The world over human life is a sacred thing recognized, cherished and preserved. We believe that it is the sacredness accorded life is the reason that even the law books of many countries including Nigeria seeks to protect it. One of the major responsibilities of the leaders at all levels is to strive to protect lives and properties under whatever circumstances. To what extent this sacred duty has been performed remains anybody’s guess.
We are therefore at a loss over the recent development in the country in which those who are supposed to be protecting lives are the ones now claiming the lives. For two weeks now the Nigerian youths nationwide have observed protests action against the authorities over the brutality of a section of the Nigeria Police called SARS. It has all been a peaceful activity in many states until a few days ago when the orgy of killings increased.
Tuesday, reports hit the media space that unidentified soldiers opened gun fire against unarmed youths protesting at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos and their fire power dispatched over 20 youths to their untimely death.
There are reports of other pockets of killings in Lagos and other parts of the country all orchestrated by the trigger happy security operatives.
Nigeria’s history is replete with similar accounts when unarmed protesters have been killed in cold blood. A good case in point is the September Enugu killing where the policemen swooped on defenseless unarmed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) boys and dispatched over 20 of them to join their ancestors. IPOB have also in the past lost many of its agitators in similar circumstance.
The losses have as usual attracted public outrage and condemnation but sadly not a word has been heard from the number one citizen of the country whose deafening silence is now a matter of concern for many. For sometime now there are myriads of governance issues in the country leading to frustration, increased poverty, dehumanization of lives as captured in the SARS actions, corruption, reckless abuse of power etc.
It is expected that these would not go on without attracting attention of the youth segment who have watched helplessly as their future are frittered away with fake promises that the same destroyed future belongs to them. Many of them have been forced to indulge in life styles and conducts considered unhealthy for the growth of the society. But many have argued that their unwholesome behavior is a fall out of the frustration and agonizing moments that they found themselves. Many spend donkey years after school without good means of survival.
While they groan and fade away into oblivion the leaders provocatively flaunt ostentatious and lavish lifestyle which adds no value to its subjects. Each successive regime tries to best others in negativity and taking the country backwards in an age where other countries making waves. That the protests are happening simultaneously locally and internationally should drum home the message strongly to those in power.
We subscribe to the reality that you cannot beat a child and force him not to cry. Globally people have a right to ventilate their feelings over wrong actions meted to them. It is sad that our leaders each time they are presented an opportunity to situate things right bungle it. It is inconceivable that soldiers would turn their guns against protesting youths who are asking for a better society in which the soldiers and their kids are part of.
News Echo condemns in its entirety the action of the military and calls on the government to provide adequate compensation to the families of the victims caught in the cross fire. No amount can actually compensate for a human life but the government need to express their concern on the matter. Allowing the situation to escalate through the spilling of the blood of innocent is most unfortunate.
There is so much blood letting in the land raising questions as to how much we treasure a Nigerian life. The government should begin a process of rapprochement with all the aggrieved parties especially the youths who appear the most aggrieved. The president and his lieutenants should exhibit some humility in addressing the issues and stop being high handed in their approach. Power actually belongs to the people and they ought to be respected.
The level of grievance of the people could be captured in the mass uprising leading to the destruction of lives and properties. News Echo urges all aggrieved Nigerians to sheath their swords and allow the authorities look into the issues and draw out solutions. Nigeria belongs to all of us and we have no other home. This is the time to build a better future for upcoming generations.