• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Prince Jeffrey Alex: The callous extinguishing of a 22 year old student

ajayi crowther

Since news broke about the callous murder of a 22-year-old student at Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, I have been ill at ease. A 22-year-old accused of stealing a phone is beaten for eight hours by his schoolmates. Schoolmates who became accusers, judges, juries, and executors? It boggles the mind.

I have sat sleepless for the last twenty-four hours pondering how this tragedy came upon us as a nation. How did this become our educational institutions, and how do children in their twenties descend to such bestiality? I shudder to think about the entire event.

So, a group of students took the law into their own hands, beat up a fellow student on allegations of theft, and literally killed him. No one handed him over to security. No one called the police. Instead, they took him into a room and meted jungle justice on him after forcefully shaving his head.

I have played the events leading to his death over and over in my head. This young man was not kidnapped. He did not die at the hands of criminals or bandits. He died at the hands of his schoolmates. People he knew. People he shared bread with. People he may have partied with, some of whom he considered his friends.

It is the empty and sad feeling one gets when one finds out that someone you thought you knew had bad-mouthed you at a place where it was possible to destroy you. That feeling of betrayal—of grief, disbelief, and sadness—that envelopes one for days is nothing compared to what this young student went through.

The beating until he could no longer feel pain, the humiliation, the disbelief. Beyond the alleged perpetrators, to whom we shall return shortly, what about the onlookers? The Internet, social media, and television have suddenly turned us all into monsters whose only interest is creating content, no matter how horrific that content is. To gain more ‘likes’ is more important than calling for help. It is sad that the young student may have been saved if only one student had reported the incident. Eight hours is a long time.

And then there were the many questions. Who started the accusation? Who struck him first? Whose room was he taken to? Who ordered the mob’s action? What did he say when all of this was going on? And of course, the set of young people we are bringing up, whose interest is not whether someone lives or dies but how popular they are, In their numbers, they beat up a defenceless young man and left him in the room to die.

What were the thoughts of young Jeffrey as he lay down, dying at the hands of his schoolmates, his friends, and his parents? He is the only son of his mother, her joy, and, as they say in Nigerian parlance, her eyes, her hope. No one should ever be placed in the place where Jeffrey’s mother has found herself. Without her only son—because a group of self-righteous young men chose to show off their happening prowess by killing her son in a manner that reduced them all to lower animals.

Something has broken in our community if students are capable of this beastly act that sets everyone wondering about our parenting and our collective humanity. I shudder to think what words of pain and hurt were hurled at the young Jeffrey as they snuffed life out of him, debased him, undignified him, and set him up for a painful, slow death. So after this, how will his murderers sleep? How would their lives end?

Nigeria’s self-righteous, ill-bred brats are coming to the fore and manifesting in different ways. The torture and murder of a fellow human being is not normal. To what end is Jeffrey’s death?

The Vice Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University has spoken and declared his university cult-free. Well, what shall we say? The murder of Jeffrey is very cult-like, I daresay, and very mafia-like. The drawing of blood, the number involved, the torture, the punishment strategy, and the I don’t care attitude of the perpetrators smack of a combination of drugs and cultism.

The Vice Chancellor and the school management need to reflect long and hard. Does he, in fact, know his students well enough? And if he does, who are these interlopers who have brought his university to disrepute, and are there more like them? There are so many students acting normal but bullying their way through school and committing heinous acts behind closed doors. Then there are those brusque ones whose modus operandi is defying constituted authority and daring everyone.

And guess what? It is not gender-specific. There are bad boys and bad girls in our universities. I teach at a university, and it is not easy to decipher these students. Sometimes, it is not those who seem rough at the edges who commit the worst atrocities. The seemingly simple guy might be the one. One needs the wisdom of Solomon.

And in all of this, I am on all fours with actress Toyin Abraham in going back to our roots and the upbringing of children in our traditional values of respect and kindness. Something has broken in our communities, and the Internet, social media, and the western culture of “every child is equal with their parents” have left us in tatters as a society.

Something broke and has left us bewildered for a long time. When did torturing and killing someone become a sport and entertainment? Something broke and took Jeffrey with it. I mourn deeply with the family of this 22-year-old whose life and starlight have been abruptly cut short. May he rest in peace, and may his family, especially his mom, find peace. Amen.

I am truly devastated for Jeffrey, honestly for our educational system, and truly for the perpetrators whose lives have also come to a halt.

By the way, what is the role of a porter in a school? And when we send our children to universities and schools across the world, what is our safety net other than the grace of God?

Something is lost in our society, and sadly, Jeffrey is a reminder, and he paid the supreme price. May he rest. Amen.

I still cannot sleep.