IVF: Matters Arising: A Critique Of Evans V. United Kingdom |Emaediong ofonime akpan

IVF: Matters Arising: A Critique Of Evans V. United Kingdom |Emaediong ofonime akpan

1.0     Introduction

Few technologies arrive
unannounced and few remain unchanged overtime. The development of techniques to
facilitate the fertilization of human eggs or ova is no exception. The medical
sector has not been let off the hook of the technological wave that has blown
across nearly all sectors of human lives. While IVF is now recognized as an
acceptable medical technique to combat the surging problems of infertility, it
is still being considered relatively novel. 
It is pertinent to not that the innovation of IVF has not met with the
same response like other medical intervention like; vaccines and the like.  

The new reproductive technologies constitute
a broad range of technologies aimed at facilitating, preventing, or otherwise
intervening in the process of reproduction. 
In this piece of legal opinion the focus is on the legal and ethical
issues associated with in-vitro fertilization in Nigeria. On 25th July 1978, Louise
Joy Brown was born in Great Britain, being the first successful birth through
the use of in-vitro-fertilisation. The IVF in its simplest form involves the
hormonal monitoring and stimulation of the woman producing ova, harvesting the
ova, mixing same with sperm in a petri dish containing a culture medium. It
involves a three day waiting period (approximately) for embryo development,
before the embryo is transferred back to the woman. IVF has come to challenge
traditional views and positions on abortion. This has been occasioned by the
right to destroy embryo with the consent of the couple. It the United Kingdom
the traditional stand against abortion has been threatened by the freedom of a
partner to withdraw from the procedure at any time and ordered the fertilised
eggs or preserved spermatozoa to be destroyed.

2.0     Statement of the Problem

          The filial relationship that results from an IVF procedure
is unprecedented and it comes with attendant problems which the legal framework
ought to cater for. Legal disputes may include the determination of who has
parental responsibility over a child begotten from IVF. The persons who have
the natural rights have become expanded from the usual two (mother and father)
to; the sperm donor, the egg donor, the surrogate womb mother, and the couple
who raises the child. IVF also raises questions of rights and liabilities as
they apply to the fetus, donors, and adoptive parents, as well as the role of
physicians and parenthood organisations, researchers, corporations, and government
in ensuring that the practice of IVF is not performed without adherence to
strict rules of ethical guidelines.

          According to Mccartan the role of the law in guiding
scientific development has not been clearly established, and in fact regulation
of scientific advancement has not been welcomed by those active in progressive
areas of medical research. She cites Burger, who opined that the law does
govern the advancements of medical science. 
This article is necessary to bring to the fore the challenges inherent
in the practice of IVF and innovative roles the law can play to cushion the
adverse effect of such challenges.

3.0     Legal/ Ethical Aspects of IVF

          Practical concerns raised by IVF which have ethical and
legal implications are disposal of surplus embryos created in vitro that prove
unnecessary or unsuitable for a couple’s reproductive requirements,
implantation of several embryos that results in high, multiple pregnancy, and
creation of the same result by natural conception following medically induced
super ovulation, and the option of so called ‘selective reduction’ to reduce
multiple pregnancy. Multiple pregnancy involves health care of mothers,
foetuses in utero, and newborn children, possibly born prematurely with low
birth weight and risk of associated complications.  

          Central legal issues in assisted reproduction are the
consent of both members of an infertile couple, consent of gamete or embryo
donor, and the legal status of a resulting child. A husband’s consent to his
wife’s insemination by donor is usually required, in order that any legal
presumption of his fatherhood be maintained. His objection would render the
child not his legal responsibility, and he may disclaim paternity if the wife
is serving as a surrogate mother to another man’s child. Sperm or ovum donors
must consent for lawful donation, but recovery of sperm from unconscious and
recently deceased men raises concerns such as how one can prove that his
consent was obtained in his unconscious state or before his death. Legal questions
that are also unresolved in many countries arise when donation of a couple’s
cyro-preserved embryo is possible, but only one member of the couple consents.

