Feasting on the Whale


It was massive and intimidating but by the time machetes, knives and electric saws worked on it, all that was left of the creature was a skeleton.

It was left in the Bonny River – the channel through which the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited transports its prized products to its customers worldwide.

Whoever comes across the carcass will have no idea of what once covered it.

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Yet, it is a whale washed ashore bruised at the weekend. It was feasted upon by villagers who brought out all they had in their ‘arsenal’ to collect portions of the “mana from the ocean,” which “comes annually.”

None of those who besieged the part of the ocean where it was washed ashore with their different “arms” knew what killed it and how it got there.

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They were not bothered about whether what killed it was still active in its body and could harm anybody who eats it.

They were not swayed either by claims that the whale could have died as a result of toxic chemicals from an oil giant’s export terminal. The fact that it was already decomposing also made no impression on those who saw it as a ‘gift from heaven’.

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For days to come, many will still be eating rice with their share of the fish and “wash it down with choice drinks.” But in a matter of days, the pots will become empty and maybe another whale will be washed ashore the ocean of the Niger Delta.

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