By Dan Hicks 18th February was the 124-year anniversary of the sacking of Benin City by a British naval force.Walk into any European museum today and you will see the curated spoils of Empire.They sit behind plate glass: dignified, tastefully lit. Accompanying pieces of card offer a name, date and place of origin.They do not mention that the objects are all stolen.Few artefacts embody this history of rapacious and extractive colonialism better than the Benin Bronzes – a collection of thousands of brass plaques and carved ivory tusks depicting the history of the Royal Court of the Obas of Benin City, Nigeria.Pillaged during a British naval attack in 1897, the loot was passed on to Queen Victoria, the British Museum and countless private collections.The story of the Benin Bronzes sits at the heart of a heated debate about cultural restitution, repatriation and the decolonisation of museums.In The Brutish Museums, Dan Hicks makes a powerful case for the urgent return of such objects, as part of a wider project of addressing the outstanding debt of colonialism.
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe
Sir Hanns Vischer
As they say; “An Englishman’s home is his castle.” Sir Hanns Vischer, was an agent of His Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service in Nigeria. He was referred to as “Dan Hausa” due to his mastery of the Hausa language which he helped in standardizing. He was also prolific in Arabic, Fulfulde and Kanuri in addition to Greek, French and German. Based in Kano from 1907 to 1919, his cover was head of the Education Department.
Gidan Dan Hausa, now a national monument was his official residence. The building had being in existence for about a hundred years before Kano was conquered by the British in 1903. It had previously served as the base of the overseer of the royal farming plantation outside the ancient city walls known as Rumada. Vischer rebuilt it from scratch making improvements in 1907.
The spymaster first came to Nigeria in 1901 and was based in Lokoja before he was reassigned to Maiduguri in 1903. By 1906, he crossed the Sahara Desert. He recounted his journey in a 1911 book entitled; “Across the Sahara from Tripoli to Borno” Another book he wrote is; “Rules for Hausa Spelling” printed in 1912.
Kano was crucial to the British in two aspects. First, in creating an elite that would oppose national independence. Second, it was a crucial cross roads in monitoring Francophone territories and the German colony of Kamerun.
According the historian, Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman;
“The Hausa-speaking people, not only do they have dialects, which were barely mutually intelligible, but they have no tradition of a common origin.” Hausa as spoken and written today was therefore a British project. Vischer was one of the arrow heads.
Vischer’s residence also served as a school for sons of emirs from all over the North. With his wife who joined him in 1912, the couple moulded the young aristocrats teaching them how to read and write in English and Ajami (Arabic in Roman script) The school started with 30 pupils in 1909. Their hostel was within the Nasarawa palace of Kano emirate nearby.
Enrollment increased to over 200 princes by 1913 from the 11 provinces of the Northern Protectorate. It produced the first Western educated elites in the North that eventually became the first members of the House of Chiefs and Assembly both in Kaduna. Vischer’s school relocated becoming Katsina College in 1921, which is now Barewa College in Zaria.
The Vischers had two children at Gidan Dan Hausa. Their photographs including that of their house maid still adorn the main living room of the historic house to date.
The British did not come to the colonial contours of what became Nigeria for sightseeing – they came to plunder.
To pull that off they needed to apply “divide et impera” – divide and rule. They ensured no level of national consciousness could develop eventually preparing us for national independence without economic freedom.
The likes of Sir Vischer were instrumental to Pax Britannica. Such people are described as “capax imperii” – capable of ruling an empire by understanding and study of languages;
“One had only to watch him in his daily avocations in those early days to realize how completely at home he was with every class of society—whether he was engaged in grave deliberations with emirs, viziers and other high personages of the ruling hierarchy, or whether he was chaffing the hucksters at the market stalls as he rode through Kano city. No less revealing was it to see him in his own home pick up a native drum and, squatting on the floor, croon local Hausa songs to his own accompaniment. So inimitably did he do it that, if he had been hidden behind a screen, one would have said that an African musician had been engaged to entertain his guests”
At Gidan Dan Hausa, Vischer reorganized traditional Hausa building materials of “Tubali” and “Azara” by creatively using “Chafe” for plaster and “Makuba” for relieve motifs retaining “Zankwaye” (the horns at the top) and “Dakali” (the horizontal platform at the base)
Vischer used local labor sourced within the ancient city of Kano from “Unguwan Gini”
The original inhabitants of Kano are the “Abagawa” of the Nok Civilization. The “Wangara” from present-day Mali conquered and incorporated Kano into the Songhai Empire. Eventually the Habe held sway before the Hausanization process that followed the formation of the Sokoto Caliphate.
