To NatGeo: A Story Idea on Nigerian Animals

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REUBEN ABATI
TUESDAY WITH REUBEN ABATI, Email: reuben.abati@thisdaylive.com and abati1990@gmail.com

TUESDAY WITH REUBEN ABATI

Dear Editor, NatGeo,

I am a great fan of your magazine, National Geographic, and your sister platform, National Geo Wild, and your coverage of natural history, particularly the behaviour of animals in the wild. I must commend you and your organization for the high level of commitment, attentiveness to details and professionalism consistently and habitually displayed in your various reports both in print and the broadcast form.

As a journalist of many years standing myself, I will like to suggest to you and your various channels, a story idea that you may probably find interesting, for professional reasons and for reasons of corporate social responsibility. Kindly pardon my presumptuousness in this regard, but I crave your understanding. Knowing how busy your schedule is likely to be, I will try to be quick and as specific as possible.

This is about my country, Nigeria, a land of over 900, 000 sq. kms., with rich biodiversity and ecosystem, and definitely the largest market for both human and natural resources in Africa. Since May 2015, when a new government took over power at the centre in our country, I have observed a curious and intriguing change in the behaviour of animals in Nigeria, suggestive of a certain transmutation, or perhaps transformation within the animal ecosystem, resulting in patterns of behaviour and interaction that may be of interest to your readers and viewers.

The most recent incident in this regard and the trigger for this letter is the current news in Nigeria about how a snake, described as a mysterious snake, has reportedly swallowed a sum of N36 million ($100k) belonging to the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). JAMB is the national regulatory body in charge of admissions into tertiary institutions, very much like UCAS in the United Kingdom. This incident occurred we are told, in the process of the attempt by JAMB to audit the accounts of its zonal headquarters. In Makurdi, one Ms. Philomena Chieshe who has now been suspended, allegedly could not account for the said N36 million, being part-proceeds from the sale of forms for students seeking university admissions. When interrogated, she reportedly said her maid had confessed to the missing money having been taken by a mystery snake.

As a media channel that reports animal behaviour, this must be of great interest to you. I don’t know whether this happens in other parts of the world, but here in Nigeria, we now seem to have a variety of snakes that are attracted by the smell of raw cash, and which feed on vaults and bags of money. A documentary on this new variety of snakes, and a proper documentation of the genus and peculiarities would be good for filming. What exactly does the smell of national currency do to snakes? How nutritious is paper currency to snakes? The JAMB Registrar, Professor Isi-aq Oloyede who has turned JAMB, for the first time in its existence, into a revenue generating body by plugging all loopholes within the system, and without increasing any fees, is insisting that this is a case of corruption and that he will get to the root of it. The Professor probably may not understand the way of snakes and the new variety in Nigeria. He is a good man and I like him. I wouldn’t want him to be bitten by snakes.

Your investigative intervention should assist him. Your experts and investigators can deploy the tools of science and investigative journalism to seek out these snakes and catch them in action, and document for your numerous patrons, this new scientific development. Right now in Nigeria, we are preparing for the general elections scheduled for 2019. We need information and knowledge because if the Makurdi snake gets away with the N36 million, the same snake and its family could return in 2019 to swallow ballot boxes and papers and thus compromise Nigerian democracy.
I am, however, tempted to believe that the snakes in Makurdi may have become quite audacious, in reaction to a recent declaration, under this same political administration, by a high-ranking state official, that he bought two houses in Dubai from the sale of snakes! Are snakes vengeful? Is this nemesis? Do they resent being sold for profit? Do snakes have the capacity to feel and settle scores? Could the sale of snakes, with the profit of houses in the UAE by a senior official, have motivated some snakes in Benue state to swallow money meant for the national treasury? What does the process of swallowing, and the digesting of money by snakes entail? Many young Nigerians and I believe other persons across the world will learn a lot from this.

I therefore hope you will consider this a very urgent subject for your consideration and editorial intervention. Sir, the truth is that animals all over Nigeria are growing and becoming wild. They have no respect anymore for Nigeria’s constituted authority. We could wake up one of these days to hear that elephants have invaded the Central Bank of Nigeria, and swallowed all the bank’s vaults, leaving the entire country impoverished. The way things are, nobody will be surprised. I am sure you would not want that to happen, considering Nigeria’s strategic importance and population. If that were to happen, neither Africa nor the West would be able to handle the natural and humanitarian crisis that would ensue. And if that were to happen, I am sure you will not want to miss the story.

I made the point that Nigeria has become such a wild zoo where the animals no longer respect constituted authority, and where there seems to be a conflict of roles between animals and human beings. Let me elaborate a little. Every year, Nigeria holds what is called Armed Forces Remembrance Day on January 15. One of the highlights of the event is the release of pigeons by the President at the end of the ceremony to symbolise the release of peace upon the land. I became really worried about the Nigerian animal kingdom when in the last three years, the pigeons released by the President simply refused to fly. Government officials shouted at the pigeons to fly. Some waved their hands and even tried sign language. Some professional sycophants flapped their arms like birds to guide the pigeons. But no way! The pigeons just jumped onto the floor and behaved as if they were having an evening-time promenade.

