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Let's Be Humans First Before We're Nigerians by Derajoyce(f): 10:54am On Jul 03, 2018
“Are you still breathing?” I asked.

Upon hearing my question, he chuckled, and then called me the love of his life. I hung up.
The last time we had spoken to each other was three months ago. The next time we might speak again would probably be in six months, but I was glad he was alive.
He would have been among the fatalities that burned to ashes. Something prevented him that day from not being consumed on the road he uses to commute every day. Reports say about 67 cars were affected and an ample number of charred remains of victims after, a fully-loaded 33,000-litre fuel tanker exploded on the Otedola Bridge along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

On the night of the accident, I could not sleep. I was up by 3 am, tussling in my sheets, trying to shrug off images of cars on fire.
How could this happen? I pondered.
It could have been me. It could have been you.
I wept hard!

It is safe to believe no one I knew personally was lost in the fire. Yet, I suffered the pain of loss so deep, unlike anything I have ever felt before. It wouldn’t be the first accident to occur. In fact, the accident was coincident with a devastating 48-hours long attack in about six villages in Plateau state. An estimated number of 200 people was slaughtered. Families were wept off the face of the Earth as the repercussion for 300 stolen cows. How plausible is that?

It was tragic to hear but not remotely personal. Truth be told, it seemed a little too far off and I didn’t know anyone there. Perhaps that’s why I felt no human emotion other than a minute of sadness. I could go on about the continuous Benue attacks that have taken turns in the news. It almost seems customary to read that 30 people have been murdered in a bizarre attack. It happens every day.

Not that morning. The morning following the accident, I felt guilt beyond imagination; inexplicable guilt and thorough inadequacy at my inability to do anything. I couldn’t help, I couldn’t do anything.
I struggled with this notion, importing it into my workplace. My face displayed the grief that burdened my heart to the notice of my colleagues who took the liberty to ask if I had lost anyone. Of course, I hadn’t. But is that all? Do I have to loose someone to feel sad?

Next, one of them sad, “Thank God… Don’t worry about it. It happens every day.” I asked why he wasn’t upset about what happened, he smiled, lifted his gentle lips and then said, “That’s just the way it is. In this country, all you need to do is look after yourself.”
He confessed his brutal truth. Is that all we would do? Help ourselves?

I prayed for Nigeria that morning. Absolutely not the usual mandatory prayer point that says “pray for the nation.” It was one of few moments I actually poured out my heart to my Father. I begged him to restore us. Perhaps the President is right after all. Who knows, if we all pray, maybe angels will come down and rebuild our broken nation.
Up till now, I can’t help but question the intention. I find the intention behind a prayer point is crucial. Do we pray for a miracle to happen or do we pray to be better people?

That same morning, overwhelmed by my weighty thoughts, I decided to take a walk to work ignoring the darkened clouds. I recall being surprised by the sudden downpour. I stood there without an umbrella, unsure of what to do. I signalled at the first car I saw, with eyes pleading for a lift to the nearest bus stop. The car drove past, ignoring all my hand gestures. Well, I remained unbothered and let the other cars drive past. I continued walking, then, I heard a horn. I looked back to see the driver who persuaded me to get in. He said he couldn’t have driven past me, seeing I walked in the rain. I was touched. I wondered if I would pick a complete stranger who was walking in the rain or if I would be too fearful to help?

He was kind to me, and I became kinder to the next person I met after him. That’s the RIPPLE EFFECT!
The ripple effect of an unfortunate event is the root cause of mayhem in a society. Of course, you can see how it affects us, Nigeria. Frequent attacks birth national insecurity and when a territory is notorious for insecurity issues, it fails to attract foreign investments and even local investments. The ripple effect: high rates of unemployment, low-income levels and the list goes on.

Once more, the ripple effect of attacks in Benue don’t just affect the families that lost members, it actually affects everyone.
I'll show you how, Benue is the nation's acclaimed food basket because of its plentiful agricultural produce of Yam, Rice, Beans, Cassava, Sweet-potato, Maize, Soybean, Sorghum, Millet, Sesame, cocoyam, just to name a few. When a village in Benue is attacked, farmlands are burned completely and people are killed (most of these people are farmers) and thus food supply is shortened. Now, when demand remains unchanged and supply is decreased, it causes an increase in the prices of foodstuff overnight. That’s the ripple effect of one attack from one angle. You might not notice the difference immediately but it occurs. Everything affects everything, and you do not need to have a dead family member before you are at a loss. How else do think we’ve gotten to the position of having the poorest people living in our nation?

Truth is, there’s nothing I could have done to stop the attacks or the fire. There’s still little I can do to support the victims. However, I can be a nice human. I can make someone happy today. Or at least try not to intentionally hurt anyone. There’s a deeper understanding of what it means to be human, taking just one second each day to lend a helping hand to the next person. We can’t all offer lifts, not that we should but we can do something, anything!

Everything affects everything. Just like the Imam who hid 262 Christians in a mosque, who would have otherwise been slaughtered. He is one of the countless numbers of people that have risked their lives to lend a helping hand.
On top of that, there’s the PVC card. In all honesty, I haven’t gotten mine yet. I didn’t think I'd be needing it. I used to think it wouldn’t make a difference. That’s the same way I think smiling at a stranger or lending a helping hand wouldn’t make a difference. Yet it does.

It’s hard to be sane in a society that’s prone to chaos, bloodshed and poverty. But, it’s not impossible to be a good human. Let’s all be human first before we’re Nigerian.


Re: Let's Be Humans First Before We're Nigerians by Nobody: 7:55pm On Jul 04, 2018
Hmmm....I have got to comment on this....
Gotta do more than just "like" this one.
Lord have mercy on our souls....
What a most touching, sincere, raw, emotional yet inspiring written piece....
Whomever wrote this, wrote from the depths of his/her soul.
Although this is written specifically towards Nigerians and what is happening in the country, this speaks to ALL humans...regardless of country, ethnicity, race, sex, religion etc...
Thank you for the reminder..
So beautifully written..just plain beautiful.

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Re: Let's Be Humans First Before We're Nigerians by MysteryFinder: 9:20am On Jul 07, 2018
Thank you writer, it is good writeup.

1 Like

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