The Worth of the Life of a Nigerian

by SOC Okenwa

Life is sacrosanct and everything else ought to revolve around life and its sustenance. The kind of joy and happiness that envelopes a couple upon having a child is enough to demonstrate the child as a bundle of joy. Procreation is one of the wonders of creation and our Creator shows His enduring greatness and love whenever a life is made anew through marital primary responsibility. The sanctity of life and mechanisms (or lack of same) for its protection therefore cannot be over-emphasized here. Life, the abundance of which man represents, is a bundle of opportunities!

The recent murder of a Nigerian young man Mr Osamuyia Aikpitanhi by the Spanish officials has continued to generate justifiable opprobrium, especially from the large Nigerian Diaspora community. The NVS management in collaboration with those allergic to injustice anywhere has championed the campaign for justice and dissuasion. Using its popular website, contacts at home and abroad, and sympathisers both blacks and whites, Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike, the NVS admin team has succeeded in raising the stakes of conventional sense of revulsion, making the Osamuyia tragic case a reference point and popular struggle for expression of grief and horror at naked exhibition of barbarism by the Spaniards.

Citizen Osamuyia Aikpitanhi, a Benin-born youth had gone to Spain in search of opportunities for self-actualisation (which unfortunately exist not in his homeland); seeking to improve the quality of his life and his poor family must have informed his quest for emigration. Emigration and immigration constituting no crime from non-criminal point of view (like falsification of travelling documents a la ‘Oluwole’ or taking the ‘Appian’ way) Osamuyia had hoped in Europe as breeding ground of prosperity. He must have seen or heard in Benin City of the ‘revolutionary’ exploits of the ‘Akatarian’ whore-sisters in Italy and elsewhere in Europe — using dollars and euros ‘hussled’ out of Whites via prostitution to defeat poverty back home. Abandoning Benin City and Nigeria Osamuyia headed off to Spain hoping to return a big boy.
The ‘crime’ for which he was ‘caught’ and was being fatally deported has not been fully specified so one is in a position to comment on that for now. But even in the event that Osamuyia had ‘raped’ the wife of the Spanish Prime Minister or even murdered the PM himself must the Spanish visit such cruelty and barbarism on the boy?

But suffice to say that no matter the degree of material offense he must have committed necessitating deportation the dehumanising treatment meted out to the deceased by the Spanish authorities which sadly resulted in death was largely unwarranted and uncalled for. Do you kill a supposed criminal airborne while trying to remove him from where he did not belong biologically and culturally? Osamuyia belongs somewhere, he was a member of a struggling generation, a new mobile generation of Nigerians almost desperate to demystify the seeming state-imposed perpetuation of poverty.

Even if Osamuyia was unruly to the Whites trying to send him back to the ‘hell’ he had escaped from, a big jungle he had thought never to return as a liability, he ought to have been treated with some dignity. With his feet and hands bound Osamuyia was killed like a dangerous criminal: a suicide bomber, terrorist or serial killer. Yet he was none of the above.

The mobilization of Nigerians in the diaspora and elsewhere at home and non-Nigerians alike towards the protest march in different cities across the globe billed for Friday 29th June is not only total and intimidating but highly organizational.

By manhandling him, gagging him and worst of all throwing a sack over him aboard an Iberia flight bound for Lagos the Spanish went for his life.

Spain with Madrid as capital city in Western European GDP standards is not a great economic power comparable to, say, Britain, Germany, France and even Italy. Historically Spain is not an impressive country when fundamental human rights are generally considered. A country that produced General Francisco Franco, one of the most brutal dictators in Europe, cannot be considered a worthy friend of the down-trodden. From every indication Spain is a hostile country to Africans. Spaniards are the most inconsiderate and insensitive people when blacks are concerned. Their sailors only take pride in ‘enjoying’ our girls with some hypnotised with the ‘African magic’ going for ‘marriage’.