When you focus on birds on NatGeo Wild, the birds are shown flying. What’s going on here then? Why are some birds in Nigeria refusing to fly? The President of Nigeria is the most powerful man in the land. When he asks human beings to jump, they actually do more than jump; they make an effort to somersault. But birds, common birds, are defying Presidential orders. What kind of birds are these? A deaf and dumb specie? Or are they resisting being used as symbols of peace? Is it possible that birds have witchcraft? – because since those birds refused to fly, Nigeria has not known peace.

I began to suspect that something was indeed terribly wrong with the animal kingdom in Nigeria when sometime in 2017 rats invaded the President of Nigeria’s office! These criminal rats chased the President out of his office for more than a month. They tore the furniture in his office apart, littered the place with their droppings and disrupted Presidential work. I am not making this up. The Nigerian Presidency issued an official statement to this effect.

Your publication and the Nat Geo Wild Channel missed the story, quite unfortunately. But you have a second chance. You can do a good story, investigating the furniture-eating rats in Nigeria’s Presidential Villa. The President has since returned to his office, but what if the fangled-teeth rats are still around the place? What else will they eat? Having eaten up the President’s furniture without consequences, or implications, they may most certainly, just decide to munch the country’s security vote and foreign reserves! This then, is a matter of national security. If your cameras can just unmask these disrespectful rats, that will be the story of the decade.

I believe you will also get good stories and footages from covering the story of cows in Nigeria. I must tell you, cows have become far more important in my country today than human beings. Whereas many Nigerians have become homeless and defenceless, cows have bodyguards wielding AK-47 guns, bodyguards who insist that the life of cattle is more important than that of human beings.

In your experience, you may have heard about cattle ranches and modern ways of processing cattle, but in Nigeria’s animal kingdom, there has been much talk about creating colonies for cattle in Nigeria: as in plans to take land from human beings and give to cattle! Many Governors in the country have resisted this, even the President has said that he has no constitutional powers to seize anybody’s land, but one young Governor, the one in Kogi state, has donated 15, 000 hectares of his people’s land, as cattle colony. This must make a good story for your National Geo Wild Channel. Why would any state Governor prefer cattle to human beings? What kind of behaviour is that? What is it really that attracts human beings to animals?
My knowledge of the Bible tells me that the battle between herdsmen and farmers is an old, original battle. Of the two sons of our father Adam, and our mother, Eve, one was a farmer – Cain, the other was a herdsman – Abel. Cain killed Abel. Since then, the world has not known peace.

Their descendants have been at each other’s throats for as long as antiquity. I sincerely hope that it is not this original battle of vengeance that is now being re-enacted in Nigeria today over the battle of the cows and the farmlands. Herdsmen are killing farmers and vice versa and many of us are scared. Some people are even now saying they will create a Third Force to put an end to the drift. But nobody is sure of what tomorrow will bring. You have expert photographers and cameramen; they should be able to tease out the finest strands of this story.

Should you decide to take on this story, and do a documentary on how Nigeria has been turned into a wild zoo, within three years, I must advise that your reporters and experts should also be prepared for the shock of hearing some prominent Nigerians making references to animals all the time. One of our more outspoken Senators who should be a good interview subject about ten months ago actually told Nigerians that the seat of power, that is the Presidency of Nigeria, had been taken over by hyenas, wolves, and jackals in the absence of the lion-king. He also drew attention to a mortal combat between crocodiles and fishes. This remains a great puzzle.

The wife of the President would later reply that the hyenas and jackals would soon be expelled from the Kingdom. I am not sure this has happened, and I do not intend to go near the place to find out the truth. I can tell you why in a private conversation. But the other day, a prominent government official, a Professor of Law, who should know what he is talking about, but who has been sounding like one of the hyenas the Senator complained about, gave a lecture in which he himself complained about how Nigeria has become an animal kingdom! This same Professor not too long ago, also announced that the ruling party of which he is a member, is led by “rogue-elephants.”

I have a confession to make. I worked in government until recently but I am frightened by the manner in which wild animals are now all over the place. When public officials talk, they see animals. When events occur, they blame animals. When things get missing, animals creep into the future. Fela, the musician once warned us about animals but I didn’t take him serious. As a responsible media house, interested in the life and times of animals in the wild, please hurry up and investigate how Nigeria has become a country of snakes, fishes, hyenas, crocodiles, cows, lions, wolves and jackals in just three years! Your audience will be supremely enriched by the effort.

I also assure you that there are many knowledgeable persons on ground who can assist you to do a good story or a series of excellent reports. Incidentally, we have a former President who once wrote a book titled: This Animal called Man, and who is a famous chicken farmer to boot. We have another former President who has a Ph.D in Zoology and was once described as a fisherman. We also have a sitting President who before becoming President, a second time, owned 150 cattle (I don’t know how many he has now) and who is a life patron of the herdsmen association of Nigeria. We even have a Nobel Prize winner, who enjoys hunting in the forest of a thousand animals. And you have me here, waiting, expectantly, who can serve as your consultant (my charges are modest) – as you write the story of how Nigeria, suddenly, before our very eyes, became a country of wild animals.

Thank you very much for your time and attention. Please don’t delay until rogue elephants swallow the Central Bank or wolves eat up the NNPC – our treasure trove. Best regards.

