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The stolen pot of soup – by Reuben Abati


The stolen pot of soup – by Reuben Abati

“I am depressed, my brother.”

“You are always depressed. I am actually used to that. I can’t remember when last you were not choleric, depressed, obsessed, uptight, down-spirited, what’s that your word again, yes, anxious. You better watch it, buddie-bae-bff-bros, stop carrying the world on your back, man. There was Atlas before you. There was Sisyphus. But the world has never stopped moving on.”

“I read this story”

“What story?”

“Pathetic story about how right now in Ilorin, Kwara state, it is risky to leave a pot of soup on fire because it is most likely to be stolen. Armed robbers are now targeting pots of soup.”

“Armed robbers? Not burglars?”

“I say armed robbers are now so hungry, even a pot of soup cannot be spared. I can give you the web link to the story.”

“Give me the gist. The theft of pots of soup is definitely a crime of serious magnitude and should be a matter of urgent national concern. Pots of soup being stolen in Nigeria?.”

“Let me read some excerpts from the story to you. “Amidst the stinging hardship occasioned by the present economic recession in the country, the spate of insecurity is rising and taking a tinge of the ridiculous by the day. In Kwara State, cooking a pot of soup is now an invitation to robbers, as cases of eagle-eyed hungry men absconding with cooked food still on the fire is a daily occurrence. The incident is widespread in areas without perimeter fencing and among women who cook or have opted to cook with coal pots. At each of such areas such as Tanke, Basin, Sango, Offa Garage, and Kilanko, the incident occurred according to The Guardian investigations, over five times in just a week…”  (http://m.guardian.ng/news/theft-of-cooked-food-on-fire-becomes-widespread-in-ilorin/)

“An epidemic of vanishing soup pots?”  

“Nothing can be more dehumanizing. To think that Nigerians can be so hungry and poor, they will begin to carry guns and machetes to steal pots of soup.”

“Not cars. Not jewelry. Stomach first.”

“My first reaction was to ask whether they even have a Governor in that Kwara State. Whoever the Governor is, he cannot provide opportunities for people in the state to be able to cook a pot of soup?”

“I hear the Governor like other Governors cannot pay salaries. The Governors are helpless. ”

“But the Governors and their wives are eating from multiple pots of soup”

“Yes. Yes. Actually, if you ask me, I would say that the real crime of serious magnitude that we are talking about and that we should worry about is how the Governors and government officials have stolen the people’s pot of soup. The armed robbers who go from house to house to collect pots of soup on fire are actually copying the big men.”

“You are now asking me to decode something.”

“It is not every pot of soup for example, that gets stolen.  The location is important. The opportunity is important. The content is all-important. And if you read that story you were quoting carefully, the soup snatcher monitors the soup. He waits till all the condiments are in, and he or she steals at the right moment.  It is the story of Nigeria. Sign of the times.”

“I don’t want to go that far.  I won’t reduce Nigeria to a pot of soup. But I agree with you that only particular kinds of soup pots get stolen. Good point. Smart point. ”

“Particularly if the pot of soup contains goat meat. You know goat meat can smell when combined with Maggi and Tomato. Tomato, these days, is expensive.”

“Tomato with goat meat, perfect combination.. Hmmm. Mua. Shuhhhh. Ahhhhh uuuu. I must tell you one secret about tomato today.”


“It clears the prostate. It contains carotene, which is good for the prostate, as an anti-oxidant.”

“What has that got to do with soup snatching?”

“When you eat better tomato, and your prostate is very clear, I hear that your downstairs will function very well, and you can crack fire much better, upstairs and downstairs.  Combined with goat meat, ha, something else. And you know goat has a strong smell.”

“Are we now a country of goat-meat chasers on fire?”

“I hear that even among the robbers themselves, who takes what part of the goat meat is a  serious issue. That was how one woman eventually found her pot of soup. A big fight broke out. And as the goat thieves quarreled over the pot of soup, the owner arrived and started screaming,, neighbours joined and everybody started screaming and the truth came out. ”

“I think this country should just ban tomato and goat meat.”

“I have not finished the story. In this particular woman’s case, it was discovered that even her husband was part of the plot to steal the pot of goat meat.”


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