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Nigeria 2023 Elections: Gubernatorial Results (Source:INEC)

Teen ritualists, yahoo kids, and societal failure

People say it’s a parental failure. They are right. But can we blame parents alone? When parental failures become very rampant, the blame is shifted…

People say it’s a parental failure. They are right. But can we blame parents alone? When parental failures become very rampant, the blame is shifted to society. This is true of Nigeria; and by extension, the global society. I have futilely tried to train my mind not to be disturbed again by the deluge of bad news to which we are already accustomed in Nigeria. The gruesome acts of criminality committed by our youths nowadays are mentally damaging. No one who is in the know of current events of today’s Nigeria can maintain mental equilibrium no matter how much he struggles amidst grotesquely unbelievable crime news that continues to wreck our mental health. We are wrecked — a total wreck. 

Those who are unable to read real meanings to events as they unfold might think some of us are alarmists. But the reality is that we are in a precarious situation with a narrow possibility of redeemability. Why? Because some of us still stand arms akimbo as if we are immune from the series of crimes that are on geometric progression. If you have not been a victim, someone you know has. If you think your home is fortified because it is full of righteous people, do not forget that your supposedly well-trained children will, by necessity, relate with peers and larger members of society. That is why we must be all concerned.

Nigerians witnessed two terrifying events, among others, some days ago. It is about the teenagers who want to become rich ‘fast, fast’ as we say in our local parlance. Going by their ages, I consider them as kids who if given an N50 note as a daily stipend (pocket money) when going to school should be overjoyed. Unfortunately, however, at that age, they want to compete with all the Dangotes, the Otedolas, and the Alakijas of this world. They failed to realise that these rich individuals are entrepreneurial, industrious, and privileged; that they did not make their wealth within a twinkle of an eye; and that money, in most cases, comes with sweat and hardwork. 

They truly believe that they can make money through rituals. Their conviction of the reality of blood money was to the core—without any tinge of doubt. This led them to do the unspeakable. Their act was both gruesome and nihilistic. It was both inhumane and animalistic. It was both anarchic and archaic. In this modern age? People still believe they could be rich through rituals. These are not just people but kids in their teens.  

I hope we have started seeing the influence of Bollywood, Nollywood, and Kannywood in the lives of our kids. Crime scenes that make us grimace in abhorrence when seen in movies and thereafter conclude that “after all it is a movie”, has now become a reality show. I keep asking if this is real. This is fantastically unbelievable. It was indeed incredulous but the truth is that it is real because it happened and we saw it— we did not just read it or hear it. 

To address this get-rich-quick pandemic among our youths — now our kids— we need urgent ‘moral vaccine’ more than the COVID-19 vaccine which is comparatively less deadly. Yahoo girls are reportedly coming on board. The children of yesterday whose parents and the society failed to train are the parents of yahoo boys today. They proudly formed Yahoo Mothers’ Association. Now that yahoo boys are gradually becoming parents, the disaster hovering over us can only be imagined. May God help us.

Abdulkadir Salaudeen writes from Abuja