Pipeline vandalism

The summun bonum in the “be your brother’s keeper” ethos that binds us irrespective of our differences in the past, is gradually giving way for the “be your brother’s killer” nature of barbaric men. But why?

Breaking news are not often good news, these days. Whether on the electronic, print or social media, the stories are the same – depressing and devastating. And sadly, the world seems to be getting inured to torrents of bad news, while helplessly looking forward to when, where and what will happen next.

Across the globe, the news revolves around: devastating terrorist attacks, hundreds of migrants perishing in the Mediterranean, bitting economic hardship, rising unemployment, and the outbreak of diseases. At the moment, the world – especially Africa – is yet to recover from the scourge of HIV/AIDS and Ebola virus, while Zika virus spreads throughout the Americas.

And from these trends, one could be tempted to feel the earth is revolting or God is turning his back on humanity. But worse than all of these diseases, are the pain, agony and destruction men inflict on their fellows through their actions and inactions.

The human race seems to be under constant threat, and we move closer to the cliff at a very fast pace. Unfortunately, men are leading the war against humanity in this 21st century, as their desperation, wickedness, selfishness and grasping inclinations are on the rise by the day.

It’s so sad!

Without splitting hairs on global issues, let’s spare a few thoughts on issues in Nigeria. Just a few thoughts:

A critical look at the Boko Haram menace in North-East, Nigeria – a sad and ugly series of occurrences that has led to the death of over twenty thousand people and involving over two million displaced persons – would make obvious one fact: men are the propelling force behind the monster called Boko Haram.

Be it the brainwashed zealots who are ever ready to run the fool’s errand based on a belief that fighting for the almighty and an omnipotent God would earn them a recompense of blued-eyed virgins in the hereafter or the long-time negligence of good education – the bedrock of personal and societal development – of youngsters or the primitive accumulation of political kleptomaniacs, who have exploited the illiteracy, unemployment and poverty of their followers to perpetuate themselves in power over the years, men are always behind the moving/dancing reeds and particoloured blankets we call masquerades.

Consciously and unconsciously, men have sown seeds which, over the years, have grown into the large-scale national and global disaster known as Boko Haram. Likewise, the resurgence of Biafran agitation and oil pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region are not the perpetrations of UFOs. And we cannot but experience the worst scenarios if nothing changes in the beliefs and practices of men – the leaders and the led.

That said, the mind-boggling revelations in the diversion of funds meant for arms procurement to combat Boko Haram insurgents obviously exposes how desperate, dirty and callous some men could be in the pursuit of wealth. For these men, Nigeria could burn to cinders for all they care, provided they remain in the corridors of power and have oodles of cash in their bank accounts. What a low life! A life that values mundane things over human lives. Do we blame them at all when some of us still see their prosecution as a “witch-hunt”? Well, this is a topic for another day.

On bad leadership and poor governance, no doubt, these dual factors father most of our problems in Nigeria. However, bad leaders are just reflections of who and what the majority amongst us are. Leaders do not emerge from Mars or Pluto, they are members of our society and likewise, they do not form a bad government without the express support of their followers. Take for example, at leadership recruitment, if many of us took bags of rice or a bottle of Star in exchange for our votes, while others amongst us also served as mercenaries to rig elections – even at the expense of the lives and property of our fellows – what moral justification do we have to blame our woes on the elected?

Please don’t get me wrong, I know desperate politicians entice the jobless and vulnerable amongst us to do their dirty deals, but the jobless and vulnerable also have conscience and the right to refuse such offers considering the grave consequences of their indulgence in such acts on the society.

Worthy of note is the prevalent cases of rape – particularly of minors – in our society. These days, parents send their female wards to school with their spirits hovering around them. Aside the fear of kidnappers, increasing cases of rape of minors is a nightmare an average parent now has to contend with as debased men have declared a phallic war against innocent minors. What kind of pleasure or search for power could drive right thinking men to go so low? Galling!

On a general note, some morbid stories caught my attention in the past few days.

First, human bodies were found underneath the foundation of a ‘church’ building in Ugwuaji, Enugu State. Do we ascribe this to the activities of some terrestrials forces? Certainly, this could not be an Holy Ghost inspired act, but the heinous schemings of men.

Second, the pathetic story of Lowo Oyediran, the man whose wife shoved a dagger into his neck over an unresolved issue, according to reports. This story makes one wonder what could have transpired between this supposed for-better-for-worse partners? Some Yorubas could claim that the accused woman was under a spell – edi – but she is yet to confess so.

In Zaria, it was the gory story of a hapless four-year old boy whose eyes were gouged out by unknown ritualists. In this case, the dan Arewas might also have a mysterious explanations for this, but surely, this cruelty cannot be an act of Allah.

From these incidence, one might not be wrong to assume that there are several other atrocious and bestial acts stealthily perpetrated in our society daily that elude our media. However, these stories are pointers to how “nasty”, “brutish” and “short” life is becoming in our society as a result of men’s inhuman and callous machinations.

The summun bonum in the “be your brother’s keeper” ethos that binds us irrespective of our differences in the past, is gradually giving way for the “be your brother’s killer” nature of barbaric men. But why?

We might choose to mystify these ugly trends, blame them on God or the devil or find excuses in the non-performing government and failed leadership in Nigeria, but our moral sense – good and bad, right and wrong – behooves all men to take responsibility and play their roles in saving humanity from avoidable miseries and agonies.

And the earlier we realise that a better and safe Nigeria is possible only when men – leaders and the led – turn a new leaf, the better.

Ahmed Oluwasanjo writes from Abuja and can be reached on ahmedoluwasanjo@gmail.com.