You think the men who organised and partook in the attempted lynching of Late Justice Oputa’s Son, Charles Oputa, also known as Charly Boy, are the few men you saw that day? Do you really think that those ordinary men tried to put him to death because they cared so much about truth and justice and patriotic to the country they were trying to kill for? You think they did it simply because they were supporters of the President, Muhammadu Buhari?
You think they tried it because they are the most backward of this country’s backward citizens? All Charly Boy wanted was to give the country a face lift. He, like so many others, are tired of having a visiting President. The weak cord binding the fibres of this country’s soul has been weakened further in the man’s absence. Charly was, in his words, trying to wipe out our generational dumbness as a people. And that was what it seemed like.
He may have been bribed like some persons suggested but the cause he was trying to promote makes sense. He may be imperfect but the cause he stood for that day makes sense. So, together with a few men, the spirit led him to Wuse Market in Abuja and he almost paid a price for our collective ignorance and cumulative sin. When the men who felt that he scratched the foot of God came close, the dude ran for his dear life.
Photos uploaded on the internet suggested his car’s windscreen were damaged. The police came later to quell the violence. Some persons are still hungry for his blood and are not afraid to say it. What he simply did was protest against our President’s continual stay abroad. What he did was simply to demand that our sick President in London, who once said that public officers who travel abroad for medical treatment are incompetent and corrupt, returns or resigns.
This was his fundamental human right. There have also been Pro-buhari protests and no harm has been done to them. This too is their fundamental human right and the right of every person in a country where democracy is practised. No one has threatened them with fire and brimstones and words like ‘nuisance’ have not being used to describe them. Isn’t it troubling that only the Pro-Buhari protesters have experienced great level of police protection?
But why was Charly almost lynched? What gave his killers such effrontery to attempt to send him out of this world in broad light? Who were the drummers beating the sound they tried to mime to? The simple answer is all of us. Chill, I will explain.
First. The government and leaders. The different administrations and regimes that have run this country have done little to promote the value placed on human life. The respective government’s have being wayward in tackling issues pertaining to lynching, jungle justice, proper human behaviour and nationalism.
A few years back, some Nigerians who went for the immigration exams in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, died in a stampede. The number of persons registered for the exams exceeded the space provided. They stepped on each other and many died. Nothing was done to punish the persons that supervised such calamity on the people. The President didn’t take any drastic measure to prove a point. To show that Nigerian lives matter.
Some months ago, a woman was lynched for preaching close to a mosque somewhere in Abuja and her murderers are walking freely on the street today. No serious attempt was made to bring her killers to justice. The government and top ”activists” only paid lip service to her murder while others neither uttered a word nor did anything positive. Her crime was simply preaching close to a mosque in a secular country.
There was also the case of the woman killed in Kano by religious extremists. The claim was that she insulted the religion of her killers and they delivered her justice. Nothing was done to those murderers who lynched her in the name of religion. And when the President made a statement on social media in response to the matter, it was wrong on all levels. He simply asked that we should be tolerant to the religions of one another.
There have also been the abuse of the right of the individual by persons of the various governments that have led this country. A former governor of Anambra State, Dr Chris Ngige, was kidnapped by men suspected to be under the control of the federal government. Nothing was heard after he returned. Nobody was arrested and it gave the impression that the government supported his kidnap or were behind it.
The point here is, the government of Nigeria has created, over time, a system that has made it difficult to have a real sense of what justice really means. They have, through their actions and inactions, supported impunity and carelessness passively and actively. This has made jungle justice and every form evil a thing of beauty.
They’ve broken the laws effortlessly that breaking the law has become the norm. Because the route to commonsense and true justice is long and requires smartness and truth, something they have shown to lack, they opt for this strategy instead. The result–the normalization of injustice and inhuman behaviours.
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Secondly. The acceptance of personal justice over democratic justice as a result of repeated violence and betrayal of justice by the government. The people, since the creation of Nigeria and practise of democracy, have seen the government abuse human rights repeatedly that the principles of democracy, which should be the bane of a democratic countries, is nonexistent. Because they’ve lost faith in the system, there is now a general believe among nationals that the courts can never give you justice. That the system can never work how it ought to work. That democracy may be good, but some undemocratic methods are better here.
Few years ago, in Aluu community, Rivers State, four young men were killed on false accusations of attempting to steal a laptop. They were beaten with sticks, stones, etc., and finally burned alive while people watched. This is happening in so many places in Nigeria with full support of both the ones who claim to be the most intelligent region and the most backward. But when things like this happened, both sides take turn blaming each other for backwardness.
Both fail to see that they exhibit backwardness differently. The men who tried to lynch Charly did so because the generality of the Nigerian masses, not just the north, have a great support for jungle justice. The men who tried to lynch him did so because the psyche of Nigerians(and by Nigerians, I mean the majority) have been damaged by years of injustice, improper education, bad governance and poor personal conduct.
While the south kills a boy who steals a biscuit on the street, the north kills those who are against the success of their candidate. This is why they tried to lynch Charly Boy. The erroneous sense of justice built through many years of programming is manifesting in that light.
The many years of justice denied, the poor being maltreated, the government abuse of human right, the many years of promotion of jungle justice in the system and the many years of reducing human value have reduced human value and we act as savages. Some northern youths trying to lynch Mr Charly Boy is not new, and like is always the case, the government will do nothing about it which will further institutionalize bad behaviour.
This is not doom prophecy but as long those structures that promote injustice and stupidity are still in place, no progress will be achieved. These are reasons why there are still lynching irrespective of the general sense of empathy we all felt when those boys were lynched and burned in Aluu.
As long we still have leaders who treat the life of their people like that of cockroaches, leaders who have neither sense to rule nor sense to learn how to rule, it will not change.
We’ve seen a President condemn attacks in faraway countries but pretends as though the attacks that happened in his country, within the same period, was someone’s imagination. As long as we have Presidents who think that the lives of foreigners are worth more than the life of his countrymen there will always be that elusion on the true value of life.
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The men who tried to lynch Charly boy got their inspiration from the irresponsibility of our ailing leaders. They are also not irresponsible or have the stamina to stomach the contents of democracy. They don’t only need education, they also need the right experience. The leaders must show that human lives matter and democracy is not about strong persons but institutions.
The ugly truth is that, as usual , nothing will happen to the arrested persons, because the system has been weakened on so many levels and any attempt at doing the right thing is genuinely treated as the wrong antidote. They will be freed after few days, that is, if they are not freed already and nothing with happen. Nobody will do anything about it and if the opportunity presents itself again they will do it again.