A Broken Humanity Writes Etete Enideneze
This peace-based journalism article tilted A Broken Humanity writes Etete Enideneze. Etete Enideneze, a media practitioner/Public Affairs Analyst.
THE SACREDNESS OF LIFE
The fact that God made man in His own image, affirms the sacredness of human life. This is more so, as no one can create a human being. Scientists, could at best manufacture robots, but cannot breathe life onto them and make such images have the full sensibilities of humankind.
To maintain the sanctity of man, created in God’s own likeness, God commands that no one should kill, steal, covet and judge another because on the last day, everyone shall face divine judgement.
Most importantly, God summarizes His injunctions into the Ultimate Law of – Love thy neighbour as thyself. The essence is that sincere love will translate to obeying the other doctrines and peace shall reign, just as God shall be pleased. Interestingly, all godly religious sects, have such similar doctrines to guide human beings to relate peacefully on earth, and with the Almighty Father. Besides divine and natural rules, societies, Nigeria inclusive, have enacted laws to control human activities, for maintenance of law and order.
Sadly, despite these laws, some fellows have broken the sanctity of humanity in Nigeria, and are continuing to bask in their heartless deeds.
Yet, according to investigative report by Punch newspaper, N11.18 Trillion has so far, been earmarked in budgets, from 2015 to 2022 by President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration, for acquisition of arms and ammunition to crutch terrorists. Past administrations, including that of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, also prioritized security in annual budgets, but terrorism persisted.
The trend of inhuman acts, re-echoes the chaotic Sicilian region of Italy in the 18th and 19th Centuries, and later in America, where Mafia gangs thrived in drug deals, robbery, kidnapping and murder and Mafiasi had influence, even in governance.
Perverted acts of intercourse that were abominable, are becoming recurrent, as it was in Sodom and Gomorrah which incured God’s anger.
INSECURITY AND POVERTY RANKINGS
In view of the horrific scenario of insecurity, Nigeria has been ranked second in Jihad Analytics’ 2022 global ranking of most terrorized and criminalized countries in the world. The assessors’ reported 305 deadly terrorists’ attacks in Nigeria, from January 2022 to June 2022, and next to Iraq, which ranked first with 337 impactful attacks. Nigeria surpassed Syria, which ranked third with 142 incidents of terrorism, within the period of the assessment.
Besides the latest unpalatable terrorism ranking, the World Poverty Clock report, 2022, also places Nigeria second, with 70 million poor citizens, put at 33 percent of its total population, and next to India, which has 83 million poor persons.
In 2018, Nigeria had ranked first as the poverty capital of the world, with about 87 million poor citizens, ahead of India, which recorded 73 million poor persons. World Bank’s 2022 report projected a 5 million increase in Nigeria’s poor-citizens, and likely to hit 90 million due to impact of COVID-19 pandemic. The projections are within the range of figures released by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its 2018/2019 survey report.
These worrisome poverty indices, besides terrorism rankings are despite Nigeria’s abundant natural resources, economically viable population, and staggering security budgets, thus, deserve serious efforts by government, to restore image of the country.
This is more so as criminals often cite bad governance, austerity, unemployment, religious and ethnic rivalries in Nigeria, resentment against political and economic elites as the reasons for their ungodly acts. Whereas, some of these reasons might sound plausible, some persons unleashing harm against humanity are rather evil, blood and money-thirsty.
INHUMAN NATURE OF MAN AND ESSENCE OF GOVERNMENT
Little wonder, Thomas Hobbes, said man could be greedy, brutish and wicked in a natural state of self-governance. Hence the need for morality and self-moderation. Therefore, to moderate the actions of man, Plato, Aristotle, Aurelius Augustinus, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and other political philosophers, respectively saw the need for man to submit his personal sovereignty to the State or Government. The essence is to collectively ensure justice, equity, peace and the common good.
Yet, man would always justify his actions, whether good or bad. Irrespective of any excuse, a wrong act is absolutely wrong, anywhere, anytime, for instance in the aspects of raping, maiming, killing or kidnapping a fellow human being for money, as ethicist Immanuel Kant posits.
