Sam AwedaWednesday, March 15, 2017
[email protected]
Lagos, Nigeria




t was about 10.00pm when the video of the beheading of the Ghanaian nanny was posted to my phone. I viewed it at the worst of time; night. I lost my sleep completely. I made every effort to close my mind to the brute murder so that I could gain sleep. It was not possible.

I just could not erase from my memory, the picture of how the nanny wailed, pleading for her life in Arabic language as she struggled with her killers. She was eventually overpowered and laid on the ground. In spite that, she did not stop pleading, even shouting "Haram" meaning "Forbidden"

As the nanny kept fighting, the man, head chopper in his holy white thobe, kept moving about, watching for the girl to be stable, so as to be able to do the chopping.

Eventually, the time came and without delay, the machetes landed on the intended site and severed the head from the body and the one man noisy riot stopped and quietness enveloped the whole vicinity. One creation of God departed the world.

After hours of tossing on the bed, unable to keep my mind off it, I rose to take a sedative tablet. Still, it was not helpful. At few minutes to 500am, I had no choice than to make my way to the bath, as I must leave for work by 600am. I got to work and swallowed 1000mg of Panadol Extra in order to be able to cope with the day's assignment.

My pain was in several folds; pained by the way life was snuffed out of the nanny and pained at when it will be possible for Africans to be able to stay in their own countries to earn a living without playing servitude in other people's land.

Actually there shouldn't be any need for citizens of many African countries to go out of their land if for purposes of sustenance but for the greed of those who have been ruling us and our own stupidity for allowing them to dupe us for so long because we too are as bad as them.

Having worked in the Middle East for years, I know that she would not have been executed except she committed an offence deserving of capital punishment; particularly to have done the killing publicly. Policemen kept watch, ambulance was waiting, which eventually took the remains away. So I believe it must have gone through their judiciary process. Whether their judiciary process is acceptable to the world or not is another thing. Theirs can be very brief, matter of minutes, no delay.

Could she have been in possession of illegal drug? I asked myself throughout the night.

My anguish worsened this afternoon (13th March), when I saw the picture of the nanny, without hijab (covering) but natural self, to discover that she was a young fellow, certainly under twenty.

Then I learnt that the baby she was caring for, dropped from the upstairs. It is based on this information I write whatever I write, hoping that the reason given for her execution was correct.

Saudi Arabia followed strictly the "Sharia Law", which is essentially the same as the Law of Moses found in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy. It is "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth" (Deut.19:21)

But even in the Law of Moses and the Sharia, there are provisions for mercy when it relates to murdering someone. The relatives of the victim could decide that the offender be spared and ransom paid "Blood money"

In the Law of Moses, there were cities of Refuge appointed for each of the twelve tribes of Israel, which a killer could run to for protection if it was accidental, till the judges heard the case (Numbers 35: 11-15; Joshua 20:2; Joshua 21:27 etc). If the murder is found to be truly accidental, the slayer was made to go free. If otherwise, he faced the music.

The information leading to the brutal judgement of the Ghanaian nanny was that a baby, which she was caring for, fell down the stairs. No information was given as to whether the baby survived or died. Was there any other person involved? We do not know. Was it intentional or accidental? We do not know.

Supposing it was even accidental, as a woman, he had nowhere to escape to, since she could not go out by herself unaccompanied. Besides, as an expatriate, which she was, she wouldn't be in possession of her passport. The employer holds the passport of the expatriate until few hours to boarding, if he/she must make any international travel.

Question! Could her boss think she dropped the baby intentionally? We have heard and watched on video of House maids who treated the innocent children, they are paid to look after, in wicked manners.

Could it be that the boss of the late young nanny had been treating her badly and she revenged?

Of course we have heard of some bosses who treated their House maids inhumanly. We have heard of all kinds of abuses on House maids perpetrated by the big bosses and their boys at the same time. And should the house maids get pregnant, they are on their own because having children outside wedlock is unacceptable both under the Law of Moses and Sharia. But under the Law of Moses, where a girl is violated, the boss is mandated to go and pay the necessary dowry and marry her and he must treat her as he would treat a wife and nothing less (Exodus 22:16-17).

If this murdered nanny had been maltreated or abused by her boss and she committed the offence intentionally as revenge, she made a costly mistake because she ought to know that no plea shall be taken.

Question! Why should anyone go and work in such a country, which laws differ from ours, with relatively no freedom as we have it and which operate stiff penalties for any offence?

