Why Are Igbos Kidnapping Other Igbos For Ransom Money?
This afternoon (February 15, 2011) I got some disturbing news from home (Nigeria). The daughter of my cousin (Fabian) was kidnapped. The young woman is a recent university graduate planning to go to law school. She was working for one of the contenders in the upcoming elections in Nigeria. Apparently, she and a fellow worker had disembarked from a plane at Imo state Airport and took a cab to Owerri. When they got to their gated compound they did not have the key to get in and no one was home to let them in. They stood by the gate trying to figure out a way to get into the house when some Igbo hoodlums came along and kidnapped them. The kidnappers demanded a million naira which, apparently, was paid and they are released.
Apparently, the Igbo lay of the land now is for thugs to kidnap folks, demand ransom money and if paid they release them, if not they may do with them as they wish (if the victims are women they are raped or worse). I listened to the phone call narrating what is happening in our parts of the world and could not believe what I was hearing but there it was happening in the land.
Being me I decided to assuage my anger by trying to understand why this kidnapping phenomenon in our land. Why are Igbos now kidnapping their fellow Igbos for money? This paper will try to understand this phenomenon in as disinterested and dispassionate a manner as is humanly possible. What I am going to say may not sit well with so-called Igbo nationalists who see nothing wrong with Igbos but always see things wrong with non-Igbo Nigerians, who (other Nigerians), incidentally, are less involved in this kidnapping business (wealthy Igbos these days seek refuge from their own Igbo kidnappers by living in other parts of Nigeria, keeping their families there, so much for pride in Igboness). Let them be angry at me all they want; the course of truth demands that courageous persons state the truth as they see it and may God help them. A caveat, however, is in order. Much of what I am about to say is said in general statements. It would seem to stereotype Igbos. Clearly, not all Igbos engage in kidnapping or are evil. Statistically, deviancy from the norm seldom exceeds five percent in most human populations. I regret to make general statements but when a phenomenon is rampant it is a useful literary device to talk about it as if it affects every person. The reader therefore must know that there are exceptions to everything I said about Igbos.
I have observed Igbos in every which way a social scientist could observe a group of human beings. This is how I see them, and how I see them has a bearing on this current spate of kidnapping their own people for money.
I see Igbos as wildly individualistic. That is correct; they are wild individualists! I say wild because their individualism does not seem to recognize the need to put the fruits of individualism to serving social good. Each Igbo that I see is out for himself. He works very hard to amass wealth. He is ready to sell his mother for money or sell his brothers into slavery if in so doing he seems rich in his eyes and the eyes of his Igbo compatriots. The Igbo is unscrupulous in the way he seeks wealth; he is very unprincipled and opportunistic in pursuit of money, fame and power.
The Igbo works for himself and finds it very difficult to work with other persons or for the collectivity. In business he is at his best in sole proprietorship and finds it difficult to have partners, talk less forming corporations. We all know the disadvantages of sole proprietorships. If you made the mistake of forming partnerships with Igbos the chances are that they would seek ways to take the business from you or liquidate it from stealing from it. The Igbo finds it very easy to rip off his partners for he does not identify with them; he wants to take from them but not give to them.
The Igbo is totally self-centered and thinks mostly about his self-interests and the interest of his immediate family members but seldom about other persons' interests; his ego is not expanded enough to include the larger social interest. He certainly does not love his fellow Igbos for action speaks lauder than words: if he loved them would he be kidnapping them for money?
In character/personality the typical Igbo is a narcissist; he fancies himself important and admires his image in the mirror (or pool of water until like the proverbial narcissist he falls into it and drowns). He fancies that he is so good that other people ought to admire him; he actually believes that other Nigerians admire him (and unbeknown to him they detest him!).
The typical Igbo has delusion of importance that in many cases borders on delusion disorder (paranoia). Delusion of grandeur, delusion of persecution, delusion of jealousy (they frequently attack their wives from jealous rages), delusion of erotomania (belief that important persons like them or are in love with them) and somatic delusion (belief in false somatic illness). I must say that I have seldom seen Igbos that did not exhibit some aspects of paranoia and or narcissism. Last week I wrote about how some Igbo ministers exhibit their delusion of grandeur by claiming to be God!
The Igbo works very hard trying to seem wealthy; have no doubt about it, he is very industrious. In the process of seeking wealth he does not mind using other people and discarding them after using them. This is typical narcissistic personality behavior: use people to attain your goals and objectives and when they are no longer useful to you, you discard them like pieces of scrap iron, toss them into the garbage can. Igbos do not mind stealing if doing so would give them the money to masquerade around as very important persons. Wherever criminality is going on Igbos tend to dominate. A preponderance of Nigeria's famed 419 criminals scamming Westerners are Igbos. These people would do anything for money, no question asked: they seem to have no conscience of what is good or bad. Apparently, their psyches are still savage and has not been civilized and made caring for other people by one of the universal religions. Christianity is only about 150 years in Igbo land and that is not long enough to have thoroughly socialized them to love and care for their fellow human beings. Hopefully, in a few more hundred years of exposure to Christianity and its gospel of agape love, caring for other persons, Igbos would gradually give up their irritating self-centeredness and begin caring for all people and working for public good, in the present they are not yet there and one would be deceiving ones self to think that they would not screw one up if they could get away with it.
