When you go to a butcher’s shop, the fresh animal for sale welcomes you with open teeth while the butcher asks what part interests you. Sometimes, to make you enthralled, he tosses a bloodied part of the animal upwards, catches it with athletic precision and rubs his knives together in anticipation to cut and sell. As it happens in most cases, you might decide to haggle over the price. After some minutes, if a price is agreed, the meat is cut and you go home with your purchase.
This is a story of a butcher we all know. We have known the butcher since birth and business still booms for him.
How much is a Nigerian life worth? Recently, some students engaged in a peaceful protest at Nasarawa State University and were allegedly killed by butchers in uniform. Their bodies will be fed to the earth for free. That has been the modus operandi of these types of butchers. For every meat the consumer buys, the full price must be paid. Again, how much is a Nigerian life worth?
Months ago, four students of University of Port Harcourt were killed. There was an argument over a missing laptop and other materials. Then, some individuals took it upon themselves to act as judges. They gathered the “thieves” and lynched them. The actions of these butchers were recorded. The cameramen are butchers! Everyone who watched the incident, live, without intervening is a butcher. Did they sell their meat?
Last year, a girl was reported to have died after she fell into a well in Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State. The university authorities reportedly claimed the event never occurred in the school premises. Students and eye-witnesses present, however, confirmed the death. The story, after some days, was forgotten. The investigation died. The earth was fed.
The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway takes its own share of human cadaver annually. One wonders who the real butcher is: the road or the road owner? The number of deaths continues to soar. No solutions proffered. How much is a Nigerian life worth?
A former president woke up one sunny morning and decided to uproot some human weeds in Odi, Bayelsa State, and till today, he has not been prosecuted for his acts. What kind of butcher is that? A privileged one? When a group of international companies, in the name of searching for gold, allegedly kill children in Zamfara State daily, what do we call that? Or when a group of oil companies, in the name of searching for crude oil, gradually exterminate man and nature, how do we categorise this butchery?
The list can go on and on. You can fill the gaps. Amidst these deaths, we sit down with our hands folded, watch as our brothers and sisters leave the earth and do nothing. Perhaps we don’t know what a Nigerian life is worth?
The worst and the most irritating is the butcher that uses no knife. He uses his tongue and people simply die. One lie can send a million to their grave. The millions know his lies but they choose to follow, regardless. Death over life is their choice.
Just how much is the Nigerian life worth? Should we go through so much stress to protect it? What are the steps we are taking to prevent some avoidable deaths?
Time is coming when the butcher will begin to hack down without