By Ayodele Adio

There is a gradual normalisation of bestiality in Nigeria, where the average citizen is running out of humanity. The nation no longer mourns the dead, nor does it demand justice for victims of brutal criminality. It doesn’t matter that our national dailies cover stories of tens and hundreds of people murdered in cold blood daily…

On July 4, 1976, the commandos of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) flew over 4000 kilometres undetected, at night, to rescue 94 Israeli hostages, who were hijacked on a Paris bound flight from Tel Aviv, under the orders of Wadie Haddad, the leader of the Popular Front For The Liberation Of Palestine. The plane was diverted to Entebbe, the main airport of Uganda, where the hostages were held, with the support of Idi Amin, the president of Uganda at the time. The terrorists wanted to force the hand of the Israelis to release about 40 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

In an operation that lasted 90 minutes, which also claimed the life of a unit commander, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu (the elder brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, who is the current prime minister of Israel), 102 of the 106 hostages were rescued and all the hijackers, including 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed. The British historian, Saul David, narrates an encounter between the then prime minister of Israel, Rabin and his defense minister, Shimon Peres, where the later pushes back on his bosses decision to consider negotiating with the terrorists by uttering these strong words: “If we give into the hijackers demands, everyone will understand us but no one will respect us. If on the other hand, we conduct a military operation to free the hostages, it is possible that no one will understand us, but everyone will respect us”.

Indeed, the world respects Israel today. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of Nigeria.

There is a gradual normalisation of bestiality in Nigeria, where the average citizen is running out of humanity. The nation no longer mourns the dead, nor does it demand justice for victims of brutal criminality. It doesn’t matter that our national dailies cover stories of tens and hundreds of people murdered in cold blood daily, nor does it matter if an entire village is sacked by bandits and burnt to the ground. Agatu happened in Benue and we moved on, the same way we move on from killings in Kaduna, Kastina, Sokoto and now Zamfara. What is worse is that the victims have no one to blame and nobody seems to take responsibility for anything. People simply die in their hundreds and no one loses his job, no one resigns, neither is anyone queried. Life simply goes on.

Otherwise, how can anyone explain the fact that the head of a regulatory agency, whose job is to regulate the quality of buildings in Lagos – also empowered to pull down building that do not meet required standards, still holds unto his job without any political pressure, after a building that was marked for demolition, collapsed and killed 20 people, close to four years after it was marked. What excuse does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have to give that a letter which could have saved a supposedly innocent Nigerian on death row, was lost in bureaucracy for over two months? A sitting governor in Zamfara is now relying on charms and prayers, in absentia, to deal with insecurity in his state, which has claimed thousands of lives, with more still occurring.

When 26 Nigerians were buried in Italy, having lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean, the Nigerian government, whose incompetence over the years forced these Nigerians to emigrate by any means necessary, saw no reason to send any representation to honour the dead. Of course, it is clear that a dog in Manhattan is more valuable that the average Nigerian, so is the cat in Doha and quite frankly, the cow in India. It is a sad commentary that the 12 Nigerian lives are barely worth a thing.

Ayodele Adio, a communication strategist, writes from Lagos.

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