          One of the consequences of assisted conception is the issue
of parental responsibility of a child begotten of IVF. This is adequately
demonstrated in the American case of the Calverts. Crispina and Mark Calvert
were unable to conceive a child due to the fact that Crispina had had
hysterectomy. Her ovaries, however, were intact and capable to produce valid
ova. Therefore, they drew up a contract with Anna Johnson who agreed to be a
surrogate mother and later relinquish the child to the Calverts. Calverts
agreed to compensate Johnson $10,000 in three installments part paid before and
part after the birth of the child. After successful in vitro fertilization and
transfer of the embryo to Johnson’s womb, Anna required full payment of the sum
threatening that otherwise she would keep the baby. Three successive courts
decided in favour of Calverts. The basis of the decision was different in
different courts: two courts relied directly on genetic relatedness of the
Calverts to the child and invoked the assumptions of other possible ways of
determination of parenthood. The third and final court based its decision
purely on the concept of ‘intent’ of the parties, that is, what was the intent
of them when they entered the contract?

          The court case reveals two aspects of the impact of the new
reproductive technologies in defining kinship and gender. First, it
demonstrates that due to the new reproductive technologies, society is forced
to re-evaluate its assumptions about what is the basis of kinship and gender
relations. Second, they show that the ‘biogenetic’ basis, although perceived as
the basis, cannot be applied in the real situations. The procreative act,
marriage, donors of genetic material and the ones that engage in the nurturing
of the new creature (embryo and later the child) can all now be separated.
Prior to the new reproductive technologies, they all were supposed to be parts
of the same biologically grounded process. Since these roles can be delegated
now to different people, one cannot use the biological processes as the
determining factor to identify the kin persons. The intention of the court to
put more emphasis on the social seems to be logical since it still can identify
one person. While the biological facts have become confusing, the social ones
remain the same as before.`

          The above attests to the fact that the implications of IVF
spans beyond legal implications to, medical, societal and psychological

4.0     Evans v. United Kingdom: A Critique


          Natalie Evans and her partner, Howard Johnston, began
treatment for Assisted Conception at clinic In Bath July 2000. Sadly, preliminary
tests revealed that Evans had serious precancerous tumors in both her ovaries;
as soon as some eggs has been harvested for the purposes of IVF, her ovaries
were to be remove. It was during the same hour-long consultation in October
2000 that Evans and Johnston were informed both of the existence of the tumors
and of the policy regarding consent to IVF. Eleven eggs were harvested and six
embryo’s created and placed in storage, in November 2000, Evans underwent an
operation to remove her ovaries. The plan was for the implantation to take
place once Evan’s health permitted, following a recommended minimum period of
two years. The alternative and less certain procedure of freezing unfertilized
eggs was not available at that clinic at the time. Unfortunately, in May 2002
the relationship between Evans and Johnston broke down. In July, Johnston wrote
to the clinic withdrawing his consent to implantation

In viewing the decision of the court through the lens of a
contract, with Natalie Evans as the offeror and Howard Johnston being the
offeree, there remains the question of appropriate remedy where the contract is
breached by one of the parties in this case Howard Johnston. The question that
is pertinent to ask is; whether the acceptance communicated by the offeree to
the offeror contributed to her decision to have her ovaries removed. While it
may be argued that the removal of her ovaries were inevitable, the acceptance
to be a part of the IVF procedure by her partner led her to carrying out the
procedure knowing it was her only chance to bear children. Granted that the
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 provides that either partner may
withdraw his or her consent in writing at any time before implantation in the
woman’s uterus. However, a marriage of the provisions of the Article 16 of the
United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and Article 23 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, would enable one to realize
that the right to marry, found a family and reproduce are inalienable rights.
It is not known to the writer at the time of writing this work whether there
exists a prototype of a pre-nuptial agreement for IVF procedures to protect
women like Natalie Evans. The object of the contract being the expected results
of the IVF procedure which would have seen that Natalie is not denied the right
to found a family.     