Moreover, those who indulge in inhuman acts against fellow Nigerians, are not the only persons angered by whatever they think is wrong in the Nigerian system, to warrant meeting out evil against others who are also likely facing excruciating economic conditions.
Indeed, the unending spate of man’s inhumanity to man, perpetuated by those whose profitable trade is to reduce fellow humans to objects on which they could displace their purported anger of bad governance, and albeit their personal frustrations, is unbecoming of a creature God holds precious.
It is disturbing that a day hardly passes without stories of dastardly and primordial acts unleashed on Nigerians in different parts of the country, by the marauding money and blood-hungry citizens who have thrown fear of God and government to the winds.
TERRORISM AND OTHER CRIMINAL ACTS AGAINST NIGERIANS
From Boko Haram’s and Islamic State of the West African Province, ISWAP’s, terrorism acts in the North-East, which have spread to other parts of the North and even beyond, to banditry and unknown-gunmen as newfangled labels for the terrorists, religious and ethnic bigots and other kinds of criminals, law abiding citizens are living in panic mode.
The fellows engrossed in these acts have wreaked various forms of havocs on innocent citizens. For instance, thousands of houses and places of worship have been destroyed in the North; thousands of persons have also been killed; many homes are displaced, farming and other lawful activities have been disrupted to cause food scarcity, hunger, diseases and poverty, even as farmers and residents are unlawfully taxed by the terrorists. Military formations, presidential guards; governors’ and legislators’ convoys as well as prisons, most recently that of Kuje, have also been attacked by terrorists, while some schools have been closed down in parts of the North.
Robbery, kidnapping for whopping ransoms; luring, drugging, charming and rapping young girls, elderly women and relatives; other abominable acts such as sodomy, child abuse and incest perpetuated by relatives, couples, parents, the clergy, teachers, friends, colleagues, other caregivers and strangers, are now common occurrences.
Harvesting human parts, out rightly, killing human beings and collecting the whole body, parts or victims’ spirits for sale or for money-rituals, while the victims live as walking-corpses or die, are no longer hidden acts. Children using their parents or siblings for money rituals and vice versa, either by rapping, taking their body fluids or blood, or killing them for that purpose as well as the booming online scam, alias, Yahoo Yahoo, which also thrives with fetishism, are very rampart.
Unlawful killings by mobs to vent anger on suspected criminals, especially, robbers, thieves, kidnappers and rapists, or just for affray, sometimes instigated by someone in dispute or a hater, have become common in cities, despite the culpability of some of the persons killed by mobs.
The rates of drug abuse, cultism, suicide, human trafficking, local and cross-border prostitution, are other disturbing phenomena in Nigeria. These and other vicious and criminal behaviours have already jeopardized the lives of some youths, who knowingly indulged in or were lured by their peers into such acts.
Government institutions, civic programmes and officials are sometimes, attacked by assailants, just as some security officers also violate codes of conduct to warrant such attacks.
Communities, religious organisations and others, no longer find it safe to hold social gatherings in the open or in daytime, without tight security, for which cultists are also rather appeased to allow the events take place.
Herders and farmers imbroglio, have caused unimaginable loss of lives, properties and harassment of women in farmlands, thus discouraging farming activities, and aggravating hunger and poverty in various parts of the country.
Ironically, while citizens and direct victims languish in the midst of insecurity, the criminals are having a field day making whopping bucks from their financial backers, kidnappings, robberies, swapping of captives and prisoners, exchange of monies for release of arrested allies, and Yahoo Yahoo runs. The boom in these illicit trades is dangerous, given the perception it has created in the minds of the youths that criminality is the surest route to get rich quickly.
The trend of criminality and insecurity is worsening, as criminals seem to have taken advantage of the political season as another good cover to ply their unlawful trades. This writer had earlier written and called for proactive security measures ahead of the concluded primary elections, as well as do so during and after the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
Indeed, right from the parties’ primary elections, many criminal acts both non-politically and politically motivated have occurred in different places. More might still occur, if drastic measures are not taking to curb the scary trend.
