By Hannu Afere

Two weeks ago, there was an abundance of enjoyment in South South Naija as people feasted on a whale which had been washed ashore.

The venue of this impromptu party was in Ijaw-kiri, a fishing community in Brass Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.

In your mind’s eye, dear reader, imagine grown men and women rushing home to bring out axes, daggers, cutlasses and even saws, to slaughter the creature— an endangered species.

Neighboring villages like Odioma and Okpoama hurried down also to the shore to participate in this show of animal cruelty and share free meat.

In some pictures we saw people standing ankle-deep in water turning crimson as its blood flowed.

The cynical commentators said it was fool-hardy to eat something like that without knowing what brought it to land, the medical or spiritual implications. “That’s how you die of cholera and other funny, funny diseases,” A man named Paul said. Another who identified himself as Shadrack, said: “The fish I was eating was not too big. I then complained to God and he promised I would eat a bigger fish soon. God sent this overgrown whale to a city in Nigeria that is in the middle of the sea. My sister said she was tired of eating the big blue whale and I told her to bring the oil that was extracted from it to me. Early part of last month, I remember that some fishermen from Odioma in Brass caught a dolphin”.

Well, another video resurfaced yesterday. I kept seeing it on the WhatsApp statuses of my contacts. A pair of elephants cornered by wide-eyed picture takers in a South Western forest.

We know it’s South Western because the people in the video spoke Yoruba. What we cannot ascertain at this time is which precise state it is.

What caught my attention was the way the in which the animals were being chased. From the palpable excitement, it’s easy to see how these animals could have been killed if one of the pursuers had a gun.

If the animals had so much as shown a sign of weakness, they would have been dead meat. The pursuers would have pounced on them like they did on the whale, two weeks ago.

And they would have gotten away with it.

After all, everybody dey hungry.

The incident reminds one of that other Elephant killing in Idanre sometime in March last year. Where the head hunter was busy gallivanting and basking in the glory of being a brute—until the police came for him. His defense was that “Elephants from the thick forest had been visiting the villages in the area for some time, destroying their mud houses, farmlands, injuring people and sometime ago, sacked the residents of one of the villages, while a number of farmers relocated to a new place.”

There are rumors that the police (true to their nature) slapped a huge fine on the hunters, such that the next time they hear “ELE” they will flee, they won’t even wait to hear the rest of the “PHANT”.

While all of this may seem amusing, one cannot help but ask Why does Nigeria love to kill the exotic?

It’s not just the people in the hinterlands. The folks in big cities also think the same way. Yesterday, I asked a trader whom I was buying T-shirts from “If an Elephant somehow got stranded and walked into Yaba market, what would you do?”

He say na pepper soup.

Why do Nigerians love to kill the exotic? From whales to dolphins to elephants to birds meant for research on migration routes.

The killing of these exotic animals is an indictment on the part of the government, the people resident in the area and the Ministry of Environment.
Could it be the poverty? Without these animals walked onto the scene, stranded and injured would the ‘poor’ not have survived? Would they not have found another way to deal with their hunger?

Is this the manifestation of some deeper psychological issue? Could it be that these spontaneous hunters really are functioning psychopaths, or is this a reaction to the frustration in the country where the masses, being unable to deal with the government directly, take it out on anything else that moves?

The bigger the better. The stranger the better. The more seemingly out of reach the prey is (like the flamboyant politicians in their expensive vehicles and agbada) the better.

The symptoms tick all the boxes for Schizotypal personality disorder.

Nigeria, you cannot influence other people or events with your thoughts and prayers. You cannot alleviate poverty by killing helpless animals and eating meat that is probably poisoned. You cannot help yourself by ruining the ecosystem.

You cannot avoid intelligently discussing the problem of poor governance, and looking for a way forward by using the environment as a proxy punching bag.

Or maybe you can. Ask Idanre and Ijaw-kiri.

Privacy Preference Center

error: copying forbidden