It starts with the gavel, three bangs that seal the fate of a convict; sounds that haunt the 3008 death row inmates all of which seat like shy brides awaiting their deaths in poorly staffed Nigerian prisons.
It would do me no honor to argue for their complicity in the crimes of which they were accused as human nature is never easily understood and only the perpetrator and victims have true knowledge of the crime committed.
Thankfully, this post cares not for condemnation nor exoneration but about the complicity of passersby in these crimes, at how a little push could prevent the executioner from another night of horrors.
Many of us know one abused child, a violent drunk and maybe one or two persons that patronise those young women at roadside bars much too young to make their own decisions.
We have probably heard someone shout for help across the street and watch, heads bowed in the safety of our own homes as their cries fade to silence, a street fight or someone getting beat, or that child that we beg our children not to associate with caused he/she is a “bad influence”, those unholy things that we see and turn to gossip, a story to scare our kids and regale in the presence of family, tales which the act of simply observing is praised as bravery.
Little things such as unwillingness to donate clothes to people in need cause “Juju” is real, little things that “doesn’t matter” or is “none of my business”, things that do not actually affect our day become crimes that we commit, crimes of ignorance, of disregard, of apathy, of self preservation and most of all the crime of blindness.
These crimes breed not just victims, but eventual monsters, abused that become abusers, the raped that become rapists, people that hurt so much they hurt others and are so broken they break others, people that blame the society for its blindness, deafness, apathy and Ignorance, people that find solace in vengeance against a society that wronged them, a system that failed them and a people that silenced them. They then become monsters that we cheer at the news of their deaths and pity later when their stories are heard.
With time, people have come to detest the CAPITAL PUNISHMENT and 110 countries have abolished such sentencing, but Nigeria has not and maybe tomorrow another one will fall to the gavel and some will protest their “murder”, many will pass unconcerned but none will register their culpability in the creation of the “monster”
Therefore, instead of protesting or rejoicing at the sound of the gavel, we should rid ourselves of these subtleties that aid the creation of monsters and cover our hands in blood.
We should save the victims before we become their victims, and maybe in 2030, the jails would be clean and if the gavel seals another’s fate we’ll know that we do, and not have blood on our hands too.