When Animals Become First Class Citizens

By EveEden

Dear readers, you are humbly welcome to my country – Nigeria. The former giant of Africa basked in glory until it was stripped off by those who venerated it with such title. Today, the country’s pride is the relics of yesteryears discovery of goldmines and green pastures.

In the ancient days; being a Nigerian comes with so much pride that flaunting our national emblem was done with so much conceit and delight. Then, becoming a Nigerian was the American dream for other African nations (according to my grandparents).

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History records a thousand and one thing the country did for nations such as Ghana, Ivory Coast, Libya, Uganda, Liberia etc (if you want details consult your grandparents or a government text book). Nigeria had respect for humanity. Nigeria was a succor for many humanitarian activities.

The nation was a 911 agent to other African nations.  The fortress of United Nations human rights promulgation for Africa; if I am not hyperbolic is perhaps now championed with slavery from the animal kingdom.

These days it seems animals are the new citizens. They have trended and achieved remarkable stands in the latest history in the country.  Starting with unleashing unfathomable diseases to citizens, rendering many homeless and even becoming wealthier than half of its population is up to a slavery milestone.

If only, we detected the camouflage strategy these animals used in usurping the citizens of its human glory. Perhaps we would have acted.  Do not be amused when I say animals are the new citizens; the anticipated unborn beautiful generation of Nigeria. As once a government student, never had I read anything about Nigeria meddling with some animals but it is happening. My next generation would hear of that story.

These animals first took over our health sector beginning with the Ebola virus disease in 2014. The culprits of the virus were infected fruit bats, chimps and gorillas. A leisure trip to the zoo for those who fancied it became an abolished tradition. The trepidation of the consequences of the EVD was worrisome that practical measure and even silly measures were adopted.  Salt was the new soap. EVD halted the usual handshake practice indicating a sign of peace by the Catholic faith.

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The media knew no other news except EVD. The virus stole the paparazzi from our political sector that was always flowing with unending news. At the end the menace was eliminated in Nigeria. Then came 2015, the invasion of homes especially those cited in rural areas by rats (Mastomys natalensis) causing Lassa fever.

Lassa fever precautions and cure was the new election news. Rat killers made fortunes. This specie of rodent threatened our staple meals; garri, rice, beans etc. Their natural haven- a sack was not conducive for its longevity; lest it would be infested by a rat carrying the virus. Lovers of bush meat delicacies had to press a halt on such eating devotion. With the Lassa fever, rats took to media and rolled a drum beat.

Another tumultuous atmosphere in the health sector was created not by an animal but by an insect in 2016.  The Aedes aegyptica mosquitoes are the species which share the Zika virus. The fear is no longer been beaten by an anopheles mosquito and contracting malaria fever but by Aedes; the Zika virus carrier.

Who are we not to care? We were wary of any mosquito in sight.  Mosquito nets and insects’ repellants became our new home decors. Nobody wants to die not to mention being a living corpse. As once beaten by the mosquito; the motif of its attack is displayed on the skin which attracts stigmatization and excommunication. Then in 2017 monkey pox was ushered in by monkeys. Monkeys just like its devastating health harbinger animals gave Nigerians another reason to be guarded in physical contact with another. Handshakes and hugs were reserved only for the bravely.

These animals killed but not with the rate of its king- cows: sequel to the herdsmen terror. Cows in Nigeria are the new Ak47. No need for a terrorist to splurge hard earned money in procuring bullets and guns. All you need is a cow and you would blossom in eliminating any tribe in the country.  To cap the cow as the king of animals in bloodbath, Nigerians were surprised with a New Year package. 78 people were buried in Benue state on 12th January 2018 to make cows happy.

Aside these unduly deaths, other persons were injured and displaced as they fled from their home lands all in a bid to appease cows.  Cows sent a set of people on exile. I still ponder why these cows are scared to go to the northern part of the country for more blood bath escapades.

Deceptively, I assumed that these animals were in for citizens’ blood as all of its herald must shed blood. I never imagined that a particular animal, a reptile   could share something in common with an Igbo man. I was bewildered. Nothing is impossible in a country where animals break more historical records in 21st century than humans.

A gigantic snake becomes wealthier than half of Nigerians population by gulping a huge sum of 36 million naira in Benue state. Such an amount of money made in a day by an ease action of just swallowing. A friend of mine recently confessed that each time he sits down to swallow a morsel of garri, he quickly remembers how a snake swallowed the huge sum. He suddenly loses his appetite for he has been swallowing garri and has never gotten rich or even trended like the snake.

I just had to advice him to muster up courage and begin by swallowing a thousand Naira per day; to see if he can one day achieve the landmark as the snake. I imagined how the snake did it. Was the currency queued up in small bundles or did the reptile feast on the cash with them in a bag. I am sure no source has divulged if the snake made away with the bag or whatever external material in which the sum was kept.  Where there no officials in the office? Who helped the snake locate the millions? Whilst still having its monetary banquet; no person caught the snake and at least could have raised an alarm. If possibly, beheaded it and saved the rest of the money. These are puzzles that I would never find answers to.

Our national pleas to our spiritual creators are no longer just emancipation from political, ethnical, economic and religious slavery. We have included liberty from all whims and caprices of animals. The trends of these animals have caused a deluge of distress to all concerned.

Our national pleas to our spiritual creators are no longer just emancipation from political, ethnical, economic and religious slavery. We have included liberty from all whims and caprices of animals. The trends of these animals have caused a deluge of distress to all concerned.

From the numerous expenses channeled in curbing them when they reigned on our health sector to the anxious mind perturbed that one day a gorilla might end up vanishing with our national treasures. They are no longer satisfied with just deaths but have joined in looting the Naira currency in such a deteriorating economic state. 36 million naira is more than enough to start my business empire dreams. It can afford to take me to Paris; all expenses paid and with a large sum still left.  The swallowed amount can send many touts off the streets and even salvage our bad roads.

Conceivably, we citizens could declare a war with these animals especially with snakes. No jokes.  If we sweep this matter under our beds, do not be startled if one day we hear that more snakes were caught in central Bank of Nigeria; doing what they know how to do best. Cows would still be bathing with our citizens’ blood; if we don’t devise a means to arrest these animals.  Since the excuse of herdsmen using cows to portray terrorist acts is that they can’t abandon their source of livelihood.

We could say no to beefs, cow skin and any other meat we get from cows.  With that, they would stumble out of business and the real facade behind herdsmen brutality exposed. We can only hope that you, your loved ones and I do not become a victim of these cows and snakes do not turn to our new permanent fund embezzlers.

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