Sunday, 29 June 2014
How Much is Life Worth in Nigeria? - Orji Uzor Kalu
The former Governor of Abia State just shared this on his Facebook page. You can read the complete post there but here are excerpts.
I have always found it hard to believe that some human beings were merely created by God to cause others discomfort, grief and pain. I cannot fathom any reason a person created by God should behave so barbarically as to take the life of his fellow human being.
But recent events in the world, particularly Nigeria, have caused me to have a re-think. Are you not a witness to the atrocities going on all over Nigeria? From east to west, north to south, the story is the same. To some people, life is not worth anything anymore. They kill and maim as easily as they gulp a glass of wine. This is how brutish life has become in Nigeria.
Worried by this development, I sat through the weekend of last week pondering the sad
events that have occurred in recent times and how much impact they have had on the psyche of those that have fallen victims.
The first question that came to my mind was why should God deliberately create such evil-doers to populate the world and possibly thwart his plans for humanity?
That question quickly led to another: Where do we go from here at the end of our earthly journey? I wonder if there is anybody that can assuredly provide the answer to this question. Each of us must account for our deeds: good or bad.
While my mind wandered as I searched for an answer to the foregoing questions another one cropped up:
For what shall we be remembered when we come to the end of life? How will our page in the annals of life be written?
In attempting to answer the last question my mind veered off to the atrocities committed by such despots as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Idi Amin, etc. There were some people the world had thought would never die considering their looming presence while alive. But contrary to the expectations and imaginations of men they still went the way of all mortals.
I am compelled to ask another question:
Why do some people behave as if they would never die?
In finding answer to this question my mind strayed to the encounter between the Israelites and Pharaoh in the Exodus. Despite all the amazing things Moses did in the presence of Pharaoh his mind was hardened and he refused to let the people of Israel go. He pursued them unto his own destruction.
The operable word here is ‘hardened’. It is the refusal to submit to the will of God that causes people to harden their hearts. This can also be described as insensitivity. Insensitivity is responsible for many of the atrocities leaders commit. A leader sensitive to the sensibility of his people will never do anything antithetical to their interest.
Is insensitivity responsible for insincerity in leadership?
Is it also responsible for some people saying one thing and doing another?
Is it also to be blamed for the wanton destruction of innocent lives going on in our country today?
Can we, therefore, safely conclude that the evils that occur in our land today are caused by insensitive people? Otherwise how could a person ever think of taking another person’s life without even blinking or having a modicum of conscience?
Killings have become some people’s pastime in our clime. The stories we read daily are sometimes too preposterous to believe. There are no longer boundaries or respect for the sanctity of life. Even blood relationships mean nothing to some people anymore. The recent story of a herbalist who killed a 68-year-old retired female Customs Officer that had gone to him for prayers to conceive and bear a child was horrifying. To show the depth of hardheartedness our nation has sunk, the culprit did not betray any emotions or remorse as he spoke on national television. He did not see anything wrong in killing a woman and her daughter who had gone to him for solace. Before the bubble burst he had fleeced the woman of millions of naira in cash and property.
Some people acquire wealth at all costs, even at the detriment of their own lives. The wealth we acquire means nothing if it does not affect society positively.
Evil cannot be allowed to continue to thrive in our land, when we can do something to put a stop to it. The stigma Nigeria is gradually acquiring is that of notoriety. Which is why I have asked: How much is life worth in Nigeria?
We cannot make any meaningful progress as a nation if the safety of lives and properties is not guaranteed. There is also an urgent need to do something about the family and its role in national development. Those that kill and maim their fellow citizens definitely come from families. There is some disconnect between the family and society, causing some imbalance between the two. It is this imbalance that is responsible for the wantonness of the ills that plague our nation.
To deal with the increasing incidence of anti-society activities we have to consider a number of solutions.
First, we need to redirect the consciousness of the families to begin to play their assigned roles in nation-building. Family traditions, norms and values should be re-established to serve as a moral compass for the families.
The government has a huge role to play. It should introduce courses that will help develop the child from kindergarten right up to the University. The idea is to gradually build confidence in the child and orient it to the direction it should go. It is wrong to try to reorient a person when he is already grown.
There is also the need for the citizenry to be more alive to their civic duties by shunning corruption, immorality and slothfulness. They must expose those who make life unbearable for them, and by so doing avoid falling victims themselves.
There is a popular slogan among New Yorkers: see something, say something. Ills thrive in our nation because many of us see what is wrong and do nothing to expose it. If we exposed evil-doers our society will be better for it.
Those who kill or maim are no spirits – they are human beings living among us. When we reveal their identity and fail to create safe havens for them, then it will not be long before they lose steam and give up their evil ways.
It is only when this has been achieved that life can be worth living in Nigeria. Till that happens, I can never stop asking: How much is life worth in Nigeria?