One too many death…

Many Nigerians, due to the killing of some corp members who were deployed as adhoc staff of INEC in the 2011 general elections, have been clamoring for the scrapping of the NYSC scheme while some are proposing that the scheme should not be scrapped but simply reviewed. They are of the opinion that the NYSC scheme which was established in 1973 after the civil war to integrate Nigerians and foster unity has failed to achieve the purpose for which it was established.

This was also the view of Nigerians in 2008 when over 370 people lost their lives in Jos including corp members but nothing was done to prevent the reoccurrence of this evil act on innocent Nigerians and especially the youth corp members who are fulfilling the mandatory one year service to their fatherland. Nobody cared enough about putting an end to the killing of corp members who for no fault of theirs find themselves in states across the federation other than their areas of origin and residence.

Governments soon forgot the shedding of innocent bloods. They did not avoid a repeat of an incidence in 2008 where a corp member was on phone with the parents and screamed “they are coming” as he tried to run for safety but was eventually killed by faceless individuals.

This nonchalance on the part of governments has led to the reoccurrence of this incidence where corp members are gruesomely murdered. Governments encourage angry youths across the country to kill innocent people because they have not been able to address their concerns and grievances. They have not been able to provide them with employment and other programs that will get them off these evil acts.

Our ineptitude has led to a situation where terrorism and militancy have become the order of the day in the country but it is unfortunate that the ordinary people are the ones bearing the brunt of the inability of governments to curb these killings. The inability of government to take decisive action on the ethnic, religions and political crises that have been recurring in the northern part of the country as well as some parts of the south shows that government has failed.

The parents and family members of the slain corp members have rained so many curses. It is painful to see a child nurtured from day one murdered just like that by some disgruntled elements who are protesting over land, marginalization, election results, bad governance and maldistribution of resources.

As a result of the post election violence, more than 500 people were reportedly killed in different parts of the north by young Nigerians who were protesting the outcome of the presidential election which was not in favor of their candidate whom they believe would bring an end to the economic marginalization of the northern part of Nigeria. Statistics show that about 3.1 million people died during the biafran war. The 2001 Jos crisis which lasted for one week also claimed over 1000 lives, displacing many people with properties destroyed. About 400-500 Christians were killed by Muslims in Jos on 7th March, 2010. Eighty people were reported dead while seventy were injured on the 24th December, 2010 after four bombs went off and/or exploded in Jos. Throughout the year 2010, more then 1500 people died as a result of religious and ethnic violence. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) also reported that more than 200 people were killed and buried in mass grave in Jos flash point areas between 24-29th of January, 2011. There seems to be no end to the incessant maiming and killing of innocent Nigerians who expect their leaders to effectively discharge their responsibility of protecting the lives of the citizens and their properties. Or may be the citizens are expecting too much from Nigerian leaders?

Governments have not been able to put an end to these killings that occur as a result of ethno-religious cum political crises, the poor condition of roads across the federation and poor health systems. The sensitivity of these problems has proved to be a handicap for successive governments which have tried to tackle the problem. The ethnic problems in Nigeria have caused further division rather than unite us. Little wonder some people have said the solution to our problem is to divide along cultural/ethnic boundaries just the way it had been before the colonial rule of the British. They said the Nigerian state has committed one genocide after another on its citizens. But it is up to us to prove that we are capable of living together as one people.

The continuation of these crises unabatedly without getting a grip of it by leaders of government shows that the lives of the Nigerian people is not save in their own land. It would be observed that the incidence of bomb blast and terrorism has increased in the last 2 to 3 years with the Islamic sect, Boko Haram claiming responsibility for the bomb explosions that occurred in Abuja, Bauchi, Maiduguri, and Bayelsa.

Over the years, the death toll as a result of crises, violence, protests and riots in Nigeria have increased without curbing it. It was learnt that the Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the federal government to invite United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary General on Genocide, Francis Deng, to investigate the faltering state to offer lasting solution but the Nigerian government ignored these calls allowing the crises to escalate.

Thousands of Nigerians die on a yearly basis from preventable diseases and accidents. The addition of the death tolls from violence and crises shows that this is one too many deaths. Losing one citizen alone should call for a sober reflection. Leaders of government cannot allow these deaths to continue unabated; life is too precious to be lost in all these unfortunate incidences that have occurred since Nigeria gained her independence in 1960.

There is a need to reduce the incidence of death from ethno-religious cum political violence, poor road conditions and poor health systems. Its high time governments acted and made firm decisions on curbing the incessant killing and maiming of Nigerians across the country. Enough of the increasing death toll of the people. Leaders of government should be alive to their responsibilities.

Written by
Bolaji Aregbeshola
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