About Me

My Photo
Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
View my complete profile
Powered by Blogger.
Sunday, July 22, 2007

Slaying the elephant (kinda long, kinda necessary)

The stories came out without warning, raw, painful, ejected in jerky bits from an extremely constipated emotional colon. Perhaps the laxative was the emotionally draining (at least for us) carnival like party we had just attended where the entire poverty stricken village stood on the streets, walls and balconies mouths agape at the antics of the party goers.

We both lay on my bed nursing a common cold and reading when suddenly she says. “l have not been able to finish reading Half of a Yellow Sun, my dad too and my mum cannot read it at all”. I knew there was more coming so l kept quiet. She continues, “when l was reading it, l told my mother bits of the story and she broken down in tears each time. The thing is, my mum was a comfort woman during the biafran war and my two brothers are a result of this. Recently my father was due to be made an elder of the church but in spite of his eminent qualifications for the position, he was denied because he had married a woman who had two children out of wedlock even when they found out the circumstances of my brothers’ birth”.

My very being wept as my friend told me stories from Biafra as told to her by her parents. Stories of injustices which have been buried in a shallow grave, the ghosts of which has hunted this nation for over three decades, the bones of which now threatens to spill out of those graves. I will tell you some of the stories she told me.

The Comfort Women
My friend’s mother had been a happy Igbo teenager in Lagos. At the onset of the war, they had to flee Lagos to her hometown. She was almost eighteen. As the planes flew overhead dropping bombs into homes so did the soldiers match into the villages taking girls as young as eight and women as old as sixty and raping them. As the soldiers matched in, the women would run away into the bush with the soldiers in pursuit. They caught some women and dragged them out to be raped but other villager, some of which were women, pointed others out. Perhaps it was fear or in the case of the women, a need to protect themselves but my friends mother knows and still sees the woman who used to point her out to the soldiers. Once in a while some valiant youths would try to protect or hide the women, they were publicly executed. No woman was spared, married or not. Once the soldiers persuaded a young, pregnant married cousin of my friend’s mum who was hiding with her young husband to come out. On enquiry as to the identity of the man, she replied that this is my husband. They shot him right there and then before her; she never recovered or marry again. It went on so often and for so long that my friend’s mum got pregnant twice and had her two brothers, no one knows who their fathers are. Nobody has documented the plight of the comfort women of Biafra. The Vagina Monologues performance documented the comfort women of Japan and l know my friend’s mother silently took solace in that monologue, that is until it was deleted from this years performance to please the squeamish, anaesthetized, pretentious and elitist women who find the monologues offensive.

The ostracized sons of the war
After the war, my friend’s grand parents took the boys off their daughter so the devastated girl could rebuild her life and perhaps to help her find a suitor. They were themselves aged and impoverished by the war. For 15 years the mother was known to the boys as aunty and had little contact. They suffered ridicule and confusion, the mother untold anguish. In a culture where the root of a man is so tied to his identity and worth in the community, Igbo land has a generation of men whose fathers are unknown (l suspect some are generals and retired generals of the Nigerian army) and whose history are unspoken except in occasional jeers and as a tool of oppression. The women thus born can be married off and assume their husbands identity but not so the men. Some of the raped women were married and bore those children within an existing marriage. Nobody has studied the socio-political effect of this on Igbo land. It is the elephant sitting in the town square for over thirty years. Will it keel over and die some day or will it get up and trample underfoot all those walking by?

The boy and his mattress
According to my friend’s dad, many more people were cold bloodedly murdered after the war by the soldier in anger for no apparent reason. During the war they had all been hounded out of the villages into Umuahia, which is like forcing the whole of Lagos into Ikeja. At the end of the war, they gathered what was left of their belongings and began the journey home. All his family had was a mattress, which he put on a wheelbarrow with his 3-year-old sister sitting on it. As they joined the throng of humanity walking to the villages, a soldier stopped him and asked who owned the mattress. He said it was his and the soldier pulls it knocking his sister to the ground. At that point my friend dad said he lost his mind, he forgot the many executions he had witnessed for less infractions but suddenly he cared not whether he lived or died. Something had snapped and he was not going to let this vermin take all that was left of their possessions so he began to drag back the mattress with the soldier cocking his gun and threatening to shoot. As it happened a senior officer stepped in and gave the mattress back to him upon which he return his crying sister to her position on mattress on the wheelbarrow and continued the onward journey to uncertainty.

