It is most disheartening that on a daily basis and across the country, the wanton bestiality that had characterised Nigeria’s inglorious military past continues unabated in a country which prides itself as a giant of a divisive continent. At every corner of the country and even in open spaces, all kinds of savage acts are perpetrated either by the wealthy against the poor or sadly, the poor against the poor, leaving in its trail sorrow, tears and blood. The Nigerian state and its people are more violent today than they appeared a decade and half ago. This is so because the very legal cum constitutional fulcrum of society that should ordinarily serve as a process towards democratic consolidation and ultimately human rights in 1999, appeared missing and afterwards ignored. That process wholesomely wrapped in the toga of the rule of law found little or no appeal among the political class who now controlled political power, such that the very structure of violence and cheap death implanted during Nigeria’s three and half decades of military rule found its way dangerously into the Third and Fourth republics, one which unfortunately permeates unabated today.
The missing link between respect for human life and the rule of law has led to a situation in Nigeria where all kinds of violent structures are erected such that it is either the ordinary man on the street is brutalised by a military officer or a politician descends so low as to use a mace to knockout a fellow politician. It even gets worse when we see in broad day light a systematic collaboration among a people whose intention it is to sniff life out of bright and young boys wrongly accused of petty thievery like we all saw at Aluu community or even those that led to the extra-judicial killing of Muhammed Yusuf, the Boko Haram founder few years back. As if that is not enough, the recent killings in Apo quarters of Abuja by the Nigerian military remain fresh in the minds of many while the massive retaliation by this sect both on the military and civilian population in the north is a reminder of how life has become so cheap and can easily be wasted in today’s Nigeria. It is an irony that despite being a signatory to, and member of most international bodies which seek to protect the rights of citizens; one cannot but be shocked to discover that certain groups of people in Nigeria on a daily basis commit unnecessary acts of violence against women and children and in the end go free without prosecution.
The Nigeria we all live today is so infested with violence that one does not need to visit most parts of the country to understand the fears of this writer. Quite recently, precisely in February of last year, there was a case of three women tortured, beaten and left to bleed in Ejigbo, a suburb in Lagos for a crime as petty as stealing pepper. The world was left miffed when gangs were shown torturing and sodomizing a lady by thrusting a bottle of ground pepper and sticks into her genitals which eventually took her life two months after. As if that was not enough, the lady whose father identified as Juliana revealed how his wife lost her baby because the gang didn’t give her the chance to attend to the baby. Very sad again was that the late Juliana’s father, a palm wine tapper had his house destroyed by the gang and was not only banished from the community but also forced to part with 50,000 Naira as a fine to aid in the release of his wife and two daughters.
One would have thought it was only the political class that had the monopoly to perpetrate crimes and violence against poor Nigerians through massive looting of our commonwealth, the use of state power to suppress popular protest and lack of the spread of democratic dividends among others, but evidently today, even the poor and governed have joined in the euphoria of debasing the very core of human existence by committing such heinous and violent crime on themselves which is unimaginable in sane societies. It is quite appalling to know that women today have become tools for which men could vent their anger and the latter do it so unabashedly that the former remain emotionally and psychologically injured for life.
This writer is saddened by the fact that this open act of callousness against a fellow man happened since February and not even the Nigerian Police saddled with the protection of lives and property could help the situation by arresting the culprits and all those involved brought to book. It is a shame that it could only take the intervention of human rights activists ten months after the incident before all stakeholders decided they had a responsibility on their hands to do what is right.
With the Ejigbo 3 incident, it is pertinent that every Nigerian must more than ever before begin to show concern about the growing violence related acts happening around them and act in curbing this serious menace and cankerworm in our society. For the fact that such happen every day should be a reason we all need to be pro-active and work to stop this dehumanising form of jungle justice which occur at the slightest provocation. This is necessary in the light of how these women were treated by vengeful looking men and the psychological trauma the former must have gone through after the open humiliation. We must be totally committed in the fight against violence in every shades and light it appears for the single reason that it could be our wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers and even loved ones tomorrow.
For the sake of justice and to serve as deterrence to those who feel jungle justice and might is right, all those who had engaged in the sodomy and murder case in Ejigbo must be brought to book and given their punishment as required by law. Never must we allow such cruel treatment happen in our society anymore. It is not only wrong but debases the very core of human existence.
Raheem Oluwafunminiyi wrote via [email protected]