Thursday, November 24, 2016

Who Murdered A Seven-Year Old Kid?

 By Fred Nwaozor 
If the news that’s currently making rounds on the social media holds water, then Wednesday, 16th November 2016 – a day that reportedly claimed the life of a 7-year-old boy owing to alleged attempted misdemeanour – was another day Nigeria, and mankind at large, would live to mourn; a day that would cease to rest until justice is duly done to wickedness; a day that would stop at nothing to ensure that humanity is separated from insanity. 

 On that fateful day that could be best described as unfortunate, the said kid was reportedly set ablaze by a so-called angry mob at a locality in Lagos State for allegedly attempting to steal ‘Garri’ from a trader’s shop. He was caught by dwellers cum passersby, brutally tortured to stupor, and therein burnt with fuel and condemned tyres. The report equally had it that, while in the hands of the monsters, he pleaded for freedom, for the umpteenth time, still the vulnerable plea fell on cancerous and deaf ears. 

Even if he was more than seven years, or involved in felony as claimed by the police, did it call for such reaction? As I sat soberly and tried to recall the news, my emotions kept burning until I ostensibly lost my senses that I could not see nor hear anything, not even the like of the horn of a moving train. Whilst in the tattered mood, my utmost worry remained that, the public kept watching the scene until the fire engulfed that helpless ‘kid’; probably they were deriving pleasure from it. Worse still, the scene was videotaped, perhaps having been considered a mere melodrama. 

Any sane and rational since takes a closer look at these two observations would begin to wonder how wicked the heart of man is, as well as in whose image he was really made of. It is even more overwhelming to realize that the police, or any other law enforcement agency, was nowhere to be found throughout the incident that lasted for over an hour. I am yet to believe that while the duration of administering the obnoxious jungle justice lingered, no bit of notice got to any security outfit within, in spite of the obvious fact that the arena in question is urban. 

I refuse to be convinced that there is a district in any state in Nigeria, let alone Lagos, that lacks at least a police station. Do not get it twisted, because the truth remains that some incidents deserve a query and tangible response. You’ll never be right in your feelings till you try to put yourself in the shoes of the bereaved family, if any; ‘if any’ in the sense that it could be the murdered kid was homeless. You can never give this case the thought it truly deserves unless you make effort to painstakingly study what actually transpired therein. Let us assume the kid had a family. 

How would the parents live to narrate what befell them on that godforsaken day; would they tell the world, particularly sympathizers, that their poor child was put to death because he attempted to steal a handful of garri to quench hunger? Such narration would not just be hurtful but disastrous; indeed very painful and unspeakable, to say the least. It becomes more painful when we realize that so many unimagined extrajudicial killings had taken place across the country in recent times. 

Few weeks ago, it was learnt that the five prime suspects in connection with the murder of the 74-year-old Mrs. Bridget Agbahime in Kano State had been acquitted by the Magistrate Court handling the case. Mrs. Agbahime who hailed from Imo State was gruesomely killed on 2 June 2016 at Kofar Wambi market over alleged blasphemy by a group of Islamic fanatics. According to the report, the freedom granted to the accused was not unconnected with the directive of the Kano State’s Attorney General. 

Since the evil deed is already done, it would be pertinent to jettison retrogressive issues towards concentrating on progressive ones, though the former would invariably be needed if the latter must be successful. As an ardent rights activist, what else would I seek than justice? Regarding this one, the anticipated justice is meant to be all-inclusive, thus not only those who carried out the ungodly act should be brought to book but everyone who witnessed it. Think about it!
*Mr. Nwaozor is a commentator on public issues 

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