And Now?
This man who had endured all that ignores convention and marries a young girl who had been so brutalized and they build a life together, raising beautiful daughters and supporting others (my friends mum recently took in a teenager who had been raped, abandoned by her family and pregnant with child). So does a man like that get a pat in the back? No, the church slaps him in the face by refusing to make him an elder, yet another example of our outstanding hypocrisy as a people, this same church will probably make a rapist (l know a true case) an elder as long as no one talks about it and there is no outward proof of his transgressions.

After Biafra, there have been many pockets of violence and injustices buried in the same shallow graves all around. The toxic fumes of which are evident in the larger socio political context of our lives and our values, the result an untrusting country of nationalities unable to find cohesive unity of purpose. The fear as l have been told is that we don’t want wars or conflict so we must never examine such issues. As the Niger Delta situation continues to deteriorate, how can we continue to fool ourselves thus?


sugarlomps said...

funi true insight u left well mi speechless n equipped its sad that people dont know all this but one thing is the voice of the unheard
like u always say u go girl

Anonymous said...

Thank you for telling this story. My family has shared similar stories about "the war" ( as we refer to it in family discussions).

Nigerians. I love us but we are the most hypocritical people I have been blessed to know intimately.

Anonymous said...

What horror, horror, pain and pity. I know hardly anything about the Biafran war except my mom once remarked that its effects were hardly felt in the West because she and my dad attended great parties all the time in Ibadan and Lagos.
Never having been into the deep East either, I couldn't fathom the pain with which my school friends from Ughelli, Umuahia, Aba etc still described tales of manholes, bullet ridden walls and war starvation even though the war had ended 20 years before.
Shouldn't the real stories behind these atrocities be taught in our schools so that we all know, and then we don't forget?
I doff my hat to people fom the East who lived through these horrors but still believe in a future for their children in "one Nigeria".
Gotta order Chima's book to arrive as I finish "Deathly Hallows".

Thank you Funmi for yet another great post.

My 2 cents said...

Biafra is very personal to me as and igbo girl. My family lost so much and still losing from all the disintegration. You should go to the Oko/Agulu/Mbaukwu axis of Awka and Anambra state to understand what I'm saying. 'Shakes head and starts to sob"...

Unknown said...

WOW!!!!!!!!!!! Good write up, very intresting.

pamela said...

We have to look to our past to understand where we are as a people, and deal with it to make any real progress in this country. How do you quantify the effect such has on us now? I often hear people flipantly dismiss Ibos and the war in the "get over it weve heard it all before"tone. This was painful to read. I wonder how many stories are out there?

Chude! said...

My goodness. This was raw. Raw. Just the way it needs to be told. And ... a shock. Shock! More and more, we realise that my generation and that before us knows absolutely less about our own country. I think you should publish this piece in a newspaper - I really think you should. Let the discussion start somwehere ...

Anonymous said...

its march...not 'match'

Funmi Iyanda said...

@all, our generation must begin the journey to fearlessness, the beginning of which is confronting our fears with brutal truth and unflinching knowledge. We must develop zero tolerance to lack of knowledge, undue secrecy and gagging. Truth liberates, knowledge elevates.

Anonymous said...

As a Yoruba person, i have a lot of respect for Igbos and I always wonder sometimes...they seem so forgiving. My grandparents tell us stories of how they would hide Igbo people on their farm in Ore and how these people practically lived in those forests for months, How some were caught and killed before their own eyes. One man - we never knew his name lived with my grans , doing odd jobs for them till he died. Never went back home, never married, never even spoke. I was born after the war and I grew up to know him simply as 'Eyingbo' - we didnt know his name. I cringe now when i think of what his story probably was - what brought this man to Ore? The Nigerian soldiers, they raped and pillaged in Ore, supposedly a Yoruba town. Two of my cousins were fathered by Hausa soldiers they would never know. Their mums were teenage girls 'befriended' by these men. I cannot now begin to Imagine the horror that went on in Iboland itself. I guess Chimamanda's book brought things to life. Before I read it the war stories were just 'gran's stories'. Never again will I call my cousins 'omo soja' or 'malo' as they are still 'jokingly' being called, even though they are grown up. What a horrible, horrible injustice to the Igbo's. but more imporantly what a resilient, resilient people. These days there's a healthy population of them in Ore, in business and prospering(why not?). I'm incredibly proud of them!