5.0     Conclusion/ Recommendations

          The court’s decision in Evans V. United Kingdom rests the
deciding swing of the pendulum in the decision to withdraw consent. IVF comes
with a plethora of implications for inheritance laws, family law and adoption
law to mention but a few. The question remains as to what the response of the
law is in the face of these teeming challenges. It is largely unclear whether
there exists a demarcating line between one partner’s right to found a family
and the other partner’s right to withdraw from an IVF procedure. The law will
need to re-evaluate the traditional underpinnings of the ban on abortion.
Future research may examine with a view to charting a new course on the
modalities to be put in place for timeous regulation of IVF in Nigeria.


1.     R B
Bernholz and G N Herman, ‘Legal Implications of Human In Vitro Fertilization
for the Practicing Physician in North Carolina’ (1984) 6(1)Campbell Law

2.     M K
McCartan, ‘A Survey of the Legal, Ethical, and Public Policy Considerations of
In Vitro Fertilization’ (2012)2(3) Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics &
Public Policy, p.696.

3.     W E
Burger, ‘Reflections on Law and Experimental Medicine’, (1968) 15 UCLA Law
Review, p. 436, 440

4.     R J Cook.,
B.M. Dickens and M.H. Fathalla Reproductive
Health and Human Rights
. (New York: Oxford University Press. (2003).

5.     The
case of R. V. Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, exp. Blood (1997) 2
All ER 687 (Court of Appeal, England).

6.     K
Sedlenieks, Klavs, ‘New Reproductive Technologies: Towards Assisted Gender
Relations.’ (1999) An Essay for MPhil Degree, Department of Social Anthropology,
University of Cambridge.

Akpan, Emaediong Ofonime is currently undergoing
postgraduate studies at the University of Uyo and majors in Consumer
Protection. She can be reached at akpanemaediongofonime@gmail.com

Photo Credit – www.fitpregnancy.com 



The Red Chamber
This is the 3rd
article in a series of posts informing about the constitutional requirements
for contesting elections in Nigeria, the first article was on the
constitutional requirements for contesting presidential elections in Nigeria while
the second was on contesting Governorship elections in Nigeria. This post
however will be treating the constitutional requirements for contesting
elections into the National Assembly. 

You will find the provisions of
the law relating to this issue in Sections 65 – 79 of the Nigerian 1999
Constitution. One is qualified for election as a member of the Senate, if he/she
is a citizen of Nigeria; has attained the age of 35 years; has been educated up
to at least School Certificate level; is a member of a political party and is
sponsored by that party. It’s pretty much the same qualifications for
contesting in the House of Representatives, except that one must have attained
the age of 30 years to be qualified to be a member of the House of
The Green Chamber
  Furthermore, the following Persons
are disqualified from being members of the National Assembly;   
  • persons who have voluntarily acquired the citizenship
    of another country; 
  • is a lunatic;
  •  is under a death sentence; 
  • has been convicted
    of an offence involving dishonesty in 10 years preceding the election or
    breaching the code of conduct; 
  • is an undischarged bankrupt; has been indicted
    of embezzlement or fraud; is a member of a secret society; or has forged a
    certificate to INEC .

For the purpose of Senatorial elections,
INEC shall divide each state into 3 senatorial districts and 360 federal constituencies
in respect of elections into the House of Representatives. INEC is charged with
appointing the date for the elections and every Nigerian who has attained the
age of eighteen years shall be entitled to be registered as a voter for the
election provided that he/she resides in Nigeria at the time of the
registration of voters for purposes of the elections. 
Adedunmade Onibokun, Esq



On 8 August 2014 the World Health Organisation
(WHO) categorised the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia as a
Public Health Emergency of International Concern

The potential impact of this epidemic is of interest to all
multinational corporations with a presence in Africa, and in particular to
those with projects, assets and personnel in those countries affected. The fact
that the WHO has only twice previously described an outbreak in these terms
underlies the severity of its impact, and potential impact, on construction
projects in West Africa.