They do not exhibit sense of guilt or remorse from stealing; they do have shame feeling for shame is a less mature affect, it is sign of other dependency; shame is rooted in belief that one did not measure up to social expectations hence is not liked by other persons. Guilt, on the other hand, is more mature for it is rooted in self-defined moral standards that if one does not live up to them one feels bad regardless of whether other people know or not know what one did wrong. The lack of guilt feeling indicates presence of anti-social personality disorder, aka sociopath and in extreme cases psychopath.
Igbos seldom love and care for other people. What they are most likely to do is put other persons down through their famous imanjakiri and Iko Okwu habit. They sit around seeking ways to say derogatory things about other persons, especially about those who call their bluff (they will no doubt say nasty things about me from reading this paper).They are very boastful and childishly arrogant; they claim to be superior to every person in sight when maturity teaches us to be humble for no matter how much one knows one does not know even one percent of what is knowable; Western science knows a lot but what it knows so far is less than one percent of what is knowable hence the need for humility. The Igbo national character seems to be looking down on non-Igbos and those Igbos who call attention to their untoward behaviors. These people apparently derive sadistic pleasure from saying awful things about other persons.
Historically certain Igbo clans (Abriba, Abam, and Ngwa etc.) roamed around Igbo land capturing their fellow Igbos and selling them into slavery. During the Trans-Atlantic Slavery Trade era (1500-1900) a certain Igbo clan, the Aro, arranged with Efiks (at Calabar) to sell Igbos to them and the later sold those Igbos to white slavers parked at the Atlantic coast and from there it was onwards to the Americas. The Aro were evil beyond belief; these people bastardized religion and transformed it into a means of kidnapping their fellow Igbos for sale. They convinced Igbos to bring their squabbles to them for settlement and those found guilty were passed through the famous underground tunnel at Arochukwu and were said to have been taken by the gods in lieu of punishment. Actually, at the other end of the tunnel were enslavers who took the unfortunate persons and sold them to Efik folk and the later sold them to white folks.
History would not be studied if men were still not making the mistakes of their ancestors. In today's Nigeria Igbos and other Nigerians are still doing what their slaving ancestors did. Today, Igbo politicians would take the money given to them by the federal government to be spent on development projects in Igbo land and pocket it. They buy governorship positions because from them they enrich themselves. Igbo politicians are nothing but thugs and we all know it. There is not one single political leader in today's Alaigbo, what we have are criminals in politics. These people's hearts are made of stone and they could care less for their peoples suffering. And it does not stop with politicians. Igbo professionals, such as doctors, are there to make money. If you do not have money they would not treat you, the shoddy treatment they offer, that is. These people have the devil may care attitude towards their fellow human being (if you have money to seek better treatment, of course, you would not go to Igbo professionals, you go to the white man for he is more likely to care for you!).
Igbo so-called big men are in office for themselves and for their families and do not care for their fellow Igbos. It is now time to call a thief a thief, even if he is Igbo; no more euphemism and kid gloved treatment of Igbo thieves while yelling about Nigerian thieves; a thief is a thief, Igbo or Nigerian. It is no longer kosher for Igbos to see their leaders go to Nigeria and obtain money on their behalf and misappropriate it and then turn around and urge them to blame other Nigerians for the lack of development in Alaiigbo. It is time folks wised up and stopped being gullible simpletons that anti-social Igbo leaders manipulate by urging them to blame Nigerians while they appropriate money that the Nigerian state gave to them for the development of Igbo land. Igbo youth go through school and graduate but Igbo elders having not worked to provide them with jobs have no jobs (unless they go to Yoruba land or Hausa land, other parts of Africa or overseas in search of jobs). Now what would you do if your people do not care for your welfare? You would probably not give a fuck about them. How do you exhibit your anger at them? You kidnap those you believe have some money but ignored your plight and demand ransom payment for their release! This is now what Igbo young men, the disowned and uncared for youth, have resorted to doing.
I believe that Igbo warped character and pathological culture is responsible for the spate of kidnapping going on in Igbo Land. I blame Igbos for the evil of kidnapping their people and demanding money for their release just as I blamed them for kidnapping and selling their people to Arabs and white men.
