Thursday, December 15, 2016


They say it’s Christmas. And they are right. It’s Christmas.

While celebrating Christmas in 2016, try not to forget to remember to:
  • -         wash your hands
  • -         wash your fruits
  • -         wash your vegetables
  • -         use a condom
  • -         not reuse condoms
  • -         avoid fights, including Twitter fights and Facebook brawls - and MMM
  • -         avoid motorbikes if you can, control the speed of the motorbike riders if you can’t avoid them
  • -         drive carefully – and that includes avoiding the paths of reckless drivers
  • -         check your blood pressure and get your family members and loved ones to do same
  • -         ensure your pregnant folks are not over-stressed; they really don’t have to do all the cooking and cleaning
  • -         do not over-spend. January is notoriously unforgiving.
  • -         store petrol safely. That is a lesson we learnt from a few years ago.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


It is Wednesday evening, and you are home after a long day at work. Work went well, except, you are not feeling fine. You had to skip dinner, to the consternation of your wife. Your tummy feels like an Aleppo being pummeled by all the bombs the Russians can deploy. You have made at least six visits to the loo in the last two hours, maybe more, who's counting? Very watery visits. 

Very smelly, watery visits.

All you had this evening was watermelons. Sliced and ready-to-eat watermelons you bought off a hawker and ate as you endured the traffic jams that punctuated your drive home to wifey and kids.

You have visited the chemist at the street corner, and he has given you a cocktail of drugs which he promised will give you relief within a short time.

As you race to the toilet yet again, you make a mental note about avoiding watermelons. As the next wave of brown water gets expelled into the toilet bowl, you try to remember what they said about prevention and cure.

Only problem is, you’re probably wrong; probably barking up the wrong tree. It probably wasn’t the watermelons.


This morning, Latifat had to take her older child to school and so she asked her neighbor, Iya Bose, to help her look after her two-year old daughter Halima. Iya Bose agreed and took Halima and her own six-year old daughter Bose along with her to her stall. The stall was located on the fringes of the nearby mechanic village. It was at this stall she sold a variety of things ranging from biscuits and sweets to mineral water and “pure” water. Her husband, Ayo, a vulcanizer, had a shed in the mechanic village, which was quite close to her stall, and which afforded him the opportunity to stop by the stall in the afternoons for lunch…or whatever could pass for lunch.

Today, when Iya Bose and her two wards, Bose and Halima, got to the stall, Iya Bose noticed that Halima had wet her nappies; while she was in the process of changing the diapers, the baby shot out another generous stream of watery stool. Eventually, Iya Bose noticed that Halima was having diarrhea and had to divide her attention between her sales and cleaning up the baby’s soiled backside yet again. Of course, the fingers that cleaned the baby’s poo also counted the customers’ cash. No time for such niceties as washing hands after cleaning baby up. Not when baby was passing stools at the rate of three times per hour. Time na money.

When you stopped by Ayo’s place so that he could pump your tires, and gave him NGN1,000.00 and insisted he provide your NGN800.00 change, it was to his wife’s stall he went. It was from her fingers, soiled with baby Halima’s poo germs, that he collected the equally contaminated NGN800.00 that he came and handed over to you. It was when you took the money that you took in your fingers as well the germs that came from Baby Halima’s poo – a baby whose existence you didn’t know about. It was the NGN200.00 from that NGN800.00 that you used in buying the watermelons you bought at the next intersection.


It was the germs in your fingers that originated from the poo that came from Baby Halima and then passed through Iya Bose to Ayo to you that set you oscillating between your bedroom and bathroom.

All of this would have been prevented if you had simply washed your hands properly before you touched and ate the damned watermelons. You probably would have excused yourself from this unholy communion of shit.

Wash your hands. Correct handwashing is your greatest antibiotic.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


When you get to a doctor and he tells you that you have high blood pressure, what he means is that the force your blood is exerting against the walls of your arteries is so high that it may eventually cause health problems for you including heart disease and stroke. Usually, when your doctor tells you that you have high blood pressure, he is not wishing you ill. And he is not making a prophecy about what may happen to you in future if you do not pay your tithes. He is telling you what is already happening, so that you can take steps toward controlling the event. Simply “rejecting” what your doctor has said by faith in the name and by the blood of Jesus will probably not be enough.
You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Sadly, the absence of symptoms does not mean that you are safe; on the contrary, if your blood pressure is high, damage to your blood vessels and your heart will begin and progressively worsen, eventually increasing your risk of developing serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. It can also interfere with your ability to think, to remember, and to learn.
A lot of people think high blood pressure is a phenomenon that affects elderly people – and with good reason. But we have increasingly noted high blood pressures in young people, including in children as little as eight years old. Therefore, we advise that young people within the age bracket of eight to 39 years should get at least one blood pressure reading a year. Those 40 years and older should get a blood pressure reading every six months.

