So I was on Twitter on Saurday, having fun as usual and tweeting about music and stuff, then decided to go through my timeline, scrolled down and I saw this that shocked me – “four students burnt to death for stealing laptops and phones”. My heart skipped, started feeling uneasy immediately. Twitter being what it is, the pictures surfaced in no time, I could only glance at it once and what I saw brought tears to my eyes, I couldn’t sleep till late in the morning and when I did, I had nightmares.
When did people get so heartless? When did human lives mean nothing to us? How is it possible that a man will beat a fellow man to death and burn him without an iota of human feelings and fear of God? The people who watched and took pictures and recorded videos, how were they able to stand such gruesomeness on display? So many questions, so many opinions, so many suggestions. I have seen tweets on Twitter condemning this barbaric act, I have also seen tweets that support the act, and I have seen those who don’t care at all. The bad part of this barbaric act is that, it has been happening way back and nothing has been done. What is the excuse for taking a man’s life? A life you can’t make, what offense warrants such gruesome murder?
This faithful day I needed to get some stuffs at the shopping complex in University of Lagos; I drove in and saw a crowd, I almost ignored till I heard “you are a thief”, so decided to find out what was happening, I checked and saw this dude on the floor with only his boxers, and a guy beating him with a stick, and people stood there watching and did nothing. I was upset, so I shouted “why are you beating the guy?”, they all chorused with joy and satisfaction “he’s a thief, he stole a perfume at the mall”. The next question I asked brought the wrath of everybody on me, when they said he was a thief, I said “so what, is that why you are beating him?”, the guy beating him was like “what do you mean? Didn’t you hear that he’s a thief?”; then I responded and said “does that give you the right to beat him? What if you kill him in the process?”, the response I got really shocked me, and it was from a female lecturer in her mid 50′s, she said “if he dies, then that’s his reward for stealing”. I obviously took on her, and asked her a couple of questions: how would you feel if it was your son that was being beaten in public almost naked for stealing with people watching and taking pictures? With your wealth of knowledge as a lecturer, don’t you know that it is wrong to take laws into your hands? Do you know that if in the process of beating the boy and he dies, you will be an accomplice for murder? As a mother with children at home, how possible is it that you have no regard for human life? What happened to calling the school security?. By the time I was done, she realized how wrong she and the other people were and she decided to call the school security. The rest is history though, the security got there in no time and he was arrested and we all went our separate ways.
This terrible act of taking laws in our hands is very pathetic and it is scary how deep it has eaten into many Nigerians. We are so frustrated and live in abject poverty, and when such a group of people have to provide their own security, the result is what we see when people are lynched and killed in public. The big question is: is there any excuse for lynching and burning people to death? Is it right to take laws into your hands? How do you think God feels when you take out the life he gave to a fellow man?
There is this other instance of a mob action that my mum told me way back, the mum of a friend of hers who just got to Lagos from the village decided to stroll out of the house because she was bored, she almost lost her life. She found her way to the market close to her daughter’s house, and decided to look around as she strolled. Suddenly, a woman who got robbed of her money by a customer the previous day saw her and started shouting “oun niyen oun niyen, oun lo ji mi lowo lana, ole” meaning “that is the person who stole my money yesterday”. Before the old woman knew what was happening and before she could explain herself, there was a mob on her, beating her, striping her naked. She was so lucky a police was passing by and he had a gun, he shot in the air and that was what saved her. She might have lost her life that day.
We all as Nigerians need to cleanse our heart, this kind of attitude needs to stop, it’s wrong, very wrong, we have the law, we shouldn’t take laws into our hands, we should allow the law take it’s place. I know a couple of people who would argue and say where is the law? Which law? Is it the same police we call and don’t respond? This whole issue is a big problem, it’s a general problem that spreads across Nigeria, from the government that embezzles public funds and leave people in poverty, to the guy who thinks stealing from fellow masses like himself is the way forward, to then law enforcement agencies that don’t do their job when people notify them of criminal activities, to the people who take laws in their hands because the law enforcement agents don’t do their job, to those that don’t do the lynching and the killing, but watch it and don’t call the police and so on. We all are guilty and need to change our way of thinking for a better Nigeria.
RIP to the four dudes that were killed in the Aluu community, they are not the first and sadly they won’t be last, until we all change our orientation of life, and the sooner the better. It’s sad, I have cried often and I still feel like crying now, but God knows best.
God bless Nigeria.
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