In a previous article, “Mega Stores, Foreign Investors, the Nigerian Retailer, and the Reign of Compradors” (https://issuesnigeria.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/mega-stores-the-nigerian-retailer-and-the-reign-of-compradors/), I raised some issues regarding the penetration and subjugation of African, and particularly, Nigerian markets by the two most bloated nations of the world—China, and India. The negative effects of our blind and unregulated trade relations with these countries are still being debated, but some honest observers have stated their unequivocal position on this matter. Recall the remark by former CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido on the dangers to Nigeria, even the whole of Africa, of our unchecked trade relationship with China, a remark which engendered a retort from the Chinese government. In this article, I will re-visit this seemingly unattended or still unresolved issues. I will set aside the obvious economic, that is, international trade imbalance, international finance, and debt consequences of these relationships. More importantly, I will focus on the human consequences of these lopsided relationships.
Pure Water or Dead Water?
There was a time in Nigeria, Lagos, to be precise, when, if a house lacked its own pipe-borne water, supply, there were public water faucets strategically located around the city, which were maintained by municipal water services (a.k.a Public Water Works). However, once Nigeria was cursed with the reign of the short, gap-tooth devil, water, a basic necessity of life has continued to remain a commodity beyond the reach of an average Nigerian, so much so that water supply has become more than a profitable business. A venture that is now being aided by, particularly the Chinese and the Indians, who have wasted no time to feed our “goo-goo-eyed” entrepreneurs known for their tendency to amorously adore wealth, no matter the source, with endless supply of Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration or distillation systems. And that is the problem—RO filtration and Distillation systems.
Today, a lot of communities in Nigeria can boast of “neighborhood millionaires” whose sudden wealth is attributable to the business of “pure water”. However, what Nigerians have been consuming as “pure water” is actually DEAD WATER! so called because, the water has been “demineralized”. Scientists around the world generally agree that “life” and healthy drinking water must contain certain levels of some essential minerals including, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, zinc, etc. But, when water is processed via RO or distillation, what comes out the other end is “dead water”, because these processes filter out everything—the bad, as well as the good minerals that I have listed above.
According to Scientists, when one consumes excess amount of “dead water”, it offsets the body’s pH (presence of hydrogen) balance, while increasing the acidity in the body. Excess acidity promotes the presence of “free radicals” which are known to raid and pillage healthy cells in the body. In fact, we may have already started seeing evidence of this assertion. I once heard that in one of the northern states (perhaps Jigawa?) there has been unusual increase in reported cases of organ failure, which may have been somewhat or loosely linked to “pure water”. Added to the dangers of dead water is the fact that, in Nigeria, this water is distributed in either plastic bags or plastic bottles. It has since been found that plastic materials, especially the cheap ones, often contain Bisphenol A (BPA), a dangerous chemical substance known to sip into the liquid that it contains. So, you see, if the dead water doesn’t kill you, BPA may give you cancer. They sure get you going and coming.
A more scientific and detailed report of the negative effects of RO or distilled water (a.k.a Deminerailzed water) has been documented as far back as the 1980s and again in 2004, by no less entity than World Health Organization (WHO), in this article:
The facts revealed in this article in itself makes one wonder why and how the business of “pure water” could have been allowed to proliferate so much in Nigeria.
In western countries, many who used to think that bottled water was the “in-thing” are fast realizing that these “waters” are not only inferior to their own municipal drinking water—which by law has to observe the standardized pH value of 7.0–but that such bottled waters are even dangerous, for the simple fact that, they are more acidic than they are alkaline. There have been many demonstrated tests to proof this point. Little wonder then, why countries known for their health consciousness (e.g. Japan) have for very long time, been in the forefront of consuming alkaline (a.k.a. Ionized water). Granted that water ionization machines are beyond the reach of an average Nigerian, but, at least our agencies (hint, hint, NAFDAC) can establish a minimum of pH value that water purifiers must observe. How about that pH value of 7.365, which scientists (of whom I am not one) have agreed upon, accompanied by some acceptable ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential) value? Better yet, how about we eliminate the Chinese and Indian supported business of “pure water” and go back to properly processed municipal water supply? After all, consumption of “life”, healthy water should be, if it isn’t already, a part of fundamental human right.
Useless and Substandard Electronics
Virtually every day, the shores and ports of Nigeria, even the whole of Africa are impregnated with ships off-loading container-loads of items that Nigerians/Africans have been convinced they must have, or things that, by the sheer failures of their own governments, have become necessities of life. Consider the quantity of sub-standard cell phones and other electronics that are shipped into Nigeria from China or India. Phones that are glued together with poor antennas (which result in bad reception); hardly reliable batteries; screens that can make you go blind from horrible pixel patterns, etc. To be sure, in their own countries (e.g. China), they do produce relatively better quality products for domestic consumption. A case in point, unlike the “Chinco” phones that they sell to us, they have phones of decent quality such as, Oppo N1, which they only consume internally or ship to western countries.
