The extremely dangerous human being is that being that lacks the knowledge of what humanity means. That human being who deprived himself/herself, the feelings that certifies him/her to be human. A human being that doesn’t understand the simple principle of the right to dignity of life; of his own life not to talk of the right of another…that human being stripped of his core identity and oblivious of the value of what his own life entails. The humanoid that begins to behave less than a human being. He is that, which has blurred his lenses of humanity and continues to wreak havoc on his person and everyone that comes an inch near him.

“The beatings I received in the mornings are different from the ones I received in the noon and worst than the ones I received in the evening. Everyday of the days I stayed in captivity I was maimed, I was brutally assaulted; crushed physically, mentally and psychologically. I was also battered spiritually I couldn’t understand why I should be going through this? Was it something I did, that I am being punished for? What did I ever do to amount to this degree of hell on earth? Oh Allah! Whatever I did please forgive me Ya Allah! Let me see my family again, Oh Almighty!” A survivor I know lamented his ordeal; he narrowly escaped the cruel hands of death from the bandits.

As I raptly listened, I pictured the scenario in my head, actively playing the movie of his words in the screen of my mind as I shuddered inwardly; I saw the horror of the cruelty; as monsters parading in human form strictly followed the script that was narrated to me from the survivor. Unconsciously, unaware of the depth of what I just heard, stepping out of that premises that day, I didn’t know I came out broken already from the story…I sat in the car as my son drove us away and I asked him all the questions that taunted me. Questions his inexperience cannot fathom the questions came in torrents forcing agonizing sobs that I’ve held back patiently, waiting to quickly take flight out of the house…the thunderous wracks of agony couldn’t contain themselves anymore, as they erupted into floods of tears running down my face! For a moment I gave up on Nigeria…

Anyone who knows me know how deep my love for Nigeria is. How African my thoughts are and the ideals I uphold about the sanctity and the preservation of what we are as a people. How much I have remained fervently steadfast about my belief in Nigeria. But that day, that day, I completely lost faith in Nigeria!

Forty-Eight hours later I was still in a state of disarray… I still couldn’t fathom how human beings could wreck other human beings. This survivor told me they were deprived of food for days; worst of it all is that they were not allowed to pray, or allowed to go to the bathroom to ease themselves. More than 5 people were killed before his eyes, during his time in their captivity.

I asked, I asked how a human being could degenerate to that level? I asked, how human beings become unfeeling, without a flinch at all hurting or maiming another. I don’t think even animals can hurt their fellow animals in the bush, especially if that animal is of the same specie.

How did this happen to us human beings? I asked again, tormented. When did we get to this stage? How do we guarantee the right to a dignified life in this mayhem? These are questions we must begin to ask ourselves, questions we often normally run away from.

Social experience projects should be one of the methods, channeled into the policy rooms in order to understand causes of social depravity that destroys a human being to be this callous and eccentrically vicious enough to hurt another and assume himself to be a weapon of mass destruction, that devastates every human effort to integrate, unite, love and grow.

Lets go back to how all these started when we said that there was a keg of gun powder threatening to explode. We were far from the truth as the gun powder at that time started finding its way to the skies, polluting the air…and erupting gradually. Eating deeply into the social fabric or should I say the social infrastructure? We were all given the abilities to learn and teach that is why those that preach to others to do right by God and man are held in high esteem…but have we been able to share what we are taught? How many children have we left unattended to? How many have we looked the other way from?

What we see today in the bandits, in the killings are results of all those times we have looked away from the children on the street. We are all suffering from the consequences of our neglect, especially when we started playing the ethno-religious cards…Now WE ALL are suffering, we cannot sleep with our eyes closed anymore because our neglect has murdered sleep, peace of mind and worst of all, it has deteriorated every social strata we can think of. It has stripped away our core identities as human beings. So, the mistakes have been made, what remedies are available now?

It isn’t a lie when our people said that the tree that wasn’t planted twenty years ago the best time to plant is now…So what trees are we planting and nurturing to stem the tide of the ill-omened catastrophe that has befallen in Nigeria? It such trees that will bear fruits for tomorrow. It is therefore, overdue to win back the mind of Nigeria.

Like with all wars and conflict, while the military and other agencies are on the front line of the physical battles that are being fought, government especially, must augment military hardware with psychological grit to get to the heart of this problem and change it. There is a clear disconnect between the values we uphold as human beings and as members of our societies whether as Muslims or as Christians. The barbarity of these hoodlums totally negates that core value.

Those who have taken up arms already may not be tamed unless through force. But it is the army of potential bandits who may be inspired by the apparent impunity and reign of tyranny that is presently on brazen display that must be won over. It is those minds that must be engineered away from this evil that pervades the land. That is the tree that must be planted.


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