Like so many of you I was saddened to read about and watch the killings of four young men who were allegedly killed for stealing blackberries and laptops in ALUU Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The reason I say "allegedly" is because I do not know the truth of the matter and I rarely assume when it comes to such cases. Some say they were killed because they were cultists, others say it was because they stole blackberries. It really does not matter what they did at the end of the day, the legal system and the police of a nation should be the ones who handle crime. Those of you who watched the video, you would notice how those boys were treated like common animals. The inhumane nature of the killing is what got to most of us, where did our collective humanity go?
Honestly watching that video, my immediate reaction wasn't one of shock or sadness. It was more of "weariness". My soul became heavy and it cried at the sorry state of the human condition. Where did we get to the point as a nation where young men could potentially be killed over blackberries and laptop?
Why are we acting like these killings are something new? They have been burning and killing people for stealing meatpie in Nigeria for a long time. This is nothing new, the only thing new is the fact that we are able to see it due to new technology. The pictures and videos help drive home the full picture.Some people are asking that those responsible for the killings be held responsible. I argue that "WE""the citizens of Nigeria" are responsible for those killings. We are accomplices to the killings of those four young boys. For so long, "WE" have accepted mediocrity in our nation and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Were we not all accomplices? Accomplices to murder. Accomplices to corruption. Accomplices to bad leadership? Accomplices to the violation of human rights? Have we not all stood by and participated explicitly or tacitly in promoting this cult of mediocrity? Does mediocrity start from the Top Down or from the ground up? Even the bus driver who pays 20 Naira to the police officer is as guilty as the house of speaker who steals 20 million naira.
Sometimes in Nigeria, it is common to hear one say "Nigeria is Bad because our leaders are corrupt". My friend Sasha told me that she came across a quote that says "People get the leaders that they deserve". Tacitly or Explicitly we have chosen these leaders and they are a reflection of the character of our people. These leaders are not some alien force. They are made up of people like us, and they reflect the moral character of our nation.
At the end of the day "WE" as a people have failed ourselves and failed our nation. Until "WE" decide to dig ourselves out of this grave of mediocrity we will continue to witness the complete degradation of our human existence and our souls will become numb to such actions. So for those asking for the people responsible for the killings to be held accountable. I point you to the main culprits "WE" the people were responsible for those killings.