It has been the southern entrepôt of the Trans Saharan trade for millennia. Arabs and Tuaregs have been part of Kano’s mosaic for centuries.
It provided the perfect cover for Sir Hanns Vischer, a spymaster par excellence according to Nigel West in; Historical Dictionary of World War I Intelligence (2014)
“Their trip back progressed quietly mostly and was rather quite uneventful until they came upon the scene of an accident that blocked the entire road, so they had to stop.
“Kengua had strolled over to the crash spot to have a closer look. He wished he hadn’t. There was a victim lying on the unpaved roadside being attended to by a number of over-enthusiastic people. These untrained first responders just kept fumbling with the man as he laid flat on his back on the dusty ground, face up and breathing unevenly heavy.
“He was foaming profusely in the mouth, with the dark part of his eyes sneaking upwards, into his upper eyelids, as if he was trying to see something overhead without trying to arc his neck backwards to look up.
“Soon his hands left his sides and started lifting upwards slightly, then falling back into place swiftly, with only his elbows bending at each time. Within the second minute, the victims legs joined in, his shoeless bare feet stabbed away from his body in a continuous stretching motion.
“Kengua was transfixed, too scared to keep looking but yet he kept his eyes on the obviously dying man, as if watching the poor chap death was an act of charity.
“Later on Kengua remembered thinking that maybe if the mans legs had found something vertically stationary to rest on, the agonized departing spirit of the dying man just might not leave when it did. Maybe it is because he didn’t strike at anything with his leg activity that his departure from the realm of the living was completed. Maybe people wouldnt die at such moments if they stood up defiantly.
“Though Kengua wasn’t alone there, he sort of felt he was the only spectator who could actually claim to have seen the man die, but he doubts if he really did see him die. He only saw a pained man briefly struggling to live on endlessly and then the same man, against all his desire to live on, became quite still and motionless. He didn’t see life leave the man. If that was ever humanly possible, the privilege wasn’t granted him that warm humid afternoon.
“So Kengua strangely romanticized that gross occurrence by curtly summarizing that the brevity of death is like an orgasm. That is if what he saw is indeed the moment of dying, which is arguably death.
“They recommenced their rudely paused journey an hour later. Kengua made a comparative analysis in his mind on what he had just witnessed and what he read some living sage wrote to win the world over into believing and accepting his listed five stages of death. Kengua was now certain that the writer has not seen these stages exhibited.
“The five stages were made easy to remember by sequencing them to DEATH as an acronym, as;
Denial, Enraged, Appropriating, Tension and Healing.
Or more aptly:
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
Kengua saw none of those that afternoon as he watched the man kick the air to his death. The least of all to be exhibited is Acceptance.
“Death simply damned the mans Desires, nullified his Energy, shrugged off his Activity, Terminated his life and Held him eternally Hostage. Kengua concluded that for want of a more suitable break down of the DEATH acronym;
Desired Energized Activity Terminated and Held Hostage
….would be a whole lot more befitting.”
“God did not make all men in his image. He made just one couple in his likeness and gave them the ability to procreate. It is this couple that brought forth other people and all sorts of people tend to mess up a good thing.
“I’m making a case for why good Christian folks turn out to be mean to people in need of assistance at their door steps.”
“The garden of Eden and the forbidden fruit in the middle of it, in the story of Adam and Eve, is really just the bushy forest between Eve’s legs and her vagina right at the center of it.
“Satan told Eve about her vagina, which she had no clue existed before he told her about it. Then Eve revealed its bounties to Adam, who naturally allowed her to lead him against the wishes of the almighty.