Anonymous said...

This is a most thought provoking read for me in a while, i must say i never read or heard of such and i thought my social studies in elementary was broad and sound... Pity, we need to open up and heal ourselves.
And stop pointing fingers at others when we are as guilty.
God bless you funmi for the education,.

Anonymous said...

Dear Funmi,

Your piece was great. I am Yoruba, and like many Yorubas born after the war, we hardly have dinner-table discussions about Biafra. In my secondary school of 1800 students, only 2 of us had ever heard about Biafra. I was one (My grandmother was in Ore during the war), the other was Obasanjo's niece, so Uncle Sege had told her stories.

I have enormous sympathy for those Igbos who suffered during the war. However, I think it is important for us to understand that atrocities were committed by BOTH sides during this war. Countless people from my town went to fight for the Federal side during the war, and they made up a chunk of the nearly 200,000 Nigerians who fought to defend an entity they strongly believe in and prevent the march upon Yorubaland that was undoubtedly a part of the Biafran masterplan. Yet, it appears that the vicitm-mentality is only present today on the Igbo side. It is their side, not the Nigerian side, which still harps on all day about some perceived "marginalisation" and "discrimination", when indeed most Nigerians just want to put the war and its memories firmly in their rear-view mirror. What point would rehashing the atrocities of the war serve? It's critical to know our history, yes - it would be foolish to suggest otherwise - but is there anything positive that can result of this rehashing of brutal rape/murder? Anything but more ethnic bile and hatred? Anything but ammunition for this victim-mentality to continue? Anything but ammunition for a louder chorus of "marginalisation"? Because if the point of rehashing these tales is an apology by the FRN, it won't happen. A good % of the soldiers who committed these atrocities have passed away. If the point is an acknowledgement, the FRN (and non-Igbos) have done that, and continue to do so.

The Federal Government has rightly removed the most harrowing episodes of Biafra from non-Igbo history books and only makes a very brief reference to the war at all. Indeed, in Western Nigeria much of Biafran history is to be found in novels and works of fiction. To many, that's what it will always be: something similar to the Loch Ness monster, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter - unconnected to our own reality.

I'm afraid to break it to you, but if you're after any intelligent debate (amongst Nigerians) about Biafra, your audience will likely be limited to Igbos, direct veterans of the war, the Nigerian academia & Nigerians in the diaspora. I learned the history of Biafra in novels in Nigeria, but mostly from the internet after I got to the US. Young, non-Igbo Nigerians will not be losing aby sleep over atrocities committed during the war: Biafra remains Igbo history, Igbo past, Igbo suffering, Igbo baggage. The collective amnesia that non-Igbos have conveniently developed since the end of the war is a deliberate message to the Igbos. They (Igbos) already have an audience for their harrowing tales of suffering during the war - Western scholars (e.g. Europeans, Americans) have more interest in Biafran history than do non-Igbo Nigerians, and that will remain the same (or even worsen!) as Yoruba/Hausa survivors of the war pass on. I get the impression from Igbos that they simply want an acknowledgement that the war took place, an audience with non-Igbo Nigeriams. Yet, through our collective amnesia, Western, Mid-Western & Northern Nigeria is making a point: Biafra is in our past, and it is IGBO history. Why must it be thrust down our throats?

- RickyRicky.

P.S: Re the Niger Delta, sometimes you need a war in order to get freedom. If a war is what is needed to break up the contraption called Nigeria, then we had better gear up for war. A nation like Nigeria whose very foundations are injustice itself cannot stand the test of time. A breakup is inevitable. I'd rather have it now and get it over with!

Anonymous said...

My grand dad lost 5 houses and petrol stations plus shares in UAC and other companies in port harcourt during the Nigerian civil war.A year after the war ended,he died from a massive stroke.Chimamanda's book made me realise the extent of the sufferings of that war.Its a shame that its not really taught in schools.Funmi,good job u did with ur article.

Ms. Catwalq said...

i have no words...

flawsandall said...

wow....this a thought provoking post...well sad

My 2 cents said...

Hi Funmi,

I'm back and still sobbing.. I went over this story again and I just want to add that Igboland and Nigeria as a whole is still in denial of the injustice metted out in that "war".

