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Upside-down thinkers and inverted zombies (II)

The Big Sallah, the prevailing parlance of Eidul Adha in Nigeria, where rams are sacrificed by Muslims in imitation of Prophet Abraham, is always a…

The Big Sallah, the prevailing parlance of Eidul Adha in Nigeria, where rams are sacrificed by Muslims in imitation of Prophet Abraham, is always a period of excitement.  But with the excitement also comes anxiety, because, like any festival and other times of celebrations, things get more expensive here. Christmas, the two Eids, and Easter are the times Nigerians steel themselves for price increases, because those are the periods of time that merchant take full advantage of the obligatory shopping of their compatriots.  This is the tradition in Nigeria.
In other countries, however, it’s the other way around.  Merchants and shoppers mark their calendars to anticipate national holidays.  In the US, they have Thanksgiving (on the fourth Thursday of November and second Monday of October in Canada, celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of harvest), Black Friday (the fourth Friday of November, regarded as the beginning of Christmas), Christmas and so forth.
It is such a big deal that this year, according to Huffington Post, Macy’s (a popular mid-range chain of department stores) will open its doors two hours earlier than it did last year for Black Friday shoppers. Usually, people buy on this holidays and immediately after when there are left overs of which the merchants want to get rid.  You may not get the best selection, but the price is great.  You can access deals of up to 70 or 80% off.
Similarly in Malaysia, there are the two Eids as we have in Nigeria, Chinese New Year, Hari Merdeka (Independence Day), Deepavali (the festival of light, celebrated by Malaysian Indians of the Hindu faith), etc.  Malaysians look forward to these days because of the great deals they enjoy as a result of the sales by merchants.
In Nigeria, however, people try to buy before all these holidays to avoid being diddled by the cut-throat shop owners.  It’s a good thing that we don’t have many holidays in Nigeria.  
It is hoped that soon Nigerians would follow the rest of the world in this tradition.  And I’ve seen a sign of that happening during the last Ramadan.  In Minna, the Rano petrol station reduced their price of fuel in the spirit of Ramadan – that’s impressive!
Does this run counter to the economics principle that says prices rise when demand increases? No, because of the huge traffic of shoppers, even if the merchants make little profit, they would make a lot of it, which itself makes economic sense.  
Even so, it would appear that at times, in Nigeria, the laws of economics don’t apply.  For example, a shop keeper may prefer to allow his wares to gather dust than to sell at discount – which makes you wonder if we’re predisposed to wickedness.  Recently, when the people of Mudi in Adamawa state were running away from Boko Haram, they had to pay N7, 000 to get to Yola, the state capital – it used to be N800! These were the internally displaced people who were leaving their property behind, but it didn’t stop their own compatriots from taking advantage of their misery.


Since I no longer live in Malaysia, I was given to believe that the activities of Nigerian drug traffickers (and their usual arrests) had abated in that peaceful country.  I was mistaken.  Google Alerts sent me the following story from one of the well-circulated Malaysian newspapers, The Star.  They depraved fools are still able to evade our ineffective drug agents at Nigerian airports and getting caught in Malaysia – embarrassing us all.  You’d think they would learn to keep away from that country.  According to this report, almost 40 Nigerians have been arrested with drugs in less than a month.  May their souls rest in peace, for they face a certain death.

Two Nigerian drug kingpins among 11 suspected traffickers held

Two Nigerian drug kingpins are among 11 suspects arrested by police for smuggling narcotics at the KL International Airport.
The suspects, in their 30s, were detained during a series of raids by the Bukit Aman Special Tactics and Intelligence Narcotics Group that started at about 1.30pm on Saturday and ended several hours later.
“We raided seven premises in the Klang Valley, including two high-end condominium units in Bangsar where the kingpins were caught,” said Federal Narcotics Criminal Investigations director Comm Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim.
“The raids were launched following the recent seizure of 3.3kg of methamphetamine at the airport from an air cargo (flight) from Nigeria.”
Police had the drug smuggling syndicate under surveillance for the past year.
Comm Noor Rashid said the syndicate was also actively distributing narcotics in South-East Asia.
“We believe it has been active for the past several years,” he said at a press conference yesterday.
“The syndicate is well known in the drug underworld. Various methods have been used by it to smuggle drugs.
“And judging from the colour of the crystals, we are confident it is high grade narcotics.”
He said the syndicate’s leaders were experienced and organised, adding that police were now tracking down its remaining members.
Among the suspects, aged between 24 and 54, were two women.
“One of the women is a Malaysian from Sarawak while the other is from Tanzania. The Malaysian woman is a drug mule for the syndicate,” Comm Noor Rashid said.
The drugs seized were found in 24 instant cereal drink packets and worth about RM3mil (N150 million).
Police said the case was being investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act, which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
In the past two weeks, 39 Nigerians in total were arrested for drug possession, distribution and smuggling.

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