Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaWednesday, August 16, 2017
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ust a couple of months ago I discovered that a rat pitched an invisible tent in my pastoral car. All efforts I made to locate the beast of occupation proved abortive. From time to time I saw its droppings underneath the vehicle seats and in the safe areas of the engine. I was wondering what the rat was feeding on. Right from my primary school days I learnt this comparison: As poor as church rat. What can we say of a rat living in a vehicle? Probably: As hungry as vehicle rat. Indeed I pitied the hungry rat. At the same time I was afraid it would in the spirit of hunger and anger eat up the car's electrical wire. Because of this, I decided to poison the unseen enemy. It was not out of wickedness, but out of economic necessity. Hence I sent someone to the market to buy rat poison known as "kill and dry" for me.

Before placing the poison in strategic positions in the car, I prayed God to have mercy on me for trying to kill a creature he created before me. Do you not know that God created all the beasts of the earth before creating man? Therefore we can deduce that by order of creation, animals are superior to human beings. In other words, they are our senior brothers and sisters in the animal world. But by order of intelligence human beings surpass them because they have no souls. They have only mortal hearts while human beings have immortal souls. After placing the poison, I prayed for the rat to be annihilated in peace.

The following day, I searched the car for the remains of the stubborn rat. "It might have dried up by now," I thought. Surprisingly, the poison stuffs I positioned were still intact in their number. Then I waited for another three days. This time I employed the services of my two houseboys. Three of us were carrying big machetes like the dreaded Bakassi Boys in case the stubborn rat tries to escape alive. Also I invited our security man who came with a loaded gun. On opening the car's doors and bonnet we searched everywhere thoroughly. There was no trace of the dead body of the rat. It then meant that the rat was still alive. I asked myself, "Has rats gone to school as to learn the difference between poisoned and non poisoned food?" With rage, I, the two boys and the armed security man went hunting for the rat in and outside the car. I ordered the armed security man to shoot at sight. But we were not successful. I told the boys that the rat might have escaped unhurt. As a result I gave up the hunting and locked the car. To avoid any accidental contact with the poison by my boys during the washing of the car, I threw the poisoned stuffs away.

After about one month I drove out with the car in question. Along the road I started perceiving a deadly odour. There was no one in the car except my humble self. I would have suspected that someone who consumed a lot of 'ogiri' polluted the air. I was very sure that I did not. Or can someone pollute the air without having knowledge of it, except when one is asleep? I began to think that the deadly odour was coming from without. I convinced myself that an animal could have died and decomposed at the nearby small bush along the road. However, after driving for over five kilometers the nasty odour became severer inside the car. I couldn't breathe well again. Outgoing saliva filled my mouth. I cleared beside the road and spat out the large quantity of saliva. Later my mouth refilled again with unwanted saliva as the deadly smell increased. I shouted, "What a nuisance!" The stubborn rat caused the nuisance. I packed my car well and began to look for the decomposing remains of the stubborn rat. It might have died as a result of acute hunger. I tried to poison it alive but did not succeed. Now it has died and was trying to poison me in turn with its deadly smell. I exclaimed, "God forbid!" The dead rat has constituted a great nuisance to my life. Since then my sense of smell has undergone diagonal damage.

By the way what is nuisance? To be specific I consulted Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English which defines Nuisance as "a person, thing, or situation that annoys you or causes problem." This is the crux of this write-up. It is not only rats or other animals that can constitute nuisance. It can also be human beings created in the image and likeness of God. By committing sin we are already nuisance before God our Creator. This nuisance came through disobedience to the Commandments of God. The Bible says, "God saw that human wickedness was great on earth and human hearts contrived nothing but wicked schemes all day long. God regretted having made human beings on earth and was grieved at heart" (Gen. 6:5 - 6). Does God regret creating you and me? Let us examine our consciences.

A man who marries a wicked woman or a woman who marries a wicked man is already in hell. Such a wicked husband or wicked wife is a nuisance in the family. A young devoted lady came into my office crying profusely. I consoled her as much as I could, but her wailing continued unabated. After about five minutes, the rain falling from her two eyes drastically subsided. I became courageous to ask her the cause of her wailing. She confessed that she entered a vehicle driven by a thief. Initially I didn't understand her. It was only when I used my number one faculty that I understood what she meant. Her husband was a nuisance in the young family. I prayed for her. Then I encouraged her to imbibe the virtue of patience, because marriage is for better and for worse. I advise young boys and girls to enter into serious prayers before choosing their marriage partners. Wrong choice can ruin your life. But if you have married a bad partner already, ask God to endow you with the grace of endurance and management so that you do not die before your time. Whenever I come across good husband and wife, I desire to marry. But whenever I see a wicked couple, I thank God that I am a celibate.