  • Iskacountryman

    this is pure unadulterated nonsense…i know for a fact that many a fula has lost cows to snakes in benue…the cows there could swallow even a fat bellied pregnant cow…how much else a small sum of money…

  • Olufemi Bello

    Nigeria is just back to base. Nothing de happen. Cain (Fulani Herdsmen) KILLED Abel (Famers). The snake that deceived our mother Eve is the one eating the Naira. The Rat issue is settled. The rat chased our dear president out of his office for months as confirmed by malam Shehu. My uncle once told me that one red lizard sent a congregation of worshippers running helter-scheter when the lizard felt down during the silent moments of the worshippers from the high up ceiling of the worshipping center.

    • tobias

      They must have thought a giant python has arrived to feast on them. Lol.

  • Mystic mallam

    So, Reuben Abati now agrees with that notorious victim of dancing pythons who re-branded Nigeria from ‘great country good people’ [or something like that] to a ‘Zoo’. Recall the guy who was leading some movement he called IPOB before pythons came dancing at his door, what was that his name again?

    • KWOY

      Nigeria did not start triumphing over the Igbo in 2017! It started in 1966 in ernest!! But as I have tried to remind the world for a few days now, the python was instigated, sent & cheered by those who ban ohaneze titles in their land (which is not banned in Togo), who object to EQUALITY OF CITIZENSHIP by rejecting state of birth in place of state of origin, & who moaned for months when Igbos won elections in Lagos (when Nigerians win elections in US & the UK)! Sam Omatseye who moaned the “most” (he was not alone; he was one in a Million!) was also the loudest voice that advocated the crushing of IPOB! Buhari has released more than 320 Boko Haram members alone this year, & he hasn’t as much as arrested the fulani herdsmen who have for 3 yrs gone about to laid communities waste. Meanwhile, These are internationallly acknowledged 2nd & 4th most deadly Terrorist organizations in the world!…. Don’t worry, history has not ended. And until it dooes, there is no concluding that the Igbo will forever LOSE!!!

      • KWOY

        Please let whoever cares see my second comment where it was thrown below – in the bid to save thierUGLY face!

      • Iskacountryman

        ohane wetin?…must oha nonsense be done in another persons land before the eboes are happy?…then stay home and ha….nonsense and ingredients…

      • Mystic mallam

        Sorry dear Mr Kwoy, but pray tell, why must the Igbo be entitled to have Eze titles outside their own domains in Igboland? Are Igbos annexationists? I ‘m yet to hear of any Yoruba Obas in the Land of the Rising Sun.

        • KWOY

          You are deliberately dodging the issue as if you did not understand it. But even if it is as literal as you put it, then the question will be: was it the only issue I mentioned here? Why pick only on it & ignore the rest? You are a liar! Why must you resist secession if you must resist annexation – which is exactly my point! Why must those for whom UNITY is NON-NEGOTIABLE in the same breath deport People to their states, why must they not accept EQUALITY OF CITIZENSHIP with an acceptance of state of birth in place of state of origin, why must others secesssion they taboo at the same time be foreigners, settlers & strangers in their states? You are like the rest of them mocking the vaanquishing of Kanu they instigated Buhari into, yet idiot, you wll neither let Igbos Annex you nor let them go!

          • Mystic mallam

            Mr Kwoy, I think that in a debate one has the right to cherry-pick on any of the points that build your case and try to deconstruct same, succeeding which, the fabric of your logic is undermined and your position rendered less valid. In this case, I chose to question your defence of Igbos seeking to annex and impose their ‘Ezes’ on others, just like the Fulani did in the 18th century, a fact that still galls many sensitivities in the MB of Nigeria. I won’t agree with you that the Igbo or any other ethnic group has a right to seek to annex and dominate others, nor do I agree that secession is a justifiable answer to any resistance of that attempt. As for your other prescriptions [such as Equality of Citizenship] for a truly ”perfect union”, I’m with you all the way. On the whole, I think you’re a persuasive defender of your Biafra cause and whatever else you believe. But frankly, I do not see how calling your opponents ”idiots” and other derogatory names could possibly help your case.

          • KWOY

            I have no regrets calling people names! I hate lies & liars! There are no middle way between being ONE country & not! Whoever argues to the contrary is a LIAR & should burn in hell! I do not also need you to agree on secession! I was not created with you in mind, moreso when you cannot agree on the oneness of Nigeria & yet won’t agree on in its seperateness!

          • Mystic mallam

            Sorry Mr Kwoy, I can feel the pains of an Angry Biafran. Losing on a big gamble could be quite traumatic. I wish the Igbo, whom I like very much by the way, could learn to patiently think things through before they plunge into suicidal acts.

          • KWOY

            Like Nigeria, the next or the only other option when/because you have lost the argument is to resort to threat & force, which temporarily you control! But that is exactly why you & Nigeria will be the eventual loser! Because your power is founded on an external (i.e., on force) rather than on internal factor (logic/convinction/truth), it is not sustainable; it will collapse! Charles Dawin says that anything not founded on truth/natural order will eventually collapse! Barely a hundred years ago this diablocal contraption did not exist. Why then do you think, coward, that because you believe you will wither off without the Igbo but temporarily controls instruments of state power, it guarantees you a natural right of association with the Igbo?

          • Mystic mallam

            “Charles Darwin says…” Is Charles Darwin wiser that you? You also speak of “Truth”. Which TRUTH, Whose TRUTH? Sometimes one has to wonder why an otherwise smart people resort to such intangibles to confront real life conditions. The use of force, right or wrong, is an existential reality, which man must learn to deal with. So, thinking smart and acting smart to avoid undue visitation of force is not cowardice my friend, it’s commonsense.

