The craze for easy money in Nigeria and the Hanifa story II

By Prof. M K Othman

In Nigeria, the Hanifa’s case is neither a common one nor an isolated one as there are few other Hanifas murdered by their supposed protectors such as guardians and trusted neighbours in the last five months.

Cases of 12-year old Sylvester Oromoni in Lagos and 8-year old Asma’u Shuaibu Wa’alamu in Zaria were reported in the first part of this piece last week. The craze for easy money has turned out to be the most adaptable and adorable trade to some people irrespective of gender and age differences.

Last month, security personnel paraded a housewife, 39-year old Maryam Abubakar who was deeply involved in running errands and sex racketeering to bandits for money. She was audacious enough to confess before newsmen “Bandits paid me between N30,000 and N50,000 naira for a round of sex. I helped them do their shopping to prevent them from arrest, I knew they were into kidnapping, banditry, and armed robbery but I decided to date one of them despite my married status because they give me lots of money. I brought girls to them and they were given N50,000 Naira per night each. I felt my 15-year-old and 17-year-old daughters can also benefit so I introduced them to the bandits and they were given lots of money….”.Children are not left behind in this “craze for easy money business”.

In the first week of January 2022, Sahara Reporters reported the arrest of three teenagers; Emomotimi Magbisa, Perebi Aweke, and Eke Prince, all 15-year-old males, and natives of the Sagbama community of Bayelsa State. The teenagers accosted and hypnotized a 13-year-old girl, Endeley Comfort. Subsequently, they took her to an apartment in the community, cut her finger, and sprinkled the blood on a mirror for a money ritual. Residents of the community noticed the suspicious movements of the suspects and raised an alarm that led to their arrest and confession. Endeley Comfort was lucky to be rescued but Sofiat Okeowo, a 20-year girl, resident of Idi-Ape, Abeokuta was not that lucky as she was gruesomely murdered by her pretentiously, “lovely” boyfriend, Majekodunmi Soliudeen, a 19-year old boy. Soliudeen lured Sofiat to his room for supposedly a romantic escapade but held her down and asked one of his accomplices to cold-bloodedly chop her head with a knife. Soliudeen’s accomplices were 17-year-old Wariz Oladeinde from Kugba, 19-year-old Abdulgafar Lukman from Kugba, and Mustakeem Balogun from Bode Olude, all residents of Abeokuta town. They conspired, murdered Sofiat, cut her head, packed the headless body in a sack, and started burning the head in a pot for money ritual. They were apprehended, confessed of committing the crime on January 28th 2022 at the Kugba area of Abeokuta, and are currently being prosecuted in the Court of law.

These are teenagers who should be in school for their studies are on the street with a devilish mind to make easy money. How did we degenerate to this level of decadence? Before answering this question, let me repeat the two questions posed in the first part of this piece; why are we crazy for easy money? Does money solve our problems or bring happiness to our lives?

The high level of poverty subjecting many people to suffering and tenacious fear of social insecurity has made many Nigerians have limitless love for money or position that can bring money. Our brains are synched to believing that money can solve all problems. This is entirely wrong. Money can buy a house and comfort but cannot buy sleep, money can buy friendship but cannot buy loyalty, money can pay school fees and buy books but cannot buy knowledge, money can attract people but cannot buy their love and affection, and several other things money cannot do.

However, money is still important in the life of a man as lack of it can make us be miserable so also having too much of it can make life unbearable. Shreds of evidence of people committing suicide due to lack of money are common but there are also cases of rich people committing suicide. The case of a German billionaire, Adolf Merckle, who committed suicide in 2019, is heart-rending. Merckle’s family issued a statement explaining the pressure that resulted in his suicide. The statement reads; “the desperate situation of his companies caused by the financial crisis, the uncertainties of the last few weeks and his powerlessness to act, have broken the passionate family entrepreneur” so “he took his own life”. To answer the question of money bringing happiness, let me quote an anonymous writer who said “the difference between money bringing happiness and not buying happiness is that money changes your perspective towards the things that you admired when you’re not rich but it cannot save you from being human, because as humans, every day or some days, something bothers us”.

Now, how do we get out of these doldrums, the calamitous disposition?The responsibilities of righting the wrongs in our society are collective tasks; the government, parents, religious leaders, and community leaders. Law and order must regulate the activities of the three arms of government as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution. Nigerians must wake up to demand transparent and accountable governance. Corruptions at all levels must be fought using several strategies to achieve the desired results. Parents should bear the full responsibility of parentage. They should be a shepherd to their children and other members of the family. Can we instil and inculcate morality and value system in all members of the family? As parents, we should be like a bee, providing honey most of the time and then sting to correct and defend the family value. We should not spare the rod to our children if the need arises. At all times, we should be watchful, mindful, and accountable to our children’s doings and undoing. We should not hand over the upbringing of our children to schoolteachers.

We should honour our children when they do well and sanction them when they do the opposite. Religious leaders have significant roles in shaping conducts in society but must have fear of God to play such roles correctly and deservedly. Can they shun wealthy people who are enmeshed in aggrandizement? Can we stop celebrating people with questionable wealth? Ill-gotten wealth should be despised by all and sundry. This is the only way to avoid the future occurrence of Hanifa story.

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