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Sex, Profanity & Tribal Slurs…In a Book for Nigerian JSS Students!



Zumji & UchennaA concerned parent revealed over the weekend that a book which is presently part of the required curriculum for Junior Secondary School (JSS) students in Nigeria is totally inappropriate for their age group.

The Book!
Zumji and Uchenna” is described by its publishers as “an exciting play which ends in tragedy. It is the story of two passionate lovers from the ethnic divide whose marriage plan was disallowed on tribal grounds. When the undaunted duo eventually win the epic battle and are joined in wedlock, the celebration of victory is brutally scuttled by some demented lovers whose thirst for vengeance result in a harvest of death.”

The Author
The play was written by a French National named Pierre Meunier several decades ago. Pierre was born in France in 1926 and arrived in Nigeria aged 22. He lived in various parts of the country and became a Nigerian citizen in 1978. During his time here, he wrote several books including poetry, prose and plays. However, “Zumji and Uchenna” found its way into the Nigerian curriculum after it was republished in 1999 under the imprint of Ibadan-based Spectrum Books.

Why the Fuss?
Zumji and Uchenna is on the mandatory list of books for Junior Secondary School students in Nigeria. Based on the school reading lists reviewed by BN, some students read it in JSS 1, while others in JSS 3. JSS 1 students are typically between the ages of 9 and 11.

Sample Assignment covering Zumji and Uchenna for a JSS 1 Student

Sample Assignment covering Zumji and Uchenna for a JSS 1 Student

List of Books JSS 2Literature is art and many of the parents who reached out to BN do not necessarily have issues with the book but in the context of required reading for children that young, it is an issue!

“Let us leave this f***ing place before the arrival of Police! Bloody b*****es!”
Zumji & Uchenna 2

Tribal Slurs & Sexual Subject Matter
“Nobody above all, nobody from another ethnic group! Imagine that donkey from the North courting our sister!”

“Are not Ibos smart enough to take the virginity of their girls!”

“Are our cocks too short and small? Bloody Hell”
Zumji & Uchenna 3Zumji & Uchenna 4

BellaNaijarians, share your thoughts. Is this appropriate reading material for a 10 year old? When questioned by parents, schools have said that they are mandated to include this by the government and failure to do so will result in sanctions.


  1. beauty

    October 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    My mouth was left agape while reading the write-ups from the book. This is wrong and it is totally unacceptable.

    • Somtoo

      October 19, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Beauty, agape doesnt even begin to describe how widely open my mouth was a few secs ago. Common, this really cant be true. This must be a joke. Even at university level, this kind of language is not acceptable.
      Nah,This is a joke. I refuse to believe schools actually passed this book to be a part of the curriculum for minors.

      Nah dude.

    • NO WAY!

      October 19, 2015 at 8:46 pm

      Wrong? It’s evil!!!!!

    • Monet

      October 20, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Haahaha! How nice. When nobody bothers to proof-read anything anymore, instead they are more concerned with getting contracts to supply the stupid books. Parents should really take it up cos this might just be their opportunityto right one aspect of the decay in the educational system.


      October 20, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      The worse part is this kids are already in so deep they would leave you weak with all the knowledge they have on everything, their environment is messed up, the one place they can find solace travel and become another person is also messed up, you should listen to what the nysc corpers go through its like the worst stories ever, then you here kids in the teens rapping toddlers
      It’s incredibly horrible, just horrible

      I bet you this would continue on till we do something lets start a #zumjianduchennabookmustberemoved campaign

  2. Tamara

    October 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    OMG! The book is totally inappropriate!

    • Taj

      October 19, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      Its because the teachers dont bother to read za books!

    • Tari

      October 20, 2015 at 7:19 am

      The teachers are not even the primary issue.
      Who in the ministry of education approved for this to be added in the curriculum?
      Oversight responsibility in govt agencies is sorely lacking.
      You can suspect that money has changed hands and the boom smuggled into the list.

    • Tari

      October 20, 2015 at 7:22 am

      The teachers are not even the primary issue.
      Who in the ministry of education approved for this to be added in the curriculum?
      Oversight responsibility in govt agencies is sorely lacking.
      You can suspect that money has changed hands and the boom smuggled into the list.

