By Francis Ewherido
The heading is a literal translation of a popular saying in Urhoboland: igho vwerha; yo f’ivwrii. It means money is good, but not everything. For some time now, especially since Vanguard Newspaper and others started devoting specific pages to reporting of crime stories, many people have been asking if these crimes have always been there or there an upsurge.
Maybe, but I believe that many of these crimes have always been there, but have gone unreported due to societal orientation and desire to preserve relationships, especially family’s. Rape, incest and armed robbery have always been there and I grew up hearing about gbomogbomo and usigho, which means there have also been tales of people being used for money rituals.
Whatever the situation is, the stories we read in the crime pages are rankling and very unsettling. No wonder many Christians are screaming end time. There is no single day you do not read stories of kidnap, attempted kidnap, murder, ritual murder, rape or armed robbery. Living in Nigeria is very challenging, and that is even a euphemism to describe the situation, but must we go Hob bean?
We turn on people who are in the same boat with us, ordinary people, who are just hanging in there. We turn on toddlers, who have no say and cannot be blamed for the situation in which we find ourselves. We kidnap them, we rape them and we kill and dismember them for rituals.
Even more shocking are people, who are killing other family members for rituals. When you use your children, parents, spouses and siblings for money rituals, who are you going to enjoy your filthy wealth with? Okay, you start a new family. Then when you become broke, you use your new family members for rituals? Meanwhile, their spirits will be so docile, they will allow you to live peacefully and get away with your heinous deeds. Who told you that? If the law does not catch up with you, their spirits will hunt, haunt and hound you to death and eternal life of misery.
The blood of Abel cried up to God in heaven (Gen. 4:10), and the blood of these relatives being killed is also crying up to heaven and exerting vengeance. The blood of Chikamso Mezuwuba, the eight-year-old girl, who was raped, murdered and dismembered by her suspected ritualist uncle, Ifeanyi Dike, in Rivers State, cried to God and he was caught while going to dispose of the remains of Chikamso. Even after he escaped from police custody, Chikamso’s blood—not hunger, as Dike claimed—caused him to go and steal in Jos, where he escaped to. Chikamso’s blood caused him to be caught again and brought back to Port Harcourt to answer for his sins.
I was also somewhat happy reading about the “pastor,” who was arrested after the heart of a toddler, he allegedly kidnapped, was found in a white basin in his church. That child has also exerted instant vengeance. The clown claimed he did not know how the heart got there and the blood that was found in a red bucket belonged to the goat and chicken he slaughtered for his child’s dedication. What is blood, any blood for that matter, doing in a RED bucket in the church?
It is inexplicable because the blood of Jesus that was shed on the Cross of Calvary has made it superfluous. He was celebrating his child’s dedication while the heart of another person’s child was in a basin in his church? Even though he is innocent until proven guilty, the man in me says he should perish in hell.
Times are hard, but must we kill fellow human beings for money rituals. If you must spill blood to make money, then it is no longer worth it. I also hear yahoo boys (internet fraudsters) now eat other people’s faeces (sh*t, poo poo) for money rituals. I declare to them today that nothing will happen to those whose faeces they have eaten. It is the sh*t eaters who will die of disease.
Many young men have been misled into getting involved in these ritual killings. There is no quick fix in life or money making; it is a marathon, run with a lot of patience, endurance and occasional pain. Hard as Nigeria is, you will make your money, but most times, it will come like a builder putting the structure of a house in place, one block at a time.
That way too, you will learn the systems and processes of wealth creation because physical wealth is really a manifestation of intangible intellectual wealth. That is why Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and our own Aliko Dangote will become multibillionaires time and over again if you strip them of their current physical wealth. That is also why economists believe that if you redistribute the entire wealth in the world equally among all people, in no time we shall be back to the status quo.
We might have thrown our value orientation to the dogs, but family will always come second only to God. As we struggle to fix our broken nation, increasing attention needs to be paid to the family, the incubator of the products of the larger society. I believe many of our problems as a nation are as a result of the breakdown of standards in many family units.
We need to drive the message home: Money is good, money brings happiness, money makes people, especially men, confident and self assured, money sweetens marriages and family life, but for all the goodness that money stands for, it is not everything. Igho f’ivwrii.