How about the Chinese and Indian forays into solar energy products? Here we have these two countries lounging ahead of western countries, into African markets, where they are bent on selling us products that conscious solar installers have come to realize are not only substandard, but have been known to fry and perhaps burn down parts of houses. Solar panels that are too underpowered for their stated voltages, shoddy soldering of solar cells that leads to malfunctions, resulting in at least, loss of money invested, if not lives. How about inverters where their internals have been tacked onto mere “cardboard” circuitry, or poorly wired parts, or dangerously soldered control boards?
I suggest readers ask themselves, how many Su-Kam inverters are being sold in Europe or USA? If none or not many, why not? Isn’t India a signatory to several world trade regimes? We have even seen Taiwanese-made solar inverters making brisk business in places such as Europe and Australia, even the USA, but not those made in India.
It might also interest the reader to know that when SME (a German company)—one of the foremost manufacturers of solar inverters–decided to look for ways to cut cost and expand their market share, they did not choose to work with the Indians. Instead, they went into partnership with the Chinese company, Jiangsu ZeverSolar. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-12-21/sma-solar-buys-majority-stake-in-chinese-inverter-maker. Perhaps the reason for such decision is what someone has aptly stated that, ‘Indians thrive in an environment of chaos’, which is an anathema for the Germans known for their orderliness and quality work. And, it is this affinity for chaos that makes Nigeria a fertile ground for Indians, because lord knows, there is no place more chaotic than Nigeria, as demonstrated by the mind-boggling public theft that we have been reading about lately.
We don’t even want to talk about those unbiquitous power generators that have become sources of noise, air pollution, avoidable accidents, and even deaths. One wonders how many cases of asthma would have been avoided, if Nigerians have not been condemned to the life of “I pass my neighbor”. In a country where solid waste disposal has been a challenge for generations, we are now adding to the pile, this excess load of dangerous electronic products, that if not properly recycled or disposed off, could spell doom for us, in terms of health care epidemics. Meanwhile, the Indians and the Chinese would have carted away their loot.
Life-threatening Consumer Goods
I have often wondered, had Nigeria been a country with well-funded consumer protection agencies, how many dangerous imported consumer goods would have been uncovered by now. Take children toys for example, from time to time one reads that in Western countries, certain Chinese-made toys have been found to be dangerous for kids, and therefore, their importation must be banned. But, in Nigeria, our “Nouveau riche”, will arrogantly walk their over-pampered kids to the new neighborhood ShorpRite, and ignorantly purchase the same toys for them. This, while our custom service, or the police look away. Do we even have safety control boards in Nigeria? If so, what sort of safety standards have they put in place for these foreign imports? How often have these standards been enforced? Sure, there must have been occasions where some of these toys have done some damages, but would we ever know, particularly, for the Hausas, who fatalistically rests everything in the hands of God (“Haka Allah ya Qaddara”).
Now that Buhari’s administration is emphasizing the need to fund and promote agriculture, watch and see how the Indians and the Chinese will jump on this opportunity and saturate us with all sorts of crappy products, a litany of gimmickry gadgetries, some of which we haven’t even fathomed yet. We may begin to see tools/equipment claiming to make it possible to farm yams from plastic bags draped over your balcony, or a machinery that can farm, harvest and produce dried okra in a blink of an eye. The only thing they may not tell us is that, while using these gadgets, if you stand to the left or right, at an opportuned angle, you are bound to loose a limb, get mutilated, or even die. In addition, as I have noted elsewhere in the article referenced above, we may even see Chinese or Indians trying to sell us machines for making “Kosai” (akara), which may be powered by kerosene, running through a faulty hose that can leak and explode unannounced! Or worse still, we may begin to see Chinese and Indian investors buying off our farm lands with the connivance of some of our genuflecting dunces in the corridors of power. Certainly, the likes of “Mesu Jamba” Saraki, or several others of our rentiers will gladly oblige them. All these while poor Nigerians watch helplessly.
Chemically-damaging and Perhaps, Arsenic-ladened Products
All across West Africa, the business of second-hand clothing has bloomed to the detriment of our local textile industries. In addition to these losses, most of the bales of textiles shipped to Africa from China are not only of inferior quality, but they are made with chemicals (e.g. dyes) that are not only unsafe, but may even be found to be carcinogenic. This, in addition to the decimating effect on our industries. How many of Nigeria’s textile companies are operational today?
