Nigerians will never cease to amaze me. Daily, one sees, hears and reads things that can only happen in Nigeria; a land of a multitude of churches and even more supposed Christians. Yet, it is a country where the most bizarre lies are told; where the most heinous crimes are committed; where people will be praying with and for you and robbing you blind.
With the number of churches found in every street one would be forgiven for thinking that it is a holy land. Believe that, and you'll be very sorry for yourself.
This is a country where people will be shouting ''God! God!'' but plotting how to cheat you, kill you and do all manner of things to you. We are so very religious that most things that happen are given spiritual interpretations. Thus many people will spend most of their time shouting ''Holy Ghost Fire! Holy Ghost Fire!'' at non-existent problems, even when they are the ones causing the fire, either by their actions or inactions.
I recall a very funny but quite serious incident that concerned one of my friends who did business with a very ''religious'' woman. My friend had gone to the woman who ran a printing outfit, for the posters and brochure of his late father-in-law to be printed. The woman had assured him of a high quality job and my friend went home feeling assured that his in-laws would be happy with what he would produce for the burial.
However, on the morning he came to collect the materials for the funeral mass, he ran into a shock. The pictures in the brochure and posters were unrecognizable as they were terribly blurred. When he demanded explanation from the woman, she simply told him that it was the result of a spiritual attack! An answer that had my friend crying in despair as there was nothing he could do at that late hour to remedy the situation.
So can anyone tell me what business any spirit could have had with the printing of posters and brochure? Rather than the woman admitting her inefficiency, she heaped the blame on an innocent spirit.
A similar tale just was told recently when a woman working at the office of the Makurdi Branch of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, did whatever she did with N36M in the office's coffers and blamed the disappearance of the huge sum of money on a spiritual snake which slithered into the office in the night and swallowed the money! N36 Million!
Perhaps, it will be an idea to let you into the story in case you did not read or hear it. I will render it as reported in the Daily Sun thus:
JAMB Reacts to 'Money-Swallowing Snake' Report*
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, has reacted to a bizarre report trending of a snake swallowing N36 million from the vault of one of its state branches.
The board said the case was that of pure criminality and fraud on the part of one of its staff.
Nigerians on social media have also been reacting to the disappearance of the cash in JAMB's Makurdi office.
According to a report in Sun news online, a mystery snake was said to have sneaked into the accounts office of the Board in Makurdi and 'stolen' N36 million cash.
Saturday Sun said a team of auditors was dispatched to different state offices of JAMB to take inventory of the sold and unsold scratch cards and recover whatever money that might have either been generated or mismanaged during the period of the sale.
JAMB candidates usually purchase scratch cards to gain access to the Board's website for either registration or for checking their admission status. But new reforms introduced by JAMB registrar, Ishaq Oloyede, who assumed office in 2016, ended the use of scratch cards, replacing it with more efficient and effective platforms.
“A sales clerk, Philomina Chieshe, told JAMB registrar and his team that she could not account for N36 million she made in previous years before the abolition of scratch cards. In the course of interrogation, Philomena denied the allegations that she stole the money but confessed that her housemaid connived with another JAMB staff, Joan Asen, to 'spiritually' (through a snake) steal the money from the vault in the account office,'' the report said.
The spokesperson of the board, Fabian Benjamin, said there was indeed a case of fraud and criminality in the Benue State office.
According to him, the registrar demanded the sale of scratch cards should be stopped in order to curb corruption.
“It is natural for the office to account for what they have after the sale of scratch cards has been stopped and we discovered that lots of money was missing in Makurdi and other offices,” Mr. Benjamin said.
He said investigation was ongoing to determine the kind of punishment that will be given to the suspect(s) involved.
“There are procedures in the civil service so the whole thing is still under investigation. She was queried, she appeared before a disciplinary committee, although she confessed that money was missing and a snake swallowed it. Unfortunately, she is calling one Joan's name which did not appear in the investigation at all. Joan only recommended a house help for her,” he said.
“Of course, the management did not believe the story. She is just trying to put an excuse forward. These are things the registrar is trying to unravel to put the board on the right footing. We had a case where one of the staff said he had an accident on his way and the scratch cards got burnt but only for us to discover that they were used because they all had serial numbers,” he said.
Apparently reacting to the bizarre report, the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on its official twitter page @officialEFCC jocularly said: ''An eagle(EFCC) shows no mercy for money-swallowing snake(s).”
A Twitter user ”Mr. aye Dee” said: ”I wonder if people realise the hungry snake that wanted to register for JAMB but ended up eating N36 million from the JAMB office in Makurdi did this prior to 2015.
“This naughty snake was discovered ONLY because Buhari's admin decided to audit finances of JAMB offices nationwide.”
Another user, Imoh Umoren, said: ''This is a strange country. November 2008: satellite we built for 40 billion disappears. September 2004: Ship laden with 30,000 barrels of oil disappears. August 2017: Rats chase the President out of office. February 2018: Snake swallows 36 million from JAMB. I need a beer.”
A user, Wale Adetona, said: “What kind of snake entered JAMB's office and didn't bite the gateman or the clerk but went ahead to swallow N36 million?”
Hahahahahaha! I don't know when I will stop laughing at this mother of all yarns. A snake slithering into an office and swallowing N36M!
From the tone of the woman who spilled this great yarn, one can see that she is one of these ''religious'' fellows who see in the spirit. Perhaps, the ''Holy Spirit'' must have revealed to her directly or through her pastor that the money we know she stole was swallowed by a snake.
Rather than admit her crime, she decided to crack our ribs with the story of the snake. Coming at a time when we were still trying to recover from another bizarre story of rats chasing our almighty president out of Aso Rock, this one has again succeeded in winning an award in absurdity.
What manner of snake can swallow money? We are not talking about a coin or a few wads of the naira, but a whopping N36M! Well, I really wish that such a snake existed so that I can go after it and appeal to it to vomit some of the money for me.
On a more serious note, however, I expect that this woman be seriously dealt with if found guilty. There's a limit to the kind of ridicule people will put our nation to. Do such people really believe the rest of us are fools? There's no doubt they do, else, they would not be doing what they do and saying what they say.
I also would want the government to take a harder look at some of these emergency men of God who have been riding on the gullibility of many of us. These men have contrived to turn hitherto sane people into morons who can do anything commanded by their pastors. They have succeeded in possessing the minds and bodies of those foolish enough to fall prey to them. They have broken many homes and turned brother/sister against each other through their fake visions and prophecies.
Has anyone wondered why despite the multitude of such pastors and their churches, our country people have remained Christians without Christ? Has anyone wondered why the so-called born again folks will not bat an eye when they commit atrocities and point accusing fingers at some innocent rodent or reptile?
I weep and laugh at the same time for our country. Perhaps, tomorrow, we will wake up and hear that a cockroach has swallowed our country. That, will surely be the day.