I KILLED THEM!
It was 5:30 pm on the 19th of July, 2021, and I was late for my Monday evening youth fellowship. Whatever level of Lagos traffic awaited me, I knew not; all I knew was that I had to look peng. I slid on my purple “Silimady” sandal which was a gift from a colleague. Oh, how those sandals made me feel comfortable and chic. Better late than ugly they say right?
I was 100% vibe loaded and that’s because I was also going to deliver a copy of my book, ‘Beauty for Ashes’ to a dear friend. I was out of the house and on a bike to the main bus stop. The rider had to maneuver through a ricketty road to avoid the miscarriage-causing potholes on the major road. Suddenly, we approached a large crowd of persons; some carried sticks, others carried their excited-looking faces.
Me: Na protest? Abi na fight? Abokina, abeg no stop oo, just ride pass abeg.
Rider: Na thief, them don catch thief.
Just at the same time, I saw a young man covered in blood and mud in the midst of the crowd receiving another kick on the head; a kick enough to pass any man out let alone one covered in blood. While I processed the fact that I was face-a-face with a jungle justice, the bike man slowed down.
Me: ehn! you wan stop? move abeg!
He increased speed. He apparently wanted to join in the onlooking but I would have none of that. I silently prayed for the Police to arrive in good time. I opened my eyes as we got off the ricketty road onto the tarred route, only for me to see another crowd gathered. I was too demoralized to think. I was still wondering if that guy stole or killed someone.
I got to church and my worries left me. After all, in the presence of God, there’s joy and liberty. I had flashes though, more like panic attacks. I didn’t want to waste my time in His presence so I tried to concentrate; I only succeeded for 30 minutes before I found myself fiddling with my phone again.
Service ended, I delivered the book, and I got in the traffic going home. I brought out my phone and I was amidst going through my WhatsApp messages and trying to make sure my phone doesn’t get snatched through the vehicle’s window(Lagosians can relate) when I saw a shocker! A friend who lives on my street posted on his WhatsApp status the caption: “Omo!! Naso them burn three people to ashes.” See the rest of the conversation in the image below.
Flashes in my head! I let the tears flow! Anger welled up! I had seen one of them on my way out. So there were two others? Now dead! No rights to attorney? No right to a fair hearing? No law? No judiciary in place? The painful part is they were MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD… by people like them; street boys.
I could not but imagine how it would have been if we had no advocate in Jesus, if we had a god that lacked empathy for humanity and left us to the vices of men. I could not but imagine what would have become of me if the enemy was freely allowed to cast the first stone on me.
In fact, let’s leave spirituality, let’s address this humanly. I’ve erred countless times, even petty thefts. Or is it because no one knows of your secret thefts at your office or those lies to your spouses, bosses, children and even on church altars?
The only difference is that those three guys were already condemned to hopelessness; condemned to death either way. Steal, get caught, die. Don’t steal, still, die of hunger and frustration. Steal, get away with it, survive a little longer. It’s a jungle full of animals; you either eat or be eaten! Kill or be killed!
Shame on me, shame on you! Shame on everyone gathered there that day and did nothing right. Shame on everyone who took a life they could never create. Shame on what we make of society. Shame on the terrible persons we make our spheres of influence.
They came from a family; lived as someone’s brother, someone’s friend, or someone’s child. You’re not alive for you alone. You have an influence on someone’s destiny and there is no magic to it; a better world begins with you.
Oh, I forgot! It’s an era of minding your business till you’re directly affected, right? It won’t be long…
Yes, they are dead and gone. I guess there are no more thieves in my community. But a neighbor’s child brought home a beautiful hairband and there were no questions from the parents. Another fresh unemployed graduate was about to take dinner in his father’s house only for the father to ask him “when did you ever buy food in this house?” I won’t tell you what would become of both unique situations of non-challance and loose words.
I’m sure you know this is not an advocacy for amnesty for insurgents and rebels. It’s a call to let love lead.
Pardon my catharsis. Stay woke!