My response is not a very popular approach to the Igbo question and is certainly not going to make me friends among Igbos. What Igbos have developed the habit of doing is using their poorly understood social science to blame the environment for their obvious stunted characters manifestations. They these days blame Hausas and Yoruba's and other Nigerians for all that are wrong in Igbo land. The idea is that other Nigerians kept Igbos underdeveloped and poor. Hausas and Yoruba's supposedly take most of the Nigerian oil money and spend it on them and not on Igbos. They claim that no development projects are cited in Igbo land by the Nigerian state (this may be so but why not do it by yourself, why look to others to do things for you?). Simply stated many Igbos believe that it is the fault of other Nigerians that Igbos are unemployed and poor hence resort to stealing, kidnapping their people for ransom money. This tendency to blame others for their sins is a carry-over from their slaving days. Till today they blame white men for kidnapping and selling their people to whites (they tend to forget that for over five hundred years before the white men came along they were already selling their people to Arabs, nor did the white man come to their land to kidnap any one). It is always other peoples fault but never theirs.
By blaming others they do not feel bad about their obvious evil behavior; they do not feel guilty and remorseful for trafficking in iniquity. By blaming others they remain perfect in their eyes whereas those they blame, other Nigerians seem imperfect and evil…just as the blamed white men seem evil and imperfect, while they, folks who sold their brothers, masquerade around as innocent victims of others depravity. These people project blame to others rather than to themselves and this behavior (ego defense, no doubt) has wrought havoc in their individual psychologies. Blaming others and not themselves caused their apparent narcissism and delusion disorder; the narcissistic and or deluded person fancies himself a perfect god even as in fact he is an imperfect person like all of us.
To grow up one must look ones self in the marrow and see ones strengths and weaknesses and work on ones weaknesses rather than deny them and blame other persons for what ones weaknesses produced in one's life.
Those Igbos who kidnap their people for ransom money are cowards; they lack the courage to do what would improve the Nigerian polity. A few Nigerians hijacked the Nigerian state and rip off the wealth of the land and instead of fighting to dislodge the thieving rulers of Nigeria these cowardly Igbo youth turn their attention to self-gain by kidnapping their people for money. If they were courageous they would form organizations, even militia to attack the thieves of Abuja and bring down the empire of thieves and restructure Nigeria for the good of all Nigerians. But no, collective action for social good is not their cup of tea; their contemptible habit is doing whatever serves their selfish goals hence their current kidnaping of their people for money, doing what their equally selfish, cowardly and despicable ancestors did when they kidnapped and sold their people into slavery. It is time these people are taught real courage; courage lies in love and fighting for public good, not self- centered good only. It is now time Igbos transformed their garagara behavior to courageous behavior that looked after the good of all human beings. DISCUSSION As long as rich Igbos do not care to work to provide employment opportunities for Igbo university graduates, and those sit idle doing nothing, knowing that their elders do not care for them, I submit that they would resort to stealing, kidnapping and other anti-social behaviors to make ends meet. The result of Igbos lack of caring for their people, their wild individualism is that they would produce many antisocial youth who would kidnap and demand money for their release, or worse: kill them and not show remorse.
Therefore, something has to change in the Igbo character. Igbos must start caring for social interest and working for public good rather than merely work for their individual interests and masquerading around as important persons. A society that does not provide jobs for its youth is bound to produce criminals and that serves them right for why shouldn't the youth take from the adults who ignored their needs?
This whole idea that each of us is on his own and ought to look after his interests only, that the world is a dog eat dog world where no one helps others is the cause of Igbos present dilemma and if not changed would produce an Igbo people with collapsed culture. When morality is gone Igbo society would become like Somalia.
Igbos would soon progress from their currently cowardly kidnapping of their people to kidnapping other Nigerians and then go international to kidnapping other Africans and non-Africans for money. When they kidnap white folks, since white folks treat black men like niggers, they would not mind killing a bunch of Igbos in military strikes.
These people are gradually reverting to their ancestor's level of being: slave sellers. In fact, if there were no International laws preventing selling their people I believe that Igbos would be selling their people to Arabs who would gladly buy them and use them as beasts of burden; what do Igbos care as long they have money to seem as big men! Morality is for inferior persons, not for alleged Igbo superior men! CONCLUSION I have obviously stated some painful truths about Igbos and most of them know that what I said is true. But instead of dealing with the truth that I observed the more deluded Igbos would come to the public square and call me poorly understood psychological terms, such as say that I hate myself and hate Igbos, that I am attributing my self-hatred to Igbos, that I hate Nigerians and Africans in general. Some will even call me psychiatric names, anything to put me down and divert attention from what I said. The idea is that if I am called names, lied about that folks would not listen to me and instead listens to the spurious clowns who call such names. But despite their defensive behaviors look who is harming other Igbos, Igbos, not other Nigerian!
To stop Igbos kidnapping Igbos for money, Igbos must learn to care for one another, love one another and work to provide employment opportunities for the teaming unemployed Igbo youth in Nigeria. Idle hands are the devil's workshop. If Igbo youth are gainfully employed they would not resort to kidnapping and other antisocial behaviors .Those Igbos who have money ought to be putting it to constructing factories where Igbos could obtain employment rather than masquerade around as very important persons who do nothing for their people. Ozodi Thomas Osuji (