Another Nigerian killed in S.A: Some perspective on Davido, glorification of vices

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davido and friend

Just read that Davido lost three friends in a week in drugs or substance abuse-fuelled binges. I remember mentioning here how horribly unpleasant the substance use we see on his videos could be, and people were up in arms “thou shalt not judge.”

I tweeted my thoughts to one of his videos. Later, I wrote about Olamide and his videos that were banned for substance issues.

A lot of us still came and said “thou shalt not judge.”

Are we aware that almost every month, a Nigerian is killed in South Africa, allegedly for substance abuse issues or peddling?

Do we know that in Singapore, Malaysia and China, a total of 158 Nigerians were placed on death row for drug related matters?

The majority of extra judicial killings of Nigerians are covered up with “he was suspected of drug handling, those Nigerians are always selling drugs to our people.”

Meanwhile, here in South Africa, smoking dens, cigarettes, weed and alcohol are everyday food items. You can walk into a stall and rent an Okka Pipe to smoke molasses based tobacco while some add drugs like dagga to it. I have never seen tobacco, substance and alcohol use to this proportion before in my life.

But Nigerians are blamed all the same. In my area, it almost seems weird that I don’t smoke or drink. It seems like a shocker to a lot of people here. There is already this image or expectations people have that Nigerians must be drug peddlers or bad people.

The funny thing is that Nigerians too agree that maybe we are actually all bad people and that’s why people kill a lot of us extra-judicially. No! We are not all bad people but you see, this our inability to tell people to be responsible? It is what is killing us. There is no excuse for extrajudicial killings and you know Nigerians are totally silent about these killings. If it was to defend David or Wizkid videos, you will see us so hyped and ready to tear people up.

This is the lives of people like you and I, even Nigerians here are saying “let us just learn to be humble, maybe we will not get killed.”

Why have you guys not killed Europeans, Indians and Chinese who drive huge jeeps all over our streets and hire our brothers and fathers to carry their shopping basket inside Ikeja City Mall? What kind of pride can a foreigner have that exceeds the ones those in Nigeria portray? The truth is a killer just needs to decide that you fit a profile — Nigerian in this case.

The killers of Nigerians are being enabled by people who claim that we are drug peddlers. They will never meet any form of resistance until Nigerians distance themselves themselves from anything that gives such impression.

We spend a lot of our time on social media and the internet bragging about irresponsible habits. We fight people who are “moralists” in our own opinion and think it normal for artistes to showcase irresponsible behaviour.

We forget that many of these countries are obsessed with Nigerian music, and movies. They watch these movies religiously and believe that we are exactly how these things portray us to be.

So even though the larger percentage of South African citizens are statistically unlikely to kill Nigerians, they will not protect or protest your victimisation by their police. It’s no longer news that you are more at risk of death with SA police than with citizens, the only risk with citizens is that they believe the police is now “doing their real job,” by killing Nigerians.

If we really are patriotic, then we won’t sit around eulogizing the irresponsible image our movies and music give about Nigeria. Because it is not a matter of whether you smuggled drugs or not anymore, it’s about your identity as a Nigerian and the automatic assumption that you have been involved in selling drugs to a people who themselves are obsessed with drugs. You get killed even before there is a chance to investigate.

Even if Davido didn’t kill his friends, I still hope we have some consensus about the kind of image Nigeria is projecting through music videos and movies.

Another Nigerian has been killed in South Africa. The reports are inconclusive about his death as some claim that he had already been dead before the drug raid. This inconclusive reports keep following every case of Nigerian deaths in South Africa and nothing is done about it. The Consul General also confirmed that the 25-year-old (Ibrahim Olalekan Badmus) from Ogun state, is indeed dead.

It’s one thing to be a target of discrimination, it’s another thing to position ourselves as culprits through the image we create.

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