What Makes Life Valuable in Nigeria?
This is a question some of us have been battling with and I am sure others too. Looking at the carnage that has been visited upon some communities in Nigeria and the sometimes selective responses of those constitutionally saddled with safeguarding their lives and property makes this question topical.
Handling the sanctity of life with deliberate levity has been evident all through our tortuous journey as a nation. There has always been the instance of when those in authority decided on the lives they attribute values to and those they considered valueless. Three readily comes to mind: the buildup to the Nigerian Civil War, the Boko Haram crisis and the current killings by armed herdsmen across some states.
Let me use the generic term of armed herdsmen so as to eliminate the fallacious generalization of all Fulanis as the killers in those communities because I know for a fact that some of them haven’t been spared too from the armed herdsmen, and I also know that some of them have been active participants in certain communities. But the underlying tone here is that evil is upon us and the response of the government, which is under intense scrutiny, holds the key to ending these merciless killings.
But who is behind these armed men? Who is financially sponsoring them? Who is training them? Who is buying those AK-47 rifles they used in attacking whole communities. What is the unit cost of one single rifle that is readily available to them?
A simple check online will show one that A Russian Vepr 7.63×39 with Red Russian Stock at ATLANTIC FIREARMS is $1,239.00. Do the conversion in naira and multiply by a hundred guns and you will see that somebody or a group is spending serious money. A 30-Round Russian Slab-Side AK47 Magazine cost $95.00. Multiply that by about 500 magazines and it becomes scary that somebody is spending huge money. Where are these armed men getting them? Where are they hiding them? From which country are they bringing them in? who is sourcing these guns? Who provides transport for them to move from one community to another? Who aide in transporting these arms to the scenes of killings? Is there no money trail? Are there no suspicious individuals that the intelligence agencies have placed under observation? Questions and questions that could definitely be answered by some people in Nigeria.
These further raise the question of human life. How are human lives valued? How does a human life get value? Are human lives valued in terms of economic attainment, ethnic affiliation or religious leaning? The value that those in authority at any time attaches to a group of people, translates into the kind of attention they get. When a Government doesn’t place any value on you, hinged on their contrived criteria of who is valuable or not, you are comfortably ignored and abandoned no matter the existential threat facing you
How valuable are the people of Southern Kaduna in the scheme of things? This is not only a technical question but an ethical one that explores and seeks to highlights the flippancy that their plight has been treated with. How many resources are the governments ready to spend to save some people in this country? Are some lives more valuable than others in this country? It’s highly unethical and morally condemnable for superficial attributes to be used as criteria for valuing human lives when we know that Life is a gift from God and for anyone to decide which life is valuable and merited attention to, and which is not – is akin to a mere mortal playing god.
The value of a human life is intrinsic and derives from God who created each of us and If we all agree that human life has intrinsic value in general, then we need to value every life in this country, irrespective of political, religious, ethnic or economic differences.
In 2012 some intermittent attacks with limited casualties started in some few LGs in Southern Kaduna. Then in 2013, massive attacks started in Kaura LG with about 140 people killed in one night in Bondong. They then moved to Atakkar chiefdom and keep attacking and killing so many in the villages in that area.
Then on June 12, 2014, the killings started in Sanga LG. 11 villages were attacked and hundreds killed and others displaced. The killings took place with so much impunity that gave birth to conspiracy theories about the different value of lives in Nigeria.
In between 2015 and 2016, it started in Godogodo, Jama’a LG where about 8 villages have so far been attacked. Some twice! The curious thing is that these attacks usually take about 7 months before it panned out and the armed marauders moved to another LG.
…leading to the question; which LG in Southern Kaduna is next?
But how were these attacks allowed to fester for years? How can a village be attacked twice or thrice with such ease? is it the failure of intelligence gathering or? What value has been attributed to the lives of people of Southern Kaduna? Is there a deliberate abandonment of the people? Why is the reaction of government always reactive in nature rather than proactive?
Again, what makes life valuable in Nigeria? What is it about lives that make it valuable and worth caring for? Why are some lives in Nigeria more valuable for others? If a Senator of a Minister is killed in one of these villages, would the response be better than what is obtainable now?
What is the value of life in my country?