“All that talk of fruit and trees is quite nonsensical and was crafted to hide the true identity of the very first crime of sexual intercourse.
“That may sound like the most absurd interpretation you have ever heard. It will like feel you with rage or amusement with the crafty twist in the interpretation of the tale of Adam and Eve’s disobedience.
“On the contrary, it is quite logical. How else would anyone explain the sudden need for the first couple to cover their nakedness?”
On CHRISTMAS MORNING
CHICKEN woke GASPING
Do I PROCEED to SLAUGHTER,
Carry on FEEDING MURDER?
Or helplessly WATCH ON,
TEARED up, sadly MOURN?
Which in clearly MEAN,
What is indeed HUMANE?
Do pls help add an ADVICE
I’m PAINED, feeling not nice!
THIS IS AN AGELESS LIFETIME LESSON
A professor gave a balloon to every student, who had to inflate it, write their name on it and throw it in the hallway. The professors then mixed all the balloons. The students were given 5 minutes to find their own balloon.
Despite a hectic search, no one found their balloon. At that point the professors told the students to take the first balloon that they found and hand it to the person whose name was written on it. Within 5 minutes everyone had their own balloon.
The Professor said to the students: “These ballons are like happiness. We will never find it if everyone is looking for their own. But if we care about other people’s happiness….we’ll find ours too.”
Happy Holidays! ❤️
Be there for others during this rough Time you will be surprised by the positive outcome
IT’S FINALLY HERE!!
The perfect Christmas gift for your child (1-6)
A fully illustrated Children Story book, with childish drawings to inspire your child’s imagination & budding talents.
MERRY CHRISTMAS Y’ALL
By Leke Alder
It’s virtually impossible to appreciate the full ramification of the New Testament without recourse to the legal construct undergirding it. The New Testament is resolutely mounted on a tripod of commercial law, criminal law and constitutional law.
There are other legal dimensions but those are the major three. Without those legal authorities the New Testament will not be efficacious in heaven, on earth or under the earth. It will just be history.
That’s not to say only lawyers can appreciate the New Testament. It’s the Holy Spirit that unveils the word. But there’s a way and manner a Paul would read the scriptures that Peter can’t.
Paul had formal training in Mosaic law. His dean was Gamaliel. Acts 22:3. Peter on the other hand was an ordinary fisherman, and you can see the difference in their writings.
It’s like those first few verses in the book of Genesis. A cosmologist or quantum physicist would salivate over them. He has a technical grasp of the issues.
When he reads, Let there be light, he’s thinking photons, we’re thinking light projection like in a dark movie theater. He’s probably thinking of the speed of light as well – 299,792 kilometers per second. We won’t.
Every major terminology in the New Testament is a legal terminology. Redemption is a clear example. Redemption is a commercial law principle. It speaks of the right to regain ownership of property by freeing it from a debt, charge or lien.
Colossians 2:14 says God “cancelled the record of debt that stood against us WITH ITS LEGAL DEMANDS, set it aside and nailed it to the cross.” That’s “the redemption of the purchased possession”. Ephesians 1:14. We were bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:20.
We were then sealed with the Holy Spirit as a first installment on God’s promises to us, a reminder we’ll get everything God planned for us. The Holy Spirit is thus a down payment on God’s promises. Ephesians 1:14 MSG. Salvation is a commercial law transaction.
There are two other legal fields at play in the New Testament. They are criminal law and constitutional law. The death of Jesus is largely based on criminal law whereas his resurrection, ascension and session in heaven are constitutional law matters.
He would devolve certain rights to us after his ascension. Those rights are inalienable, meaning they cannot be taken from us. We can’t surrender them even if we want to. It’s one of the reasons we can’t lose our salvation.
Indeed, the very phrase, “New Testament” is itself a legal term. There are two senses in which the Bible uses the phrase. In the first sense the New Testament is talking about a will. Jesus left us a will after his death.
A will is a legal instrument apportioning assets after death. It’s why the King James bible in Hebrews 9:16 uses the word, “testator.” That word is used to this day in the drafting of wills. A testator is the person who dies, leaving a will or testament.
