, it is easy to abandon time-tested positive behaviorism and embrace  sheer survival tactics.

Therefore, the need to re-organize landlords associations, street meetings, age groups and other community structures upon reawakened moral consciousness, supported by local government administrations in the state would go a long way to help in the reduction of this set-back.

Second is Globalization. This has had its effects on ritualism in our society. With improved technology and ostentatious lifestyle, a new greed pattern has emerged in the society. Young men and women who are in a hurry to enjoy this new lifestyle without the corresponding means of living have developed a new desperation which has no bounds.

They want to live in castles, drive flashy cars and use the latest In the I-phone and Samsung series. They identify other greedy elements of the western world and feast upon their greed. In this greed versus greed battle they leave no stone unturned.

From 419 (advanced fee fraud), they now operate Yahoo-plus, which relies on ritualism to hoodwink their victims quickly and totally. In this direction, they have become the biggest patrons of ritualism.

They have created opportunities for heartless and ungodly youths to embrace crass killing  and desecration of the human being as a means of living. Assorted body parts are sold to them to appease the imaginary deity of money.

As a reward, they are honored by our society with political party tickets to contest elections, front row seats in places of religious worship, various social awards for merit and bogus chieftaincy titles conferred on them.

This must stop. Our society must learn to honor only hard working men and women and shun dubious riches. The political parties must desist from embarrassing their reputation by selling their tickets to all manner of people.

Unless this is done, the urge to seek wealth in this method to gain attention in this society would not stop. Third is a related development to one of those earlier discussed. It is the acceptance of prostitution as a legitimate means of income.

Although, reputedly the oldest business in the world, it has been afflicted in this clime by a wave of voodooism. This naturally comes with rituals as many practitioners believe that they can only prosper in this game in foreign land with supernatural strength.

The sponsors themselves subject their wards to all sorts of rituals and their wards in turn seek survival with the same or more extensive rituals by slaughtering animals and humans alike. This is a huge quagmire often attributed to poverty inflicted by the government on otherwise innocent citizens by its failure to create an economic atmosphere for people to do their best for themselves .

We must discourage this. Young men must stop being gigolos and running around such women as a means of livelihood. They help to trigger the urge by more women to engage in this in order to savor power and importance in our society.

Fourth, we all know the role of the churches and the emphasis on miracles. We know how they require you to sow a seed without caring where the seed money comes from. Several pastors have been arrested in connection with rituals involving human parts.

Need I say more, than to admonish the Christian community and other religious groups to heal thyself and expose their rotten potatoes by themselves for the good of all and to the Glory of God.

Fifth, the police are another cardinal reason for the sustainability of ritualism. Many ritual gurus are known to the police. The affinity between them often leads many of such persons to enjoy police protection instead of arrest and prosecution.

Some of these dubious people are often seen guarded by smartly dressed policemen while attending public occasions. Why would others not be interested in such flashy lifestyle, if their participation in ritualism would earn them enough to enjoy such prestigious privilege? I can’t see why.

Sixth, the government itself must realize that it is the catalyst of increased ritualism in this society.  They are unable to provide jobs for the public and cannot even create the environment for people to survive with their innate talents.

People are forced to send their kids to good private schools which cost a fortune, following the collapse of public schools. They construct borehole to get water. They acquire generator sets or Invater sets or even solar systems to generate energy for their use.

They provide themselves with security by employing guards. Many contribute funds to maintain public roads for their use. While these are going on, elected officers and public servants are living large. Many are moving from rented apartments to architectural masterpieces with roof top swimming pools.

Some import red wine from Australia and South Africa. Yet, their constituents are living in penury. Why would they not be desperate to survive? If blood money would aid their survival, they would shamefully and regrettably embrace it.

In conclusion, we must therefore take a hard look at the way we have operated our society in recent times and accept the need for empirical change of attitude. Not the hypocritical type of do what I say not what I do. Let the family lead the way.

Let the church follow. Let the government know that it is next to God on earth and they have a duty to make life comfortable for all who have surrendered their personal sovereignty to the State in return for the protection of their lives, properties and the right to pursue happiness. Then and only then, will the scourge of human blood money ritualism pale into deep insignificance in our polity.

Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa is a Lawyer and former member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives (1999-2011).

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