Justice for children victims of the killing spree
IF yours truly had the enormous powers available to Mister President one would have long declared one work-free day as a holiday, strictly and specifically meant for fervent and intense prayers of the citizens against the rampaging monster of insecurity. One is sore worried about premeditated evil acts that have turned several Nigerian states into the killing fields of the African continent. The unfolding tragic, yet preventable events that currently haunt and hound us as a people go beyond the physical to the spiritual realm.
If in doubt, consider the strange death of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni, a student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos State who allegedly died from the beating he received from fellow students in November. There is yet another gory tale of eight children found dead in an abandoned car at Adelayo Street, Jah-Michael area of Badagry area of Lagos the previous Sunday. It is suspected that they may have died out of suffocation from excessive heat! And while we were still agonising over those dastardly deaths came the heart-rending tragedy of how the driver of the articulated truck ran into the students at Grammar School Bus stop at Grammar School, Ojodu-Berger, Lagos killing some and maiming others.
With regards to the recurring ugly decimal of preventable deaths of the young ones in Nigeria, according to Amnesty International, (AI)’s Osai Ojigho, school children in some parts of northern Nigeria are constantly at risk of death or abduction. It is reported that, “more than 780 children have been abducted for ransom since February 2021 during mass attacks on schools or religious institutions, with some of the children killed during the attacks”.
All the listed deaths are only part of a saddening spectrum of the scarce regards given to the sacredness of human life here in Nigeria. Painfully, it is getting worse by the day. So, the questions remain. Are the heartless killers of these innocent children not from some families? Were they brought up to value only their lives and not that of other fellow citizens? Do they not attend some churches and mosques? Were they not taught that there is a Judgment Day and that someday sooner or later each of us will die and that we shall have questions to answer with regards to how we lived our lives?
As for those in government, what legacies are they going to leave behind and to be remembered for? That of overseeing killings upon killings of innocent souls and yet always reeling out blames of others but never themselves? Is it that of paying tributes or endless condolence messages and giving porous assurance that they are on top of the situation? That is, instead of taking proactive security measures and allowing for political restructuring and state police to bring security closer to the people? What manner of Nigeria are these leaders going to bequeath our youths, if there is no regard for their lives?
While more than 180,000 people have signed petitions demanding justice for Sylvester Oromoni, let the process be transparent because of the conflicting reports trailing his death. While Dowen College claimed that the boy died as a result of injuries sustained while playing football, a family member – Sylvester’s cousin – alleged on Twitter that five boys had accosted Sylvester, locking him in his hostel and giving him a chemical to drink – none of which has yet been corroborated by the police, who say they are still investigating. In all of these, let justice be served and speedily too. Let the lives of our children count, because like it or not, the future belongs to them.