It is this idea of will the book of Hebrews was elucidating on: “Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove the person who made it is dead. The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is alive, the will cannot be put into effect.” Hebrews 9:16-17 NLT. It says the proof of the death of Jesus is his blood, and because of that proof of death his will went into effect. It’s how we got our spiritual inheritance.
The death of Jesus “marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, cancelling the old obligations and its sins, and summoning the heirs to receive an inheritance that was promised them.” Hebrews 9:16-17 MSG. But then that passage says Jesus “brought together God and his people in this new way.” Hebrews 9:17 MSG.
That leads us to the second sense in which the phrase, New Testament is used. The second sense in which the phrase is used is constitutionally. It is a social compact. God made an agreement with mankind.
Nothing captures this better than the words of Jeremiah: “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33.
Referring to this passage, Hebrews 8:7 tells us that “if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.”
The relationship between God and mankind under the old agreement was adversarial and very toxic to say the least; whereas under the new agreement the relationship is conciliatory. There’s rapprochement.
In 2 Corinthians 5:19 we’re told that God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s sins against them. It is for this reason angels announced goodwill towards ALL men at the birth of Jesus – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward humankind.” Luke 2:14. God was extending the olive branch.
The arduous nature of the relationship between God and humanity was why the provisions of the law of Moses were severe. It was an impossible situation. You could never please God by obeying the Ten Commandments. You still can’t.
“No one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” Romans 3:20 NLT. The King James translation of that passage used the term “justified” – “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” That word is a legal terminology.
In criminal law, justification means to be exempted from criminal liability. Charges are dropped. What the Bible is saying is, God has dropped all legal charges against us. God is not holding your sin against you. It’s either you believe that or not. But you better do because it’s liberating.
The death of Jesus is what lawyers refer to as vicarious liability. Vicarious liability means someone took on the legal liabilities of another person. Jesus paid the price for our sins. Sin is a criminal offence. It’s why Jesus was subjected to capital punishment. The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23.
It’s a lack of understanding of biblical jurisprudence that makes us imagine we can do good to get saved. That’s like a murderer saying he should be absolved of his crime just because he gave alms to the poor, or because he helped a widow. You can’t pay for a capital offence by fulfilling a civil obligation. Sin is not a tort. A tort is a civil wrong. It’s why Jesus couldn’t pay for our sins with all those good he did. Acts 10:38. Or they would have saved us. He did a lot of good.
But he had to go to that cross. He was crucified as a common criminal with two robbers. Those weren’t petty thieves, they were violent robbers. They had murdered. It’s why the thief on the right side told the thief on the left THEIR crucifixion was justified, but Jesus was an innocent man. Luke 23:41. The charge of treason against him was as bogus as they come. It was the only lie that could stick.
The accusation about wanting to destroy the temple and rebuilding it within three days fell under religious law. That’s outside the purview of Roman authority, so they accused him of insurrection against Caesar instead. The Bible says Satan is THE accuser of the brethren. Revelation 12:10. That’s not gossip mongering it’s talking about, it’s real prosecutorial stuff, like in a court of law. Or we wouldn’t need a defense attorney. Jesus is our advocate. 1 John 2:1.
His omnibus defense is justification – “Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God that justifies.” Romans 8:33. The modern equivalence of justification is acquittal. You’re acquitted because Jesus has been judged on your behalf. In criminal law you can be discharged but not acquitted. Which means you can be tried for the offence again. Acquittal on the other hand means nobody can prosecute you for the same offence again. That’s the rule of double jeopardy.
Because some Christians don’t know they’ve been acquitted they keep begging God for forgiveness for the same sin. They don’t believe God has forgiven them. They keep responding to the memory of the sin and their bad conscience. Some resort to penance and restitution but that’s an affront to the sacrifice of Jesus. Once you’ve asked God for forgiveness your sin is forgiven, and forgotten. The blood of Jesus cleanses you from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7.
Because of guilty conscience some can’t claim their healing from God. They believe their sickness is a punishment from God. But if Jesus went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, why would the same Jesus be doing the rounds putting sickness on people? Is he schizophrenic? Doesn’t make sense. Acts 10:38.
