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Cheapening of lives in Nigeria

AS at Friday, March 15, 2019, the official count of the dead from the collapsed school building on Massey Street, Lagos Island, had reached 20, while 45 injured persons were still in various hospitals.

File: Nigerian girl with flags

Sadly, this latest tragedy involving school children came only a week after more than 30 Nigerians had lost their lives in the 2019 general elections.

These also came in the midst of reported renewed attacks in Benue State and Southern Kaduna by suspected herdsmen militias who had been ominously quiet in the months prior to the general elections.

These raise the question once again: When will Nigeria be fed up with this careless way we live and die? When shall we stand up and do something about this gross cheapening of the lives of our people which is fast becoming a trite, daily routine for us?

The catalogue of avoidable deaths in Nigeria is quite “rich”: If it is not herdsmen attacking  innocent people in their homes at night and wiping them out, it will be road users burnt in fires from fallen petrol-carrying tankers, or people crushed to death by freight containers falling off trucks due to bad roads.

At other times, it would be young Nigerians who end up in the bowel of the Sahara Desert or the Mediterranean Sea trying to escape from the prevailing unemployment and sundry hardships in the country arising from poor leadership.

The noble purpose of governance is getting lost in this country. People manning the various offices of government have lost focus, and everybody appears only interested in activities that will give them access to power and money – lots of it.

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During these ongoing 2019 general elections, soldiers and security agents were mobilised to protect the vote and deal ruthlessly with vote-snatchers and election-riggers. Many of them allegedly turned around to provide security or cover for election-riggers and vote thieves!

As we prepare for the inauguration of new governments all over the country on  May 29, 2019, we hope that the new administrations at all levels will refocus fully on the core mandate of government as prescribed by our Constitution: the protection of the lives and property of Nigerians.

Whether we are talking about weak regulation in the building industry, poor maintenance of public infrastructure, poor attitude to law enforcement, corruption in crime prevention and correction or securing the lives of the people from internal insurrection or external aggression, we demand that government must start working again. Government must once more become relevant in the lives of the citizens.

More than everything else, the citizen must begin to feel protected once again. If the ordinary Nigerian is considered unsafe no foreigner will come here to invest and help grow our economy.

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