On the date of the WHO’s announcement, a leading steel producer published
a press release noting that contractors undertaking expansion works at its
mines in Liberia had declared the outbreak a force majeure event and were
moving personnel out of the country. The company noted that it was assessing
the potential impact on the project schedule. This assessment will no doubt
involve a review of its key contracts and the impact of the outbreak on
completion dates and cost. A number of airlines have also cancelled flights to
West Africa, and several mining companies have cut back on nonessential travel
to the region.

companies with interests in West Africa are implementing measures in order to
manage the impact on their businesses in the region and beyond. Our clients are
assessing potential exposure to the consequences of this outbreak and we
highlight below two critical contractual issues that parties must be aware of
in responding to this crisis.
Force majeure
There is no English common law doctrine of force majeure. Force
majeure is a principle borrowed from the French civil code, whereby a party
will not be liable for its failure to perform an obligation where this failure
has been caused by the occurrence of exceptional events outside that party’s
control. If there is no force majeure provision in your contract, you will need
to consider other remedies.
It follows that employers and contractors faced with a real or
potential impact from the Ebola outbreak will be asking themselves two high
level questions: 1) Does this event fit within the definition set out in my
particular contract or contracts?; and 2) Has (or will) the outbreak, as a
matter of fact, impacted (or will it impact) upon my performance or that of my
counterparty under the relevant agreement?
Interpretation of force majeure clauses
As noted
above, the English courts have been reluctant to set out a precise meaning of
the term ‘force majeure’. It follows that where the term is used in a contract;
the ordinary rules of contract interpretation are applicable, such that each
case will be different and turn on the particular words used in the contract.
This English law approach is different to civil law jurisdictions
in which the civil codes prescribe definitions of what is meant by force
majeure. As a result, English law construction/engineering contracts typically
contain an express definition of the phrase to avoid, insofar as it may be
possible, uncertainty and the potential for disputes.
Given the wide use of the FIDIC forms in international
construction projects, it is instructive to consider whether the Ebola outbreak
could be considered a force majeure event within the meaning of the relevant
FIDIC clause, and whether the outbreak would give rise to an entitlement for
additional time or money.
By way of example, Clause 19.1 of the FIDIC Red Book sets out a
broad definition of a force majeure event as
“…an exceptional event or circumstance:
a) which is beyond a Party’s control,
b) which such Party could not reasonably have provided against
before entering into the Contract,
c) which, having arisen, such Party could not reasonably have
avoided or overcome, and
d) which is not substantially attributable to the other Party.”
Provided an event satisfies the above conditions, then under FIDIC
it is a force majeure event (if Clause 19.1 is read in isolation).
The FIDIC Red Book then goes on to set out a non-exhaustive list
categories of examples for force majeure events, including war, rebellion,
riot, and natural catastrophes (such as earthquake, hurricane, typhoon or
volcanic activity).
Clause 19.1 does not expressly reference an epidemic as a force
majeure event (some forms of contract do), though that does not prevent it
being such an event. The critical question to determine whether or not an Ebola
outbreak is a force majeure event, is whether the four criteria set out above
have been satisfied.
There can
be little doubt that the Ebola outbreak is an event which is exceptional;
outside the control of commercial parties to a construction contract; could not
have been avoided/overcome once it arose; and is not substantially attributable
to either party. It would also be difficult to argue that a party to a
construction contract could have provided against the risk of an Ebola outbreak
before entering into the contract (though query whether or not such an outbreak
was foreseeable).
Entitlement to a force majeure event may well be very different in
circumstances where the relevant clause includes a requirement that the event
be unforeseeable (the FIDIC example does not). The element of foreseeability is
incorporated in Article 1148 of the French Civil Code, which stipulates that a
force majeure event must be unforeseeable, render performance impossible and be
outside of the control of the party invoking suspension of the relevant
contractual obligation. This is a higher threshold than that in FIDIC and we
have seen agreements where parties have agreed to allocate risk in this way.
Given that, in recent history and in certain parts of West Africa, there have
been Ebola outbreaks, albeit occasional and confined and not necessarily in the
countries currently affected, an Ebola outbreak may fall foul of a force
majeure provision that will not bite where an event is foreseeable.