And talking about righteousness, contrary to popular teaching it is NOT right standing with God. Right standing with God is the RESULT of righteousness FOR SINNERS. The contradiction comes when the definition is applied to God. God is righteous. He cannot be in right standing with himself. He’s not a sinner. He wasn’t alienated from himself.
Righteousness is in fact a constitutional principle. As enunciated in scriptures it is the totality of the sovereign rights of God, his essence, as well as his brand. Everything God does is righteous, just because he’s God and nothing else. You can’t judge what he does. What standard will you use? You can’t question God. Isaiah 45:11.
In the exercise of his sovereignty he chose to save the descendants of Abraham & not those fallen angels. Hebrews 2:16. Both species were fallen but he chose to save humans. And then he did something extraordinary – he devolved his rights to us having designated us his heirs.49. We became not only like him, we actually became him. He is in us, we are in him. Total identification. As he is so are we. 1 John 4:17, 2 Corinthians 5:21. We don’t have righteousness therefore, we ARE righteous. Our righteousness is existential. We can’t become unrighteous.50. Unlike in the Old Testament where they did righteousness to earn God’s approval, in the New Testament righteousness is a gift of grace.
You don’t do anything to become righteous in the New Testament. You’re made righteous. Because of this righteousness we can boldly approach the throne of grace. Hebrews 4:16. So, stop being timid. Stop all the I’m unworthy religious stuff. 1 John 3:1. Sorosoke.
Exercise your constitutional rights. 2 Timothy 1:7. You are the righteousness of God in Christ. This has been a crash course in biblical jurisprudence. I want you to give your life to Jesus. Please pray this prayer: “Father I come to you in the name of Jesus. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead. I am saved. Amen.”
To read On Faith Part 6: Legal Matters go here
To understand the Christian walk from a contemporary perspective, read my book, Conversations of a 21st Century Saint. Order at:
© Leke Alder |
Does General Gowon look like somebody who moved to London with half of Nigeria’s Central Bank?
We, the undersigned call upon Hon. Member of Parliament representing Tonbridge and Malling of the United Kingdom, Ted Tugendhat to withdraw his recent statement at Westminster;
“Some people would remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half of the central bank, or so it was said, and moved to London,”
Mr. Tugendhat, had spoken when E-petition 554150 was being considered at the British Parliament on Monday, November 23, 2020 over a petition seeking sanction against the Nigerian government for alleged human rights abuses during the #EndSARS protests.
We are not unmindful that the MP had added “so it was said” to his presumptuous claim. That notwithstanding, Mr. Tugendhat would have availed himself with some basic historical overview on the exact circumstances of how General Gowon ended up dining at the student cafeteria at Warwick University after his overthrow on July 29, 1975 while in Kampala attending a summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU now African Union)
Even after 45 years, General Gowon’s statement thereafter remains instructive;
“From all indications a new government had been established in Nigeria. I wish to state that I, on my part, have also accepted the change and pledged my full loyalty to my nation, my country and the new government. Therefore, in the overall interest of the nation and our beloved country, I appeal to all concerned to cooperate fully with the new government and ensure the preservation of peace, unity and stability of our dear motherland.
As a Nigerian, I am prepared to serve my country in any capacity, which my country may consider appropriate. I am a professional soldier and I can do any duty that I am called upon to do.
May I take this opportunity to thank all the people of Nigeria and friends of Nigeria for the support and cooperation that you all gave me during my tenure of office and call upon all of you to give the new government of our nation the same support and cooperation in the interest of our beloved country.
Long live one united, happy and prosperous Nigeria. Long live the Organisation of African Unity.”
The attached images are of General Gowon after he had enrolled as a student at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. Where eventually his Ph.D Thesis focused on The Economic Community of West African States: A study in Political and Economic integration.
It would be recalled after his overthrow from government several investigations were made into corrupt enrichment. The General was neither found complicit nor indicted in any. More ever;
“Many offers of residence came to him in Kampala from various African countries. He notified the new regime in Lagos that he would leave Kampala for Lome in Togo. Since he was financially broke, teary-eyed members of the Nigerian delegation along with staffers at the Nigerian High Commission in Kampala donated 3000 pounds sterling to enable him begin a new life. He was flown to Lome – via Garoua in Cameroon – aboard President Idi Amin’s executive jet.