Amid the ugly incidents, government, security operatives, the judiciary, family, religious institutions, the clergy, schools, the media and citizens, as authorities and agents of change, though trying their best, are expected to do more in order to save the country.
Government and security operatives have indeed made some wins in the fight against guerrilla terrorists and other criminals, but it is not yet Uhuru. Therefore, the recurring ignominious incidents, ought not to be allowed to fester, and leave the citizenry in perpetual fear of the unknown. Nigeria and its component states should not be allowed to turn to a Mafia system, where criminals reign supreme and even enthrone government that they could control, to achieve their desired ends.
HOW TO TACKLE INSECURITY IN NIGERIA
If government sees life as sacrosanct, and as those in power have actually sworn to protect lives and properties of Nigerians, the rate of social vices and criminality need to be frontally tackled, without further delay.
For the umpteenth time, President Mohammadu Buhari has promised to deal with the situation of insecurity in the country in the less-than-a-year part of his administration. This promise, should translate into actions, if the last lapse of his tenure is enough to do so.
Having also assured of conducting peaceful and credible elections in 2023, it would also be proper for President Buhari, to give a timeline to the security operatives to crutch the so-called bandits, but without collateral damage to innocent citizens. Government equally needs to sanction dissident security chiefs, military officers, politicians and public office holders who play ball with insecurity.
On their part, security agencies should be more gallant and patriotic, shun unethical practices as well as ethno-religious sentiments and do their roles to secure the citizens, even as government needs to improve welfare of security personnel, besides provision of more war arsenal.
The plethora of problems in Nigeria, reinforce the arguments in favour of reconfiguring the polity to fiscal federalism, an action that ought to have taken place ahead of the 2023 elections. Indeed, retooling the entire polity, could address the issues of resource-conflict, lopsidedness in administrative structures, imbalanced political representations as well as lack of state police, etcetera. Doing so, could have helped to address the vexing national issues, boost competitive/interdependent development efforts among states/regions, create employment, reduce crime and enhance national cohesion.
A palliative approach to managing the economy, though useful to the needy, might not holistically address the economic problems, neither could investment loans do the magic without complementary policies, programmes and infrastructures, especially, stable electricity supply, which governments at all levels, should take seriously.
To effectively tackle insecurity and encourage investments, it is important for law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and courts, to apply extant laws and bring lawbreakers to book, and deter others.
Agents of socialisation such as family, community, school, religious bodies and the mass media, must rise to the occasion, by inculcating the right values in children, students and citizens generally, through moral instructions and civic education, to curtail social vices and crime.
The time is also now, for religious organisations and the clergy, to de-emphasize glorification of prosperity and ill-gotten wealth, instead preach morality, love, righteousness and salvation, while also living by examples.
Our communities were well organised in the past, on the bases of communalism and love for one another. This spirit of Ubuntu if revived, in addition to responsible traditional leadership, which can enforce communal laws, would help to unite the people for the common good.
The lifestyle of flamboyance among the rich class, often worshiped by the poor, imparts wrong-orientation on the youths hence needs to be checked. Instead, the rich should help society through personal social responsibility (PSR) and philanthropy programmes.
Whereas, the mass media as the mirror of society could report occurrences, that should be done objectively without gory reportage and sensationalism. The media should wake up government and public officials to the obligation of securing lives and hold them accountable for failures. The media also needs to adhere to social responsibility doctrine, by empathizing with victims of heinous acts, calling for support to such persons, and desist from conferring unmerited social status or glamorizing those who have made money from illicit means as celebrities or role models.
Individually, everyone has his or her life to live, thus, it is imperative for citizens to exercise self-control, take their destinies in their hands as well as engage in self-reliant ventures, while government should provide the enabling environment.
PICKING UP THE BROKEN PIECES OF HUMANITY
My conviction is that, humanity has indeed, been broken in Nigeria. Nevertheless, we could pick up the broken pieces of humanity. Government, citizens and other stakeholders should join hands to protect the dignity of human beings and sanctity of life. Those unleashing evil on fellow humans, should be made to face the laws of the land, even as God’s vengeance shall befall them, on or before the day of divine judgement.
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