How do you explain the psychological torture genrations of victims are going through.And don't even get me started on the hypocrisy in the church hierarchy.

I never go to Church whenever I'm in Nigeria, something about the whole setting depicts fraud and thievery.

Aijay said...

Wow!! Great post. It let me realise the harsh reality of the war.
@ anon who mentioned war in re: niger delta. War or any form of violence is not the best way to resolve a conflict.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous RickyRicky;

Your post accurately reflects the victor/vanquished gap and I do not question the validity of some of the points you've made.
However, why do you think it was right for only 2 out of 1800 students to know about a war in their own country that claimed some 2 million lives? I bet you know all about Hitler's pogrom, End Apartheid, and Rwanda. Yet you think we should 'get over' Biafra?

Why don't Igbos have the right to seek to talk and dialogue to heal the wounds of the war? South Africa is moving on after many bitter years of strife, but not before dragging it all out in the open for the Truth and Reconciliation council. We Nijas tend not to want to discuss "shameful topics" with friends or family, (HIV, child abuse, rape,) and we allow the hurt to fester, making us into one big disfunctional, suspicion -ridden mass. I'm not saying that we should set up a public truth council, but heck, let the Igbos air their pain. They've earned the right to do so as Nigerians and we should listen, then move on.

RickyRicky, if war breaks out in the Delta, will you go fight? Probably not, because you'll be nicely esconced somewhere abroad, abi? Unfortunately, the poor and miserable will be forced to die in quarrels caused by the rich and greedy.

There is no quarrel that dialogue cannot resolve, so let's not be too hasty to unleash the dogs of war,there are still opportunities to contain the Delta situation before katakata scatters.

Anonymous said...

One last thought, Biafra is NOT Igbo history, it is NIGERIAN HISTORY.

Omo Oodua

Chude! said...

I want to believe that Ricky is joking. He has to be joking. There's some kind of malevolent, inhumane intellectualism that shouldnt be injected into any discourse. Sometimes the sheer malevolence of an argument must necessarily suffice to negate its seeming validity. He HAS to be kidding. Now back to the issue of the destructive amnesia our nation seems cursed with ...

uknaija said...

Wow, Funmi...deep post

Unknown said...

i am ibo....this is heartbreaking..
thank u for this post..

Anonymous said...

OK, It appears I have opened a can of worms with my statements. I may have been too blunt with some of my comments.

@ aijay: You mentioned that war is not the best way to resolve any conflict. You are undoubtedly correct. It is not the BEST way. Are there times when it is the ONLY way to resolve a conflict? Perhaps you want to ask the Eritreans or those who have had to fight for their very exsitence in the past. The uprising in the Niger Delta is a battle for the survival of a people. It runs a lot deeper than oil & royalties, or gangs hijacking the situation to earn some dollars: it is the struggle against the "extinction" of the people of the Delta, against the further destruction of their rivers and means of livelihood and a revolt against a nation whose very foundations are unjust. In such a case, War may well be the only answer. We have seen the fighters of the Delta go from being young boys with machetes to AK-47 wielding men to RPG wielding monsters. The worst may well lay ahead - Nigerians (of all ethnicities) will do well to prepare for it. War is not the best solution, but it is often the only option.

@ anonymous

No, I do not believe it is right that only 2 of 1800 students had heard about Biafra. That point was raised to illustrate the deliberate collective amnesia that non-Igbos developed after the war. I am not advocating ignorance, for not knowing about such a massive conflict (regardless of where this conflict took place) IS ignorance. I notice also that many young ones today know all about Somalia, Rwanda, etc - nearly all are told these stories by their parents, and the Biafran war conveniently left out, my point being that their parents CHOOSE not to tell them much about the war. Deliberate amnesia that is sure to worsen as non-Igbo veterans and survivors of the war pass away!

"...Yet you think we should 'get over' Biafra? Why don't Igbos have the right to seek to talk and dialogue to heal the wounds of the war?..."

