By Pat Amobi Chukwuma

I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a film trick. But it dawned to be a reality. It is a terrible curse when an Igbo man or woman tells you, “Rie nsi.” Rie means Eat. Nsi is excreta. The last letter ‘i’ has a dot under it. Therefore ‘Rie nsi’ means ‘Go and eat human excreta.’ Only a local dog eats human excreta. Therefore any person that eats human excreta is equally a local dog.

Where am I going?

Some Africans, especially young Nigerians, eat human fresh excreta direct from white man’s anus into their opened mouths in order to survive in some foreign countries. The Africans or Nigerians concerned swallow the fresh human excreta as it drops bit by bit into his or her opened mouth as the white man defecates. Afterwards he or she drinks the white man’s urine to wash the excreta (nsi) down the intestine into the belly. When I saw the ‘rie nsi’ live video, I spited out a volume of my precious saliva and shouted, “Tufiakwa!” The Igbo word ‘Tufiakwa!’ is the English equivalent of “God forbid!” or “Abomination!” One shouts “Tufiakwa!” when an abominable thing happens. For example, when a man becomes pregnant; when a man marries a fellow man or a woman marrying a fellow woman. Before proceeding, please spit out your saliva and shout ‘Tufiakwa!” thrice. If a dog bites someone, it is not an anxious story to tell because a dog by nature bites. But if a man or woman bites a dog, the whole story will be interested to hear about. Tufiakwa!

How can an African or a Nigerian who was fed with his or her mother’s breast milk be acting like a brute, just to make it outside the shores of his or her country? It is never debatable. It is hundred percent better to stay at home (Nigeria) to suffer than to eat white man’s excreta abroad. The parents of one of those guys that eat the excreta were informed about what their only son who traveled abroad does in order to survive there. The parents wept from night till morning over their son’s shameful attitude of eating nsi. As the father was weeping, he lamented, “How can my only son be eating human excreta abroad when we have surplus food here at home? Even it is better to eat excreta at home than to do so abroad. Is not the black man’s excreta more nutritious than the white man’s excreta? What a shame!” Incidentally, the phone of the father in question rang. It was his ‘rie nsi’ son calling from Dubai. The dad shouted, “My son, what am I hearing about you? So, you are eating white man’s excreta over there? Before I count ten, let me see you back home.” The father broke into tears. Then the son spoke from the other end, “Please my dear father, it is condition that made crayfish to bend. I am in a tight corner here. As I am speaking with you, I have no penny in my pocket. Life is very difficult for me over here. I am trapped. I regret selling all the possessions I had in Nigeria to come over here. The concept I had about oversea is just the opposite. To make it here is not easy at all. For now I eat white man’s excreta every day and drink his urine in order to be alive. Please do not be annoyed. Kindly pray for me. I have learnt my lesson. If miracle happens and I come back to Nigeria alive, I shall be the happiest man on earth.” He started sobbing. Both father and son cried over the phone for nearly half an hour.

The father continued in tears, “My son, what will the people here at home say? My only son ‘na-eri nsi n’obodo oyibo’ (My only son is eating human excreta oversea). Tufiakwa! Tufiakwa!! Tufiakwa!!! I am dead. You have killed me. I have disowned you as my son in this world and in the world to come. You are responsible for my death. You will continue to eat nsi forever.” Immediately, the distressed father slumped and died. His wife tried all she could to wake him up, but it was too late. She wept and wept. She shouted, “I am finished! My husband is dead. My only son is gravely sick overseas by eating white man’s excreta. Ewo-o!!!” She fainted. The sympathizers who came as she was screaming rushed her to the nearest hospital. The doctor placed her under oxygen. Later she became conscious but was gazing beyond this world.

The son in Dubai did not live long. He contaminated a terminal disease as a result of the white man’s excreta he had consumed in quantum. At some point he became a moribund. The white men tried to deport him alive, but his wretched condition was not deportable. At last he died a miserable death over there. His corpse was burnt and cast into a river. The poor mother at home became a widow and childless woman. What a triple tragedy! Tufiakwa!

