The Igbo Crime Culture By Fredrick Nwabufo

In the sweltering heat of a serial lynching and killing of Igbo citizens in Asia in 2013, I wrote an article entitled, ‘The Igbo fallacy’. In it, I appealed to the Igbo to de-emphasise the culture of profligacy, decadent opulence, debauchery and vanity which fuels the pursuit of crime by their own.

I am compelled to revivify the article here, but with a few adjustments. I say it again; the Igbo take the inglorious front row in certain crimes – drug peddling, armed robbery and kidnapping – at home and abroad.

In August 2016, an Igbo drug dealer was guillotined in Indonesia. But his funeral in Anambra was a shin-dig of celebrations. He was even described as a “hero” by his kinsmen.

Once again, an Igbo kidnapping lord, who unleashed barbarity and savagery on many Nigerians, has steadied attention on the “special” crime proclivities of the ethnic group. I will not dwell on this; I will zero in on Igbo criminality abroad, and take a slight detour home.

As a matter of fact, a good number of Igbo youth in Asia are into crime. It was reported sometime in the year that the India police said all Nigerians – Igbo, of course – in their country were drug dealers. Although, this is questionable, it cannot be entirely repudiated.

Arguably, the reason for Igbo sojourning – to even the remotest of places in the world – has been attributed to their much vaunted entrepreneurial spirit. The truth is that this claim is enclosed in heavy, meaty layers of fallacy like the entrails of burger.

Inasmuch as the “entrepreneurial sojourning” thread cannot be utterly pooh-poohed, it is judicious to explore other reasons why the Igbo are peripatetic. First, in Igbo ethology, it is a cringing evil for a native, man or woman, to commit a “stigmatised” crime (Alu) such as armed robbery, drug-dealing, etc at home. This is not an obviation of abhorrent crimes committed at home by some unabashed Igbo criminals. The truth is, the “home” Igbo criminals are a hopeless and shameless horde whose self esteem and sense of shame are terribly at their nadir, and as a result purvey crimes at home. Inter alia, for any stigmatised crime committed at home (Igbo land) there is a stern reprimand implicit in the cleansing of the crime. The sacerdotal process of cleansing the land of a crime or an abomination is called “Ikpu Alu”. However, “Ikpu Alu” (cleansing of abominations) does not extend to crimes committed by Igbo sons and daughters in places outside the native dome. It is therefore not surprising if some Igbo persons commit heinous crimes in obverse places, and come back home to take chieftaincy titles. As a matter of fact, in some morally weak Igbo communities it is a brave thing to traffic in drugs abroad. Drug barons are gleefully celebrated as Ndi kara Obi (lion-hearted people). Such is the pantomime of the Igbo and crimes.

It is therefore indubitable to posit that an unenviable number of Igbo persons with innate criminal manuals travel outside the Igbo enclave to pursue crimes. This confutes the general idea that the sojourning of the Igbo is driven solely by entrepreneurial inclinations and motives. To a large extent, the sojourning of some Igbo is driven by a morbid aim of shielding their evil trades from the peering eyes of their kinsmen. Their names are protected as long as they do not traffic in crimes at home. The important thing is to be successful in crimes abroad; successful enough to build vulgar mansions at home and throw lazy cash about.

To animate my argument further, what is the entrepreneurial inclination or motive of the Igbo in India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa, and other countries peddling drugs? Is the entrepreneurial spirit of the Igbo only awakened abroad? Why should the Igbo entrepreneurial spirit find its host cozily and lopsidedly outside Igbo land? Is there a marriage between Igbo criminality across the world and Igbo entrepreneurial genome? These are questions that defeat the long, tired argument of Igbo entrepreneurial “peripatetism.”

The fact is the “entrepreneurial” beat-up logic and reason for Igbo sojourning is a bored excuse.

Analogously, Igbo sojourning atavism is also effectuated by pride, ego and vanity. A typical Igbo person will want to prove he is successful in anyway. It is wickedly mortifying to be seen as struggling in Igbo land. This underscores the reason many Igbo persons smuggle themselves out of Nigeria, and because it is thought that any person in Obodo Oyibo (white man’s country) or even anywhere outside Igbo land is “doing well”. Those Igbo persons who are “cursed” to be in Igbo land are seen as struggling and as such do not deserve the courtesy of admiration and respect. It is a proud thing for an Igbo father to say, “All my children are in the abroad”; even though “the abroad” is Gabon. Such a father courts the respect, envy and admiration of other fathers in Igbo land. This is the awful linkage between Igbo sojourning and base vanity.

In all, there are Igbo persons in the scrawny good number whose sojourn in foreign countries is not tainted by any evil intent or base vanity, but it is a bleeding fact that the singular Igbo entrepreneurial logic for sojourning is one big smorgasbord of fallacy.

MEANWHILE…

Arabic is not Islam

You may be wrong if you believe that the insertion of Arabic in the secondary school curriculum as a foreign language elective is a path to the “Islamisation” of Nigeria. Your ignorance is pardonable. Why? I used to think that way too, and of course not by the governing of logic but by sentiment and emotion. I have been nudged to rationality by an elder. Now, here is my point. Arabic is a “staple” language in much of Africa – North, and some parts of East and West Africa. It is spoken by over 420 million people, making it the sixth most spoken language in the world. It also one of the six working languages of the UN. Again, there are many Christian Arabs – in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, etc, who speak the language. Why haven’t they been religiously sterilised? In fact, there is an Arabic Bible used by Christians in the Middle East. It is just a language, people. So, this hue and cry about the Islamisation of Nigeria through the learning of Arabic is needless.

No “peace” for Saraki yet

After surviving embarrassment and humiliation at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Senate President Bukola Saraki will now face another legal battle – at the appeal court. According to him, some people in government are desperate to pull him down; hence they will not let go until he is out of the way. Well, the prosecution put up a bad show at the tribunal; let’s see how they will bring Lazarus back to life.

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1 Comment

  1. I totally agree that many people couldn’t differentiate between Arabic language and Islam as a religion; but again I don’t trust this government on the issue of religion, the government should just insert the various religious studies back to the curriculum, to enhance moral behavior.

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