          • Jon West

            I would rather plunge into a suicidal act in order to protect my dignity and humanity, than cower in cowardice,disgrace and inhumanity couched under “wisdom” and patience”. Pray, why is Nigeria still wallowing in the same problems and issues that it fought for in 1966-1970? Why are the “wise ones” of that period, now the victims of the same injustices that they promoted in 1966-1970 and thereafter?

            As we speak, staff of a local Government in the areas of the “Wise Ones” are refusing to go to work after their offices were sacked by Herdsmen of their “partners” ethnic stock and in other areas, people are being brutalized without any reactions from the leaders of the brutality, all under the guise of “wisdom” and thinking through. An elder statesman was kidnapped and is farm torched by the same herdsmen and he could only lamely complain. This is a man who coul have been President of this country!!

            In other areas, the former Genocidal cousins of the Herdsmen are now victims of the Herdsmen, culminating in recent massacres of thousans of civilians. The cultural leader of the area, a former head of the Herdsmens cultural association is now threatening to raise a militia of one million to fight his Herdsmen former cousins. In some other areas, the wise and patient ones, who think things through , have lost their oil resources to their benefactors and liberators from Igbo bondage, in exchange for a blighted and polluted landscape, while part of the land has been conceded to a foreign country as part of a deal to prosecute the genocide of real ethnic brothers in 1966-1970.

            Just a few months ago, one of those “unthinking” Igbo men, led a group that wanted away from Nigeria again, resulting in the same Genocidal alliance that may have cost him and hundreds of others their lives. However everything he advocated is now the basis of discussions in the country he correctly labeled a Zoo. I am really tired of people who have this cowardly feeling that everything could be achieved by intrigue and quiet conspiracy in the face of provocation.

            All the major wars of the world have been fought to maintain human dignity , humanity and respect. Those who lost while fighting for those causes and ideals did not regret their choices. I would rather be an Ojukwu or Adekunle Fajuyi, than an Awolowo, Abiola, Falae, Paul Unongo, Ken Saro Wiwa, Anthony Enahoro etc anyday.
            No wonder Odumegwu Ojukwu and Nnamdi Azikiwe, great rebels/patriots of Nigerian history are the ony past leaders in this Zoo, to get National Burials.
            History always vindicates the just. We cant all have the genes of traitors and opportunists. To hell with Nigeria!!

          • Mystic mallam

            Thanks Mr West for your beautiful prose and logic of emotions, they do sincerely pull at the heart. You’ve posted the history that changed everything – your version that is; but history I hear, is what the Victor says it is; in the world of reality, that sounds valid to me, which makes your version contestable. My dear Mr West, you sound too erudite, too informed and experienced to be unaware that if you wish your version of history to prevail, you must win. I hear some people put it another way: ‘Might is Right’ they say, I’m inclined to believe them too. So, when the Igbo start winning in the contest for ”Nigeria”, we can revisit your narrative, in the meantime, the Victor owns the day. You will do very well to not forget your kinsman, Chinua Achebe’s reference to the ‘lion, history and the hunter’. He was a wise man, believe me. In fact, you made my case even stronger by reminding us that “Just a few months ago, one of those ‘unthinking’ Igbo men led a group that wanted away from Nigeria again, resulting in the same genocidal alliance that may have cost him and hundreds of others their lives”. Then you sought to justify the loss of those hundreds of lives by another fallacy of history – that ”All the major wars of the world have been fought to maintain human dignity, humanity and respect”. No, Mr West, I think you know much better than that – nations go to war for a litany of reasons including survival, sovereignty and freedom, the latest embracing elements of what you say. Frankly, I thought the Igbo went to war the first time for their very Survival, I didn’t know it was about the vanity of ”dignity and respect”. I still think that the Igbo, arguably the most talented of Nigeria’s many tribes, ought to ”think things through” before they go to war in a country of ready-to-go ”genocidal alliance”, spoiling for a kill. The wise do try very hard to not repeat history, and then turn around to take solace in their own version of that same history.

          • Jon West

            Perhaps the inference in narrative is cultural. Yes, Nnamdi Kanu and his 30 -150 followers may have been naive, but they died for a cause they believed in. Pray, what did the thousands that died in Benue, Plateau, Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa like lambs le to the slaughter die for? What was their cause, except Cowardice, naivity, opportunism or a myriad of reasons to stay alive at all cost, but losing that life as admonished in the Bible? Remember, the saying about those who love life, being prone to losing it?

            As a British exchange student in Poland in the 1970s, I met a very wise old Jew, one of the less than 2,000 that survived the Jewish Holocaust in Poland in the 1940s. When he heard I was Igbo, he invited me for dinner an hugge me like a long lost relation. He was of the opinion that if the Jews of Europe had fought for their lives instead of “thinking the situation through in a wise way”, they may still have lost the resistance but would not have lost 6 million or 85% of their population in 4 years!!

            The Igbo fought like men , for the “vanity” of respect, dignity and all that that the “wiser ones “ consider to be nonsense, but like I stated earlier, the difference in perception may be cultural. Some people , when backed up gainst the wall, come off it and fight for survival, while others want to get into the wall.
            I will end this conversation by asking the following question: if Nnamdi Kanu and his followers died for a naive quest, what did the thousands that died in the Middle Belt and even in theSouthwest and Edo State attacked by herdsmen die for?

