David Muffett OBE was riding down villains in Nigeria even before they discovered internet fraud. Sadly, he has declined his last dinner invitation. Long before I visited Biafra, the imposing Administrator of Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service looked into the Kano Native Authority with such vigor that Emir Sir Muhammadu Sanussi, abdicated, and "Aka yi masa mafed"--' they did him a Muffett' became a Hausa byword for "Justice caught up with him."
The Falstaffean magistrate dined out on a Mandevillean tale of collaring the Tigwe of Vwuip , a sahel highlands chieftain with decidedly novel views on the relationship of death and taxes. Muffett, though a great respecter of local customs, did so because the Tigwe, impressed by a district tax collector's miraculous ability to squeeze shillings from indigent indigenes, ate him in an effort to assimilate his fiscal acumen
The problem was less the loss of the tax collector than UN officials about to arrive. Muffett maintained he " wasn't about to have one of them eaten. I considered that it would be a highly retrogressive step." So he locked up the Tigwe "until the delegation had departed beyond the reach of his culinary aspirations."
In 1958, at the Nigerian constitutional conference in London, he seconded his friend al-Hadji Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, whose murder in 1966 unleashed the anti-Ibo atrocities that lead to Biafran secession. It was in Owerri in 1968 that I first heard of Muffett's efforts to end the civil war. He also preceded me as an Associate of Harvard's Center for International Affairs, lecturing on the evils of Apartheid and working on his account of post-colonial Nigeria's dictatorial woes Let Truth Be Told. Full of years and honors, he passed away in England on 30 September.