How about those wigs exported by Indians? Wigs harvested from lice-infested hair of poor, rural, wretched Indians, sometimes mixed with materials from the tails of farmished horses, then processed with dangerous chemicals. It is quite bemusing to see the so-called Nollywood actresses adorn themselves with this otherwise filthy “fashion”, simply out of ignorance and extreme inferiority complex.
I have sometimes wondered why some Nigerian women tend to feel some itch on their heads and can’t resist scratching and sometimes pounding their heads.. Could it be the toxic chemicals used to process the wigs and/or the chemicals in their hair pomade reacting with the African sun?
What is even more disturbing is watching the so-called Kannywood movies where, otherwise cultured Hausa-Fulani actresses will forego their traditions and values in preference for some ridiculous Indian sari, or imitating Indian music genre. You have the choice of Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri, etc., cultures, but you will opt for something belonging to people who, even in the 21st century still have part of their population (more than the entire population of Nigeria) that believe in worshiping rats or Shiva, the lord of erect Phallus. What a sorrowful and pathetic demonstration of ignorance and inferiority complex.
As I make these points, I am sure there will be no shortage of people (Nigerians) who will disagree with me. Some may even heave and howl, mainly because they benefit from this rape of our land and people. The Europeans did their bit during colonialism, with the connivance of our “elites” in palaces and local government. Now the Chinese and the Indians are coming for their own round of the orgy, and some of our representatives have been more than eager to aid and abet them, for the right fee. If you have ever reflected deeply on these matters, you will begin to understand that when Idi Amin Dada ejected Indians from Uganda, the man was not totally crazy after all.
Anyone who has observed these two countries–China, and India, might even excuse the Chinese, to some degree, because their sense of human relations with respect to Africans is more tolerable than the overtly insulting manners of the Indians. Here is a people, the Indians, who, wherever they go, they carry with them their abhorrent culture of caste system. Ever noticed that, in all parts of Africa—even East and Southern Africa—where they sometimes claim indigenous identity, they make a point of living in their own enclave? In fact, the only part of the world where Indians have somewhat interacted, (“assimilated”) with the local community is the Caribbean Islands, and even there, the Indians are mostly descendants of “lower caste” indentured servants brought there by the British. Contrast this with the fact that, even in the heart of China, some Africans, Nigerians included have found acceptance to the extent that, in addition to operating businesses, there have been inter-marriages between Chinese and Nigerians or other Africans. Even pseudo-homogeneous Japan, more advanced in many ways than India and China has witnessed some degree of acceptance of Africans—in their own country—at least via inter-marriages. Granted, these seeming examples of acceptance may be cases of calculated agenda on the part of both parties, for some perceived socio-economic benefits, but, finding similar examples with respect to the Indians is tantamount to looking for hen’s teeth.
We have also witnessed rare demonstration of “honor” by Chinese officials who have been willing to commit suicide or serve jail time for crime against humanity, perhaps not for “raping” Africans. Have you ever heard of an Indian demonstrating such “honor”, even as a result of crime against their own people, let alone an act of “raping” Africa and Africans? Rather, what we have seen were occasions where African students, especially Nigerians have been mercilessly murdered by Indians, often with the connivance or tacit knowledge of Indian police! And so far, no Nigerian authority has been known to have sought redress, let alone secure any justice on behalf of these Nigerians who have been so horribly exterminated, by the same set of people who come into our country in search of wealth. Compared to China, how many Nigerians run/operate businesses, even a Kiosk, in India? Yet, Indians can have a massive Sikh temple in the heart of Lagos? I wonder how many Lagosians or Nigerians practice Buddhism.
Remember the case of the Indian owners of Dana Airlines who fled the country as soon as they have killed Nigerians, by operating defective aircrafts? Of course, their flight was probably aided in part, by our “trusted” officers in the police force, the immigration, and the judiciary, who have elevated the practice of vertical corruption to an art. Furthermore, with the depth of poverty and desperation that Nigerians have been subjected to, coupled with the many instances of professed Indian disdain for African lives, it is quite possible for us to wake up one day only to find out that there have been underground Indian-operated rackets for human organ harvesting going on right under our noses. After all, they have been known to conduct similar operations (for Kidney harvesting) in their own country, using their own lower caste members, sometimes for the benefit of wealthy Middle Eastern Oil Sheikhs. Besides, our own domestic baby factory operations are enough to serve as excuse for them.
Yes, they are raping and molesting us, and sadly with the help of our own people.
In light of the preceding discussions, I will, along with other well-meaning Nigerians, hope that, as this new administration takes shape, we may begin to have some control over what our people are being “fed” by our foreign trade partners, especially, the Indians and the Chinese, who have demonstrated high level of aggression in their dealings with us. Simply put, we need to “Take Back Nigeria”.