The Irrational Fear of Rats, Suya and Hausa People

The title of this article was tough for me. I had to choose between 2. I considered “The Irrational Fear of Lassa Fever, Ebola and Boko Haram”. I should have called it that because the fear is irrational, at best.

No doubt that these are real treats, but there is a big different between fear and caution. And we just go overboard with our fear, that I just have to call them “irrational”.

Irrational-izing Fears

I call these fears irrational, because people don’t think about their thoughts about them. And likewise, they do not even consider their actions.

Irrational-izing Fears

Because of Lassa fever, has all garri become contaminated? Might you not be unrealistic when you develop a sudden repulsion for rats? Or a sudden hatred for Housa people? I mean come on, these things and people do not somehow become threats overnight!

The Irrational Fear of Rats

The irrational fear of Lassa Fever. The most recent threat sweeping Nigeria now, is the Lassa Fever. By now, any Tom, Dick or Harry knows that garri is one of the ways humans get infected. How?

I remember my childhood days when we used to travel to the village. I still remember seeing “white grains” laid down on the roads as we drove pass. It turns out that, that was garri (or cassava) laid out to dry. And the rat that causes Lassa fever, urinates on them after feeding off the cassava (or so). Then the urinated-on garri gets packaged and sold in the markets, and we go buy them.

But like I said, this practice of drying cassava out on the bare roads date back to my childhood. So why the sudden sweep of the fever in the last couple of weeks? Well to that, I have no answer right now. But you will figure it out later; just keep reading.

But I find people’s reactions rather unrealistic. Because overnight, your housemate for 8 months, somehow becomes an enemy. Yes, I’m talking of that rat whom you’ve already given a cute pet name. Why na? Because of Lassa fever? Abeg calm down jor!

Calm down and think, before you label all garri as “evil” and “sent by the devil” to kill you. Because the lady who sells garri on your street doesn’t dry her garri out in the open, where it might get urinated on.

And think well before you start to quarrel with that friend with whom you always soak garri on Fridays. I am not that irrational, and have not stopped eating garri oh.

The Irrational Fear of Suya

The irrational fear of Ebola. Ah, ebola! I expressed my thoughts about the ebola scare in 2014 because people were overacting. My boss didn’t even want me to visit Nigeria during that period, because they were afraid. The were afraid that I could either die in Nigeria, or bring it back with me to Cyprus lol.

So I put my analytical skills to practice on the ebola case, and here is what I came up with. First, the virus was spreading among certain countries. Kudos to Nigerians and their irrational fear, it actually helped in containing the virus.

But the other countries weren’t as cautious, sadly enough. I heard of a family who broke an infected person out of quarantine, and were all on the run. Whether true or not, who does that?

Anyway, the virus got into Nigeria through ONE infected man. Mosf of the people who got the virus were those who had direct contact with this ONE man. Those people were the medical staff who treated this man. That also included the nurse who risked her life to stop the infected man from “escaping”.

People are evil sha. You get infected, and the next thing you think of is to drag everyone else down with you. Like some would say “there is a special place in hell for such kinds of people”.

Whether that story was true or not, I do not know. Still, let us not forget those who lost their lives to ebola, so that we would not have to.

So the chances of the virus spreading in Nigeria, was slim. That’s why I did not buy the bullshit story that ebola could spread through bush meat, like suya and so on. I sided with the president of the Nigerian Association of Hunters that it was a “lie”. Well, it was just false story.

Sellers of bush meat were lamenting, because sales were declining. I was in Nigeria shortly after the initial scare, and I did not let people’s irrational fear of suya, stop me. I had to have myself some real good suya at Ore, on my way from Lagos to Benin (photo below).

Ore Suya

Like I predicted, the death toll in Nigeria was the lowest. Again, well done to Nigerians and their irrational fear. Unlike in the US where an infected person managed to travel several states, unstopped. I don’t know how true that was, but ruthless Nigerians will take matters into their hands once they find out. Thank God we survived that one sha!

The Irrational Fear of Hausa People

The irrational fear of Hausa People. I recently needed to change the battery of the Addidas wristwatch I received on my birthday last year. So I drove to the UNIBEN main gate, to find one of the malams that handle watches over there.

Fear of Hausa People

While standing, and waiting for the men to set shop, a security man was also standing next to me and talking to them. It seemed like they all were friends, but the security man said something I felt he should not have.

One of the Hausa men called the security man a “small boy”. He was just about my size, so physically, he was small. He went on to call him “my boy” and the security man’s response was shocking!

“Me?” he said, “your boy?”, he continued. “For you?”, the security man asked. “Yes” said the Hausa man. “You?” the security man asked again “Boko Haram?” he added. And I immediately felt offended and insulted on behalf of the Hausa men (yea, for both of them).

But to my surprise, the Hausa man said nothing, and the security man continued to talk. At that point, I had lost interest in whatever else he had to say as he walked away. But I couldn’t help but wonder how he made them feel. Yet, they continued with their business like nothing had just happened. I did my business, paid my money and walked away, wondering about what the hell just happened!

Perhaps it was not the first time someone had said something like that to them. Maybe that’s why they did not respond. But is that what we have become now?

Aliyu who always shined your shoe at your office, has now become a threat? Now you no longer greet Ponyl when he brings your favorite kunu drink around? And what about Kalu who buys newspaper from you for suya once in a while? How did he become a threat, overnight?

We should be a bit more mindful and realistic about how we think about these things. The threat is real, but you cannot treat everyone as a suspect. It is ignorant and it is just not fair. You do not have to wait to be on the other side of the table first, because it will not be nice for you either.

Put a little thought into your irrational fears, and exercise caution. Nigeria is for us all. We are where we are today, because everyone treats everyone else as a suspect. Na so we go dey dey?


What do you think about all these? Surely you have something to say.

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