Initially, the focus of this piece was to highlight a need for the average Nigerian to have a basic understanding of his fundamental human rights; what better time than the present to educate us on another rich aspect of law as it concerns our well-being.
However,as is wont to happen to overzealous minds,if the writer be permitted to be self-effacing,this piece turned into a reflective cornerstone which aims not to change the world but to sow seeds in the hope that it will ignite growth for a meaningful harvest somewhere, sometime, in someone.
Permit me the liberty to caution; if you are looking to read a constructive article of criticism or an astounding opinion put in light of a new discovery,you will be sorely disappointed! This is simply the ranting of an underworked legal mind itching to put to paper ramblings from said mind.
Having got that out of the way, I proceed to share this quote by Gustave Flaubert ‘There is no truth. There is only perception’. Before I lose all the rational thinking individuals who can educate me on the fine points of the existence of truth,I will press on with my position.
Terrorism, as we know it, isn’t the exclusive preserve of African nations,need I point out cases of the 9/11 bombing in New York, U.S.A. or the Beslan school siege,Russia in 2004, to mention a few. Far from it! The underlying cause of terrorism is simply man’s innate penchant for mischief or to put it appropriately, wickedness. Finer points can be made on how lesser offsprings are the bane;greed,poverty,thirst for power,idealism, etc….. But I choose to pick out the underlying thread through which all these are birthed: Wickedness!!!
It is wickedness that makes you place a lesser value on another human life,same malady ails you if you feel your actions are justified for religious,political or self-enriching reasons. There is no higher value on this earth to be placed on anything than the value of human life. Whichever religion you profess to worship,the person next to you is the God you see and for those who believe in no God,the next person deserves the same respect you place on yourself as I assume you do believe in yourself.
Following from this,several facets and applaud-worthy opinions have been heard on the issue of the rising spate of terrorist activity in our dearly beloved country;the camp that blames poverty as the root cause make argument for the fact that if poverty were eradicated,there would be no room for idle and hungry minds and bellies to give in to the urge to inflict terror in the heart of the nation. On the contrary,another school opines that it is the rich and political miscreants that are the masterminds that use hapless pawns to further their own agenda and therefore call for an uprising against these class of people.
These are but a few sides to the situation that is fast becoming a plague in our great nation. Be that as it may,the only side I have not come across, or maybe my reading has been limited in some way, is; the reason why terrorism has begun to thrive in a country such as ours is YOU! Yes,YOU reading this!
We are the terror!
A typical day in Lagos State; I drive in my lane to find that some impatient people have decided to turn a 2 Lane road to a 3 Lane road or even 4. Before I say Jack,1 of the ‘self appointed road Jackie Chana’ then outmaneuvers himself and proceeds to give my car a good brushing. On proceeding to come down and address the issue like 2 mature adults,he quickly assesses the other party aka me and records the words ‘young’ and ‘female’ in his brain and goes to work trying to intimidate me with threats,shouting, basically assault quickly tending towards battery. The next thing you know an official burdened with the responsibility of assessing the situation appropriately steps in and is then pulled aside by the guy to ‘explain his side of the story through action’ (aka rubbing palms) in my very presence and by the time they are done, I begin to ask myself if I am hallucinating in broad daylight listening to the words emanating from the official’s lips! Luckily, passersby notice the gang up and come to my aid, berating the two men, before I can be adequately incensed to reduce myself to the mad woman they were awakening.
The moral of the story is we all have it in us to be terrorists! The man would have beat me quite gladly as long as he could get away with it and escape without any repercussions, I read it clearly in his eyes. And he would have gone scot free with the calibre of the official present that day.
Be it the man who wants to further his political ambition and provides funds for arms and ammunition or the man who feels he is bold enough,paid enough to waste another man’s life under the guise of hypocritical religion or the people acting out of greed or thirst for bloodshed or to advance political mayhem,we all started from somewhere! It was when he first got away with bribing his way to that political office or to obtain a license to do whatever shady business, it was when he first squandered his tuition fees or welfare money to buy alcohol to meet up with some peer standard, it was when someone in position felt the resources allocated to promote education was better used in serving personal selfish needs and instead the promotion of institutions that preached radicalism was a more thriving venture, it was when people stood aloof and refused to share information because they were not personal victims not just out of fear but feeling one group of people deserved whatever was happening to them because they did not have the same beliefs! It was when I felt that you would be a better candidate to vote for at our estate elections simply because we are of the same tribe! It started with us all!
This is not to say we are not loving, warm and unified Nigerians! Far be it from me to say so, if anything, we have shown that give Nigerians one common enemy and see them turn to a herd of bulls with one target! #BringBackOurGirls!
What I am saying,point not missed,misinterpreted or misread, is we need to be more accountable of and to ourselves! Not just our leaders but each of us! That way,we will build a system steadily where no amount of misplaced agendas will thrive and cause mayhem in our midst!!
This is how we will make Nigeria a country where terrorism will not thrive!! This is how our children will be taught that no matter the enticement you are offered or the beliefs you hold dearest,the quality of human life should be regarded as something to be placed at great value!
I do not know the truth behind Boko Haram! I do not know the true stories of the antagonists and the victims! But I can only perceive this; the answer for the future lies in you and I!
Chica Maduakolam LL.B,B.L, LL.M(London)