The hope is the worst part of it.
The way they lay there, beaten and
broken, battered and bruised. Knowing
their end had come for certain. Knowing
that the crowd meant to see this through
to the end. And yet, in the midst of all this
certainty, in some small corner of their
hearts, hoping. That something would
happen, some miracle perhaps.
I am speaking of course, of the #Aluu4,
students of University of Port Harcourt
who were beaten and set ablaze last
I'd heard the news sometime last week
and devoted all of 10 seconds of thought
to it. I wondered briefly who the students
were, and what could possibly have
driven them to steal. I briefly wondered if
they were really guilty but my mind
quickly shied away from where that road
could lead. I remembered all the stories I
grew up hearing about thieves and the
instant justice meted out to them, and
mentally shook my head.
That would have been all, I suppose, but
for the video. It is probably the most
gruesome thing I have ever seen, and the
worst I ever hope to see.
There, I've said it again. Somehow it
seems there is no escaping it.
Because when things like this happen, it
seems our default reaction is to hope it
will never happen to us or any one we
know or love. Then we hope that our
religion and hard work and luck will
exempt us from senseless suffering.
Sometimes we hope that right thing will
be done, the wrong doers brought to
book, and the victims receive some sort
of justice.
Every day we hope the country we live in
will be a better place for us and for our
And that is the problem with hope.
That we have allowed it to cripple us and
render us inactive.
You , me, all of us who sit by hoping and
doing nothing to change.
The question is not whether or not the 4
boys stole anything. That is quite besides
the point.
Let us ask instead: What do I need to
ensure my children do not grow up
hearing stories like these?
What would it cost to make this country
and are we willing to pay the price?
Because if I were there that day, would I
have spoken up and done my best to put
a stop to it? Or silently stood by,
condemning the actions in my heart, but
doing nothing? Would I have been seized
by the bloodlust and fear and anger
myself, and spurred them on with my
shouts, and cries for blood, maybe tossed
in a rock or two for good measure.
The society is a mirror of each of us. It is
sad and sickening that this was allowed to
happen. It shows us all what we are
capable of, what w will each do given the
right set of circumstances.
These 4 murdered men, their deaths
should not be in vain. If anything good
could come out of a mess so sordid, let it
be that every Nigerian begins to think
about the problem and what to do to solve
it. Let it be that we understand the
problem is ourselves and our failure to
take a stand against injustice and
lawlessness over the years. Let it be that
we promise ourselves never to let this
happen again. Not on our land. Not as
long as we're alive.
I hope this time we get it right.
Source:M.I Abaga