Blame those who have ruled us and who are still ruling us. Do they care about the wellbeing of anyone, other than to grab and share our commonwealth among themselves? It is when people find it difficult to make ends meet they start to consider all options at their disposal.

Consider the lives of many young people, which have been lost in the Sahara desert and in the Mediterranean seas in their efforts to cross to Europe. Consider the suffering they go through in some countries where they transit! Who is able to sleep at listening to the stories of the wicked treatment meted to those who were stranded in Libya except Nigerian Politicians? Will anyone contemplate on such a plan if things were ok with them at home? Did anyone do 40 years ago in Nigeria, when the country was friendly?

Does anyone remember late in the 80's and early 90's how our Medical personnel flocked the hospitals in the Middle East? They jettisoned their ego and personal comfort and put the interest of being able to look after their children uppermost.

The first set of Medical Doctors who graduated at University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan did in 1960. They were eight in number if my memory does not fail me. I met two of them in the 90s in the Middle East. They had no personal house of their own until they took appointment in the Middle East. Consider what their age could be in 1992, if they became doctors in 1960, yet had no personal roof on their heads and had to take the decision to jet out to Saudi.

So blame our rulers for whatever befalls us. Up to now, does our leaders care other than clothing themselves like clowns and cockroaches, blowing English in the Assembly Hall shouting "Mr. President" or "Mr. Speaker" (as the case may be) endlessly before they complete just one sentence? And afterwards return briefly to their different offices to load the Ghana must go bags stuffed with dollars and pounds, waiting for them, into their cars.

It is only in Nigeria one sees government officials constructing a Ware house to stack foreign currencies; not currencies from their sweat but stolen from the common wealth. It is pitiful that we cannot excel in anything good but evil.

It is only Nigerians who find a misplaced handset and refuse to hand it over to the owner. I am not taking about Nigerians at home but Nigerians living in the United States. Is that not terrible?

Let me return to the murder of the young woman. Was the Ghana Embassy informed of the offence of one of her citizens and the punishment to be meted? If it was informed, what effort did it take to plead for her life? Because I want to believe that the embassy of an offender that warrants capital punishment must be informed. I apologize if 'am wrong.

But if the offence for which the girl was murdered was correct as I read it, she could never have been murdered were she to be a citizen of the United States or UK or any of the nations that command respect. Those embassies will explore all the possibilities open and negotiate. I am positive that they will bargain very hard for payment of ransom. At its worst, they will settle for some terms of imprisonment.

Any embassy is created among other things to serve the interest and protect her citizens living abroad. Unfortunately however, the voice of our embassies in these countries carries no weight. How can it carry weight? What do they see in our government that should command their respect? Do they see us as a serious nation? Do they see our government seriously devoted to the wellbeing of their citizens or devoted to their personal self?

It is not how populous a country is that makes her to command respect within the comity of nations but the seriousness of the government of that nation, her effort to catch up with other developed nations, the prosperity or poverty of the nation, strength of her economy, her technology development or advancement. These are what dictate his muscle flexes.

I am actually talking about Nigeria but I want to think that the same situation applies to all other African countries.

Are our governments bothered about taking our countries to a stage whereby other countries will have any respect for us? Do the countries of the world have any reasons to respect us? Do they not see how our leaders grab our commonwealth with impunity, particularly Nigerian Politicians?

And how does our embassy staff in the different countries behave? Is it anyway different from any government establishment at home? Are they on their seats? Do they keep appointments? Imagine the frustration of some Nigerians living in Canada recently who just wanted to renew their passports but met no one in the office in spite many of them were given prior appointments. They travelled from far distances but met no one.

Can citizens abroad rely on them to bail them out in case they are in problems?

With such a behavior, what impression do they expect their host countries to have of them? Why should their host countries even bother to tell them of any plan to execute one of them?

One of our Career Diplomats once confessed to me that things, which their counterparts from respected countries will settle with just one telephone call, may take them several visits to their hosts and may not even get resolved.

I hope one day we shall be able to have information whether the Ghana embassy in Saudia Arabia was informed or not before the execution and even if not, whether it heard information about the impending doom and what steps it took to spare the life of the girl. Or did the Ghana Embassy also see the execution on social media just like anyone else?


As I indicated at the start of this article, the information I had was posted to my phone, so I hesitated posting the article to the publisher for a request to publish, hoping I will have a better and more credible source of information. It later occurred to me to Google it. You too can but I warn you, the gruesome murder is very difficult to watch.