Why Nigeria jagga jagga

Greed, selfishness, desperation, lack of education, misinformation, strong superstitious beliefs…these are just a few words to describe why many Nigerians are taken advantage of. From corrupt politicians to child trafficking mafias to the ‘madam’ running a prostitution ring, many Nigerians living in Nigeria and abroad are affected by these circumstances on a regular basis.

Political greed (financial and power) is not a new phenomenal in Nigeria. In fact, it’s not a new topic globally. There are greedy politicians all over the world who abuse their power including those in Canada, USA – from Asia to Europe to South America. One of the things that separates Nigeria from some of those countries is JUSTICE. The Nigerian justice system is broken, has been broken for years. There is lack of political transparency and accountability – which is why roads are still not drivable, parents pay gross amount of money for their children to go to school in buildings that the average person with enough common sense can see is a hazard to its pupils.

Political greed pushes people further down into the poverty hole and desperation forces them to take matters into their hands. Desperation – caused by lack of resources and support – leaves many Nigerians dead every year as they fight for justice through protests and other channels. Thousands of Nigerians are easily lured into the sex trade for the sake of ‘a dream of a brighter future’ only to find out they’ve been enrolled in the red light district, trapped in a foreign country without official documents.  Some people are fully aware of what it means when they are told ‘I can help you travel to abroad and find work for just (insert bogus costs)’ yet still take the risks. Others are misguided while many are forcibly inserted into the industry without much consent. Desperation.

Greedy Politicians are not the only reasons Nigeria jagga jagga. Lack of education is, combined with misinformation. This is why people believe that ‘madam will help my daughter travel, and in a few years my daughter will pay off the debt, build me a house, (insert other irrational wishful thinking)’. If those parents are lucky, their daughter is deported and returns to them safely.

The power of superstitions. It’s enough to ruin a life if one doesn’t know any better. A cat crossing your path, breaking a mirror, walking under a ladder, those are the small stuff. Juju is another – and you don’t want to mess with this, so some Nigerians believe – and are so enslaved by it accordingly. This is especially the case with victims of sex trade who are fearful to run away or seek help. Other than politicians, juju masters and pastors must be living the life in Nigeria.

Sometimes I wonder if creating enough awareness would make much of a difference. Would awareness deter people from selling their babies and bodies when poverty continues to knock on their doors? How can Nigeria educate her children and also improve the conditions that force them to engage in desperate acts, defrauding hopeful migrants? How can you make a difference that impacts Nigerians in dire situations? I often think about this, and it overwhelms me – even more overwhelming than the realities of my country and people.


~ by omonaij on February 5, 2012.

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