  3. Hoover

    October 19, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Amazing. Someone has to be sanctioned or fired for this. Imagine if they had to do a read aloud during class ? Thank God for the concerned parent who exposed this.

  4. Jean

    October 19, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    As much as I agree that literature is an art that both young and old should enjoy -unhindered, i’m of the opinion that students of JSS1 are not mature enough to consume such strong language and tribal sentiments.
    If it must be on the should be for the senior secondary classes.

  5. Psychic

    October 19, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    in our days,they had us read line by line in class,when its time for a student to recite this lines,I’m sure the teacher can decide then,rubbish

  6. amaa

    October 19, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I am going to order the book and read . But just reading the above got me worried education ministry has a lot of explaining to do

  7. Maria

    October 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Worst book ever for any age…. and alot of the contents is just being racist to our own people, whether north or same … The use of foul language is unacceptable

  8. Busola Adedire

    Oluwabusola Adedire

    October 19, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    On the contrary, I am actually impressed that a parent took the initiative to read their children’s book. It’s rare. In this case, the author is not to blame rather the authority that licensed the book for inappropriate audience. Art is Art… always provocative.

  9. Mz Socially Awkward...

    October 19, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    … Sounds like that French man just freed up his imagination to run wild and loose, whilst he was circulating the land and observing the natives… *a wealth of side-eyes to Monsieur Meunier*

    • kemi

      October 20, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      It wasnt all imagination. It was d dynamics he witnessed btw d north & the east & d names they used to describe each other among themselves. 1929. Quite insightful. Guess d insults were bandied around 30yrs before d midnight massacres of all leaders in 1966 dt eventually led to d pogrom/genocide in d north. Similar insults have started, this time between d west & d east. How long b4 another midnight massacre instigates another bloodshed?

      The problem is we keep BURYING our history in this country. If u dont teach it, u dont learn from it & curb against it in d future. In d uk 10 & 11 yr olds watch childhood documentaries on d gruesome grizzly world war2. In d US they know what happened between cowboys & indians. The book might be adapted to younger minds & d sexuality removed, but d message its portraying abt d evils dt result from tribal hatred is NOT WRONG.

    • jay

      October 21, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      makes complete sense

  10. Manny

    October 19, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Totally inappropriate for JSS1 students. Is it on the required list for all Nigerian students or just Igbinedion education centre?
    Tribal slurs- not much different from what is sometimes written in bellanaija comments.
    I doubt a French national was being “tribalistic” – more like trying to describe the prejudices that existed and still exist.

  11. Amaka

    October 19, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Whoever approved this book for JSS curriculum clearly did not read it first. This book is very inappropriate for children.

  12. Chi!

    October 19, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    NO,NO,NO. I do not support this at all.pls d gov n d school authorities shd scrap dis asap.let the children grow normally.their growth shd not be rushed pls.

  13. A country on paper

    October 19, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Tribal slurs, ar unacceptable regardless of age. Naija is a mess today partly bcos of ethnic intolerance. To begin to openly arm impressionable children during dia formative years, wt such hateful weapons?? To begin early to beckon on children’s curiosities on sexual matters in ds fashion?? This tells a lot abt our educ systm. D pple who sat dwn to mke ds mumu book a compulsory item in d basket simply didnt read d book, or ar depraved, destructive, psychopathic gargoyles from hell, who were placed in dia position by a failed govtm.

    D teachers demselves who didnt see anytin wrong wt ds ar equally dpraved psychopaths. Ds is 1 reason parents shd pay attentn to dia kids…if ds wman hadn’t looked, this senseless madness will stand unchallenged.

    Corruptn is a big n distracting prob in naija. It tkes attentn away frm d fact dat key sectors like education is nearly completely dysfunctnal churning out unemployable sch leavers. Who ar uneducated bcos d had psychopaths as teacher. How can a teacher not spot ds open aggressive depravity?

    Shame on all d schs that have ds book in dia lists. D sch heads, n d ministry of education!

