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The political value of a Nigerian life

By Emmanuel Aziken

The dangers inherent in journalism are brutally being conveyed to the whole world by the unfolding developments around the disappearance of the missing Saudi journalist, Jammal Khashoggi. Khashoggi was reportedly dismembered in his country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey earlier this month. He was killed on account of his sensitive commentaries that apparently did not put the Saudi government in good light.

However, Hauwa Liman, the Nigerian humanitarian worker, who was killed by Boko Haram within days of the execution of Khashoggi was not given to provocation as a professional past time. Hauwa, on the contrary, was working with the Red Cross, helping to fill the gaps left by her government when she fell into the hands of the Boko Haram militants.

Boko Haram member

The terrorists did not consider it that she was a Muslim as they had proclaimed themselves to be. They also did not consider it that she was trying to fill the gap created by the failures of government that originally spurred the Boko Haram rebellion.

Hauwa was killed to score a point. But that point was easily swallowed in the cacophony in the camp of those who her killers were trying to send the message to.

Nigerian troops foil Boko Haram attack on base

Carried away by the desperate attempt to win election, the political class put the murder of Citizen Hauwa Liman as a footnote in the midst of the high-wired politicking going on around the country. The political actors were more concerned by the time-lines set by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,than the brazen murder of Hauwa.

Only last month Saifura Khorsa, another aid worker kidnapped along with Hauwa was killed by the terrorists and the government’s response was nothing more than a mutter.

Even the opposition that should help to rouse the government to its responsibility was also negligent in its responsibility. It is such a harrowing thing for many Nigerians grappling with the developments pertaining to Khashoggi in Turkey to realize the value to which the political class in Nigeria holds the life of the citizens of the country.

Yes, after President Muhammadu Buhari’s celebrated telephone call to Hauwa’s father, nothing much has been heard from government as bandits who were told have been technically defeated hold the nation to ransom.

The killing of Khorsa last month should have demanded a more sober response from the authorities, if not, an indignation that never again would such a thing happen. But alas, it passed away and the following month, it was Hauwa’s turn on the death row. Killed in the act of humanitarian service filling out the role that government had failed to fill.

The week before, President Donald Trump was gloating all about after he snatched an American citizen from a Turkish prison where he had been held apparently as a victim in a proxy battle between Turkey and the United States. America has shown that it would do anything to secure the liberty of her citizens from any part of the world.

But for Nigeria with many of her citizens held captive by Boko Haram and other local non-state actors within Nigerian territory, the government is seemingly helpless in its primary duty of safeguarding the life and property.

But beyond the death of the two humanitarian aid workers, countless more Nigerians are dying on account of the failures of governance.

Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and the roads around it in the Apapa end of Lagos have practically turned into an eyesore and a disgrace to governance. Tankers and trailers have choked the whole environment that many people living in that area are being forced to relocate. Many people have been attacked by hoodlums in the traffic snarl caused by the tankers leading to significant losses.

It is such a pity that life including the life has been significantly devalued in the country. What a shame!


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.