There was plenty of soul searching for many Nigerians home and abroad a few year ago when we all were confronted with the horror of the man/child set ablaze for stealing garri, somewhere in the Badagry area of Lagos State.
‘He’s not seven years, o, he’s actually 15 years!’
‘No! He’s 27 years he just looks small. They always parade around this place. They killed the son of so and so…’
Many Facebookers like me condemned the crowd that stood by and watched as the man/child was bludgeoned and later set ablaze.
We cursed the bystanders, the ‘video man or woman’ who’s the reason we even knew of this monstrosity.
Fellow Niajeereans, we are all victims! We have become cold and numb and unfeeling and dead and we don’t even know it!
Recall Fela’s song- “I no wan die, I no wan quench, I get children, I get big house, my papa dey for house…”
Who wants to die for another person with a baying crowd hungry for blood?
How many times have we seen someone being robbed in traffic and we got down to help the victim? Let’s start with that.
I have heard stories, recently and dating back in time, as far as some 10 years back or more. There’s a snarl on the highway and the bad boys are on the prowl. They are just a handful, compared to the rest of us sane citizens. They rob from car to car, we all see them and cower in our cars, praying fervently they never show up near our drawn up windows.
We watch them smash windscreens, drag drivers out, rob them of stuff in their cars, stab them…many times we flee the scene abandoning our cars. I have once been a victim of such crimes; I watched helplessly as the robbers moved from vehicle to vehicle. There was no safety in numbers, we waited our turn to get robbed. Some of these robbers don’t even wield guns, they often have knives, though, and sometimes batons they swing around smashing windscreens at will; a few motorists escaped their rampage.
After being robbed, not one motorist looked my way to sympathise; not one waved to say, ‘pele, o ’. We didn’t band together to go after our attackers. No.
Everyone sat in their cars. We all stared! Shocked! Frightened, equally robbed of peace and freedom.
Something similar happened a few years ago at the Kara Bridge, the aftermath of the burning tanker that made Lagos standstill in a 15-hour traffic gridlock! People were robbed in their cars, windscreens smashed.
Oh, you must have heard stories of neighbours screaming for help in the middle of the night; armed robbers are in the area, they call the police, they either never pick up, promise to come but never show up or claim they have no petrol to drive out of the station.
And so the robbers have a field day. They rape, demand for food, go from house to house destroying lives, stealing properties worth millions and rendering innocent citizens traumatised for life.
Oh, so you think you could have done better?
Then there is the story of a 74-year-old woman in Kano, we all know her; Mrs Bridget Agbaheme was bludgeoned to death by Muslim youths right in front of her shop. Tell me, were there no Christians around while she was being murdered? Were there no Muslims who knew the boys were just blood sucking demons in garbs of piety, did they stop them? Did her community, her people not know she was being slaughtered for saying ‘no, don’t perform ablution in front of my shop.’
What about the murderers who slaughtered over 300 Shiites five Decembers ago and a few more afterwards?
Why aren’t we yet carrying placards asking for justice? or are Shiites not Nigerians anymore?
Don’t forget the Alu 4 in Rivers State.
Where’s the outcry?
In truth, we’ve all got used to seeing people beaten, robbed, burnt alive, bombed to pieces and our consciences have been seared! We’ve become hard and unfeeling which is why it’s really no surprise we were named 3rd most terrorised country in the Global Terrorism Index (GTI)
Yes, we are behind Iraq and Afghanistan.
We wake up to see a dead body on our streets, what’s to do? Spit and cross to the other side and walk on by.
There will never be an excuse for killing that child or man or woman or people just as there’s no excuse for standing by to watch because it means you are complicit. Boko Haram bombs have begun to go off again in the North East and the rest of us are going about like it is business as usual; IDPs are being raped and brutalised after the trauma of being homeless and there’s no outcry.
Fulani herdsmen have continued to murder whole communities and they still roam free,,,
where’s the outcry?
have we all become zombies?
I believe in Nigeria and its people. I think the average Nigerian is still kind and would stand against what is wrong. I have seen people help total strangers; I have received help from people who refused to get paid for helping me. I have also reached out to people who I know will never be able to pay me back nor even recognise me were they to meet me at all.
Recently in the Ifo area of Ogun State, a motorist prevented a bus driver and his conductor from abducting eight school children! The children boarded the bus from their school but shortly after suspected foul play when the bus driver took to the express, speeding past their destinations. This frightened them, causing two of them to leap out of the moving bus. Seeing this, a motorist sped ahead and blocked the bus; his actions helped rescue six other shocked and confused school kids still in the bus.
Even victims can someday turn to victors.