So what causes high blood pressure?

In many cases, we do not know what causes high blood pressure. In a few cases, however, the cause may be identifiable – and so perhaps treatable. Some of those identifiable causes of (a relative minority of cases of) high blood pressure include problems with the kidneys, thyroid gland, some medications including contraceptives, and substances like cocaine and alcohol.

Not everyone who uses alcohol or takes birth control pills develops high blood pressure. Fact is, apart from these possible causes of elevated blood pressure, there are certain factors that, if present, can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure. Some of them include:

Age: The older you get, the greater your risk of developing hypertension.

Race: If you are black, you are at greater risk for hypertension than if you are white, yellow, Arab, or (possibly) an alien.

Family history: If someone in your family is/was hypertensive, you are more likely than not to be hypertensive.

Weight: The bigger you are, the bigger your chances are of developing hypertension.

Sedentary lifestyle: The less physically active you are, the less your chances of good health and the greater your chances of developing high blood pressure.

Tobacco: Whether you smoke the tobacco directly, or you stay around in company of smoking folks and thereby inhale the fumes they exhale, you are at greater risk for hypertension than someone who has never encountered tobacco in his life.

Alcohol: The more the pints of alcohol you consume daily, the higher your risk of being someday labelled hypertensive.

Stress: High levels of stress can temporarily increase your blood pressure.

Pregnancy: Some women develop high blood pressure when pregnant. This may disappear several weeks after childbirth.

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may advice lifestyle changes, changes to your diet, and in some cases the commencement of antihypertensive medications.

This is not the time to turn to your pastor and begin the profession of “believing God” that this is “not my portion”. It is the time to carefully follow your doctor’s advice. For sure, you can ask your pastor to pray for you, but you also need to realize that at some point in Jesus’ life, rather than just command miracles with the power of his spoken word, he spat on the floor, bent and made a paste out of the mixture of spittle and clay and took the mixture and applied it to a blind man’s eyes.

So if you are placed on medications, take the medications as you have been requested to. And do not arbitrarily stop taking the medications if you eventually check your blood pressure and get normal values. If you get normal values, it is more likely because the drugs are keeping them normal than because you have achieved a permanent cure.

Note that if you do not take your medications exactly as you have been requested to, your blood pressure and your health may pay the price. Not your doctor. Not your pastor.

In addition to faithfully adhering to your drug schedule, eat healthy foods, decrease the amount of salt you have in your diet, maintain a healthy weight, and increase your physical exercise. Also limit your alcohol intake, discontinue smoking altogether, reduce stress as much as possible, and monitor your blood pressure at home. If you are pregnant, register for antenatal care at a hospital, not at Mama Eliza’s shop, where she will tell you – as she smokes her dried fish – how her own pregnancy of 40 years ago went, and expect that your will follow the same template.

Very importantly too, keep your appointments with your doctor. That may be the difference between a long life and a sudden death – or descent to a life of a poor vegetable.

Monday, December 12, 2016


If you use WhatsApp, then you are no stranger to the kinds of messages that come to you from people you know as well as appear in groups you belong to that notify you at the beginning that they have been forwarded as received and then enjoin you at the end to please share…so that God will bless you, or so that misfortune will avoid you, or so that you will save a soul…or something more or less ludicrous.

Well, there is this group I belong to, and a few days ago, someone posted this message:


(Public Interest)
Dear All, It's in India, Karnataka, Bangalore, a 10-year old boy, had eaten pineapple about 15 days back, and fell sick, from the day he had eaten. Later when he had his health check done, doctors diagnosed that he had AIDS!!!
His parents couldn't believe it. Then the
entire family underwent a medical checkup. None of them suffered from AIDS. So the doctors checked again with the boy if he had eaten out. The boy said 'Yes'. He did that evening. He ate pineapple.
Immediately a group from the hospital went to the pineapple vendor to check. They found the pineapple seller had a cut on his finger while cutting the pineapple; his blood had spread into the fruit.
When they had his blood checked, the guy was suffering from AIDS which he himself was NOT aware.
Unfortunately the boy is now infected and is now suffering from it.
Please take care while u eat on the road side (particularly Water Melon, Pineapple and Pawpaw (cut to size and packed in Nylon)) and pls fwd this mail to your dear ones
Please do take care.
Please Forward This Mail To All The Persons You Know As Your Message may save someone's life today💞
Dr Sushant Jadhav,
CMO, Civil Hospital
This message 📮 is from a group of
Doctors in India:
(forwarded in public interest)


