In this time of turmoil and violence, remember #NigerianLivesShouldMatter too

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©Getty Images|Black men crying

While commiserating with blacks in America who at best live ‘half a life’, with high possibility of being shot dead by white cops for selling CDs or a ‘busted’ tail light or for even doing nothing, I am more concerned about lives being snuffed out of many Nigerians daily as if we are in a constant state of strife or war. Violence in Nigeria continues to rage on, and when it happens, nobody protests and nobody gets prosecuted for anything, the only time a protest occurs is when some political mileage can be earned out of a tragedy.

In Kaduna, over a thousand Shiite Moslems were massacred by the army for allegedly mounting a road block against the army chief. The victims suffered the same fate as Moslems in Kosovo. They were mass buried like confiscated formaldehyde preserved chickens. Whilst this happened, the politically motivated and loquacious civil society groups became deaf and mute. There was the pervading impression that the Shiites got what they deserved – kind of good riddance to a pestilential rubbish.

We forgot that those people killed were humans like us, they were Nigerians and could literally have been our family. Some of them could even have been ‘innocent bystanders’ who were caught in crossfire. Having been massacred, their families were forced to go through double torture of not being allowed the ‘privilege’ of identifying their loved ones and giving them decent burials. Each time we exhibit insensitivity towards other people’s plight, we inadvertently destroy our supportive humanity and we may yet be the next victims.

Equally appalling is the sustained and consistent killings of innocent Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen, armed with sophisticated assault rifles. It is now a dangerous occupation to be a farmer as the farmer and his crops are now consumables for the herdsmen and their cattle. Suddenly in Nigeria, the life of a cow is now more valuable than that of a human. Well, if we could attribute the Shiite massacre to state actors who may one day be docked at the Hague, to who do we attribute the audacity and impunity of the criminal herdsmen?

©Vanguard|Armed Fulani herdsmen

The answer may be found in federal government’s proposed solution. First, not having taken any concrete steps to curtail the heinous activities of the criminal herdsmen, the federal government is seeking to reward them with grazing reserves all over Nigeria. In plain words, the federal government is seeking to reward the criminal herdsmen by confiscating the land of the victims and giving it to their attackers.

Then, there is the menace of land grabbers. This is a blight that is eating up Lagos land owning communities. It is so bad that it once claimed the head of a Lagos State government agency. Land grabbers come, killing and maiming, with the police looking the other way because they are beneficiaries of the racket. The land grabbing racket is run by the police. How do you explain or justify arrests of elderly community leaders on trumped up charges of gun running and their being whisked away to Abuja from Lagos. How do you explain land grabbers laying a community desolate with no response from the police?

The Ijaw militants and pipeline vandals are in a class of their own. For so long they have been terrorising pipeline hosting communities. The story is the same from Arepo to Ikorodu. Each time security agents tried to curtail their activities, the militants descend on these innocent communities in reprisal attacks, killing and rendering people homeless. Recently the vandals killed as many as a hundred people in some communities at Igbo Olomu, Agbede and Ogijo in Lagos and Ogun States.

©Buzz Nigeria|Niger delta militants

At least, the blacks in America know that they battling institutional racism, Nigerians are not that lucky. Nigerians battle with the army, the police, boko haram, armed robbers, militants, land grabbers, criminal Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers, cultists, joblessness, hunger, poverty, corruption and daily lose their lives in these battles. The violence in Nigeria is all that we know. The blacks in America have hope that things are going to change for the better. For Nigerians, hope is being shattered daily

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