Married couples pray for the gift of children. Sometimes some of these children become serious nuisance in the family or in the society. Before making children, parents should pray that they may not give birth to a nuisance in the name of a child. Kidnappers, armed robbers, thieves, prostitutes, murderers, inveterate liars, etc were born by certain parents. Bad company can also be a factor. A popular adage says, "Tell me with whom you go and I will tell you what you are." An elder in his speech at the village square said, "It is good to have hooligans in every town but let none of them come from my family." From whose family then would they come? A certain father caused his only son due to series of maltreatment he suffered at his (son's) hands. The son in question later ran mad. The father died of high blood pressure. As a father, a mother, a daughter or a son, am I a nuisance in my family? Am I a nuisance to the society in general?

On Sunday 6th August 2017, we saw nuisance personified at St. Philip Catholic Church Amakwa Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government of Anambra State. At about 6.45a.m, certain armed men invaded the church full of worshippers as Mass was going on. They shot sporadically and unmercifully at the innocent worshippers. About twelve of the innocent worshippers died instantly while many were seriously injured. What a bloody nuisance! Some say that it was a drug war which began from South Africa and ended tragically at Ozubulu on the black Sunday. The agents of the drug dealers were said to be searching for their victim known as Bishop, a drug baron who built the invaded church. I can't imagine why the killers were so heartless that they decided to shoot at the congregation in search of one man. It is a pity. Who knows if the money used in building the church was stained with blood? It is a sacrilege to kill innocent people in the House of God. Are we sure that the bloody invaders were not from hell, signed with the mark 666? An eyewitness narrated that the killers were dressed in army uniform with their faces covered. Some say it was a terrorist attack. Others say it was a politically minded bloody attack to discredit the government of Chief Willie Obiano. The real truth is yet to emerge. May God grant the wounded victims of the bloody attack quick recovery and grant eternal rest to the dead! We pray for God's consolation on the families of the wounded and the deceased. The Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, promptly visited the scene and the hospital where the injured are receiving treatment. He promised that Anambra State Government would upset their medical bills. He also swore to bring those behind the senseless killing to book. O Lord, come to our aid!

Before getting a maid to live with, you must kneel down in prayers to avoid bringing a nuisance into your family. Wicked maids can do or undo. There was a maid who snatched the husband of her Mistress. The Mistress was later sent packing. Some wicked maids maltreat and starve the children left at their care. Some maids also suffer unjustly from the hands of their Mistresses. Please if you have a maid, treat her as your daughter because no one knows tomorrow. On their own part, maids should behave well in order to have bright future. Good maids later become good housewives elsewhere. Being a nuisance does not pay.

In the government circle, a bad president of a country is a nuisance to the citizens. A bad governor, a bad senator or a dishonourable member is a nuisance to his or her constituency and to the House in particular and the country in general. Good lawmakers make good laws while bad lawmakers make bad laws. The problem of our country Nigeria is bad leadership. Some of our past and present leaders wallow in the ocean of corruption.

In the religious circle, a bishop, a priest, a pastor, a religious man or woman, man of God, prophet, overseer, venerable, imam, etc. can become a nuisance to the people of God under him or her by being a burden in one way or the other. Some embezzle church or mosque money in God's name. Some become dictators instead of spiritual directors. Some engage in sexual gratification with the flock of God entrusted into their hands. Instead of leading to heaven, they lead them to hell. The ministers of God including my humble self have this important question to answer: "Am I a nuisance to the Flock of God entrusted to me?" On the other hand, Christians and Moslems should ask themselves individually: "Am I a true believer or a hypocrite? Am I a nuisance in the church or in the mosque?

Cleanliness is next to godliness. A neat environment is a healthy environment. Certain commodities are manufactured for certain purposes. The sachet water helps to fight dehydration and for easy asses. The 'take away' plastic plates help in easy distribution of cooked food in public gatherings. However the disadvantages seem now to surpass the advantages. Instead of disposing them properly by burning or recycling, most people just throw them away here and there, which become an eye-saw. Some people throw them into drainages. When rain falls, come and see the result. They block the drainages. Then the flood flows into unwanted areas or along the tarred roads causing drastic damages. Some of the empty sachet water and plastic take away plates and spoons occupy the farmlands causing infertility to planted crops. Unmannered people dump refuse indiscriminately here and there. What a nuisance! Something urgent must be done!