Osamuyia Aikpitanhi: Matters Arising

by SOC Okenwa

The NVS-organized June 29th global protest against the recent ‘assassination’ of citizen Osamuyia Aikpitanhi recorded great success across the world. From Stockholm to New York, Budapest to Lagos, London to Madrid Nigerians and non-Nigerians turned out to register their disapproval of the callous way and manner our fellow Nigerian was brutally sent to the world beyond by the Spanish security officials. Since the late Osamuyia was not an animal (no matter what the Spanish security officials that killed him thought of him) it stands to reason that his poor family in Benin City should not be left alone to mourn him and bear the grief of his sad passage. We grieve for him!

Osamuyia must be happy in his grave having made a name posthumously for himself. However, one does not aspire for such tainted fame for it’s much better to make name for self alive rather than post-absence of life. Death being the eclipse of the ‘star’ it carries one’s talent, ambition, and God-given inward and outward beauties six feet below. Never to return!

A lot of Nigerians had refused to sign the protest letter or participate in the march seeking justice for obvious reasons. I did not partake in the street march delivering the letter to the Spanish embassies because those I had sought out to back me up had declined citing lack of information over the ‘crime’ Osamuyia must have committed that deserved such forceful repatriation. (But my spirit was with those that took part). One of my friends here who turned down my invitation told me that defending a crime should not be in his best interest!

But the questions are these: does it really matter much whatever the late Osamuyia had done to warrant such violent eviction from the Spanish space? Did he possibly defraud someone, killed a Spanish or engaged in hard drug merchandising? Those closer to him prior to his demise may be obliged to provide more info in this regard.

The point those that felt indifferent to the popular ‘uprising’ was making is that higher percentage of our compatriots abroad are criminals, crime-friendly in nature! In almost every city in Europe, America, Scandinavia, Asia and even here in Africa the average successful Nigerian is viewed as an established criminal or a potential one. This stereotype against Nigerians has gathered more momentum as the exodus from home continues unabated.

The effects of ‘419’, narcotics trade and human trafficking in girls for prostitution has all combined to present the average Nigerian as a thief, a Colombian Pablo Escobar, and a money-conscious immoral wild animal. But come to think of it every national the world over loves money and works hard to be comfortable in life. Money undoubtedly guarantees a good measure of comfort, a great deal of economic security in life. Without money I believe the Vatican would not function effectively as a theocratic state.

But the striking difference between other nationals and Nigerians remains that while the former engage themselves in decent adventures exploiting opportunities for optimum self-actualisation the latter derives joy in making money more through crime and other devious means.

Nigerians are a noisy lousy lot. No generalisation is intended here but majority of our people are a bunch of hardened species without conscience. Big, proud and arrogant they manifest their magniloquence and megalomania at every fora or opportunity marking themselves out in the midst of decent people for derision, envy and prejudice. The Igbos, I hasten to add, more than any other ethnic nationality in Nigeria represent this phenomenon. Get-rich-quick syndrome is in the character of almost every Nigerian!

So those Nigerians who had refused to be drawn into the Osamuyia saga must have had their reason but do we fold our hands and keep quiet, even when we know our nature, in the face of our diminishing humanity at home and abroad? I say NO! Evil triumphs where a culture of silence and servitude is allowed to fester and thrive in any clime.

Advance fee fraud is not peculiar to Nigerians alone. It is an African nay global problem in a world where morality has taken flight to Mars or Jupiter. Other nationals including Whites are involved. A white man had tried unsuccessfully to scam me! Narcotics business is a global phenomenon involving many countries and individuals, syndicates et al. Cocaine, cannabis and heroine do not originate from Nigeria. Child trafficking and prostitution cannot be ascribed to Nigerians alone. You have much more sophisticated prostitutes in the Western world. And drug consumption is more a Western problem than Nigeria‘s. When there’s demand that is overwhelming supply lines and rings emerge. Nature abhors a vacuum be it in power or business.

As Osamuyia’s soul, we pray the Lord, rests in peace it is important that more Osamuyias are not made out of other Nigerians abroad. That, in my mind, is what the June 29 spontaneous coordinated protest was meant to achieve. A whole lot of Osamuyias had died unsung before Osamuyia Aikpitanhi was added to the long list. But his dramatic case presented itself, in its obscene circumstance, as a catalyst for citizenship consciousness.

With “Baba-go-slow” President Yar’Adua declaring openly his net-worth, his billion Naira assets against the Nigerian factor and ordering reportedly an inquest into the circumstances that led to Osamuyia’s death there’s cause for some cautious optimism in the Nigerian project; a confusion-prone project that has hitherto suffered from the hands of men of little minds.

Nigeria we hail thee! We hail thee, dear beloved land of riches, even when we all know that you’re a bundle of contradiction, a bundle of kill-joy. Joy to Nigerians in the Diaspora. Diasporan Nigerians will save Nigeria ultimately. Ultimately Nigeria will be saved. Saved, she must, from the hands of those ruining her destiny. Destiny which is greatness. Greatness which must come someday. Someday sooner than later.

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