Public lynching in Lagos and Edo

Two stories which occupied the headlines the past week pathetically illustrate not only the moral morass into which the nation has sunk, but also how bestial and uncaring we have become towards one another at different levels in our society.

The first story concerned the pubic lynching of a young boy in Lagos. Video footage went viral on the internet. The boy allegedly seven years old was caught stealing. A crowd stood by watching as he was tied up, hacked with a machete, a tyre placed round his neck, and petrol poured on him before finally he burned to death in screams of agony.

The horror filmed by a bystander showed people in the crowd silently watching, either too bestial or too afraid, to try stopping the barbaric murder. Such incidences are recurring nationwidea national disgrace. occurrences nationwide.

It brings to mind a public lynching in Port Harcourt where students mistakenly identified as “armed robbers” were macheted and burned to death in front of a cheering crowd.

It’s incomprehensible how such incidences are on the increase in a nation where we spend so much of our time gathering at prayer houses seeking favours from the Almighty. All the attempts to rationalise this barbarism with excuses about our ineffectual policing methods, or our corrupted judiciary which interminably delays the dispensation of justice, fail the test of logic and reason. Our bestiality towards each other isn’t limited to the marketplace mob it has become a national trait. With our elite political class, it’s the same story.

They care less that their siren blowing escorts regularly maim and kill innocent citizens. Their crass uncaring and barbaric attitude towards the lives of others is exemplified by the Edo State House of Assembly’s amendment of the pension rights of ex-Governors in the State. It’s increasingly apparent that state legislators lack both the integrity and the critical reasoning ability to be of use in national development. In spite of repeated failure to have a positive impact upon society, state legislators refuse to change their backwards, un-progressive and mistake-repeating methods. In order to pass the law at record pace the House suspended relevant sections of its rules.

A new law entitled “A Bill to Amend the 2007 Pension Rights of the Governor and Deputy Governor Law” only amended the existing provisions by imposing upon the people of Edo State the additional burden of providing the “Comrade” and his erstwhile Deputy with luxurious mansions worth N200 million and N100 million respectively.  Oshiomhole’s mansion will go along with a pension for life at a rate equivalent to 100% of his last annual salary, a Special Assistant, two cooks, two armed-security men, three vehicles to be replaced every five years, three drivers and free medical treatment for himself and his family. All to be paid for by the suffering citizens of Edo State. There’s nothing new in political leaders feathering their nests for life by passing self-serving laws, but this, coming in these times of economic adversity, is a slap in the face for Edo State citizens. There is absolutely no justification for this law. “Comrade” Oshiomhole proudly announced that his government was paying a new minimum wage of a mere N25,000 per month. Edo State minimum wage earners who pay tax will require over 650 years’ salary to accumulate the N200 million Oshiomhole feels he deserves to construct a “befitting residence” with their money.
Edo State is owing four year’s arrears to pensioners. It’s the height of callousness and brutality.  In spite of the nation’s precarious economic predicament our political office holders continue to put more emphasis on their entitlements than laws to enhance human welfare. N200 million is an outrageous sum to be taken out of a Edo State where pensioners who gave a lifetime of meritorious service are being owed 45 month’s arrears. Oshiomhole himself when he was still pretending to be on the side of the people as a labour leader was one of the biggest critics of bogus pensions for political office holders. Back then he said holding political office should be a selfless service to be proud of, not an avenue to enrich oneself. How times have changed!  It’s difficult not to agree with the Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) who said that the law is “immoral, unfair, unconstitutional and a rip off on a massive scale”.

Edo is not the only State paying ridiculous pensions to former governors who go on to draw further government salaries and benefits as Ministers or Members of the National Assembly consequently receiving multiple payments. Since these are the type of people President Buhari eulogises and wants to invite to work with him in Abuja, it’s little surprise that his government is failing.  The nation is in serious recession where people can barely eat once a day, yet those who are responsible for the mess feel they have a right to spend their lives living in affluence and flamboyance at the expense of the people.

Unlike Lagos where the crowd lynched an individual, in Edo State an individual lynched the crowd!

By Eugene Enahoro

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