From a very young age, I always sensed that human life in Nigeria had very little value. I am not very good with memory but I do have some surprising gruesome memories of horrifying events.
That first time, I must have been about 6 years old. I was home when I heard shouts of “thief” “thief” in the neighborhood. I rushed to the upper balcony of my home to find a naked young man running for his life. In hot pursuit were about two men. One threw a huge chunk of metal at the running man and immediately, a huge gash of flesh was taken off the running man’s leg. He stood no chance as he fell to the ground. My mother shouted for me to get back into the house. I do not know what happened to that young man. Most likely, he was taken to the local police station. I hope
The second time, I was about the age of 10. It was between the road passing through FESTAC and the Alajika area of Lagos. I had just gotten off a bus with our house help. I had been complaining about being pressed for the toilet when the house help told me to go into a nearby bush to “ease” myself. As I took a few cautious steps into the bush, right before my eyes only just a few meters from the main road was a corpse with a tyre around its neck. I was horrified. I started shaking and ran back to the road. I never till this day spoke about what I saw in that bush.
The third horrifying experience I had was only just a few years ago, perhaps 5 years maybe? I had returned to Nigeria on holiday after a number of years living in the UK. As I was driving around with my companion on some road in Lagos, not too far from Ikeja, I was shocked and horrified to see a corpse just lying there on the roadside. I was shocked beyond words. This was right there in broad daylight on a very busy road in Lagos and the corpse was just sitting there. The following day we drove past the same spot and guess what? That corpse was still right there by the road side. My companion, a resident of Lagos was not so shocked. She told me about other corpses she had seen sitting on the roadside in lagos for days before being removed. I remember being surprised at her tone but I accepted this as it was Nigeria after all?
Finally, there was Llyod, Ugonna, Tekena and Chidiaka. These four boys were beaten mercilessly and then set ablaze while still alive. I did not see the video, I don’t think I could bring myself to see it but I saw some photos. In one of them, a young boy clearly distressed and bloodied from beatings and sitting in the midst of motionless bodies of his friends, a crowd was gathered around and of course, there was the camera taking the time to record these dastardly acts of murder in broad day light. I still feel the bile turning in my stomach
I am only 27 years old and in that time I have seen gradually how the humanity of Nigerians has degraded. Our police and army carry out indiscriminate killings no questions asked, no actions taken. Our leaders watch us suffer indiscriminately, no questions asked, no actions taken. Over the years, we have been gradually robbed of our humanity through poverty, strife and the daily quest for survival. We do not even see suffering anymore. Suffering has become the norm and due to the inadequacy of our government and security forces, vigilante groups have thrived. The rule of law is nonexistent and all of these have lead to the murder of innocents
Corrupt leadership, compromised security, extreme poverty, struggle for survival, failed healthcare system, failed educational system, high rates of illiteracy and a desensitized people all lead to the deaths of the ALUU4, the MOBI45, that innocent man shot by police officers, those innocent civilians shot by the army, those innocent Christians killed in the north, those innocent Muslims killed in the South.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a story I read about only just a few weeks ago.
A man returning from work had just gotten off a bus along a major highway in Lagos when he heard a number of people on his side of the road pointing and shouting (no doubt some would have had their phone cameras on standby). On looking at the direction of the commotion, he saw the body of a young woman in the middle of the road. She had just been hit by a car. He rushed over to move her body away from the path of oncoming vehicles. She was still alive but gasping for breath. I think by now, another man had come over to assist. No cars stopped to assist them but “Luckily” there was a parked mobile police car just a few meters away so, both men hurried over with the body of the young lady and asked the policemen for assistance. The response of the police office was shocking. He responded that he would not take the woman to the hospital in his car; after all, the woman was responsible for her own misfortune because there was a pedestrian crossing bridge just further down the road. She didn’t use it! The police man did however assist them with getting a taxi.
Upon getting to the hospital and in the midst of the hospital staff requesting down payment and all sorts, the young woman died.
Such stories and even more horrifying ones happen every hour, minute and every second in Nigeria. I do not have hope in this government as they are only interested in lining their own pockets at the peril of innocent lives.
When will the blood of the innocents stop spilling across the country and when will Nigerians start to feel human again?