If you found any part of my original comment that called for Igbos to 'get over Biafra', please feel free to point it out to me. Yes, of course, Igbos have earned the right to air their views as Nigerians. However, I merely pointed out the very obvious fact that the audience so desperately sought by the Igbo - the non-Igbo Nigerian people - is not a willing or remotely interested one. Western Scholars might find the politics of the War fascinating, but most young non-Igbo Nigerians today are simply not interested in listening to left-over gripe from the war. Older non-Igbos who lived through the war are passing on a legacy from the war times: mistrust of the Igbos, prejudice, etc - certainly very little about the horrors of the war, and most definitely little is told to us about the possible Igbo perspective, except in works of fiction. Thus my comment about the war remaining a distant concept, unconnected to any reality we know.

You made two other points which I must address. About my going off to fight the war in the Delta, I believe the Delta has a right to self-determination and thus do not believe in Nigeria's strategy of "Keep-Nigeria-One-At-All-Costs" even when the people of the Delta are unhappy with the present situation. Thus I do not believe in the Federal Government's agenda, and since I am not from the Delta, I'd be hard pressed to find any side willing to accept me in the event of the increasingly-likely war.

Finally, you also mentioned that Biafra is Nigerian History. Doubtless it is. It is a part of Nigerian history that is debated and discussed mostly by one section of Nigeria: the Igbos. The educated Northern political class continues to discuss Biafra as justification for keeping Igbos away from the presidency and the highest posts in the land. Notice the PDP's choice for Vice President and the now-tacit agreement that the Igbos must be limited to the post of (at most) Senate President. Biafra remains a part of Nigeria's history, but only as a tool for some to perpetuate mistrust.

@chude, I am not joking. I am simply recalling my own experiences of the treatment of Biafra in one of the modern non-Igbo sections of Nigeria.

Anonymous said...

I read an article in Essence recently, about the treatment of black women in America. It described the black church's treatment of women (submissive 2nd class beings) as more offensive than rappers portrayal of women ('hos' ,'beyaaches','gold diggas' etc). I couldn't agree more.

Judy123 said...

Firstly, I wish to differ on Funmi's surmise on 'The Virgina Monologues'. I watched the play once and as a lady in her thirties I found most parts offensive. It did nothing to educate or try to allay the impression about the plight of the Japanese comfort women. In my opinion, the play was a mischevious and lewd parody. It made me feel geniunely uncomfortable for the men in the audience that evening at the Theater.

Secondly, with respect to RickyRicky's analysis and the reason why Yoruba's tend not to relay facts about the Biafran war experience to their young... I can only say two words - Turn Coat and Guilt!

Funmi Iyanda said...

@all, dont really know where to start from so l'll do this as l do must things, guileless and trusting my natural instincts. l am non Igbo and youngish;-). I and all the many young people of different ethnic backgrounds that l have spoken to about this were not only shocked to hear these stories, we wanted to hear and understand more, not in a macabre voyeuristic way but to seek the sort of deeper knowledge and undersatnding that honest, war averting dialogue is about. The sort of creative, effective and enlightened intervention such as was displayed by Jean Monnet the creator of the EU document which allayed the fears of the many competing and distrusting nationalities of Europe after world war 2 and united them all to a prosterity generating, autonomy preserving singularity of purpose. This is not a blame game and all sides should tell their stories, both victor and vanquished. Let us not underestimate the capacity of our youth to care about issues deeper than the mundane besides this strategy of deafening silence, censorship and fear of the unknown and untried has been a weapon in the hands of the fraudulent and self serving for too long and hasnt delivered a happy and prosperous Nigeria has it? why not try something else?
Vagina Monologues as all things radically challenging of accepted norm and status quo is rightfully not everybody's cup of tea, that is why it is not a mass audience thing anywhere in the world. It is what it is, it is not the right or wrong way, just one more way to raise important issues. The theatre is a temple devoted to creativity, radical thought and unusual opinions from the mundane to the fundamental, hence if one as a discerning adult has read the blurb on a play and found that it might not be in line with one's values and opnions, one does not go to see it but one must be great enough in one's mind to allow that some others might benefit from it being able to get away from the drama of shock. As such the play should not be "ammended" to suit anyone's taste but left as is to preserve the creativity and intergrity of the piece such as there is. There are many plays that address such issues but are more refined to delicate tastes which such tastes can then enjoy with much righteous alacrity. Freedom is sacrosant. The Japanese government did addres the issue of the comfort women of Japan post Vagina Monologue and made restitutions including public apologies.
On my part, l am going to do my bit to document these truths and allow those who want to know do so.
As per the church, it is a shame because in its purity, christain values are great but with all this dilution with fraud, greed, ego mania and repression of the human person under the guise of culture, religion and God especially the way it is largely practised here in Nigeria, l shudder. My soul cries for true spiritual nourishment through the church but alas l am l am forced more and more to retreat into a personal 1 on 1 with God in preservation of my sanity. Had a cheque on my table yest from an agency, the second payment for a job long done and paid for, the account manager , a pastor in a church fraudulently got it out and wanted us to pay it into our account so we can share the money. We turned him down, naturally, we will no longer get adverts from that agency as long as he is there.