  14. stinger

    October 19, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Corruption is d reason our edu system is ds disgraceful. But we’r yet to hear that so so and so in d health sector has bn arrested for ds n dat. Some1 must hv been sorted to squeeze ds shameful book in. Buhari shd not jus busy himselv wt a select few corrupt creeps in ‘limelight’ sectors jorr. Who eva e be wey approve ds book shd be sentensed to prison, to teach others some lessons.

  15. stinger

    October 19, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Edu sector…

  16. A

    October 19, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Lmao you guys should relax . I read it, and by then we already knew the words and about sex it’s not biggie. No one was even stressed or surprised about it. Nigerians should stop moralising everything. At 15 you still want to pretend like we don’t know what a “cock” is ? Or that we’ll want to have sex because we saw the word cock in a book, or the F word? . I’m 19 by the way, still haven’t had sex because of Zumji and Uchenna
    *ps it’s an awful book and nothing to do with the slurs I’d even forgotten about

    • Mrs_ID

      October 19, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      It’s not about sex, the language is inexcusable too vulgar, profane and uncouth

    • whocares

      October 19, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      I had the same attitude as you initially, however, JSS1 students in Nigeria are usually between the ages of 9- 10 (right?) . I dare not catch my brothers the same age singing any nonsense song, or even watching a PG 13 movie, I will tear them apart.. talk less of an “academic” text.. ” hmm mm. No. For all my reading when I was within that age bracket, my innocence was still preserved. I would read the specified books for ss3 students etc as “novels” yet none of them were as bad as this.

    • Use ya brain

      October 19, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      Hope u dnt mind if a 10 yr old calls ur sis a ‘bloody bitch” or refers to ur uncle as dat donkey from d north? If u’re frm d north. U may hv processed d book well. Can u say same for other children arnd d country?

      I hope whn u’re older n wiser, n a parent u’ll appreciate d concerns of a good parent.

    • Iris

      October 20, 2015 at 5:09 am

      Simply because you know what it means does not mean it should be entrenched and perpetuated in the educational system my friend. And there will be people who still won’t know.

    • Idomagirl

      October 20, 2015 at 5:49 am

      Where you 15 in JS1?

  17. Skalamanga

    October 19, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    This book is so in appropriate. We should push immediately for its removal.

  18. Analysis

    October 19, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    I hope this will not end here?
    How do we get d rest of the country in on this?
    We shd be able to scream beyond naija’s blogosphere…These criminals who collected money to force ds unmentionable disgrace into d unsuspecting minds of our children shd be taught wome serious lessons!

  19. Chinma Eke

    October 19, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    I’m amazed! What? Someone in the Ministry for Education has to answer for this.

  20. Demilade

    October 19, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I remember reading this book aloud in English class when I was in JS3 which was about three to four years ago. Wow, can’t believe I didn’t notice this stuff. xx

  21. pastorpikin

    October 19, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    ..ahaa na oyinbo write am, put it in the list. (conversation held in the ministry of education)

  22. Mimi

    October 19, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    This is totally inappropriate. BN, I hope you’ll channel all these comments to the right quarters. We were in this country not so long ago when the movie on Half of a Yellow Sun was banned from the cinemas. This book fans tribal sentiments that cannot be allowed. You’ll find impressionable students using those words on their school mates and this can lead to fights and other uncontrollable acts.

  23. ...just saying

    October 19, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    You guys don’t even know the half of how these books are selected….Pay some one, …. get your books approved. You need to see some of the books approved for children. No child psychologist analyses anything. There are processes in the developed world but here? Hmmnn

  24. Mimi May

    October 19, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    This is not true. Tell me it’s April fool… oh April has passed. Okay it’s October fool. I still don’t believe that a sane man would recommend this!

  25. Concerned_Boyfriend

    October 19, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    What was even more inappropriate was that that nail in the picture. Bet why ?

  26. Dee

    October 20, 2015 at 5:33 am

    This isn’t new. When I was in JSS2 in 2001(in a state school in Lagos), there was a recommended book called ‘Pot pourri’ or ‘in the pot pourri’, I can’t remember the exact title. The book was full of all sorts of sexual connotations. And we had to read the book. I remember hiding it from my parents at the time as I enjoyed reading it and many of my mates did too. (Bad children…lol)

    Whoever or whatever Board is recommending these books is operating straight from the pit of hell. He/ She or they need to be exorcised.