According to this message, purportedly from a doctor, a boy ate a pineapple that he got, maybe bought, from a pineapple vendor, and then he fell sick from the very day he ate the pineapple. 15 days or so later, doctors conducted a health check for him and found he had AIDS. AIDS o, not HIV, but AIDS. Ehen.

Then the doctors who found that he had AIDS checked to see whether he had any family members who had AIDS too, and when they couldn’t find any family member with AIDS, they now started doing a dietary recall. They wanted to know what he had eaten and where. As an investigation for AIDS. They were in India o, yet they were not interested in whether he had been raped…they were interested in what he had eaten 15 days ago.

Then the 10-year old remembered that 15 days ago he ate a pineapple that he got from a pineapple vendor. Fantastic 10-year old. He remembers a lot from 15 days ago.

This pineapple vendor had AIDS, and somehow spread his AIDS into the pineapple which eventually infected the boy and got him sick that very same day, only to be diagnosed 15 or so days later.

Story story.

Now for a few facts.

AIDS is the name given to the assemblage of diseases that follow an uncontrolled infection with the HIV virus. The HIV virus infection itself is a slow infection that takes months to years to manifest into clinical symptoms. And in many cases, someone who has just been infected with HIV will not test positive for HIV till about 4 weeks (28 whole days o) after infection. Usual time it takes for HIV to be detected by standard testing after infection is 4 – 12 weeks (that is, 1 – 3 months).

HIV infection may be passed from pregnant mother to unborn child, from a newly infected, lactating mother to her suckling child, from a man or woman to his or her sexual partners, through sharing of sharps – whether by choice or inadvertently or even accidentally – through blood transfusions, and through direct exchange of blood and other bodily fluids..

It is not common for HIV to be transmitted from one person to another through a pineapple – even if the pineapple has some of the blood from the cut finger of an infected person. Even if the person comes from India.

Avoiding pineapples and watermelons will not take you any further from HIV infection than your current lifestyle already is.

Let us be careful what we reshare on social media. The above story is an example of the dangerously inaccurate things we see and repost on social media.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against a pineapple hawker or a poor, innocent pineapple.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Pupils were fixed, dilated, and unresponsive to light, pulse and cardiac activity were absent,…we certified this unknown adult female to be clinically dead at 2243 hours on December 09, 2016.

With those short sentences, and a few others to the same effect, I effectively completed my short summary of my acquaintance with the girl who had been brought to the Clinic, lifeless, a hapless victim of an accident that happened on the road but could not really be called a road traffic accident.


The road was not a busy road. It was the road outside her own house. She had been sitting on a kerb facing the driveway in front of her house, and backing the road. She had been sitting there, several feet away from the Clinic, and sharing an evening gossip with a friend. She had plans for that evening. As the sun fell in the sky, her spirits must have risen in anticipation. For that evening was the evening of her long anticipated first date – and that was the gossip she had been sharing with a friend.

On the road behind her, a man had just gotten behind the wheel of the car he drove for his boss. After eight months being on the streets hunting for a job, any job, he had finally secured one as a driver just the previous day. This evening, he had brought his boss here to this quiet hamlet; his boss usually came here for an evening drink before going home to his family. But the driver didn’t know that. Today was his first day at work as a driver. His first day at work in eight months. He was finally going to get paid in 29 days. Get paid so his two children could finally get dinner in his own house rather than pretend to be visiting with the landlord’s children at dinner time.

He was thinking about the 29 days between the day and his payday as he got into the car to turn it around to face the exit. He saw the two ladies seated on the kerb. They sat with their backs to him, oblivious of his world, his suddenly happy world into which the sun unexpectedly shone the previous day at 4pm when someone called his phone number, told him he had been selected for one of the jobs he had interviewed for, and asked him when he would like to start. The ladies on the kerb did not matter. What mattered was that his children were finally going to get something to eat. What mattered was that he was a man again. He could finally plan on getting his wife that phone he had always wanted her to have. That mattered. The two ladies seated on the kerb, with their backs to him as he tried to maneuver the car into position, did not matter.