Anonymous said...

@ judy123:

Many Yorubas were busy at parties all across the length and breadth of South West Nigeria during the war. For a large part, Life went on! Those Yorubas directly affected by the war were the ones who were in Biafran-occupied areas & places like Ore. Like I have said before, (from my experience) most young Yorubas today do not see the reality of the war as their own. And many feel about as much as guilt as the average young American does over Hiroshima.

None of us were around when the war happened, none of us have "turnedcoat" on any tribe/group or indeed betrayed any group. The failure of the state of Biafra was not (has never been and never will be) the fault of the Yorubas. I am yet to encounter any young Yoruba person burdened by "guilt" over a war he played absolutely no part in.

- RickyRicky

Funmi Iyanda said...

BTW, l would love to get stories, link to stories and people concerned as well as advice as l begin research into this project. pls send me an email, thank you much.

ababoypart2 said...

Thank you. I did a post recently on biafra on my blog. Its a painful subject, one that we shouldnt forget.

Anonymous said...

I think you guys have echoed my thoughts on this subject in various ways, so I'm gonna be speechless. Very emotional post indeed!

Anonymous said...

but . . .this comfort women story, the heaviness of brutality and man being wolve to man they weren't mentioned in My Command or were they...there's a need for me and other young'uns to know more 'bout the civil war. . .there was too much pain, so many casualities their pains still reel into today. . .

tokotaya said...

Was speechless, can`t imagine what the ibos suffered it is a pity a lot of these stories have not been told I think we deserve to know. It is a real pity.as for our hypocritical nature may God help us all

Anonymous said...

Only God would help us all but i think we have to start by having a change a heart....D story is quite pathetic but God who brought us into the world would see us through.

Judy123 said...

@ Funmi Rejoinder- Remember I said my experience at the Theatre was only my own opinion.

@ RickyRicky- I think you should bite your tongue more or pen as this case maybe before you write! I was not the only one incensed by your write up. You had no right to document and trivialise a people's pain the way you did.

In ONE breath you chastise the Ibos for still whining about the Biafran war while in another you ignite the Nigerdelta people to fight and disintergrate Nigeria....

It is either you are not a PATRIOT or you simply enjoy writing rubbish!

pumping! said...

Thought provoking piece.

I should get that book half of a yellow sun, i am a 25years old, yoruba girl and i know absolutely nothing about the war and my parents told me nothing about it but would ask them.

Its quite dishearten that this history is not as known as publicised as it should be.

And about the church , you see christians sometimes get it all wrong even Rahab-the harlot (not prostitute oh cos i think it is deeper)is in the linage of the Jesus- the son of God oh.

And who even gave them the right to Judge?

Anonymous said...

I had always thought i know and i have read enuff abt the nigerian civil war to a point of empathy with the Igbos...
I finished reading "half of a yellow sun" some days ago and Chimanda opened up broadened the scope of what i know with the human angle touch she put to her story.
The Igbos have no doubt been treated like outcasts but they are willing to let go of the past for a bright future in one nigeria.
As Raph Uwechue said, we only need to balance the rhombus on which nigeria is based...

Therefore, government action and the action of people from other ethnic group must be one that upholds the equality of the Ibo people...never ever demeans the ideals of Biafra which were noble and above all, the Igbo elite should make the ordinary Igbo mind understand that the time bickering is long gone...now is the time to forge ahead as a nation.

Anonymous said...

Just read this post and the comments - Well done Funmi for opening this up for discussion. Unfortunately most of "Rickyricky"'s comments/sentiments are quite depressing and I'm afraid reflect the basic problem with Nigeria - a lack of empathy for fellow countrymen, blind refusal to face brutal facts and an eagerness to sweep things under the carpet. Whilst Nigerians think like this we don't stand a hope in hell. Unlike him I don't have to comment anonymously.