I don’t ordinarily delve into things like this as my blog is focused primarily on relationships and human rights issues but this story got me worried and I thought there might be a need to share it with you all.
Below is the opinion of a Nigerian consumer with an unfortunate experience to share. While the author places most of the blame on the “offending” country, I place all the blame squarely at the feet of our broken down-no consequence-society. If the right agencies were functioning as they should, no Chinese, Lebanese or any other “nese” would have the gall to attempt to bring substandard products into our country.
But our borders are porous, Nigerians connive with undesirable elements in other parts of the world to circumvent due process and put all of us in harm’s way. A closer look will reveal that there is a Nigerian to be named and blamed every time something goes wrong that seems to have a foreign coloration.
What a pity and a shame.
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
As China continues to record remarkable economic achievements, many nations, most of them in the developing world, are being ruined by the day. We must keep vigil on this superpower otherwise we Africans will soon realize that the new “master” we have may be worse than the Arabs and the Europeans that raped our continent before.
That trouble started when I was cruising the Jere – Kwoi road three days later, at night and in the middle of a quiet forest after Kagarko. I heard a noise at the rear of the car. I immediately parked on the shoulder and found that one of the rear tyre’s was flat. Without much difficulty, I changed it and finished the remaining 210km of my Lagos- by- Road- Project that night.
It was one of the four new tyres I comforted my car with after escaping alive from what could have been a fatal accident between Toto and Abaji. I did not bother about the flat tyre because I knew the vulcanizer would patch it up the following morning.
The morning came and the vulcanizer told me a different story. The tyre is gone, he said. Its steel reinforcements have all broken to pieces and the rubber lining that covered them turned into powder. When he showed me the inflated tyre, I could notice six prominent bulges in areas where the reinforcement was breached. I recalled that similar bulges also appeared on the tyres I changed a week ago when the car veered into the side bush and hit stones on its erring path. This has never happened to the Nigerian or foreign “Michelin” and “Dunlop” brands I was used to in the 1980s and 1990s.
I just concluded that I have to cough out another N60,000 to replace the remaining three. I must do this to save my life otherwise the end for a wheel-maniac Nigerian like me may just be near.
The China manufacturers of the tyre and the trader made a cool N60,000.00 off me, a poor Nigerian, fighting to make ends meet. If this is the conduct that the best brand of tyre in Gwagwalada can afford, I wonder what would be of the lesser brands. God save Nigerians.
Africa is surely in grave danger. The China colossus has invaded us with all kinds of third grade products that have wiped out our local industries, thereby generating mass unemployment. Our textiles are gone, not because we cannot produce the cotton they need or lack the manpower to run them but precisely because crooked traders – and they are many in our midst – would go to the new ‘trade jungle’ and import all sorts of textile materials at rates suicidally cheaper than ours.
China pays no attention to anything human. It knows that low-grade tyres and drugs will kill Africans but the authorities in Beijing turn a blind eye on such exports. It is not banning the factories that produce the killer products or refusing visas to the traders that order for them.
Here goes the China argument: It is Africa. The people are poor. They do not have the money to buy the standard grade products that are consumed in China or those exported to Europe, Japan, Middle East and America. So give them what will kill them. After all, life there is nothing. We see them killing one another mercilessly on the street with machetes and AK-47s.
China does not give a hoot about corruption. Its merchants can bribe immigration, customs and state officials to get whatever they want be it importation of contraband goods, illegal residency, illegal mining, name it. Its businessmen are here mining the fields with questionable permits and under subhuman conditions. They are ruining settlements with total disregard to the future of its inhabitants. Rishi, an ancient settlement in my local government, will soon pack up due to such reckless mining activities. The wells in the town dry up quickly and the soil is fast giving way to the huge gulley that is created by the mining activity at the southern gate of the town.
The Chinese do not fulfill a single promise they make to the locals when they take off their mining activities. All they need is a fake mining license and some one or two million naira to bribe traditional rulers and local government officials. The Chinese and their agents are unscrupulously stealing the resources that the this country would need in a post-oil economy. They are ravaging the Northern countryside like locusts and turning its arable land useless. Visit the site of tin mining in Riruwai, Kano State and give us a first hand account. The damage is going on unnoticed, as the nation continues to scramble over the distribution of oil rent.
Finally, the Chinese, like the Lebanese, treat their Nigerian workers like slaves. Demeaning Africans has become a hallmark of our colonizers. I have seen this in their bakeries in Jos and Bauchi. I once threatened one of them with deportation if he dared repeat a word he uttered about the colour of my skin.
I will advise that we take the risk of dealing with China and its poor grade goods seriously. As we helplessly lament the absence of a patriotic government that will protect us from this evil, we must do whatever we can at the individual level: boycott Chinese third grade goods, especially spare parts and drugs, as much as we can.
In the end, however, it is the duty of our governments to shield us from this new ruthless imperial power. Africa must stand up and fight against this gangster as it fought against colonialism and apartheid. The Ghanaians have recently set the tone by expelling 100 Chinese involved in mining its field against the provision of Ghanaian law that makes it an exclusive preserve for its citizens. Ghana did this despite pressure from the Chinese authorities. That is an example of a government that knows it has citizens to protect. God save Nigerians.
As I prepare to cough out N60,000 for another set of new tyres, there is one promise that I will certainly not break: The tyres must not be “China”. I will take whatever pain is necessary to look for American, European or Nigerian tyres, but NEVER Chinese, no matter how good the traders grade them. “China” means death, unless the product is manufactured for European or American market, and I can not know that unless when I am in Europe or America.
So long as I am in Nigeria, I have vowed to avoid anything “China”, forever.