            There must be some honour and respect in dying for a cause. Africa and Nigeria are basket cases ,for the simple reason that too many people prefer to “think things through” until it is too late, instead of taking the bulls by the horn and going for whatever will give some feeling of human dignity . You really have to feel very sad. for some genre of Nigerians. I am really happy to belong to those who never think things through. In cases of human dignity and racial/ethnic survival, thinking things through, is not an option, especially when the enemy is intent on annihilation.

          • Jon West

            Perhaps the difference in narrative is cultural. Yes, Nnamdi Kanu and his 30 -150 followers may have been naive, but they died for a cause they believed in. Pray, what did the thousands that died in Benue, Plateau, Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa like lambs led to the slaughter die for? What was their cause, except Cowardice, naivity, opportunism or a myriad of reasons to stay alive at all cost, but losing that life as admonished in the Bible? Remember, the saying about those who love life, being prone to losing it?

            As a British exchange student in Poland in the 1970s, I met a very wise old Jew, one of the less than 2,000 that survived the Jewish Holocaust in Poland in the 1940s. When he heard I was Igbo, he invited me for dinner and hugged me like a long lost relation. He was of the opinion that if the Jews of Europe had fought for their lives instead of “thinking the situation through in a wise way”, they may still have lost the resistance but would not have lost 6 million or 85% of their population in 4 years!!

            The Igbo fought like men , for the “vanity” of respect, dignity and all that the “wiser ones “ consider to be nonsense, but like I stated earlier, the difference in perception may be cultural. Some people , when backed up gainst the wall, come off it and fight for survival, while others want to get into the wall.
            I will end this conversation by asking the following question: if Nnamdi Kanu and his followers died for a naive quest, what did the thousands that died in the Middle Belt and even in theSouthwest and Edo State attacked by herdsmen die for?

            There must be some honour and respect in dying for a cause. Africa and Nigeria are basket cases ,for the simple reason that too many people prefer to “think things through” until it is too late, instead of taking the bulls by the horn and going for whatever will give some feeling of human dignity . You really have to feel very sad for some genre of Nigerians. I am really happy to belong to those who never think things through. In cases of human dignity and racial/ethnic survival, thinking things through, is not an option, especially when the enemy is intent on annihilation.

          • Mystic mallam

            Hey Jon, I thought you, or one of your many followers, had earlier explained the on-going deaths in the Plateau, Benue etc. as Karma’s visit to perpetrators of prior heinous crimes. Remember 1966-70 and the ever ready alliance for Igbo annihilation. The herdsmen are supposed to be merely playing ignorant agents of Mr ‘K’. That’s a more credible narrative , at least for the usually credulous if not superstitious black man. As for fighting and dying for a cause, I honestly would too, provided I’d have done my homework, and not just plunge headlong into suicide, as an ode to honour and dignity. Other than that lack of restraint, I still think the Igbo could be Nigeria’s best hope to excel.

          • Jon West

            Someone comes into your domain, kills your people, ravages your landscape and rapes your women. They then claim that your land is actually theirs by a non-existent previous conquest, and you are busy doing your homework? Really? Thank God you and I belong to different ethnicities. As for the Igbo being Nigerias best hope to excel, please perish the thought. The Igbo are long gone from Nigeria, more like dead men walking. Perhaps in a different incarnation, the Igbo can be Nigerians as they once were pre 1966. Sorry, but I had to correct the perception, even though I had closed the conversation.

        • Jon West

          There are no Yorubas of any numbers in any part of the land of the Rising Sun, so they cant have anything that is not necessary for interactions. However, there are Serikin Hausawas in all major cities in the area, to aid interaction with the local communities. You cannot stay in your enclave and still desire what the more adventurous need. There are Eze Igbos in London, UK and Guangzhou , China and there are no problems with the local authorities, who are quite amused by all that really. Perhaps some people have no sense of humour or are paranoid. Nobody can take your land from you because he wants to associate with his own people in your area.

  • Don Franco

    Dear Reuben:

    I doubt that the National Geographic will take you up on your request; seeing as we downgraded from a Zoo to a Shithole two months ago, enroute to “Hell”…. I’m surprised that you don’t know that.

    You may want to rewrite your article and substitute Snakes, Heynas, Jackals, Elephants and Lions, with fecal Vermin, Protozoa, Bacteria, Fungus and Virus.

  • Fowad

    Ironically Reuben, natgeo wild had us in mind, even before you thought of this letter.

  • chyke

    It seems Philomena has lost easy access to JAMB funds and then invited snakes to assist her.

  • With open reference to Nigeria as zoo by Reuben Abati, we now know where the current Nigeriia’s problem emanated from- Negative people!

    • cheta

      Make your point. This is the situation your man Buhari has placed the country. Parochialism is what is dragging us back. View the write up dispationately

  • Sarah

    Hopefully this period of stagnation and bloodshed will end in 2019.
    We can already see signs of good things to come with the ‘Movement for Nigeria’ and the entrance of Kingsley Moghalu into the presidential race.
    God Bless and preserve Nigeria.

  • John Paul

    “The most recent incident in this regard and the trigger for this letter is the current news in Nigeria about how a snake, described as a mysterious snake, has reportedly swallowed a sum of N36 million ($100k) belonging to the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB)”
    ————————————————————————————————————————–
    Very funny

    By the way, while we are talking about JAMB, we must not forget to give Kudos to this administration for implementing the TSA. According to the Accountant General of the Federation, between 2011 and 2015 – the years of the locust – JAMB remitted a paltry ₦49.5 million to the Federal Government

    But in 2017 alone, JAMB remitted a staggering ₦5 billion to the Federal Government. Ten (10) times what they remitted from 2011 to 2015

    Tomorrow, some doubting Thomas will start asking “where is the change”.

