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Evils And Beauty of Tattoos In Nigeria

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Nigeria News takes a look at the beauty and evils of tattoos.

As a country boy, I grew up to know tattoo in the ancient town of Ile-Ife, Osun State. It was a symbol of beauty for some of the adults, mostly women.

Apart from the tribal marks on the faces of some adults then, there were tattoos on their bodies. Some put it on their arms, some on their bellies. They inscribed their names or symbols of animals that they cherished or dreaded on their skins as tattoos.

The Tattoo was not only for beauty but it was also for identification. As civilization grew towards Africa, many of the black heritage steadily faded away. Children that were born in the eighties refused to embrace tattoo anymore.

Instead, they preferred to look White. They embraced what was in vogue, skin toning. Skin toning turned out to be the first evil that really destroyed the beauty of many Black ladies, including some men.

Toning soaps and creams flooded the markets. The indiscriminate use of toning soap and cream by many resulted in skin diseases as the majority of our black and shinning ladies developed skin cancer.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC had to ban some soaps and creams to reduce the toning culture among Nigerian women. Though skin bleaching is still happening, the habit is becoming outdated now. Today, there are whites that are turning their skin to black.

However, towards the end of the 20th century and early 21st century, tattoos had been exported out of Africa. It resurged from the western world, mostly among celebrities in the music and sports sectors.

Tattoos have become bigger. It is now seen as arts and it comes in various designs, sizes, types, temporary or permanent. Some of the celebrities that wear tattoo include Barcelona star, Lionel Messi, Nigerian-Briton Boxer, Anthony Joshua, Davido, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage to mention but a few. These are role models for many of our young lads.

Of course, most celebrities now have tattoos on their bodies but the evil behind the tattoo is not known to those who pick after their role model to also wear tattoo. Tattoos have been found to be an identity mark for various cult groups.

On Lagos Island where there are scores of cult groups, they use tattoos as identification marks. Many of the internet fraudsters, called Yahoo boys display their tattoos to show that they are “Big Guys”.

Today tattoo, which was originally the African culture is being imported back to Nigeria and it is not only being done by celebrities but also by ordinary people.

Most youths emulate their role models who also have tattoos. And not only that they emulate the celebrities but some of them also engage in nefarious activities.

They are the easy target of police as crime suspects. Of course, there are innocent people who have been arrested and locked up in the custody of the police, they suffer because they carry tattoos on their bodies.

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