“Pepper Dem photos”. Those are photos showing off wealth and enjoyment, which a person might post online – sparking jealousy and envy among others.

Some people say that the trend of posting these types of pictures is pressuring young people to live beyond their means. That sounds like a Lagos problem. Well, at least it’s not a Rivers State problem. I mean, what kind of person residing in Rivers State, would put up photos of themselves balling and having a good time abroad… or showing bottles of Ace of Spades?

Jay-Z on his new album 4:44 counseled black people against money pictures; the variety where a person might show off stacks of money and perhaps put a stack to the ear like it was a phone. Jay-Z is so influential that a lot of black people have suspended that kind of behavior for sober reflection. However, people who live in Rivers State might not need Jay-Z to discourage them from showing off wealth on social media.

Rather, you have millionaires driving common cars, and keeping their foreign trips off the internet. I know of someone who made a trip out of the country but took care to post only photos that looked like they could have been taken in Nigeria. This fellow said it was important that the weather could have passed for Nigerian weather. That’s tough.

In this era of photo sharing and social media posts about one’s personal life, that kind of restriction seems akin to imprisonment.

Some Port Harcourt residents argue that it’s not necessary to be so careful about “peppering dem” with your photos. The only thing is that they don’t back their arguments with any money pictures. Just talk; because some people just love to argue.

This calculated avoidance of showing off has a far reaching effect on the state. How are people going to know that we’re ‘doing it’, that we’re ‘balling’, that we are ‘getting money’? All this might sound frivolous, but if we are honest we will admit that it adds to tourism profile of the state.

I salute everyone who doesn’t bother to hide the fact that they are living life. I also salute their MOPOL security. That’s right, some of such people have a security arrangement to support their nonchalance towards ‘living freely’.

Some people know the reality of kidnappers and robbers but are carefree by nature. Yes, sadly some of these people have suffered security threats at some point of their PH experience.

This is a call on everyone of influence (and that’s everyone, period) that we need to get security right. Not propaganda, not temporary fixes. Rivers State has lost too much to militancy and political tussles. Let’s make our society truly safe, so we can get back to ‘peppering dem’.


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