  27. Amina

    October 20, 2015 at 9:43 am

    I’m not surprised, this goes to show the level of decadence in our educational system today. Can’t even see the literary value in the book.

  28. Teekay

    October 20, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Our great igbinedion…..lmao i cnt even laugh

  29. Princess

    October 20, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    While i would never want my JSS child reading this, I wouldn’t mind SSS so much.
    This is because I don’t have the energy to pretend like my children are not coming across worse on social media and the internet as a whole.
    No point being a hypocrite here yelling about profanity and shock. What were we reading in secondary school? i swear a lot of people where on the mills and boon flex.

  30. Funto

    October 20, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    This is absolutely unacceptable!

  31. Koffie

    October 20, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    The book is not age-appropriate for JSS1 or even JSS3 kids! This is where they start to learn all the tribal hate displayed as adults. At that age, they want to try out new words they’ve learned and if a kid who has read that it class has a quarrel with another student, you’ll hear them call each other ‘monkey from the north’ or propagating the nonsense connotation about igbo people also learned from the book. When I was in secondary school, even borrowed books from the library were checked for age appropriateness so unless you were stealing them, a JSS student wasn’t allowed to borrow books like “The Last duty” and others with erotic parts.
    When people who owe the country a duty of doing proper analysis decide their brothers need contracts of distributing books in their stock, this is what we get. No sense of duty anymore

  32. jay

    October 21, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    You all are just posting for the sake of posting. commenting one-sidedly. Those of you attacking the French man, I ask you: what did he do wrong? Only kemi’s post made complete sense.

  33. Victor Okpara

    October 21, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Hello Bella,

    I have something similar to what Bella posted about textbooks in circulation in schools this days. i have pictures of the watermarks on the book declaring curses on the reader.if you allow me i can send the pictures to you to see.


      October 21, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks! Please email bella (at)

  34. omoji otisi

    October 22, 2015 at 10:24 am

    The persons that approved this book are predatory paedeophiles and should be so sanctioned.Ban the book now.Is anybody listening to all these comments?

  35. Anselem

    October 22, 2015 at 11:22 am

    This is an aberration… I can’t imagine junior school children reading this

  36. Gbadegesin Olugbenga

    October 23, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    I feel your concern but trust me, you can’t imagine what a 6 year old knows these days. I think let them be thought it even allows you an opportunity to teach them sex education early. what i usually preach is that ” knowing things is not bad but what you do with what you know makes it good or bad”.

  37. ufuoma

    October 24, 2015 at 7:29 am

    I thank God for the mother that discovered this. Education is one of the good things we have; we should guard it jealously. Our children do not need such terrible exposures. They don’t need to get their minds warped b4 we teach them the right things about sex and cultural differences. This book should be banned immediately. May God help us

  38. idongesit Ifet

    October 24, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Not appropriate; no sane parent will applaud their children when they start talking like this…

  39. Adejumobi Folakemi

    November 5, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Guys, let’s concentrate on the positive side of the book. Every tin in life has got two sides – positive and negative. “Zumji and Uchenna” teaches deep lessons of love and tolerance. It also teaches against strife, jealousy and ency, among many others. If you doubt me, get a copy of the book and read. I tell you, the positives of the book far outweigh the negatives.

  40. Adejumobi Folakemi

    November 5, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Guys, let’s concentrate on the positive side of the book. Every tin in life has got two sides – positive and negative. “Zumji and Uchenna” teaches deep lessons of love and tolerance. It also teaches against strife, jealousy and envy, among many others. If you doubt me, get a copy of the book and read. I tell you, the positives of the book far outweigh the negatives.

  41. Dayo

    June 7, 2017 at 3:37 am

    Please Jesus, save our children! Please, is there anybody out there willing to evangelize the youths, and all our school children. Please, only Jesus can save this world. May the Lord order your steps as you go, in Jesus name.Amen.

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