In any event, under the FIDIC Red Book, a contractor would almost
certainly be entitled to obtain an extension of time in cases where it can
demonstrate delay affecting completion. This would, of course, be subject to
the time bar provisions found in Clause 19.2 relating to notice.
The question of an entitlement to additional cost (remembering
that cost is defined so as to exclude profit in FIDIC RED Book) arising from a
force majeure event is more complex. Clause 19.4 makes a distinction between
different kinds of force majeure events and where they occur. In fact, the
entitlement to cost refers back to the categories of force majeure events
listed in Clause 19.1. For example, an entitlement to additional cost will
accrue in the event that war and/or hostilities in a neighbouring country (or
indeed anywhere) effect the progress of the works. In contrast the balance of
the ‘categories’ of events listed in Clause 19.1 must occur in the country of
the works so as to qualify as a relief event and give rise to an entitlement to
An Ebola epidemic does not sit well in any of the categories
listed in Clause 19.1, thus creating an uncertainty in the drafting. Is there
an entitlement to an extension of time but no money? Further, if parties are
undertaking projects in adjoining countries, even if they are proximate to the
sites of the Ebola epidemic, does that preclude entitlement to cost?
Whilst the
drafting is unclear on this issue and there is no case-law on epidemics that
would provide useful guidance, the best interpretation of the contract when
read as a whole must be that there is an entitlement to an extension of time,
but not necessarily any cost.
Frustration – A Brief Refresher
Parties to contracts without an express risk allocation for
force-majeure-type events may need to consider alternative routes through which
to escape sanction/obtain relief. In such circumstances the English common law
doctrine of frustration may be invoked to provide some level of protection to
the party who would otherwise be in default.
A contract will be frustrated only in very limited circumstances,
where, for reasons attributable to none of the relevant parties, performance
has become impossible, illegal or would be totally different to what was
contemplated by the parties when the contract was formed.
It is difficult to imagine a scenario where it might be said that
the effects of the Ebola outbreak could not be mitigated through alternative
methods of performance (for example, procurement of raw materials from
alternate countries/sources unaffected by the outbreak, imposition of stringent
quarantine and medical controls and different techniques and policies to
protect the health and well-being of personnel on site). The English courts
have made it very clear that parties will not be entitled to relief from
performance for frustration merely when performance is rendered more difficult,
time-consuming or expensive.
Conclusion: The Contractual
Consequences of Ebola
In summary, the rights and obligations of employers and
contractors undertaking construction projects in West Africa will be determined
by a close reading of the provisions of the relevant contracts (and employing
modern means of interpreting contracts holistically). In many circumstances, we
consider it will be at least arguable that where an outbreak of Ebola has a
demonstrable effect on the progress of a project, it will qualify as a force
majeure event giving rise to an entitlement for time and/or monetary relief,
depending on the express terms of the relevant contract. It may also be the case
that in some civil law jurisdictions parties will be entitled to rely on the
provisions of the civil code in that country to obtain relief.
As the
leader of the Eversheds Africa Law Institute network, and with a presence in 32
African jurisdictions, including Liberia and Sierra Leone, Eversheds is
uniquely placed to assist construction clients across the region.
By:       Paul Giles
Eversheds LLP
0845 497 8680
Julian Berenholtz
Associate, Eversheds LLP
0845 497 0767