Till they did.

The shoe on his right foot somehow got trapped on the throttle as he tried to apply the brakes inches from the gutter that separated the front of his SUV from the kerb on which the ladies sat. And from that point, life went south. Again.

As he tried in vain to readjust his foot in order to disentangle the shoe, he effectively floored the throttle. The engine roared and the tires squealed as the car shot forward, flew over the small gutter, and swept off one of the girls even as the right side of the car knocked the other girl into the gutter.

Horror-struck, and frantically pushing at every control his hands and legs could reach, the driver saw the girl the car had picked up fly off the bonnet of the car and get impaled on the sharp end of a stick which was jutting out of the ground and a few feet into the air.

Finally, the car stopped.

As he stepped out and ran to the girl who was lying in a rapidly expanding pool of blood, the driver could make out the small group of onlookers which was quickly swelling into a crowd. Hope that help was coming swelled in his heart.

But help was not coming. They said the girl was a Calabar girl. She was a known food vendor in that community. The man was clearly a Kogi man. The scars on his face told his ethnicity more eloquently than words ever could. Neither was Yoruba. And so, when some of the boys who had gathered stepped forward to try to help, their mothers and other women screamed at them in their native Yoruba to stay back – that the girl was Omo Ibo and the man was a ne’er-do-well drunkard. They were to stay back and watch. They were to be onlookers.

The man was going berserk. He ran from her head to her feet and back. He carried her off the pole on which she was impaled and the new gush of blood told him he had just made a mistake. He dropped her and shouted again and again for someone in the crowd of onlookers to step forward and help him.

But they were a crowd of onlookers. They looked on. He was not Yoruba. She sef was Calabar. So they waited for God to come down and help them. And while waiting, they looked on. 

The driver ran to the one in the gutter. She apparently was not very hurt. She was sitting up and looking around for her companion. He ran back to the one he had hit. The blood kept pouring. He glanced at the onlookers again. They were doing their job of looking on. With due diligence. A few were loudly praying to God for the miracle of life, while they waited for God to come down from His throne on high to give help to the bleeding woman, the crying man.

One man stepped forward and as the driver turned to face him, a flicker of hope warmed the chill of his heart. Perhaps help was at hand. That flicker went with the wind as he saw the man go to his now mangled vehicle and set about deflating all four tires. That was not help. That was hate. That was not the answer to the cries from his breaking heart. There was no answer to the cries from his breaking heart.

He turned back to the bleeding girl. Kneeling at her side, taking her left hand in both his hands, he cried like a baby, his gasps of grief in time with her gradually increasing gasps for air.

Finally, someone decided that not being Yoruba wasn’t a compelling enough reason to stand idly by as another human died. He stepped forward and got the driver to get a hold of himself. And the two of them carried the girl, whose evening had started so brightly, to the Clinic where I was to examine her and thereafter to write those dark lines that made her fate official.


I examined her companion thereafter. She was the lucky one, emerging almost unscathed. She it was who eventually told me of the crowd’s reaction. It was from her account I learnt that my chances of getting help when I am in trouble depend very heavily on two factors: what part of the country I come from and what part of the country I happen to be in when I need help.

Friday, December 9, 2016



People who do not agree on whether there are three persons in one God, whether abortion is right under any circumstances, women ordination, and all other uniquely Christian controversies are now hammering out a process of setting up "Ecclesiastical courts" across Nigeria...where "lawyers" and "judges" alike will be looking to litigants and defendants for guidance on what to believe and for how long to believe what before debelieving what was believed and believing what had previously been disbelieved.

In another news story coming from this same country, a minister sends his women out to a world tourney; they go out there, they humble the continent, they return with the world at their feet. The minister now says he cannot pay the victorious women because he hadn't expected them to win.

My reading: he sent them to the championship to lose. For him, it is bad news that they won. Every goal they scored on their way to victory was another nail in the coffin of his expectations. They were too poor to win. Why couldn't they just receive sense for once, cut their football boots according to their leather, and lose gallantly? Why win when they could lose? Isn't it always cheaper to lose? Is that really so hard to get?

Ecclesiastical courts. Victorious miserables.

This is not caused by recession. This caused the recession.