Male manicurist

Nigeria is broke I heard, well to many poor Nigerians, the country has always been broke, I suppose now with the reduced oil revenues, it is hitting home more than usual.

Somewhere in Sabo, waiting for a friend was a Hausa man sitting beside me with a thin wood separating us. Too quiet so I started to chat with Musa.

The conversation flows easily so I asked what his job was. He is a manicurist. “Really?” I thought that was interesting.

He was very happy to tell me how good business has been but at the time he had no customer so I thought I could get my nails done too.

“Ha, only male.” He said with a smile.

“What’s wrong with female nails?” I showed him my finger nails so he could see I just had them done a week prior, that I was only curious and wanted to see how good he is given the service only costs 80naira.

Musa was really sorry that it has nothing to do with me, he looked around as if to say, in another circumstances he could have done it but definitely not with so many people around to judge him or question his faith.

So I left him off the hook, and he told his story.

Musa is 41 years old, up until 3 years ago he was in Port Harcourt doing the same job, most of his clients were women, he makes enough money that he was content with his life.

Then his sister sent for him to take up the Nigeria government sponsored pilgrimage to Mecca. He could not say no to the juicy free offer. So he said to me “I’m Alhaji now” with a grin.

“That’s great” I congratulated him.

He looks energetic and outspoken but with his new title comes change in lifestyle, so he is no longer able to do female nails as that is against his renewed belief/title.

“Is that why you didn’t return to PH?” I asked. Alhaji nodded in agreement.

There are more clients in PH than Osun but decided to stay in Osun as living among people who share his believe system is better for him.

“How would you say your life now compared to when you were in PH?” I asked. Alhaji Musa went shy and looked away, then shrugged his shoulders. He changed the subject by pointing to the elderly man in the crowd to be his brother-in-law.

Here I wonder, only if Nigeria government could do a survey of all that they have sponsored for religious trips to get firsthand feedback to see how useful the program had been.

To a lay person like me, it’s still unbelievable that a country with 60% living in abject poverty spends about 1% of its annual budget on religious foreign trips – just doesn’t add up.

Thousands of Christians are also sponsored to Jerusalem yearly.

Sometimes I wonder, do we have to think hard to know where budget cut should go?

I think Muslim and Christian Pilgrims Welfare Boards should go if we are truly broke as a nation. Religious should be private affair which should be addressed privately.

Here’s an idea – How about spending the same budget on getting rehabilitation for those who sleep rough on our streets? God in His throne would be super pleased.

Categories: Nigeria

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13 replies

  1. It really saddens me to read and hear of the hardships of Nigeria. Political stability and wealth of my country must never be taken for granted by me. Thank you for reminding me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. FK you ask very searching questions, which the poor fellow could only not answer or change the subject.

    What an eye-opener (for me at least). I will confess that I know very little about Hausa masculinity, they have dambe (tradtional boxing) and kokowa (wrestling) and the Hausa nation are know to be conservative with a capital ‘c’. So to read that a Hausa man of all the nationalities in Nigeria would get involved in manicuring definitely does raise an eyebrow.

    From my limited observations the manicuring business in Australia has been cornered by Vietnamese and Cambodian ladies. In the UK, Philippino ladies and to a lesser extent Thai ladies have sewn up that market, to read that an Hausa man would even consider such a thing is a revelation. However on reading further, it seems he has forsaken that for now. Were you surprised at Musa’s past life?

    This government sponsored pilgrimage, like many other things in the hands of Nigerians has been abused. It is true that it is tent of Islam, that believers are required to make at least one visit to Mecca if they can. The Christians of Nigeria, became jealous and insisted on the right to go to Jerusalem. I agree the government should withdraw completely from this scheme. What people can do, is that they can organise themselves so that their local church or mosque can collect money from its patrons and they can decide by committee who among their flock they are willing to sponsor.

    Diverting the 1% to help the homeless is a good idea, but I don’t think the pilgrims care about the poor enough to forego a free trip oversees to ‘pray’, sad but true. Ten out of ten for a good idea though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, a bit surprised about Musa’s past life, he seems to be missing the freedom of when he was ‘no one.’ Still doing his manicure biz now albeit on a reduced scale.

      Analysing our many issues individually make it easier to see the enormity of wastefulness.

      You nailed it it the head that Christian got jealous hence Jerusalem was added. And to think that people who mostly benefitted from these schemes could afford it if they so wish ten times over is enough to see that deep down the poor are seen as unfortunate souls that can’t be helped.


  3. He went for pilgrimage now he doesn’t have a sustainable business!
    I’m not sure I understand the wisdom behind this!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alhaji needs to live up to his title and it just so happen that he is now too ‘big’ for some tasks he used to do for a living. I bet he could have saved enough cash over time to visit Mecca at some point if he so desired.

      The wisdom behind the pilgrimage? We are deeply ‘religious’ nation, where going to heaven means more to us than living the life of today.


  4. Lovely read as usual. Nigerians love awhoof die! You think the pilgrimage sponsorship is bad, what of the outrageous subsidy of fuel? I can’t wait to see how this government continues to satisfy its hugely expectant supporting masses with cheap available fuel & still manage to improve on its immediate needs for funds. GEJ failed only marginally in that regard. He barely kept fuel in the filling stations, until the last 2 weeks of his tenure and even dared that foolishly senseless reduction of pump price. (Senseless not because of the political advantage he sought with it but because he should be generating funds not squandering the little he got)

    I fare we just might fare worse because we love awhoof.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Fola,
    You have a very good point. If the country is broke then religious prilgrimages are superfluous.
    There is something else going on with the oil. Just what I’m not sure. I think the Saudis are flooding the market and keeping the price down and it is affecting a lot of countries including Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, wonder which God they are talking about.

      With the oil, I know next to nothing but given our situation in Nigeria I think we will be better off with the price down, then it forces our government to diversify. We have plenty of land for agriculture, we will do well with that and plenty of man power – less for greedy folks.


      • All of our governments need to diversify instead of being so depended upon the oil business. Unfortunately, agriculture has been taken over by big business. Don’t let that happen to your country.

        Liked by 2 people

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