“Bandits kill seven in Kaduna communities”, a colleague of mine read aloud a headline from an online media she was reading on her phone, the other day.
“Uhnm”, was my reply. And she too just continued pressing her phone without being annoyed at my nonchalant response. As a matter of fact, she didn’t expect any other response. I’m convinced she just read it aloud probably because the news just flashed across her timeline.
“ah!”, she suddenly shouted, “hear this o, Iyabo Ojo and Yomi Fabiyi again!!”, (my colleague is a Yoruba-movies addict).
Just then, something snapped in me. “Please read that story again”, I requested her.
“Yomi Fabiyi said he has done a movie titled ‘Ọkọ Iyabọ’, but…”
“No. Not that one”, I interrupted her, “the one on the seven killed in Kaduna”.
“I can’t find it again. Anyway, let me finish digesting this Yomi’s story, then I will help you find the link”.
And that is typical of majority of us, Nigerians these days. We care less about the killings, maiming, kidnapping and all forms of banditry, taking place right now in virtually every crony in the country. News of all these calamities just bounce off us as waters bounce off a duck’s back. As long as it doesn’t directly affect us, the news might as well be written in Greek for all we care. But why are we impervious to tragedies befalling fellow Nigerians? Why is our feelings dead to all the deaths happening around us? What has happened to the famed empathy of the average Nigerian to his or her fellow citizens? We used to care and worry about disasters to our people. Not anymore. These days, we just gloss over things like that. The worst part is, when some of us happen to be eye witnesses to such tragedies, the first thing we do is to bring out our phones to record and share, instead of helping those who could still make it alive. Why have we descended this low?
One of the reasons, I believe we have arrived at this sordid junction, is probably the attitude of our leaders. I used to think that it is when such calamities befall members of the ruling class that government will only act. But the untimely deaths of, first the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru and later that of the Political Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, both of which occurred in May, have dampened such sentiments in my mind. The following day after the military aircraft taking General Attahiru and 10 other military officers, including two other Generals on official duties, tragically crashed, claiming all eleven lives, senior government officials gathered in Kano to wine and dine at the wedding ceremonies of the son of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
In Ahmed Gulak’s case, he went on a national assignment in Owerri as one of the Senate’s rapporteurs on the Constitution Amendment Committee public sitting. The following day, he was brutally assassinated, with his body in the pool of his own blood, wickedly shared on the social media. I have my doubts whether the Constitution Amendment Committee even observe a minute silence in his honour at the continuation of its sitting the next day.
So, if the deaths of these high profile Nigerians meant nothing to government, is it that of the anonymous seven and countless of such deaths, occurring virtually on a daily basis, that would move government? And if government is not bothered about the well being not to talk of the of deaths of its citizens, why should individuals give a hoot about the plight of others, as long as it’s not of their immediate loved ones.
“I’ve found the link to that Kaduna killings again”, my colleague announced. “It’s such a tragic event. I pray for the repose of the dead. May the Almighty God give their families the strength to bear the losses”, she added. To which I responded, “amen”. Prayers. That is all we can do, especially, since it is even what President Buhari advised us to do, in the face of all these mounting security challenges.