Double wahala for dead bodies in Kano

Double wahala for dead bodies in Kano

It was the renowned Afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who sang the popular tune with the tongue-in-cheek refrain: “Na double wahala for deadi bodi, and the owner of deadi bodi…”

Today, the captivating chorus has become a somewhat street anthem, used to depict a miserable condition so overwhelming that it becomes a vicious circle that sucks both the player and the watcher into its vortex of gloom. Indeed, many do not even know the story behind Fela’s song, but they definitely feel the spirit encoded in the lyrics.

This is exactly the same way, many do not know what is climate change or global warming, but on a daily basis, the spirit of the ecological realities of our times stares us right in the face, with an unmistakable message. Everybody understands the spirit of the present time, in their own individual ways of cognitive enforcement. The religious calls it end-time; the scientist calls it climate change; the juju priest describes it in animistic-ancestral hues; the humanist says it is a psycho-social challenge; the New Ager calls it rebirth gate.

Furthermore, in a literal sense of the expression, many dead bodies in Kano cemeteries last weekend faced a “double wahala” when they were exhumed by flood-induced erosion, only to be deluged by another unsavoury substance: human and animal excreta. The neglected cemeteries have already been turned into waste-dumping and open defecation zones. This situation, in turn, caused cattle to converge on the graves for open grazing bazaar, because, naturally, the rubbish and human waste have become manure for lush grass and herbs. At the end of the day, the farcical ecosystem was upended last weekend as floods turned the food web on its head.

What is happening in the metropolitan northern city of Kano is a textbook case of impact of climate change, and also a classic example of government’s incompetence in responding to present ecological challenges. This week, there were media reports about widespread grave exhumation in Kano. The Kano State Graveyard Standing Committee said floods at the weekend destroyed thousands of graves in some urban and rural cemeteries in the state.


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