People will treat you according to the value you place on yourself or the way you treat yourself. If you don’t have self-worth, don’t expect outsiders to see the worth in you. When you can’t appreciate yourself, it is impossible for others to appreciate you. Until you realise your worth and put a value on yourself, people will treat you like garbage. You grudgingly buy a bunch of banana at Balogun market for four hundred naira, while the same bunch of banana will be bought happily for eight hundred naira in a supermarket. The difference is not that the banana sold at the supermarket is sweeter or fresher, it is simply because it has been well packaged to increase its worth.
There is a country, in West Africa, where human beings can be killed for trivial religious reasons or because you speak Yoruba instead of Hausa. You will expect that perpetrators of such heinous acts to be severely punished, unfortunately, they walk around free. In this country, scores of people die daily from unavoidable or useless reasons such as kidnapping, herdsmen clashes, insurgency, police brutality, religious issues, etc.
Many cases of trigger-happy police officers killing innocent and harmless citizens because of meagre sums like N50, 100 naira is not alien to this country. I am talking about a country; a young person can be gunned down for driving a flashy Mercedes Benz car or having a tattoo, and the officer will go unpunished. The alleged killing of a tricycle rider in Abia state over N100 bribe by a soldier is still fresh in our memory. The son left behind by the deceased will grow up to learn that his father was cut down at his prime, by the same people that were meant to protect him.
In a few years’ time, the soldier may walk free as has been in many cases, with their only punishment being dismissal from the force. The special anti-robbery squad (SARS) of this country’s police force established to help curtail robbery has turned to monsters, who extort, torture ordinary citizens at any given chance, and kill anyone who dares challenge their crude ways. Calls for them to be disbanded have met deaf ears. The unabating Fulani herdsmen crisis has taken the lives of many persons, yet no concrete solution has been provided to tackle this monster.
Abuja-Kaduna expressway has become a kidnapping haven for quite some time, with many persons missing, yet nothing has been done. In this country, once someone dies, there will be social media uproar with people commenting and tweeting from the comfort of their rooms, then a handle from one of the government officials will post “We are deeply saddened by the unfortunate loss of 10 persons in… We condemn the dastardly act, and we condole with the families. The president has directed the Inspector General of Police to investigate the loss of innocent citizens and ensure they are brought to book.”
This will be the end of it, next two days, the keyboard warriors will forget about the loss of lives, and move on to another distraction as if it was a lizard that just died. Investigations may be carried out or not, depending on the status of the persons involved. Lives are lost everyday in this country due to senselessness and absurd recklessness. The deaths are hardly investigated because the value of a life has greatly diminished.
The recent xenophobic attack on Nigerians in South Africa, which has become a tradition is another pointer to how Nigerian lives are wasted without anyone being held responsible. Some overzealous South Africans were boasting on social media, that they will continue to deal with Nigerians because the Nigerian government won’t do anything. A government that has failed woefully to protect its citizens in its land, cannot be expected to protect those in foreign lands.
There have been reports of attacks on Nigerian lives and businesses in Togo, Ghana, etc. but the government has never done anything because human lives have no value here. Even the protest by some Nigerians in Lagos state over the xenophobic attack has led to the death of a Nigerian. How poor can we get in crowd control? It is shameful, that the Nigerian Polic Force find it difficult to control protests without using their guns. Nigerians will always be vulnerable to attacks in foreign lands, until our government starts respecting the dignity of human life, and desist from making comments, such as the one our president made overseas that many Nigerians are criminals.
Nigerians will continue to be victims of xenophobic attacks and other senseless attacks in foreign lands until we start giving value to Nigerian life.
Because self-worth ultimately comes from within, the value you place on yourself is the only type of worth you can control. Let’s place a premium value on Nigerian life.