Credits: Google

So everyone knows one person or
the other who is a complete nuisance, i am sure you know what i mean, take some
time to think about it, whose that person who you just feel like giving a
punch, kicking out the door
, throw off the 3rd mainland
, give a dirty slap, being far away from. I know those names
just ran through your mind. Well, have no sweat because you can sue that nuisance
dude. Ok, wait a minute, before you rush to court to sue the whole world or
everyone on your street, you should finish reading this blog.
It’s not every nuisance
that you can actually sue. 
According to Kodilinye and Aluko:
The Nigerian Law of Torts, “the word nuisance is used in popular speech to mean
any source of inconvenience or annoyance, but the tort of nuisance has a more
restricted scope and not every inconvenience or annoyance is actionable.
Nevertheless, this tort “has become a catch-all for a multitude of ill-assorted
sins, such as the emission of noxious fumes, from a factory, the crowing of
cocks in the early hours of the morning, the obstruction of a public highway,
the destruction of a building through vibrations and the interference with an
easement of way”.
Credits – Google
There is a long list of actions
that come under nuisance; in fact the list is not exhaustive. Your neighbour
who plays his music at the loudest volume and disturbs the neighbourhood can be
a nuisance, so also the person that lets his pets go into other people’s house
to damage property. I remember being asked if a lady who was fond of standing
by her window nude in a neighbourhood full of married men can also be a nuisance,
well I haven’t come across any case law on such before. 
Note that there are 2 types of
nuisance, Public nuisance, which is a crime and actionable by the Attorney –
General is committed where a person carries on some harmful activity which
affects the general public or a section of the public, for example, where the owners
of a factory cause or permit fumes and smoke to pollute the atmosphere in the locality.
Private nuisance on the other hand refers to injury to the rights of a private
person and is usually designed to protect private owners of land. 
Credits – Google
Private nuisance falls into 3
categories namely; a physical injury to a person’s property; substantial interference
with a person’s use and enjoyment of his land; interference with easements and
profits e.g. where a person wrongfully obstructs the right of way or light of
another. Take a while and think about that nuisance you know, no need to suffer
in silence anymore, you can sue that nuisance dude. The remedies available to
one who complains of a nuisance are: damages, an injuction to restrain further nuisance
and abatement. 
Onibokun, Esq.


Nigeria, children’s rights are protected by law and held sacred, not only does
the law protect the child; it also stipulates punishment for adults who take
advantage of children or seek to negatively influence them.
  If you missed the blog on the rights of the
Nigerian child,
. The Lagos State Government has however taken the protection of
children’s rights a bit further by providing laws in the Criminal Code Law of
Lagos State (2011) that seek to prevent the abandonment of children and also instil
fines members of the public who do so.

As an
illustration, consider the following scenario;
“John, a charming and dashing young man meets Jane
at a public gathering in Lagos, Jane is swept off her feet by John’s chivalrous
nature and they both spend the weekend in John’s beach house where they have
repeated and unprotected sexual intercourse though John informed Jane that he
was in another relationship, to which she replied she did not mind. Eventually,
4 weeks later, Jane misses her period and after running hospital tests confirms
she is pregnant which she dutifully informs John.
John is however having none of it and tells Jane he
would not be accepting responsibility for the child, Jane cries and cries but
her emotions do not sway John who is set on his course of action with regard to
the child”.
What can
Jane do in this situation, have an illegal abortion or take care of the
child by herself?
“Mark gets Linda pregnant and refuses responsibility
for the child, eventually Linda reports Mark to the police.”
Can she
do that?
There was
a time when the woman will probably decide to leave John or Mark to the laws of
Karma or like many Nigerians will say “in the hands of God” but now these women
can do more than that and here is why; Section
277 of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State (2011)
states that:
(1) Any person who impregnates a
woman or girl and fails, refuses or neglects to contribute to maternity related
costs from ante-natal to post-natal stages is guilty of an offence and is
liable to a fine of Forty Five Thousand Naira (N45,000.00) without
prejudice to the recovery of any cost that any other person may have reasonably
incurred in relation to the upkeep of the woman or girl.
(2) For the purpose of this
Section, maternity related costs includes all medical expenses, food expenses,
reasonable shelter and other necessaries.
(3) In determining the financial
liability of a person under subsection (1) of this Section, the Court shall
have regard to the means and resources available to him

 Furthermore, Section 276 of the Law also provides that;
Any person
who being the parent, guardian or other person having the lawful care or charge
of a child under the age of twelve years, and being able to maintain such
child, wilfully and without lawful or reasonable cause deserts the child and
leaves him without means of support, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable
to a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000.00) without prejudice to the
recovery of any cost any other person may have reasonably incurred with respect
to the upkeep of the child
The law
is clear, you cannot abandon a woman who is pregnant with your child, neither
can you abandon a child who is your responsibility or you just may find
yourself having to pay a court fine in addition to being compelled to take up
the responsibility which you tried avoiding in the first place.
So my
advice to couples is to play safe (not that it works all the time) or don’t play
at all, at least till you are married. LOL. It should however be noted that the
law will not compel either John to marry Jane nor Mark to marry Linda, it will
only compel them to take responsibility for the children they deem to have abandoned.
Onibokun, Esq


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)