Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Buhari And The Child That Was Set Ablaze

By Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

A boy, less than 10 years, was set ablaze in Lagos – causing an uproar and condemnation at home and abroad. Yet, President Muhammadu Buhari is silent on this gut-wrenching and barbaric incident. Dead silent! Haba, is he not a father and a grand-father? What would it take for him to address the nation – or at least issue a statement condemning this most inhumane act. 

Does this President not know that in addition to his many other roles and responsibilities, he is the sympathizer-in-chief? Does he not know that he must order the Police to immediately investigate the killing, and send condolences to the parents of the dead child? Does he not know? Or he simply doesn’t care. Showing compassion, and expressing sympathy, is part of what it means to be human and member of the civilized world. 

If this president does not show compassion in times like this, then, he forfeits his claim to respectability and morality. Not only is the President silent, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is also silent – and so is Governor Akinwunmi Ambode (in whose jurisdiction the killing took place).
Members of the clergy are also silent. What manner of a country is this? Where are our men and women of conscience? Is the leadership of the country so out of touch, so inconsiderate, so indifferent, so callous, so iniquitous and so devilish that they are not touched by the killing of a child? Are they devoid of human feeling?
If Buhari, Osinbajo and Ambode refuse to address the people and the parents of the dead child, then, Nigerians must reassess their relationship with these men. If members of the clergy fail to condemn this killing, then, we must think of them as no better than those who killed this child.
May the sleep and happiness of those directly responsible for the death of that innocent child be disturbed. May their lives be forever haunted.
Those who stood by — hands folded or askance, laughing, jeering and deriving joy from the barbarism — are also guilty of the crime. Law enforcement officers and elders who should have saved our child, but who watched without attempting to exhibit their humanity, are also as guilty as those who directly administered death.

In times of war and conflict, women and children become causalities. Women and children and the elderly lose their lives in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and many other forsaken conflict zones. But in Nigeria, women and children and the aged are causalities almost every moment of the day. Even if there is a lull, Boko Haram is on a killing-spree. The Niger Delta Avengers are gleefully destroying the nation’s oil infrastructure. While armed-robbers and criminal syndicates are busy preying on the people. That’s Nigeria – our Nigeria.

My hope is that this unfortunate incident will raise public awareness against necklacing. And assuming there are no such laws, that the Nigerian National Assembly would enact appropriate laws that address this and related issues. By the way: how did we get to be a people that does not value human life? You go to Church on Sunday…you go to Mosque on Friday…you call on your God and gods; but then you turn around and destroy an innocent life?

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