Nigeria is currently embroiled in a diplomatic stand-off with Brazil over an incidence that occurred at the University of Lagos. Female students from Brazil who are part of a one year exchange programme at the university, refused to stay in the hostel accommodations provided for them on campus even after school authorities provided generating sets for the rooms, installed air-conditioner units, and equipped the rooms with water purifiers, DSTV, internet access and working telephone lines. The foreign students turned down the rooms and asked instead for accommodation in any of the reputable five star Hotels in Lagos. The Nigerian programme coordinator refused, telling them that their Nigerian counterparts in Brazil had settled down into the student accommodations provided for them in Brazil so there was no reason the Brazilians shouldn’t stay in Moremi Hall in Unilag. Unbeknown to authorities, the foreign students contacted their Embassy claiming that they were in fear for their lives and this led to Interpol agents being called in to ‘rescue’ the Brazilians from Unilag.
This has now resulted in a tense exchange of words between officials of the two countries but the Brazilians are unrelenting in their decision to remove their citizens from University of Lagos and from the exchange programme. Speaking from the Brazilian embassy in Lagos, one of the rescued girls explained why she and her fellow exchange students were afraid for their lives. According to her, during their induction, when they first arrived in Unilag, they noticed that a lot of Nigerian girls had Brazilian hair on their heads. This did not alarm them and they even found it amusing when they learnt that women were willing to pay as much as $2000 for the hair of their compatriots.
What gave them concern however, was when they learnt that Nigerians are fond of using black magic to remove such intimate body parts as sex organs from their fellow Nigerians – for the sake of money. And to make matters worse, when they started mixing with their hosts, they noticed that more than a few Nigerian female students demonstrated ‘more than casual’ interest in their hair. At this point they really became afraid.
They reasoned that if Nigerians can steal each other’s sex organs and if Brazilian hair is an expensive and highly sort after commodity, then sleeping in a Nigerian female hostel can only be asking for trouble. As of the time of going to press, efforts were being made by school authorities to allay the fears of the Brazilian students and to avert what could become a major international incidence.
Measures being considered by the University VC include banning the fixing of human hair or asking residents of Moremi Hall to sign an undertaking that they will not employ any tactics, physical or spiritual, to harvest the hairs of their Brazilian guests.