In Shell Nigeria Company, you are taken through monthly general discussions by a designated Safety Officer on issues of safety, health and the environment with focus on Learning From Incident, LFI. The LFIs are stories of incidents that had happened and retold so that workers can learn from them. And this brings me to the story of Chidimma and the painful and unfortunate murder of a promising middle-aged man.
No matter how we try to push the story to some back-store room in our minds because of some of our personal relationships with his family, we must learn from the mystery behind his death. The dead don’t tell tales, we might never know the true story of what actually happened. What we can work with are the stories we heard, our suppositions, our personal answers to the jigsaw puzzles and the confession of the killer herself.
First, there is a very largely unalarmed drug problem in Nigeria. We must take note of it and talk about it the way we are daily lamenting about insecurity in the country. It is a clear and present danger. Those born in the 70s backwards and in their 50s and above might not be able to relate easily with this malady in the inner cities and even villages of tranquility, but it is there and ever threatening livelihoods. It is coming at our youth like a whirlwind and will sweep a lot of them into madness, crimes and mental homes in the nearest future if care is not taken to stem the tide. The root causes and possible mitigation must be discussed openly and in close groups, in churches and in schools, at homes and in the streets.
Some of these drugs are basically painkillers drugs like tramadol, buprenorphine, methadone, diamorphine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone, pethidine…they though have different brand names here in chemists. Others are psychedelic drugs, also known as hallucinogenic drugs or simply hallucinogens. They are a group of substances that are usually used recreationally to change and enhance sensory perceptions, thought processes, and energy levels, and to facilitate spiritual experiences. These include Lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD also known as Acid, Dimethyltryptamine or DMT, Psilocybin or Magic Mushrooms, Ecstasy, or MDMA, Mescaline or Peyote, Ayahuasca, PCP (Phencyclidine)—also known as ozone, rocket fuel, love boat, hog, embalming fluid, or superweed, Ketamine—also known as K, Special K, or cat Valium, Salvia divinorum—also known as diviner’s sage, Maria Pastora, Sally-D, or magic mint and many more. The common weed no longer appeal to these ‘outgoing youth.’
There are sensory effects of these drugs which includes hallucinations, seeing, hearing, touching, or smelling things in a distorted way or perceiving things that do not exist. Intensified feelings and sensory experiences (brighter colours, sharper sounds)
Mixed senses (“seeing” sounds or “hearing” colours) Changes in sense or perception of time (time goes by slowly) Increased energy, heart rate. Long-Term Effects include visual disturbances, disorganized thinking, paranoia, mood disturbances, hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), other visual disturbances (such as seeing halos or trails attached to moving objects) symptoms sometimes mistaken for neurological disorders (such as stroke or brain tumor)
Is it possible that one of these short-term or long term effect of drug use gave Chidimma, the killer girl, the courage to stab the victim to death without remorse? How many of her damaged and damaging types are lurked within the killing field of drugs with knives in their bags? There is no regulatory mechanism or facilities here to repudiate or manage these drugged minds once they are deep into it. This drug addiction is gradually expanding into families and homes traditionally peaceful, stable and balanced… the destruction is going deep.
Having known the effect of these drugs on the users, expecially the hallucinating effect, we must therefore have a rethink about the company we keep – whether for fun or for intimacies. Drug users can swing moods, depending on the users, from the solemn to the awkward. What will make a 21 year old girl to plunge a knife into the neck and side of a living soul without remorse if not the disassociating effect of these drugs? We must therefore invoke some moral rectitude and candour when it comes to dealing with these kinds of people for whatever reason.
We might make conjectures, rationalize what we can and trade blames within our moral pulls and push, the buttom line is that it’s only those that are alive that tell their own stories. There is nothing more important than being alive. This particular event must jolt us to liveliness…we must come out of our reverie and recalibrate our oddities, our preferences, our fantasies…
There are lots of Chidimmas out there, filing their blades and knives…that much I know. They are sipping drugged mints and sweet teas laced with Ketamine and tramadol, dreaming of blood and cash. They are traped within the killing domain of their fantasies and hallucinations. Some of them come with gentle innocent smiles, and that’s the lure.
Let’s not absorb ourselves from this deadly strain that is unleashed upon our youth that might be repudiated too late if nothing is done now. The primary burden of excorcising this demon that is loosed upon us is our individual and collective responsibilities. We must come to the rescue with the creative act of infanticide – that is, murder during childbirth this monster of drug addiction that is taking root-hold.
I leave us with this poem;
The apartment of Lekki
Has turned to blood, running runnels.
On the clean tiles of the kitchen dripping blood.
He is now a stranger to our world…his eyes no longer see close to home, only roving towards the afterlife.
He is you and I in the restaurant
Sipping malted beer, unconscious of
The sharp blade that would be served
By the killer girl, the heartless lover, a youngster
Fed on LSD, roofies, smoke and drinks…
Thinking of stolen cash, change of clothes, a key – after the plunging knife and smooth unannounced getaway.