Dan in the Lion’s Den

While writing this piece, my maiden medium edition, I contemplated several headlines for the article. Dan Dollars, Dan Et Money, etc. But I was at once heavily rebuked with a recollection that the character himself wouldn’t have wanted anything less ostentatious. The connection to a biblical story would fill his soul with joy to the brim. Dan in the Lion’s Den. This way, he can always say; I leave it to God when asked.

Port Harcourt in the late 80’s and early 90’s was such that everyone knew everyone. Not that much has changed, only difference the Amaechi monorail that begins nowhere and ends nowhere. It was around this period that word spread that the Lions of Dan Etete were on the loose in the city.

Being Port Harcourt, this news spread like wildfire. In no time, the streets had been wiped clean of human inhabitants; there were reported cases of goats, sheep and cattle missing. Some said it was a herd of 12 Lions, others said there were just two males, whose roar could be heard from Etche to Okrika, while there were those who insisted that it was indeed an assortment of wild animals that had been let loose on the city.

In the evenings, in the walled compounds where residents of the city had taken asylum, assemblies would arise to debate the existence of Lions amongst men. Why would anyone keep wildlife as pet? What the people of Port Harcourt done to Dan to deserve such savage treatment? And because it was Port Harcourt, in no time rumour spread that the Lions having been incarcerated for a very long period, where bored and wanted some excitement like all cats. The very sympathetic Dan released them into the city for the sport of it. There of course was no harm intended, Dan was not like that. When he had determined that his wild beasts had rolled enough in the sand, he whistled them back into their cages and the city went back to normal.

All these added to the mystery that was Dan Etete. He had taken a leaf from South America, where Pablo Escobar was delivering a reign of terror across continents, but still had time to tend to his Hippopotamus nursery.

Those who know, say it’s no mean feat to keep a Lion well fed. Even the Federal Government of Nigeria cannot maintain Lions in the few Zoos in the country. The rare sightings of the animals in Jos and Ibadan have been an embarrassment to the king of the jungle.

But Dan knew how to be on top of his game, to keep his lions well fed. And with latest reports linking him to kickbacks in excess of 1bn US dollars, it is not hard to see where all that money went. Feeding Lions is not an easy game.


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