Nigerians And Their “Kill Them, It Serves Them Right” Syndrome

Share it:

Editor’s note: , the columnist, discusses the value of life in Nigeria and tries to determine if the recent trend of Nigerians not caring or being somewhat spiteful about tragedies befalling their fellow countrymen has become part of our nature.

Throughout our history as a nation, there have been events leading to death of citizens whose lives were interrupted for some unjustified reasons. Sometimes the sad circumstances are perpetuated by the state apparatuses of force, and sometimes by civilians themselves against each other. There is evident impertinence for the dead even. It is probable that the value placed on life correlates with the honour placed on the dead, so we may make inference on the worth of life from tantrums or jollity over the dead.

This is not to say that we should have a generally accepted mode of honouring the dead, not so, above all, how we regard the dead somewhat exposes our humanity and provides a kind of scale for measuring our civilization. It further weighs in on the value we place on life in our national scale of importance. Perhaps many people should now ask serious question regarding how we as Nigerians value life. I am sure we have not forgotten the Aluu village atrocity, the extra-judicial murder of alleged criminals by the bakasi boys, the “usual” sights of alleged criminals burnt on our roads in proud display. How did we descend so low? This is a state of nature of its own clime in the 21st century. Those were all in the recent past, but have we changed? Between the recent and the past, what has changed about our value for the life of the other fellow?

A tale of retrogression to state of nature?

In the past three months, we have witnessed the deaths of two politicians from Kogi and Bayelsa states. These events revealed so much about us. No doubt, before they became the APC and the PDP, they were first humans and then Nigerians. But somehow, there is this accepted disdain almost to the point of integration for the sacredness of life, especially when it is about people not in our fold. We believe it is right for them to die and perish, even though we gain nothing by their death, in a way that is beyond typical selfish inclinations.

This condescension has continued to manifest in different ways from public extra-judicial killings by government forces and civilians alike, to media assassination of varying degrees, and to standing by watching in excitement while a life is forcefully slit off. What kind of culture, religion or politics encourages this level of inhumanity? Nigeria has degenerated to the point where people care more about a plate of food than another fellow’s life, it seems.

So in the instance of the death of the politicians aforementioned, we observed how those men were literally en-deviled, hammered deep into the great beyond, summarily without any dent of regards for their humanity and without any remorse. Certainly that was not about politics, it was not about the PDP or the APC, it was about the same reason it seemed right to our senses of judgment when we pass a disoriented mob butchering a helpless alleged thief and stand by to oversee or watch his brute execution and public incineration on our roads. For the same reason we arrogate to ourselves the power to determine who may live and who must die under the pretense that they are bad.

I read with great disillusionment the justification for the military massacre of the Shia Muslims in Zaria, Kaduna state. I saw how people ignored that crime, rather focusing on other issues that they consider more important than the lives of those Nigerians and humans. The calculation of most people is that the Shi’ite Muslims deserve what they got for unlawfully blocking the road in a peaceful procession and defying pleas and outright directive to stay off the road.

Of course, there must be a smart defense for such brutal act irrespective how insensitive the defense. The same way some of us justify public murder and incineration of alleged thief: “If he is not killed, he will become worse tomorrow”. We obviously commonly expect the worst from each other, again arrogating the power upon ourselves to predict one’s future behaviour so that we can have our way; a typical case of calling a dog a bad name so that it can be killed. The problem is deep and runs beyond normally clear lines of divisions.

It is not that we are deeply threatened as such, or that we are driven by love for societal order. On the contrary, the mockery and public witness of those murderous acts imply that Nigerians are increasingly dispassionate, careless and baggy when it comes to efforts at protecting human life or saving one. Following the same order, albeit strange, the killing of some Biafra agitators who were jubilating over the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu, the director of radio Biafra, comes to mind. Not many people cared about that medieval brutality meted out to those civilians. So how much really does human life is worth in our own estimation? Do our lives matter to us? We need to begin a process of reform upon the value we place on the life of the other fellow.

Ebuka Onyekwelu killings in Nigeria

Author, Ebuka Onyekwelu

Ebuka Onyekwelu is a political scientist, a public affairs analyst and activist with concerted interest in Africa’s crisis of development and leadership. Follow him on Twitter .

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of, its editors or other contributors.

Your own opinion articles are welcome at , more details for prospective writers in .

Contact us at if you have any feedback, suggestions, complaints or compliments. We are also available on  and WhatsApp +234 814 650 9067.

The post Nigerians And Their “Kill Them, It Serves Them Right” Syndrome appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read on NAIJ.COM.

Share it:

Latest Stories

Post A Comment:


We’re eager to see your comment. However, Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our Comment Policy and all the links are nofollow. Using keywords in the name field area is forbidden.
Comment Using Either Disqus or Default Comment Mode.