    • Mo

      My friend, no one is asking ‘where is the change?’. Everyone can see the change, and it’s an absolute disaster.

      • Google CBN reports on anchor borrowers programme and juxtapose it with world bank and Bloomberg report please. By the way I export goods out of Nigeria by diction of hard work, and I am better for it today. Use your no. 6 and think outside the box!

        • Mo

          Anchor Borrowers Programme…World Bank…Bloomberg…you export goods….

          Surely, even you can see how utterly stupid your reply is. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF THE AVERAGE NIGERIAN, DON’T YOU GET IT?

          Hah.

          • John Paul

            Omar has given you one example.

            But apparently that example is not good enough for you, because you believe that the people benefited from the Anchor Borrowers program, are rich people

            Since you are not interested in how the middle class has benefited, here goes an example of how this administration has added value to the life of the neediest among us.

            At the time the last administration handed over to this administration, Boko Haram was virtually in charge of the North East. And all the Chibok girls were still under captivity

            Today, even though Boko Haram still launches sporadic attacks, here and there, they are not in control of any local government in the North East. And over 100 Chibok girls have been released by the captors

            Go and ask the Chibok girls, their parents, brothers and sisters how good it feels to be free.

          • Mo

            Now you’re clutching at straws and peddling falsehood to boot.

            Much as you would like to continue to believe the lies of those who came to power by deceiving people like you, you would do well to consider the facts. Boko Haram was virtually defeated by the beginning of 2015; they had been driven into Sambisa Forest by the military.

            So, my friend, you’re not telling the truth when you say that “at the time the last administration handed over to this administration, Boko Haram was virtually in charge of the Northeast.” Don’t forget that elections were held, and people voted, in EVERY Local Government Area in Borno and Yobe States.

            Try again.

          • John Paul

            My dear brother:

            So far the following achievements have been mentioned but that is not good enough for you:

            1. Implementation of the TSA and the attendant benefits on the revenue remitted by JAMB, not to talk about other agencies;

            2. The anchor borrowers scheme;

            3. The great progress made by this administrations in the fight against Boko Haram; and

            4. The release of over 100 Chibok girls

            Judging from your first post, you also do no want anyone to mention generational and mind changing progress that this administration has made in the fight against corruption

            So clearly, you are one of those Nigerians that has made up their minds not to give this administration any credit, no matter what they do.

            By the way, let us call a spade and spade.

            Most of the most vocal opponents of this administration – Femi Fani Kayode, Ayo Fayose, people plotting against this government in smoked filled rooms and people hiding behind their Moniker – are people that this administration are holding accountable for having the temerity to loot our resources

            For Patriotic Nigerians, the most important achievement of this administration, that has affected the lives of the masses and will continue to affect the live of the masses for generations to come, is the fact that this administration has exposed the vile-vermin that looted our resources and deprived us of development

          • bigdaddy

            Lol. Why is it that you people without an iota of shame spread lies so brazenly and blatantly HABA!!! Go and check every published news in newspapers in this country and the INEC website about how elections were organised for displaced persons on LGA basis in IDP camps in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states because some of the LGA’S were under the control of BH.
            Make sure you do this simple research before you reply me with a false narrative you just heard on social media.
            You guys really never fail to amaze. You are just like Trump, spewing lies over what is easily verifiable. HABA, HABA!!!!!!

          • Mystic mallam

            Mr John Paul, to thine own self be true, how much do you really get paid to demean yourself daily on this portal with untenable logic and muddled thinking? Do you truly believe that anything, least of all lucre, is worth destroying your name and image over? Why don’t you try re-reading your postings sometimes and see how silly, how puerile they read. You jump from anchor loans [classic example of static development thinking, the sauce of lazy minds] to the contentious, if not suspicion-laden reality of Boko Haram and the hapless Chibok Girls. If you truly believe those are epoch-making achievements over which we are entitled to shout Alleluia and start singing Kumbaya, then I’ll concede that engaging you in debate amounts to self-debasement. So far, President Buhari has simply performed far below par. Get used to it, and think up ways to help him do better, if possible. I have cause to doubt such a possibility with a huge bet.

          • John Paul

            My brother:

            Other than the bellicosity – 90% of your post – that is characteristic of opponents of this administration, you have not really said anything. It also seems that you belong to the conspiracy theorist that believe that everyone, including Oby Ezekwesilli, is lying about the kidnapped Chibok girls

            And the Nigeria army, and their Western allies that are supplying weapons to them, are acting out a Hollywood script

            The over 100 Chibok girls that have been freed, their friends and families, the villagers that their villages have been liberated by the Nigerian army, and human beings that rejoice when good prevail over evil, have good cause to shout Hallelujah !

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3936e933edf5cec2baa857adc3024011b1f1cec2367a50b88118044f69fb214d.jpg

            If your daughter, or sister, was freed from Boko Haram won’t you shout Hallelujah ?. If your village was liberated, by the Nigerian army, from the homicidal clutches of Boko Haram, won’t you shout Allelujah ?

