Tag: Nigeria

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: But Always as Friends


“This is an occasion when our hearts are filled with conflicting emotions: we are, indeed, proud to have achieved our independence, and proud that our efforts should have contributed to this happy event. But do not mistake our pride for arrogance. It is tempered by feelings of sincere gratitude to all who have shared in the task of developing Nigeria politically, socially and economically. We are grateful to the British officers whom we have known, first as masters, and then as leaders, and finally as partners, but always as friends. And there have been countless missionaries who have laboured unceasingly in the cause of education and to whom we owe many of our medical services. We are grateful also to those who have brought modern methods of banking and of commerce, and new industries. I wish to pay tribute to all of these people and to declare our everlasting admiration of their devotion to duty.” — Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, KBE, PC

My Nigeria, the one that died on January 15, 1966, celebrated its independence from British rule 60 years ago, on October 1, 1960. I was six years old. We stayed in-country for another three years, with Dad working for the British, and then the Nigerian governments, charged first with administering a plebiscite in Cameroon, and then by the new Nigerian government with cleaning up leftover primordial tribal rivalries and corruption in the ancient Emirate of Kano.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. JANGALI: 1947


EVERY YEAR, about October/November a cattle tax of one-shilling-a-head was levied on every bull, steer, cow or calf throughout all the cattle-holding provinces of Northern Nigeria. This was in accordance with the principle that in order to establish sovereignty of the Crown, every adult in the territory had to pay an appropriate yearly tax to the government. Each Native Authority was responsible for collecting the tax in its own area. The greater part of it was retained by the NA that collected it, and this paid for the salaries of its servants and for the public services that it provided, but a small portion each year was directed to the central government and was then paid into various local government treasuries, thereby maintaining the principle of an appropriate tribute.

Farmers, craftsmen, and employees paid haraji (general tax) set at around ten shillings a head each, while traders, entrepreneurs, and the wealthy were assessed by the NA at sums that could go as high as 10% of estimated profits. (Complaints were heard through a formal review process led by the District Officer, and could result in the tax being decreased or, in rare cases, increased.) In really primitive areas things were simpler, with living-huts being made the basis of taxation and assessed at one shilling each per annum. Nomads, however, who were never settled in any one place, created their own problems and chief amongst these was the question of what to do about taxing the Bororoji (wandering Fulani).

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 300: A Man, a Horse, and a Missionary Woman


The events related here took place a little over seventy years ago. They tell the story of a man and his horse. Together. Alone in the bush. The man, very ill. And afraid. The horse, very tired. He was probably afraid, too. And they tell the story of the extraordinarily brave woman who saved them both.

Some of you will recognize it as the récit d’enfance of Gagara Yasin, at the time a 29-year-old newly-minted colonial officer, the “lowest form of animal life” in the British administration of Sokoto Province in Northern Nigeria. He’d arrived in country the previous Spring, and had spent several months learning the ropes while his resolve, and his ability to think on his feet, were tested on a few small assignments (collecting the cattle tax from the nomadic Fulani farmers, investigating a case of witchcraft in Giro, delivering a baby in Bakin Turu). Finally, he was set (somewhat) free on his own, as a “Touring Officer,” a sort of roving junior Justice of the Peace, in and around Yelwa.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. But Always As Friends


My Nigeria, the one that died on January 15, 1966, celebrated its independence from British rule 58 years ago today, on October 1, 1960. I was six years old. We stayed in country for another three years, with Dad working for the Nigerian government, charged with cleaning up tribal rivalries and corruption in the ancient Emirate of Kano.

You may never have heard of the ancient walled city of Kano. If it’s at all familiar to you, it’s probably because it was featured in one of the first news stories in which the use of underage and intellectually compromised female suicide bombers came to the attention of the Western world, as they blew themselves, and dozens of others, up in Kano Market.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The King’s Shilling


The events recounted below are true, and took place in Sokoto, Northern Nigeria, in the Summer of 1947. The author was a young, newly arrived, civil servant in the British Colonial Service, recently separated from active duty in Italy and North Africa as a Major in the British Army. The gentleman in the photo to the right is a former slave, and the iron rings he is holding were his manacles. The term “The King’s Shilling” is used facetiously in this story: it is generally used to refer to the payment of one shilling to military recruits (and sometimes reluctant ones) in the United Kingdom between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.

One morning Mallam Muhammadu Azare presented himself and announced that a girl was outside urgently asking to see me, as she was anxious to be officially manumitted from slavery. I must confess that at first I thought he was pulling my leg! Recourse to the legal books on the office shelf and a somewhat more careful inquiry of my mentor, convinced me, however, that this was not the case.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “I Won’t!”