Few years ago, I wrote on the funny things some Africans do overseas in order to survive. Personally, before I traveled to Europe in 2001, I thought that the oversea countries are paradise on earth. I was very eager to be there. The night before I traveled by air, I was intoxicated with happiness. Immediately I landed in Germany, my concept began to change. Yes it is a fine country. Their transport systems are superb. All roads are tarred exceptionally. There is nothing like power failure over there. Unemployed persons receive monthly allowances. The environment is neat and attractive. However, just after one week of my stay, I began to nurse going back home. I developed a sickness the Germans call “Heimweh” (home sickness). I began to count the number of days. I came to realize the actual meaning of home. No wonder Malala Yousafzai rightly says, “If you go anywhere, even paradise, you will miss your home.” How can a sane person leave home to eat excreta or languish in a foreign land? Tufiakwa!

Within my study period in Germany, I traveled to Rome, Assisi, Switzerland, Austria and France. I saw good things and bad things Africans do. Some of them are studying while others are doing business successfully. Those who have complete travelling documents are going about their normal businesses. But those who sneaked into Europe through dubious ways are living lives of hide and seek. Some have no place to lay their heads. Some have no money to pay for their transport fares. Hence they travel illegally by train and hide in the train’s toilet. When they reach their destinations, they sneak out from the toilet and rush out with legal passengers. Some came into Europe as self acclaimed refugees. Such dubious persons stay in refugee camps planning what next to do. Some who tried to escape were arrested, tortured, deported or eliminated as the case may be.

Some of the Africans travel through Libya and walk into Europe through the desert. Many of them do not make it. The hotness of the desert chokes them and they dry up like stock fish. Others collapse and die due to extreme hunger. Out of great thirst, some resort to drinking their own urine and the urine of others. Many skeletons of our people are scattered in the desert waiting for the day of Resurrection. I wonder if the hotness of the desert will allow their dilapidated carcass to resurrect. Some who travel by boats or by make-shift ships get drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. The whales and fish in the Sea consume them as food. From year to year, the corpses of our African people, Nigeria included, (mostly youths) trying to migrate illegally into Europe float in the Sea. Tufiakwa!

All those whose dear ones traveled overseas many years ago and they have not heard from them should weep and console themselves. Perhaps they are among the dead drowned in the Mediterranean Sea or lying like stock fish in the desert. The relations have no choice than to organize their funeral ceremonies, pray for God’s mercy and the repose of their souls. Those who are still planning to leave the shores of Africa to look for greener pastures abroad should think twice. There is neither Gold nor Silver lying along the streets in oversea countries.

Dollars or Euros are not floating there. Why do some young men and women from Nigeria and other African countries abandon their business at home and be stranded overseas? It is better for one to eat palm kernel here at home than to eat white man’s excreta over there. In fact, our people take great risks.

Experience is the best teacher. But it is regrettable that we do not learn from experience. The Road Safety Corp normally warns in dangerous roads: “Slow down, many have gone” yet some drivers speed along and end up fatally. The fatal fate of some of our youths trying by all means to make it overseas should be a lesson for others. Yet some of our youths have deaf ears. An Igbo proverb says that a fly without an adviser perishes with the corpse. Why should our youths continue to perish in the desert or sea? Why should they eat excreta overseas when we have abundant nutritious food at home? Tufiakwa!

The government of different countries in Africa should provide for her citizens. Nigeria, for instance, is blessed by God with abundant natural, mineral and human resources. Our problem is mismanagement of those resources by federal and state governments. The incursion of the Military in the governance of Nigeria for many years set us back. Also the civilian leaders we have had did not help matters. Most of our leaders at levels of governance are too selfish. Hence Nigerians are languishing in the midst of plenty, especially since our Independence in 1960. If we have got good leaders at all levels since Independence, Nigerians would have been in Paradise by now. Annually, thousands of graduates come out of school without employment. Some of the old people under employment refuse to retire.

Government fails to create jobs for her teeming youths. The politicians amass wealth and milk the country dry. Old civilian and military leaders continue to cycle themselves in governance since Independence. The idle youths and graduates are forced to take to criminality. Many of them thus leave the country by all means to seek greener pastures abroad. Unfortunately, some of them end up floating on the sea, dying in the desert or eating human excreta. Some take to drugs. Many Nigerians are languishing in prisons abroad. Some have been executed because of drug related offences.