            Vermin that believe that last administration is the best thing that happened, since sliced bread, only believe so because they profited from the estimated over $25 billion fuel subsidy loot of the last administration

            If you conduct a life detector test on them, they will pass the test, while professing that the last administration brought amazing development to Nigeria, because they last administration developed their pockets and their bank accounts

            Today many of them have become broke and desperate, so to them is seems as if the world is about to end

            But to Patriotic Nigerians, the last administration was not only an unmitigated disaster, they are responsible for every single problem that we are experiencing today in Nigeria today, because of the enormous amount of money that they removed from the Nigerian economy, within a very short period

            So while Nigerians are entitled to have their political differences, anytime we see something good, we must say so, even if that good is coming from our political opponents

          • Mystic mallam

            Have you noticed how not even a single person up-voted you? That’s what I mean, you can fool some people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. In this age of instant information, lies and spins have rather short life span. Get used to it, Buhari’s Administration is a gross failure, in fact, an embarrassment to all of us in every particular, far worse than the spineless Government of Mr Jonathan.

          • John Paul

            My dear brother:

            Certainly, you are smarter than this.

            If you are spending your time counting the number of upvotes that you receive on Thisday’s backpage or in life, then it is time to recalibrate your mind.

            The only thing that you need to do to get 7 guaranteed upvotes here is to insult PMB, APC or this administration. “PMB is stupid”. “Dullard of Daura” or such insults. No idea. No creativity. No fresh thought

            As you know, that the ideas that have changed the world were the most unpopular ideas. So please, let us try to be objective, unbiased and logical,as opposed to wasting our time counting our “upvotes”

            Matthew 7: 13-14

          • Don Franco

            Is Buhari not an Olodo Dullard, or isn’t he from Daura?
            You don’t need any up votes to validate this fact..

          • Mystic mallam

            In democratic politics, the voice of the people must count. Your lone voice is the minority. I have nothing against Buhari as a human being. He may even be many of those nice things many of you, his admirers and acolytes say he is. But as a governor of men, sorry Mr Paul, he’s profoundly wanting.

          • Don Franco

            John Paul has the most down votes on this forum because he’s impervious to logic and common sense. … worse, he’s so far off beyond redemption that he doesn’t care nor know it. Such a pitiful damn shame!

          • Mystic mallam

            I feel you, bro, even Iskacountryman agrees.

          • Iskacountryman

            john paul okoro does not care…

        • Fidelis A.

          Anchor borrowers program, really……. Is that what is driving twenty first century economies across the globe…the limiting of our growth to agriculture only by this administration is somewhat Shameful. With majority of the farmers subsistent farmers, who only cater for themselves, how could this now translate into an agricultural revolution with no enhanced revenue across the agricultural value chain. We must first move from growing, into processing, packaging and marketing, our agricultural produce before you can beat your chest on any achievement.

          I work in the e-commerce space, this is one area that Nigeria could lead a pan African revolution by supporting our indigenous firms with the way the Chinese government are supporting Alibaba. Yudala, owned by Stan Leo Ekeh, recently bought over Konga for over ten billion naira from its foreign owners with a commitment to launch across the African continent. Omar, this is the new revolution, this is twenty first century economy, and not the anchor borrowers money dumping scheme being done by the CBN, that has not impacted on the wellbeing of the average Nigerian.

          • Fidelis A.

            And let me add, fdi into the e-commerce eco system in Nigeria has stunted since the Buhari administration came into office. Because there was clearly no policy direction from the Nigerian government on how to enhance the growth of this evolving sector, with no policy direction in sight to guide investors, they simply moved into other African markets like Rwanda with a thriving technology market and purposeful driven political leadership. Prior before the Buhari administration, over three hundred million dollars came into that sector, from Angel investors, seed and other multinational venture capitalist who were excited about the e-commerce market here in Nigeria and its abundant opportunities. How the Buhari administration bungled all these opportunities still beats my imagination. The administration has done great damage to our economy, we need a new turn, a new leaf next year, we are in dire need of it.

          • FrNinja

            Buharis people do not use computers or understand e commerce.

          • You see how low your analysis are. Not taking cognizance of our level of development whence Buhari came and thereafter. With a massive migration of able -bodied men and women from rural areas to the citiescentres, all in search of white – collar jobs; the agricultural sector took a heat. That was the reason for the anchor borrowers programme. It is not about FDI yet, it is about getting this able- bodied men and women excited first, take away the burden off the cities, open the borders to regional trade; and not some funny computers and making unnecessary paperwork. Let every farmer form a cooperative, and they decide how they want to trade their produce within the sub- region.

          • Fidelis A.

            Omar, how many regions from the six geopolitical zones are benefiting from the anchor borrowers program………. Can we get the performance indicators of the borrower’s program thus far….. What has the program added to our gdp thus far…….by able bodied men, I believe you mean the men in a particular region of the country who are refusing to apply themselves in this new age, through basic and formal education…… I can go on and on, but then, you won’t still get it, would you….. What you don’t know, you can’t understand. The funny you said, which your president has blatantly refused to apply himself to is what is driving twenty first century economies and not the archaic, Victorian era agricultural model you guys are practicing.

