Sept 25, 2015 – Boko Haram, Bad Economy & Insecurity In Nigeria: Why Are We All Silent? By Preyor Tarel
What happens in a setting of whom you know prevailing over what you know? Or where you’re from superseding what’s in you?
These may be a puzzle with different solutions. Ebika was born to a land where the river stood as the pillar; the inhabitants drank from it for survival, they set baits in it to catch fishes for sale and consumption, they drove in it to the neighboring villages for commercial and recreational purposes, it was still their en-suite bathroom and toilet. Peasant farmers who plant different crops depending on the season also engaged the soil.
The people living in this land were all guided by customary traditions. They regarded farming and fishing as the ultimate profession. Most of them were only holders of First School Leaving Certificate, from a school that was short of teaching staffs in English language and Mathematics. They had no means to achieve further; unless they travelled all the way to the ‘other end’ but How far could they go when they have no access to roads?
Soon, Ebika’s people thought of a moment of revolution as a research carried out by strangers revealed it had the most valuable economic resource. They lauded in hope that the discovery would be a step to their land advancement. If only they knew it would be an opportunity for the ‘Central’ to exploit, repress and persecute them. The ‘Central’ utilized the riches of Ebika’s land to develop other sections and places and in return left them polluted and outraged. The effect of this resource was harmful to their soil and river and thus became an impediment to their two most highly regarded professions. The loss of their means of livelihood was neglected and they literally became grounded to the dust.
Ebika was so determined that someday, he would use his pen and voice to address the marginalization faced by his people. Things worsened due to extraction of the resource. Ebika’s land and the people increasingly became vulnerable to flooding. It led to death, injury and contamination of aquifers and agricultural soils, and lost habitat for fish, birds, and plants. Some were forced to abandon their homes and relocate. Amidst the environmental degradation, Ebika thought out loud to himself that the lands at the ‘other end’ seem not to be so. He organized members to protest against the widespread destruction and exploitation. The protest yielded no positive result, as there was an extra judicial execution against protestors by the ‘Central’.Ebika showed exemplary and selfless courage by fighting for the rights of his people. They were outrightly denied the means to livelihood because of their supposed small number compared to the people at ‘other end’. The struggle against the dehumanization cost Ebika his life and it sprung up other fighters against the ‘Central’ that it became forced to acknowledge the land and people of Ebika.
This land gradually benefitted from its resource and after many years produced a throne at the ‘Central’. The rulership was first appraised by everyone but soon after became destructive with explosives, killings, maiming, abductions and displacement of individuals. A ‘group at the end’ carried out these entire acts. His signatory to an anti-gay bill made this more difficult as others threatened to sanction. The media was excited with single stories as the complete story may make him feel justified by the public. His weakness was well portrayed and eventually he lost the throne. But it was this same weakness that left them united in peace. Many thought it would lead to war if he’d lost, but that never happened as he proudly took a bow.
What changed the media, citizens and social platforms in this current situation of crunching economy, non-appointment of cabinet and continuous bombings that have led to deaths? Why are we all silent all of a sudden? Do we now recognize the limitation of our non-absolute rights such as freedom of expression or we just felt secured as he is from the ‘other end’ or maybe we now understand it was never better from the onset?
About the author: Preyor Tarel is a 2nd year LLB undergraduate student in University of Hertfordshire.