Part of the flight passed through Nigerian airspace and Gowon took the opportunity to transmit a radio message reaffirming loyalty to and support for Brigadier Muhammed’s new regime. Although offered permanent domicile in Togo he chose to join his family in the United Kingdom. He received an additional 10,000 pounds sterling donation from General Eyadema. Following a telephone call to Brigadier Muhammed, during which he made requests for elementary federal assistance, he left for London.”
“When he got to London, he was offered official accommodation by the Nigerian government which he, however, turned down for a variety of reasons. After some weeks at the Portman Hotel, he moved into the house of an old friend – Mr. Emmanuel Otti – at 472 Finchley Road, London. The delay was to enable the house to be redecorated by Mr. and Mrs. Otti and Brigadier Sam Ogbemudia (who had been in the UK when the coup took place in Nigeria). Other friends came to the assistance of the family. It was not until September 1975 that he began to get his pension and gratuities as a retired Four-Star General. In the nine years he had been Nigeria’s ruler he had not built himself a single house, inside or outside the country, nor did he expropriate one kobo of government money.
Unlike some of those who served under him, his TOTAL savings throughout his service years as well as his years as Nigeria’s leader was N75,000 – all of which was inside Nigeria. In time to come this would stand in stark contrast to the conduct of and personal fortunes of most of those who conspired to remove him from office – or benefited from it.
Once settled in with his family, the General, who was offered several Masters Degree programs, signed up for undergraduate studies in Political Science at Warwick University. Newspapers in Nigeria later carried news items and photographs depicting the former Nigerian leader carrying trays in a student cafeteria in the UK.
The Muhammed regime was embarrassed and therefore dispatched Brigadier TY Danjuma (who, took Kano born Col. Wali along) to ask Gowon adopt a supposedly more dignified stance. Gowon rejected the overture and reassured his “embarrassed sympathizers” that he was comfortable with his situation. (Conceivably nothing could have been more embarrassing than to be overthrown while attending an OAU summit). He made friends among the Nigerian students at Warwick, including a family friend of mine, Desmond Guobadia, now a legal practitioner in Lagos. Meanwhile his spouse, the former First Lady, Mrs. Victoria Gowon (who was a nurse) registered as a catering student at a University College in London.”
See details in; Military Rebellion of July 29, 1975 – Epilogue: From Kampala to Lome to London and back to Nigeria by Nowa Omoigui
Therefore, we the undersigned call upon all Nigerians of goodwill and indeed the members of the international community at large to ignore the insinuations of Mr. Tugendhat. In turn, by this signed clarification we call upon the MP to be appropriately corrected and to do the needful by withdrawing his statement on General Gowon.
Ahmed Yahaya Joe.
After succumbing to a fever of some sort in 1705, Irish woman Margorie McCall was hastily buried to prevent the spread of whatever had done her in. Margorie was buried with a valuable ring, which her husband had been unable to remove due to swelling. This made her an even better target for body snatchers, who could cash in on both the corpse and the ring.
The evening after Margorie was buried, before the soil had even settled, the grave-robbers showed up and started digging. Unable to pry the ring off the finger, they decided to cut the finger off. As soon as blood was drawn, Margorie awoke from her coma, sat straight up and screamed.
The fate of the grave-robbers remains unknown. One story says the men dropped dead on the spot, while another claims they fled and never returned to their chosen profession.
Margorie climbed out of the hole and made her way back to her home.
Her husband John, a doctor, was at home with the children when he heard a knock at the door. He told the children, “If your mother were still alive, I’d swear that was her knock.”
When he opened the door to find his wife standing there, dressed in her burial clothes, blood dripping from her finger but very much alive, he dropped dead to the floor. He was buried in the plot Margorie had vacated.
Margorie went on to re-marry and have several children. When she did finally die, she was returned to Shankill Cemetery in Lurgan, Ireland, where her gravestone still stands. It bears the inscription “Lived Once, Buried Twice.”