I am troubled. My heart is very troubled.
Today, someone sent me a whatsapp video claiming it to be one of the incidents of the Kaduna crisis. It was a video of some elderly men and women brutally lynched, burnt alive. They were quite old and helpless and some young men, old enough to be their adult grand children, hit them with the weight of their bodies, with sticks and covered them with branches and leaves and set them on fire. One of the elderly men sat helpless while the fire burnt him; he could not resist the vehemence with which these younger men prevented them from escaping; he succumbed to it, letting the fire burn him without flinching. The two old women tried to gather strength to escape but they struck them harder and pulled them to the fire. I cannot get this picture out of my mind. For years, I have had to deal with the videos of a child [a boy, probably less than 14 years] and some other university youths, suspected petty thieves [mothers and ladies], stripped, lynched or burnt alive for unfounded reasons by mobs. While the ones with proof of crime get away alive, these others are killed so awfully, so inhumanely and so wantonly.
In my research, I discovered that the video of which these elderly were burnt alive was an incident that happened few years ago in another African country [and not in Kaduna, Nigeria]. The young people in that community killed their elderly relatives [grannies] for the acres of sought-after land these grannies refuse to sell; and labeled these elderly witches. And so, “after life fitful labour” and pain to raise up their offspring, these turn around and snatched life out of them in the most gruesome manner they [these elderly] could never had imagined for themselves; worst still, from those they placed hope to care for them at their weakest moment.
Back in my country, the Kaduna crisis and other crises, have left many babies, mothers, fathers and grannies also butchered and charred.
No one, whether a hardened criminal or not, deserves such brutality and wanton execution. It is barbaric and inhumane; not even animals are killed in this manner. This act of violence has gone on for too long in our African societies. It is either within a community or between communities within a country, or by fellow countrymen against their neighbouring country and race. It is no longer differences that bring about this hateful act but even those things we thought should bind us as one [one family, one country, one race and One God] tear us apart to killing one another with so much bitterness, hatred, greed and violence.
I wonder whether the perpetrators of these mob killings were ever raised in homes where the love that gave birth to them dwelt. How do they sleep after these acts? How do they watch themselves do this evil to their fellow ones? How do onlookers watch with so much excitement, videoing and unfeeling? How can they be so wicked and inhuman and put their grannies, mothers, daughters, sons and children through this traumatic execution for whatever reasons? The excuse that our security agents are slackly should not reduce us to such inhumanity towards one another. We should stop taking the laws into our hands because they are making innocent people suffer and die wantonly. We should stop killing and hating our fellow men and women and children in the name of our God who is all love, Creator and pro-life, goodness and peace, and urging us to be so too.
Let parents begin to live up to their responsibility to their children and teach them to be kind to their fellow persons. Let the religious institutions and leaders preach with one voice of love and holiness because this is who the God they preach is. Let our teachers and lecturers and professors teach the true values of life and living so that their proteges can give and add value to society. Let our government begin to serve and revive our country so that our people may find their home habitable again. Let us individually and collectively commune more closely and daily with our Creator to know Him better and He will groom us best to love and serve Him and one another as we should; and together we will all make our family, our community, our country and our world better and greater.
Let us love again, it is not difficult but feels good. God help us in Jesus Christ Holy Name. Amen.
By Ifeanyi Chukwudi