My father was a remarkable man. Over the course of his long life, he met very few men whose will was stronger than his own. Here’s the story of one of them:

Shortly after World War II, Dad was ordered to the ancient Northern Nigerian city of Sokoto to serve as the Assistant District Officer (that is, as everyone else’s general dogsbody) in the British Colonial Service. It was his first posting, and the culmination of a childhood dream that had as its origin the adventure books of Edgar Wallace and the stories of his hero, Sanders of the River.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Tall Tales: Gagara Yasin


dadweb2The year was 1956.

I knew something was horribly wrong that night, when Ahmadu dropped the soup! Normally exquisitely self-possessed, immaculately groomed, and imperturbable, our man-servant and friend was disheveled, the color of cement, and shaking like a leaf with acute anxiety and palpable fear.

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Some recent stories from Venezuela, Brazil, and Nigeria caught my attention; they have some interesting similarities. They are all oil-producing countries–with state-owned oil companies–that have been impacted by falling oil prices. And they are also reaching levels of political maturity where corruption is becoming more scandalous. In Venezuela, the opposition has resolved to oust Chavez’s successor Nicolas […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Price of Everything, the Value of Nothing


College-Students-opt-1024x682Free things are rarely ever free. The Left is fond of saying that Canada’s socialized health care system is “free” for all its citizens. It certainly is, so long as you’re a Canadian who doesn’t pay taxes. In the same spirit, Hillary’s college plan would mean that students may not have to borrow for tuition, however much the federal government would be borrowing on their behalf. No prizes for guessing who gets the bill in the end. As the Wall Street Journal reports:

Hillary Clinton is proposing an expansive program aimed at enabling students to attend public colleges and universities without taking on loans for tuition, her attempt to address a source of anxiety for American families while advancing one of the left’s most sweeping new ideas.

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Last month, President Obama spoke about the conflict in Nigeria and other north African countries. He blamed these simmering wars on climate change. He was continuing on the messaging that his team has been busy promoting, which is that our greatest defense issue is global warming. Preview Open

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. In Defense of Hashtag Campaigns


justsayin-376x330Let me get something out of the way: Hashtag campaigns are stupid. That being said, those who are complaining that this is a weak response to the Nigeria situation are off base. Yes, its asinine. Yes, it’s unseemly. Yes, it’s inappropriate for a First Lady to get caught up in it. And yes, it’s a really bad idea to create a blank slate like the one above an release it on the Internet. But you’re missing the value of the thing.

The way a republic works is:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Cue Up The Band


shutterstock_106322621Peggy Noonan writes today in the Wall Street Journal that the US needs a military that acts swiftly and doesn’t brag. I agree with that first point — especially with the suggestion that we should have cut to the chase and sent in the troops to rescue the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. The military would have been delighted to execute such an assignment, a good thing would have been accomplished, and we would have demonstrated that America hasn’t completely forgotten how to flex its muscles. Nigeria’s not going to declare war on us. And is the international community likely to get on their high horse over the rescue of innocent girls? And so what if they do?

I wasn’t as convinced, however, by her assertion that great militaries shouldn’t brag. I understand the principle behind it: don’t showboat and let the guns do the talking. But I suspect the truth is that pomp and ceremony have always been a component of military might — and probably for good reason. Triumphalism is actually pretty effective at producing the “shock and awe” factor that great militaries like to inspire in civilian populations, both at home and abroad. I myself tend to react reflexively against propaganda, so the flag-waving jingoism often misses with me, but there’s no denying that plenty of people like it and it tends to make an impression. Compared to missiles and tanks, flags and musicians are cheap and safe. If there’s a chance of forestalling a war with a parade … throw the parade.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Dog Tags Vs. Hash Tags


Unknown-2A chilling picture has been making the rounds lately. It shows our First Lady with a sad face, holding up a hand drawn placard with #Bringbackourgirls written on it, a response to the abduction of more than 250 Nigerian schoolgirls by the islamist group Boko Haram. Though Mrs. Obama’s feelings are no doubt sincere, her actions will not bring one child back.

I’m glad neither my father nor my grandfather is alive to have seen this photo. They never had to teach us German or Japanese due to the fact that they were willing to don dog tags. I’m sure they would have preferred hashtags, had they been the rage back then.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Random Ruminations


If only Churchill and FDR had hashtagged the Nazis and the imperial Japanese, a world war could have been averted. President Roosevelt could have reassured us that, “We have nothing to fear but a Wi-Fi disruption,” while Prime Minister Churchill, through clinched fist and chewed cigar, could have promised that, “We shall hashtag them on the beaches, we shall hashtag them on the landing grounds, we shall hashtag them in the fields and in the streets, we shall hashtag them in the hills…”

“The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime,” declared US Secretary of Capitulation John Kerry last week, adding, “we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice.”

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The latest heart-breaking news coming out of Central Africa is the kidnapping of 300 Christian school-girls at the hands of the brutal Boko Haram (a diffuse Islamic terrorist organization). There is likely no good outcome for these innocent children. The possibilities are unspeakable. But their fates should not be inexpiably linked to U.S. national security […]

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