The Ones Who Return

I wrote this in July 2019 and just came across it in my drafts. I find it difficult to quantify my sadness at this situation which has consistently worsened since then. What will the story be in another three years?

Kidnapping seems to be the latest ‘business’ trend in Nigeria.

Sure, it’s been steadily growing over the last couple of years but recently, something feels different.

It seems like we’ve heard about it so much that we’ve become immune to the pain, grieve and heartache victims and their families feel.

Even the media seems to have lost interest in reporting these incidences. When they do, it seems to be in passing; almost as an extra to the main news story of how one politician or the other made a comment about another politician.

We’ve become so jaded and the kidnappers have been given the upper hand and free rein of the country.

Instead of making the situation better, we eagerly add to it. Because of greed, insecurity.

I read on the news recently that the rate of kidnapping on the infamous Abuja-Kaduna road has taken such a turn for the worse that people now prefer to take the train.

With the new influx of customers, the train workers have allegedly resorted to hoarding tickets and inflating prices.

Allegedly up 200%!

Basically, we have become our own biggest problem. We spend precious time criticising the politicians and forget that our response to those next to us can be evaluated the same as the politicians’ response to us.

So here’s to the ones who actually return

Here’s to you who make it out of the den of death

We’d like to celebrate and meet you with a wreath

But our conscience has been seared and would need a rebirth.

What we now have is a weak state which lacks control over its own agents and breed locally powerful non-state actors. Non-state actors which continue to grow powerful by the day.

Instead of simply criticising, perhaps it’s time we criticise constructively and look within for clues on how we can help the cause. Either by doing something or by re-evaluating an old habit.

©Ọrẹolúwa Matẹ̀milọ́lá 2021 All Rights Reserved


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