          • Development model has short, medium and long term applications. What you are referring to 21st model is a long term application in our own context and clime. The computer savvy west, especially America which is 250+ years older, has what was referred to as Silicon Valley, a melting port of everything digital, and it is evolving. If you choose to call your president archaic, you also have one or two archaic parent at home that showed you a path.
            The GDP of sokoto state, north west ( with 90% of the onions we eat in the sub- region )is the highest in the North, followed by Kebbi State. When we say CBN anchor borrowers programme is the way to go now, we are not bluffing. It is a programme meant for state governors to key into. If it is not happening in your state; hold your governor responsible.
            Jigawa state has some of the country able – bodied men you see in our cities today from Mai-ruwa to shoe shiners and local pedicurist (nail cutters). They elected a governor, Saminu Turaki in 1999, who was computer savvy , originator of Galaxy Backbone ( a technology institute)in Jigawa state, until Obasanjo came to rob them of it.

          • anthony oguejiofor

            Victorian age is more recent. It should be the Elizabethan era of the 13th century

          • anthony oguejiofor

            Omar, Pls does CBN borrow to non Fulanis and Hausa ethnic people? I need to know about this criterion because I am interested to borrow and support my business

          • okbaba

            Glad you saw this. Main reason why I opposed Buhari. The digital ecosystem was creating smart jobs and businesses for our teaming youths and the new admin would not continue the trend. What’s the basis fighting corruption if you won’t provide/protect jobs. At the root of corruption among the lower class is poverty; to meet their needs by whatever means.

        • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

          Dear Sir,

          I do not know what it is you export out of NIgeria. I export out of Nigeria too and our experience is that due to produce inflation, our goods are less competitive.

          • Don Franco

            Dead MSKP:
            3
            Maybe you shouldn’t have bothered to respond to him; I know as a matter of personal experience, from organizing the last NACCIMA-NIRSAL Agricultural Conference in November that the whole agriculture anchor lender program is corrupted with fraud, as in most things Nigerian….

          • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

            Don

            Glad to know that you are in the business
            Perhaps we should catch up outside the forum and discuss matters of mutual interest?

          • Don Franco

            Dear MSKP :
            I’ll be delighted to. I have ano ECOWAS commodity trading bizness via Louis Dreyfus that pays the small bills…

          • Dear sir,
            I buy low at our local markets and sell high with customs and excise permit to vessel and platforms operating on the coastal waters of west and central Africa. Owners of vessel / platforms pay directly from home countries.

    • Cytosine.

      But where is the 5 billion ? If one snake could swallow 36m, then very soon the whole money will be gone. Abati is still baffled with the advent of animals into our space, you are still bringing insects into the scene. Locust years? Then these past 3 years? Carnivorous years?

      • bigdaddy

        What are you asking? The 5b has been remitted to government coffers. Or you think the revenue generated is a one off?

    • KWOY

      It is a reminder to us that you are supposed to have a stake in this regime of infamy, since you helped to birth it! But the world can indeed see how the face you want to see is shining!

    • Nebukadineze Adiele

      Change is measured by the positive difference it makes on the lives of those for whom it was implemented. What positive impact has JAMB’s remitting of 5 billion naira made on the lives of any Nigerian? That’s why people ask, “where is the change”. The problem with president Buhari and Buharideens, like you, is mainly that of simplistic of thought. Most Nigerians think that Buhari has produced negative change, contrary to the positive one he promised and was elected upon. Those of you who make silly excuses for him or deploy childish examples, like the one you just deployed, are deceiving the president and rendering a disservice to the nation.

  • Toby

    Excellent piece!

    Even the sickly lion king recognized the inhabitation of weird animals in our “zoo” for he once confessed of his plan to soak the blood of baboons and monkeys if he had failed to get elected on his 4th attempt.

    Since getting what he had desperately wanted, he has failed to perform. However the land has become more infested by a surge of different species of weird animals that have human brains including; snakes, rats, jackals, hyenas, elephants and pigeons.

  • Fidelis A.

    Interesting satire, with so many conjunctions. It would have been made a great read, if only you were courageous enough to call them by their names. The people your treatise is designated for, will deliberately not understand the underpinning meaning for your sarcasm. Nigerians loves being called out, that is when they react………

    • EzekielIwa

      When u write your own piece, you can choose to call them by their name. Vintage Abati is spot on in his Satirical mode

    • tobias

      Then it seizes to be a satire. With the name calling, I mean.

  • Ken

    The vintage Abati! This is probably the best you have written in months.

    Could Nnamdi Kanu have been right when he described Nigeria as a zoo? Even though Kanu’s method of delivery was fraught with some irregularities and uncouth languages, history is beginning to be kind to him as a prophet who once passed through our land.

    • bigdaddy

      Kanu is not right. There is order in a zoo. Have you seen any animal running wild and uncontrolled in a zoo? Nigeria is a jungle where dog eats dog, a place where there are no laws except that of the wild and you know what that means.

      • Nebukadineze Adiele

        Disorder is not the most outstanding feature of a zoo, being caged together against the animals’ will is the most depressing symbolism of a zoo.That symbolism is the reason that Kanu and his group dubbed Nigeria a zoo. He was correct, and people that matter in Nigeria are coming to the reality of Nigeria being a zoo. Reuben Abati referenced some of the people that matter in Nigeria who have deployed zoo-like traits for Nigeria. Abati’s satirical letter acknowledges and endorses Kanu’s genius in re-baptizing Nigeria. Indeed, Nigeria is a zoo and must be so seen by reasonable people.

    • “Korede

      Just because of the jokes in Abati’s column? Kanu is a prophet? I wish you well in Biafra kingdom.