Being born under slavery is a very dehumanizing experience. The nations who practice it create a sense of inequality among their people that hardly ever goes away. While I was born in post independence nigeria, the shadows of colonialism still loomed large over the nation in my childhood. The effects of it are quite similar to slavery as man’s rights and freedom are taking away from him and foreign rule imposed by force. While the nation will never overcome the effects of it, the waning impact of it is obvious to those born pre-independence or born shortly after nigeria gained independence. At the time and still to some extent we adored our foreign overlords specially and saw them as a superior race.
Our children today cannot relate to that. We were clearly second class and it was beyond debate in our view. Across Africa, as nation after nation gained independence from their colonial masters, it became disheartening as the indigenous leaders began to replicate the oppressive regimes of the former foreign imperialists and oppressed their own people. Apparently the image of domineering leadership that the colonialists demonstrated before Africans appealed to their selfish and animalistic instincts. They turned on their own people in naked abuse of power, using the full force of the military, police and paramilitary forces. The forces who had inherited a tradition of training with verbal and physical abuse as part of the system and had developed the oppressive character we see today have become a burden on our nations.
Nigeria has been a part of the experience described above, hence the endless police brutality the citizens have been subjected to. I still remember the sights of police beating people up to a pulp while arresting them in my youth. I grew up with a terrible dread of the police and the army as a result. The same ones sent to protect us have turned against us in combat and complete misunderstanding of their purpose. Unknown to the oppressor and the oppressed, the root cause of the problem is a lack of value for human life. Slave masters and colonialists plied their trades out of a sense of superiority and pride only rooted in satanic influence. In saner climes where human lives are valued, every one is treated with dignity and honor and every race, color and creed are viewed as equal.
The police are very much in focus in Nigeria at the time of this writing with the #ENDSARS #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY protests engulfing the nation. However, the foundation of it all stems from the lack of value of the colonialists for African lives, passed down to Africans, turning them against one another. Africans must take responsibility for this because while they fought for independence on the grounds of equality for the human race, turning against their own people is only a matter they succumbing to their baser instincts. Today, the police lack value for the citizens and vice versa, our tribes and ethnicities look down on one another, government officials look down on the commoners and treat them with disdain, teachers handle students with despise, medical personnel treat their patience with lack of empathy, construction workers build with substandard materials endangering human lives, businesses are positioned at risk to people, public transporters drive with recklessness, driving license offices give out license without tests and the list is endless.
The problem is deeper than the police force and calls for national reorientation and reformation. Our national leaders must discern the root cause and courageously but selflessly combine enlightenment and the rule of law to build a more egalitarian society than we have today. Finding the true value of the human life demands a look into the beginning of man and into history. The maker of man decided to create him in His own image and likeness. He is made in the essence of God and functioned in His character. When man fell from the lofty height of God’s glory to his present sorry state, it took the Son of God coming to earth and laying down His own life to redeem him. If truly the value of a product is reflected in its price tag, the life of Christ is the price of man’s soul. In this divine plan, redemption places the human soul on the sacred plane. No wonder from the beginning of history, human life has been sacred. When Cain took his brothers life, he had to live as a fugitive away from the presence of God. God demanded that every soul that took a human life whether human or animal had to be killed.
Life is sacred and must be valued. We must inculcate this sense of value into every Nigerian and let it manifest in love for one another, compassion for our fellow countrymen, a handling of our commonwealth with every sense of responsibility and honesty, respect for one another, acceptance of our differences, strong maintenance culture, sanitary and environmental cleanliness and the enforcement of health and safety laws. All I have enumerated here and above are natural results of value for our lives as Nigerians. Truth be told, we have not been taught and we must be so instructed for us to build a healthy nation with strong foundational structures to endure for a long time and be safe for future generations.