Friendly Enemy

By Rev, Fr Pat Amobi Chukwuma                                 

Friendly enemy sounds contradictory. Can someone or something be a friend and an enemy at the same time? It is said that a friend in need is a friend in deed. Contrarily, a friend in times of prosperity only, is an enemy in disguise. The best friend of Julius Caesar called Brutus betrayed him by giving him the last bloody blow that sent him (Caesar) to the world beyond.

Similarly, Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart, who was the foster father of Ikemefuna, finished Ikemefuna with his machete as the helpless boy ran to him for protection. Jesus Christ chose twelve Apostles whom he regarded as his friends. Unfortunately, one of his friends by name Judas Iscariot betrayed him with a kiss. Those who kiss or embrace you passionately can turn to be your enemy.

That is why it is popularly said that salutation is not love. Your friend can greet you with smiles while bearing animosity in his heart. My Igbo people say, “Onye ma mmadu na-egbu ya.” This means that it is your close associate that can betray you. He or she eulogizes you in your presence and pours curses on you from behind. Only God knows who is a friend or a foe.

Your enemy may be living under the same roof with you. He can be eating from the same plate with you. During the Last Supper, Jesus Christ did not mince words when he asserted, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me…He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me.

The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born” (Mtt. 26:21-24). Beware of those with whom you eat and drink.

The evil-minded ones among them can plot your downfall or even plan to eliminate you by poisoning or by hired assassination. Nowadays, there are many friendly foes among us.

The Igbo refer to them as “Soro mmuo gbuo mmadu, soro mmadu bia mgbaru.” This literary means: ‘killing someone in company of spirits and coming to condolence visit in company of human beings.’ It is a common observation these days at occasions where friends are gathered.  As they sip liquor from bottles, they cover the bottle neck with their thumbs. Poisoning nowadays is done metaphysically. It can fly through the air unseen. Evil PhD holders (Pull him/her Down) are specialized in this.

Nnamdi Kanu might have been lured from London down to Kenya by one of his trusted friends who was paid huge sum of money. From Kenya he was easily extradited to Nigeria and has been languishing in Department of State Service (DSS) detention camp in the Federal Capital Territory. Judas Iscariot collected only three pounds ten to betray his Master Jesus Christ. During the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War, the late Major Ifeajuna collected huge amount of money from the enemy troop and betrayed the Biafran Troop in war front.

The suspended Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who is under detention and under criminal investigation, might have been betrayed by one of his close friends. The betrayer might have collected big sum of money to do so. No wonder the Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evils (1 Timothy 6:10). When the going is good, you have many friends; but when the going is bad, all of them will abandon you. Genuine friends are rare while friendly enemies are abundant. Beware with whom you go!

It is the rat at home that told the rat in the forest that fish is in the basket in the house.  Whatever evil that befalls you, your bosom friend may have a hand in it. Such a person is a friend in evil or a friendly enemy. Never reveal your secrets to your friends no matter how trustworthy.

The situation has gone so bad that even your sibling, wife, husband, son, daughter, can betray you because of money. Of recent, the wife of a billionaire planned with hired assassins and eliminated her husband just to take over his numerous possessions. Unfortunately, one of the hired assassins, after collecting his share of the bloody money, betrayed the evil wife. When she was apprehended by the Police, she confessed to have masterminded the crime.

She sheded crocodile tears. Further, she said that it was the work of the devil. In every evil deed, we blame the devil. Henceforth, the devil has issued strict warning to those who accuse him falsely. He vowed to deal seriously with those false accusers by dragging them into hell fire.

It is not only in the human kingdom that friendly enemy exists. It is now taking place in the animal kingdom. In various homes, rats are co-tenants. They hide in hidden places in the house. Even, they live in the ceiling without paying house rent. At nights, they make merry all over the house by stealing foodstuffs, especially fish and meat. They have even gone to the extent of drinking mineral, malts and beer by using their sharp teeth as openers. During the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, we as children, ate rats due to lack of protein.

It was a delicious soft meat by then. But today things have really fallen apart. These house rats have become poisonous to human beings. They now transmit a deadly disease known as Lassa fever, which is highly contagious. It is dangerous to expose foodstuffs in the house. When rats come in contact with them, either you are rushed to the hospital or to the mortuary.

Thus, rats in the house have turned into friendly enemies. We must wage war against them before they send us to our untimely graves. Unfortunately, those stubborn rats have learnt how to avoid traps and rat poisoned food we set for them. Even the ‘kill and dry’ poison neither kills nor dries them any longer. They are now wiser and cleverer.

Indeed, we are not only battling with principalities and powers, but with evil forces in the animal world, especially rodents and reptiles. The wall gecko or house gecko which lives in our houses as uninvited friends are threatening our lives by the bacteria they carry such as Salmonella, which is a pathogenic bacterium that can cause foodborne illnesses in humans.

Recently, a viral video was circulated whereby two young women suddenly died in sleep as a result of the consumption of soup with a dead wall gecko inside it. Therefore, beware of wall gecko! Cover your foods well during cooking and after. Prevention is better than cure. Eliminate these unwanted friends in your house before they eliminate you. In the good old days, wall gecko was locally used in curing tuberculosis by boiling them, eating the flesh and drinking the water. If you try it today, your obituary is assured.

Have you observed that insecticides today rarely kill mosquitoes? When we sleep, they come to mock us by making silly noise in our ears. Even if you use guns you cannot get them. If you slap them, you end up by slapping yourself. Mosquito is one of the friendly enemies in our homes.

They transmit the ancient and modern disease called malaria. Many people in Africa die each year from malaria caused by Anopheles (female) mosquitoes. We must be weary of females, ranging from humans to animals. Adam was living alone peacefully until his female partner came into the Garden of Eden and was seduced by the serpent. Consequently, they were expelled from the Garden of Happiness into the desert of sorrow. In order to rectify the fallen nature of man and woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary was chosen by God to be the Mother of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Glory be to God and honour to Mary!