Geographically Spain is the closest European country to Africa using the Morrocan Maghrebian boundary as a yardstick. In the border town in Morocco overlooking the Spanish Straights a lot of blacks get killed by the Spanish and even Morrocan trigger-happy blacks-hating para-military elements. Yet the boys and girls keep trying forcing their way to the first world, bearing the brunt and sometimes dying in the desert en route Libya. King Mohammed IV and Moammar Ghadaffi are not helping matters, they themselves are not better than the Spanish.

Here in Abidjan the Nigerian community has had to mourn a couple of compatriots killed by the police. The last one, Obum, was killed late into the night as he was going home from a night club outing. The policemen on patrol asked them for their ID papers which they obediently presented. Dissatisfied they took their cell phones asking Obum and his friends for money. As the lanky Obum was trying persuasively to retrieve his handset while gently ignoring the order for them to run away from the scene one of the cops pulled the trigger shooting him dead at close range! His gruesome murder generated a hot debate and furore here over the worth of the Nigerian life with many of us driving in convoy to the Nigerian Embassy to register our anger, apprehension and protest.

With Cote D’Ivoire reputed to be unofficially the West African equivalent of Switzerland, a police state where the annual budget is usually biased to favour para-military and military needs of the state policing here is a task that is never neglected by the government. With rapid response squad like CECOS on the prowl 24/7 a distress call gets response within five intervening minutes. As the basic needs like electricity, pipe-borne water, transportation and telephone services are provided excellently the police force is up to its responsibilities which ocassionally snowball into callous killing of foreigners.

When Nigerians back home are maltreated and sometimes killed by those that should ordinarily protect them (with ‘stray bullet’ and shoot-at-sight order rhetorics and theory in mind) then their host countries can afford to victimise them believing that our government is never one to confront a fellow government like Libya, Spain or Cameroun.

While condoling the Aikpitanhi fam

ily for losing the young man whose search for a greener pasture took kim to Spain in the first place it’s important piling up more diplomatic pressure on the Spanish authorities to not only show remorse and apologise to the family of the deceased — and even pay compensation — but to forestall any future barbaric show of dehumanisation of a Nigerian life. Alas the Nigerian government is not always reputed to be “hard” on issues of this kind. They are always ‘hard’ on money matters and scandals!

If a Spanish were so treated by the Nigerian government I know by now perhaps Spain would have ‘invaded’ Nigeria or severed diplomatic relations. Our home government is a ‘pacific’ one, experts only in kleptocracy and politics of oil. For the sake of ‘peace’ Obasanjo gave away Bakasi penninsula to Cameroun turning Nigerians resident there overnight into Camerounians! Giant of Africa and Big Brother Santa Claus my foot!!

The Niger Delta crisis has since brought out the terrorist inclination of the Nigerian government striking hard at the militants kidnapping oil workers and ‘sabotaging’ the free flow of oil. Just for siezing temporarily some white oil workers (to drive home their grievances) the then federal government led by Olusegun Obasanjo had declared ‘war’ on the militants for making the lives of the oil explorers uncomfortable; Odi town was even levelled just to show the outside world how ‘powerful’ we are! But clay footed whenever hardline issues are put on the table. Since independence we have not had a hardliner as leader.

Never again! We must join hands and voices to declare in unison Never Again!! Never Again will a Nigerian anywhere in the world — be (s)he resident in Libya, Spain, Iraq or Cote D’Ivoire– fall victim to the brutality with impunity of law enforcement agents in their host countries. By doing so the worth of the life of a Nigerian would have been properly weighed and appreciated by all and sundry.

Kudos once again to all those Nigerians and non-Nigerians championing this just cause. To the NVS admin crew I say well done. May God fortify us as we struggle to raise more awareness over how and manner Nigerians abroad suffer unjustly in the hands of their hosts. We must continue to kick against any covert or overt attempts from any quarters to diminish our humanity.

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