Thursday, January 17, 2019

The many things that can kill you in Nigeria

The many things that can kill you in Nigeria
December 11
15:10 2018

A line in V for Vendatta, the 2005 movie set around the themes of supremacism, neo-fascism and revolutionist freedom visualising an alternative future in the United Kingdom which I quite like says people should not be afraid of governments, governments should be afraid of their people. But in Nigeria, it is the case of people being afraid of government. But not in the way that film line could suggest or you would have thought.

You may think it is the scenario where people are afraid of criticising and calling out their government’s anarchist doings. It is not. Democracy allows you the freedom of speech as long as it is not defamatory – and Nigeria is a democracy at least for 19 years now since return to civil rule in 1999. Even when it was in military government, we had citizens and journalists who shamed the despotic ruling by the ruler in power. It didn’t matter that the consequences were that one either got hound and jailed or killed by whatever means the ruthless ruler decides, voices were raised then, how much more now that it is a democratized country. Everyone gets to talk. Which is good, by the way.

Nigerians aren’t afraid of speaking and taking a stand against the tyranny of their bad leaders and their sort of leadership style that is steeped in corruption and nepotism.  We have seen millions of Nigerians take to conventional and social media, calling out impunity in governments. We have seen a lot of investigative journalists who have exposed the massive corruption in government agencies and with government officials. But here is how Nigerians are afraid of their government; they are afraid of dying from the many things that can kill them and only peculiar in Nigeria caused largely by bad leadership meted out to them by their unkind governments which begun from ages ago and still very much alive and breathing in 2018.

The things that can kill you in Nigeria are many. Death in Nigeria comes easy and cheap. It is very easy to waste a human life in Nigeria than any other place in the world despite having a stable government and not in a war time. Let me mention for you some of the ways Nigerians encounter cheap death in Nigeria daily. Lack of bed space in the hospitals – every year, thousands of sick people who need admission and treatment in a hospital die from not getting admitted due to non-availability of bed space. That is bed space only. Let’s not talk about the non-functioning worn out equipment in our hospitals that help doctors to misdiagnose patients.  What about bad roads – just between July and September (3 months) this year, 11 people died daily on Nigeria’s porous and potholed roads. If this is the normal data and you compute it for a year, it is 4,015 people yearly!

Then there is the dreaded monster that comes in various shapes and sizes; insecurity. First, we have Boko Haram terrorist group who from 2010 when they unleashed their terror in Nigeria, have killed a heartbreaking statistics of over 20, 000 people and rendered millions homeless, displaced and missing. The vileness of this group is unprecedented and unmatchable. Many Nigerians in the North East are killed on a daily basis by these retarded beings. Only this year alone, according to Amnesty International, 1,500 people have been killed by these extremists. Another agent of death in Nigeria is stray (some are intentional) bullet from policemen and military forces. If you do a search on the internet on the number of Nigerians that have gone to the beyond from unjustifiable bullets shot by either a power drunk or angry security agents supposed to protect them, you would be shocked.

Another thing that can kill you in Nigeria is polluted water. Nigerians die from diseases resulting from drinking unsafe water. One of such disease is cholera. Every year, it is the same story of folks dying from cholera due to government negligence in providing safe water for everyone. The class of Nigerians most affected are those in the villages who can’t afford to sanitize their water. Let me not also forget to mention that meningitis is still killing folks here. Just last year, a state governor by name, Abdulaziz Yari attributed the cause of meningitis that broke out in his state of Zamfara, killing hundreds of his people to fornication on their part. Don’t laugh, please. What about dilapidated buildings? For a 21st century world, where Nigeria is skewed but claims to be part of, poorly structured buildings still kill us every other time. I’m sure you recall the church guesthouse owned by a popular Lagos Pastor, TB Joshua that collapsed? About 150 people died from that building incident. Even just recently, an undisclosed number of persons are still being trapped in a building that collapsed in Port Harcourt, a city in the southern state of Rivers.

Just in case you might have forgotten or you didn’t know yet – 26 young Nigerian women aged between 14 and 18 died in the Mediterranean Sea in November last year while trying to cross into Italy. Why did they die in the Mediterranean Sea – these 26 young women with some bright future ahead of them? It’s not difficult to fathom. They were leaving Nigeria in search of a better life or as most would like to call it green pastures. The only reason they wanted to get out of Nigeria in search of a better life was to cure themselves of the poverty that is so embedded everywhere. The poverty in the air. In the water. In the hospital. On the roads. In the education institutions. You can feel it. You can breathe because you live it. It is obscene and heartbreaking and idiotic – because it is deliberately caused by callous, inefficient and wicked leaders.

Nigeria is like that lover who whenever they come around you, your heart starts to beat just by their standing next to you. Your eyes start threatening to pop out just by merely looking at them because you are excited with lustful passion and the things they will do to your body but inside of you – your heart and soul knows that this lover is going to eventually kill you. This lover is a compulsive liar, a die-hard thief, an abusive wreck, an emotional manipulator, and certainly not good for you. You know these are not the attributes a lover should have. You know this lover needs to repent of their bad behaviour. They need to be surgically treated with immediate effect to remove the anomalies in them. Even as you know all these, you continue with the relationship, keeping up and enduring it, hoping that one day, perhaps one day, they will change. But do they really change, these kinds of lovers? As a genuinely concerned loyal Nigerian citizen, you are this loverboy/girl who is passionately in love with this lover called Nigeria who gives you crumbs from her abundant bread that leaves you hungry and angry yet keeps singing sweet promises to your ears keeping your hope even more alive. You have now become confused and helpless. What a ‘wawu’ thing!

But there is a group of Nigerians that are highly immune to the deaths that are common in Nigeria and to Nigerians. They are the elite or as some would call them, the political class. They are the ONLY class of Nigerians not affected by the poverty that is abject and endemic in this country and its consequence of cheap death. And here is why. It is caused deliberately by them. They are a minority privileged by power who like to live large while plunging the majority using the instrument of their power and money and clout into a pit hole of poverty and death. They are immune to the many deaths that kill Nigerians on a daily basis. They can afford to sashay into first class flights to avoid the death trap roads. They can afford to convert battalion of security forces meant for the public for their private security to guide them and their wives and children and concubines from whatever evils that is walking on the ground and flying in the air. When they and their wards fall ill, they can afford to swiftly get on their private jets or fly first class to Germany or the US or UK or Saudi Arabia or even Ghana, our next door neighbour to get first class healthcare. They can afford to easily send their children to civilized countries to access first-class education to avoid the barren universities here with dilapidated lecture halls and hostels.

The many things that kill the masses in Nigeria do not affect them. They have shielded themselves by ‘fantastically corrupt’ means to make themselves untouchable by those killer materials.

Ogochukwu Paul can be reached @Ogochukwu_Paull on Twitter.


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