When I read the story of a Nigerian nurse who was ALLEGEDLY sacked in the United Kingdom and deported to Nigeria by the management of her hospital after she was found praying for an elderly patient, I was sad but not surprised. The laws are clear. You were employed as a nurse, not an intercessor or prayer warrior. Stick to job description. The British society sees religion as a personal matter. Do not bring in your religion in your interactions with patients. They separate work and religion. It is not like in Nigeria where offices start the day with prayers. But of what use is this prayer when it does not reflect in the way we go about our duties for the rest of the day after the prayers? I was once involved in a police matter. When I went to see the police woman the first time, I saw a bible on her table. I was elated, but at the end of the day, “police do im work.” A senior police officer was the boss of the IPO handling another case that took me to the police station. He would leave me at prayer time to go to the mosque to pray. “At the end police do im work,” so?
It is not as if the hospital authorities do not believe in God. In fact, in the hospital where I was admitted, there is a place for prayers for Catholics, Anglicans and other Christians; Muslims, followers of Judaism, Hindus and other Asian religions, etc. Even the hospital workers can go the place to pray during their break period as a personal observance. The hospital has chaplains for Catholics, Protestants and clerics for other religions. The hospital asks patients on admission if they need a cleric and if a patient does, the cleric comes around at specified times to attend to patients’ spiritual needs. What is not tolerated is medical personnel praying for patients, preaching to patients, trying to convert patients to their religious beliefs and other obvious religious actions towards patients.
Nigerian medical personnel in the UK are very much aware of this, but some are ready to take the risks just spread their “gospel” and “evangelize.” This nurse did not need to make her prayers obvious. Jesus laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them (Mark 6:5), yes.
“Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her…,” yes. (Matthew 8:14 to 16). The same Jesus was on his way to the home of the centurion. While he was still on the way, the centurion sent a message to him that he was unworthy to have Jesus under his roof. “Only say the words and my servant will be healed.” That was it. The servant had no physical encounter with Jesus, but he was healed. This powerful profession of faith has become an important part of the Mass in the Catholic Church and Communion Service in the Anglican Church. The nurse could have prayed in faith for the woman without making it obvious. God does the healing, not man.
Nigerian Christians “too-do.” I had an emergency case and was taken to the emergency section of a hospital in the UK. The first young male doctor who attended to me was apparently racist and treated my case with levity. A day or two later, I was rushed back. This time around, I was attended to by another doctor, a female and also Caucasian. When the tests came out and she reviewed my file, she was mortified. She promptly reported the first doctor to the hospital authority for negligence to and he was placed on immediate suspension. I was admitted. As usual, there were many Nigerian nurses working in the hospital. One of them was warm and we got friendly. On the second day, she came to attend to me, she was apparently disappointed with the religious items she saw in my room. She saw an opportunity to change the faith of a “lost” Christian. She gave me Christian literatures to read. Even as she did, I could see fear and caution in her face. She knew I would not report her, but if her colleagues caught her, she would be sacked instantly.
As she was engaging in her religious rascality in the guise of saving a “lost soul,” I wondered quietly: Why do some Nigerians love living on the edge of the cliff? Your goals in the UK is improve your economic wellbeing and support relatives back home. Why not stick to your goals and stop playing Jackie Chan. The laws governing the conduct of hospital personnel in the UK are real, not make believe. It is unethical for health workers in the UK to bring religion into their relationship with patients in any form. PERIOD. Keep your religious beliefs to yourself.
Our religious “do-do” too much. In some streets where churches operated by Nigerians are located in London, around certain times when church services are supposed to be over on Sundays, motorists instinctively take alternate routes. That is because there must be traffic. Trust Nigerians. After service, we must stop “briefly” on the road to exchange pleasantries that can cumulatively keep other road users waiting sometimes for up to 15 minutes. We can worship God without becoming nuisance. As a Nigerian, I am very proud of how we have exported our culture, food, music, fashion, etc., abroad. The one that gladdens my heart most is the Nigerian food I can get to eat in London as if I am home. But we really need put only our best foot forward. Let us keep our lawlessness, rascality, fraud and illegal drug dealings at home. You do not export bad products. Look at our how internet fraud and drug trafficking have dealt immense blows on our image. The perception is only beginning to change now, thanks majorly to Afrobeat music.
The Japa syndrome in Nigeria is fuelled by many factors. Our economic situation is a major factor, but for me, the biggest factor is our herd mentality. We just love jumping on the bandwagon in anything that is trending. It has happened in many areas in our lives: MMM, internet fraud, kidnapping, betting, etc. Many more Nigerians would Japa. I have no problems with it even as I am “unjapaable.” But before you japa, study the place you want to japa to. Everything is now online, so no excuses. For instance, in Nigeria, when you want to cross the road, you look to your left first before right. In the UK, it is different. If you look to your left first such a school boy error can send you to the grave. As for medical personnel, understand the ethics of medical practice of the country you want to japa to very well. The literature is also online. Not only that, you need to mend your mentality. This “nothing dey happen” mentality might fail you in West Africa, not to talk of Europe and America. The ethics and mentalities are different in Europe. Learn understand and live them. In this case, it is totally “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”