The gunmen that shot nine health workers in Kano last Friday based on a suspicion that the oral polio vaccine [opv] that they were going out to administer to children contained a hidden contraceptive element, have they thought about this matter very carefully? Our society is so given to cynicism and conspiracy theories that anyone can spread a rumour and, provided it has a certain quasi-religious tinge, it gathers its own momentum and in time propels itself on the wings of its own illogic. Among the many such theories over the decades was the charge, very popular in northern Nigeria in the 1970s, that the Whiteman hid pork in a certain food seasoner.
The current allegation, as I originally heard it about 12 years ago, was that the Whiteman hid a secret contraceptive device in opv “in order to reduce our numbers.” It is not clear who the “we” are. Are we talking about Africans, blacks, or the world’s Muslim population? If we are talking about Africans, I will say there is no need for the Whiteman to worry about our numbers because at an estimated 1 billion, Africa’s population is 14% of the world’s total of 7 billion. Even though we have a higher natural growth rate than probably anyone else, Africans are still a long way off from swamping the Whites and Asiatics.
On the other hand, if the “we” that is targeted in this alleged plot refers to blacks, then it is even more problematic. Africa is the home of the black race but of the one billion people in Africa, we must remove 200 million North African Arabs and Berbers. We must also remove 4.5 million South African Whites and another 350,000 Whites in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. However, we can then add 43 million blacks in the USA, 40 million blacks in the Caribbean Islands, 13 million in Brazil, another 1 million Canadian blacks and 8 million black immigrants in Europe, a total of 1.1 billion or about 14% of the world’s population.
Much more likely, those alleging a White population control plot think it is targeted at Muslims, not Africans or blacks. Now, in the whole world there are 1.6 billion Muslims or 23% of the world’s population, 900 million more than Buddhists; 600 million more than Hindus but 700 million less than Christians. The heightened suspicion that developed between the Western and Muslim worlds since 9/11 easily feeds Muslim fears of a Western conspiracy. This cannot be ruled out in some cases, but suspicion of a hidden contraceptive in opv contains an important misreading of the Whiteman’s frame of mind. If the Whiteman fears anyone, it is because of the person’s quality, not so much his quantity.
Tiny though Denmark is, Europe will not trade it away for Nigeria, with a population 29 times bigger. If the Whiteman were to target any Muslim population for secret sterilization, he is likely to start with Muslims of proven technical quality such as Turks, Palestinians, Iranians, Indonesians and Malays, not peripheral ones such as West African Muslims. Those Muslim peoples that possess nuclear centrifuges, uranium enrichment plants, can post anthrax spores in the mail and can generate a computer virus are far bigger threats than just multitudes. Right now, the Whiteman is more afraid of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sartorial trousers than he is of an artistically wrapped Muslim turban. You must pardon me here because I am borrowing from my friend Abba Mahmud’s style in last Thursday’s Leadership to “Say it as it is.”
When I first heard this allegation of a secret contraceptive in the polio vaccine, I thought of a story that spread like wildfire in the American state of Massachusetts one day in the late 1970s. Some people said that God Himself interrupted a live program on a local radio station and made a broadcast. An argument raged as many people claimed that they heard Him speaking while others doubted it. Finally, a Professor of Logic at Harvard University intervened. He said, “If the Almighty God wants to speak to us, He does not need a radio station.”
If the Whiteman wanted to sterilise us, knowing his capacity for advanced planning, why did he wait for polio vaccine to come along? In the last 100 years, White missionary and other doctors from Europe were in the forefront of the fight against many diseases in Africa including leprosy, smallpox, chicken pox, malaria, measles, cholera, tuberculosis, river blindness, sleeping sickness, gonorrhoea, herpes, Ebola virus, bird flu and HIV. Their work helped our numbers to increase by leaps and bounds through the colonial era and beyond. Why didn’t they smuggle the contraceptive into all those billions of drug tablets and syrups that we all consumed?
Now we come to the biggest illogic of all. If the Whiteman really wanted to bury a contraceptive device to depopulate Muslim lands, why did he put it in a difficult agent such as oral polio vaccine, which requires going from house to house and fishing out children under five years old, kicking and screaming, forcing their mouths open and dropping the vaccine in it? He could have used soft drink instead. If he had dropped the contraceptive in Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Pepsi, Mirinda, Seven Up, Capri Sonne, Ribena, Vimto, La Casera, Five Alive, Sinalco, Brahma Guarana and Djino, we would all be sterile by now. Why didn’t he inject it in Family and St. Louis cubed sugar or in Peak, Cowbell, Three Crowns, Dano and Marvel milk, all under the firm control of White chemists and food engineers?
Look, the Whiteman could have injected this device in American, Canadian and Argentine wheat which we import in millions of tons every year to make bread. He could have buried it in millions of tons of fertiliser that we import or inject it in Thai parboiled rice and Indomie noodles. The Whiteman can easily reach every northern Nigerian pot if he injected it in Maggi, Knorr and Royco cubes, and he can hit most Nigerian mouths if he had used Close Up, MacLean’s, Pepsodent and Colgate toothpastes.
Why didn’t the Whiteman use stockfish, geisha and canned sardine as contraceptive agents? He could have injected it in Swan, Nestle and C-Way bottled water or even injected the agent in every pure water sachet. Why did he forget to use Mars, Target, Three Rings, Benson & Hedges, Rothmans and Marlborough cigarettes? The Whiteman can reach many of our throats through Guinness, Gulder, Heineken, Stout, Star Lager and Rock beers. He can reach most of our skins through Lux, Joy, Imperial Leather, Premier, Palm Olive and Giv soaps. If only he put it in Omo and Elephant detergent packs, we will absorb it through our clothes.
The Whiteman can easily catch our youngsters if he used Trebor, Minta, Tom Tom and Miki Miki sweets or if he dropped a portion in Goody Goody, Eclairs, Bounty, Mars, Twix, Snickers and Kitkat chocolates. All our butter, yoghurt, margarine and ice creams as well as the meat pies, shawarma and pizzas that our kids increasingly consume are at the Whiteman’s service. In 1982-83, when we had a major outbreak of rinderpest disease here, the Whites rushed in with tons of vaccines. If only they had injected the contraceptive into all our cows, everyone who ate nama, pepper soup and ponmo since then would be sterile by now.
The Whiteman has thousands of research centres; how come they didn’t remember to drop the contraceptive agent in Quinine, Panadol, APC, Aspirin, Fansidar, Paracetamol and Ampiclox tablets? The Whiteman could have reached most of our noses through Robb, Mentholatum and Hacogen ointments. These are things that you go out to buy with your own money, instead of someone following you to your house and pleading with you to bring out your child. So please, before anyone again shoots at any health worker, let him think more carefully about this spurious allegation.