EDITORIAL: I Thought We Had A Free Country:
It is worrisome and of serious concern to learn that some civilians gathered for vigilance prayers and singing in the confines of a high school in Aba, Abia State Nigeria were shot at with live bullets by law enforcement. As a result many were killed while some others were taken away.
As we always implore people of any nation to be law-abiding citizens, we also seriously condemn without reservation the wanton, brutal, and unprovoked killing of unarmed civilians observing a peaceful protest as permitted by Constitution. The video (below) of the incident speaks for itself (NB: graphic video: viewer discretion advised).
We call on the Government of Nigeria and the international community including Amnesty International and the UN to investigate the incident and bring any culprits to book to avoid a repeat and prevent the matter from escalating or getting out of hand. We also call on the affected people and communities to remain peaceful and to rather seek redress through the Nigerian and international courts than resorting to armed-struggle which may not portend well for all parties involved.
Section 40 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution states. "Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests:"
Section 38 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution states, “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”
Below is an editorial poem in commemoration of those who were killed. Our condolences go out to all the families affected.
I Thought We Had A Free Country
Behold, our brothers and sisters falling,
Mothers are weeping, Fathers are wailing,
Spouses are widowed, Children are dying,
Ancestors in their graves rolling, crying,
At the wanton killing of the unarmed
Civilians praying for a better life
Gathered in peace to sing songs of praise,
They thought they were free to gather in peace
Behold, reckless bloodshed of the peaceful
By those sworn to serve, protect the people
In a nation supposedly bound in freedom.
I hear their voices singing songs of praises
I see them dispersed with gas and smoke
I hear shots ring out, as mayhem ensue
As I watch them die I wondered their crime,
They thought they had a right to live and be.
Behold, families mourning, hearts bleeding,
Behold uniformed men now turned killers
Supposed guardians of law and order
Unleashing deadly bullets on youthful lives
Whose life is next, What freedom is left?
The last time I checked, there was a country,
To protest was lawful, to kill was a crime,
They thought they had a country free to live
Behold, wasting labors of our heroes past
How can we to great lofty heights attain, or
Build a nation where peace and justice reign
If we our own compatriots murder at will?
How long shall oppression reign it's evil
Without the oppressed rising in defense?
Respect and fairness precede co-existence,
I thought we had a country free to live.
© Feb. 2016: Dedicated to all those who lost their lives when they were shot while observing a peaceful gathering inside a high school in Aba, Abia State, Nigeria