After the whole Limpopo hippo in the swimming pool saga, which ended tragically for all concerned except the local butcher, Nigeria has taken things one step further and brought the human/hippo interface into their homes.
Dangerous animals, including crocodiles, snakes and hippos, have found their way into homes and communities in central Nigeria after devastating flooding, residents say.
The creatures were carried along flood-swollen rivers, say the authorities.
Benue state resident Wuese Jirake told the BBC:
“This morning I visited my house. It is still inundated with the flood waters above my waist. There is now a hippopotamus in the house,” he said. “I hope that when it is tired, it may leave my home.”
That seems unlikely, Mr Jirake. Lest we forget, Solly the Limpopo hippo merely died when he got tired. But only after he had comprehensively filled his vicinity with smelly hippo poo. If you want your fat grey friend out once he’s a bit dozy (or dead) then you’re going to need some heavy lifting equipment. Couldn’t you have simply settled for a snake like your neighbours? So much easier to handle.
“If there is any other way of dealing with the problem, the authorities need to pursue that because it is beyond my abilities.”
Conclusive proof, right there, that your average Nigerian doesn’t own a forklift. Assuming that Mr Jirake is an average Nigerian. However, the fact that his home is waist deep in water and currently contains a hippo does rather tend to suggest otherwise.
The co-ordinator of the agency in north-central Nigeria, Abdussalam Muhammad, told the BBC that it was not safe for people to go back to their houses because of the presence of the dangerous animals.
“Presently there are crocodiles and snakes as well as other dangerous animals brought in by the floodwaters that are living in those houses, so, if the people return, it will be harmful to them and they will put their lives at risk,” he said.
It’s this sort of response by the authorities that makes me think I could do their job. Part-time. In fact, part-time, blindfolded and with one hand tied behind my back. Because WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED that returning to a flooded house which is full of crocodiles and snakes could possibly be “harmful” to people?
Seriously, what qualifications does one need for this sort of job? A Diploma in Stating The Bleeding Obvious?
So what exactly does Abdussalam Muhammed suggest might be the best course of action for Mr Jirake et al?
He said people should wait for instructions after the floodwaters have subsided.
It would surely be presumptuous of me to suggest that those instructions might involve something along the lines of: “Now you can return home, as long as there aren’t any dangerous animals in your home, because that might be harmful to you.”
I’m not sure which is worse, having to deal with the hippopotamine excrement in your flooded bedroom or having to deal with the bovine excrement spouted by your local authorities.
Our thoughts are with you, Mr Jirake.