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Friday 24 October  
Billboard ad for the University of Lagos, Nigeria (2005)
Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos, Nigeria

Is it a crime to be young and educated in Nigeria?

Published on : 8 November 2012 - 11:22am | By RNW Africa Desk (Photo: Flickr/zouzouwizman)
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About our correspondent

Henry Chukwuemeka Onyema is a young Nigerian writer, historian and media worker. His articles, fiction and poetry have been widely published in online and print media. He contributes to RNW and Dutch monthly The African Bulletin.

I write this piece with a heavy heart, and a soul full of pain and anger. It's for the first time in a long while I am contemplating mayhem and bloodshed. Not even the havoc unleashed by the Boko Haram dogs of war has set my own blood boiling. The killing of four students, three from the University of Port Harcourt, by an irate village mob has sharply brought the nature of humanity in Nigeria into my focus.

By Henry Chukwuemeka Onyema, Lagos

Barely a week before this unleashing of thunder and lightning, close to 40 students were summarily dispatched in Adamawa in the troubled northern part of the country. The manner of their killing was undoubtedly scripted by Satan, straight from hell.

Putting these tragedies together and musing over the bloody terrorists campaign that has claimed promising young lives, I have to ask: is it a crime to be young and educated in Nigeria? What have the youth of Nigeria done to deserve this public stripping in broad daylight? No sane society deliberately destroys its foundation – but that is going on here. Although the scenarios and circumstances differ, the end product is the same: uprooting the flower of the nation.

I dare say that Nigerians between ages 11 and 40 are an endangered species. Especially those who are educated or show the potential to speak for themselves. Various factors have determined this campaign against Nigerian youth by their society. Corruption. Poverty. Lack of realistic and humane national youth policies. Continued adherence to primordial religious and cultural beliefs and practices. The institutionalized gagging of youth. Inefficient law enforcement and security systems. Dereliction of duty by parents and schools. And, not insignificantly, the inadequacies of the youth themselves. These are but a few such factors.

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How the Jonathan administration handles the Uniport and Mubi murders will determine what we, young Nigerians, conclude about the role of his government, supposedly led by a member of the younger post-independence leadership class. I call upon all Nigerians and their friends to continue screaming till something happens. Similarly, we should not stop shouting till those men who used Facebook to lure and kill Cynthia Osokogu are judged.

What manner of human beings inhabits Aluu, the village where the boys were butchered without a hearing? It is doubly shocking when you realize that is the hometown of Elechi Amadi, the famous Nigerian author and a man of character, intellect and compassion. Many questions abound. But for now let us beam our searchlight on police investigations into the matter. They should not end till all who washed their hands in these boys’ blood pay the price.

Let all Nigerians realize that if the youth reach their tether, all of us will burn.


Mulberry Outlet Shepton Mallet 8 December 2012 - 5:31pm / Mulberry Outlet Shepton Mallet

This boy has no job.Here we are.She has been to school.I forgot to prepare the speech I'm supposed to give today.My car needs washing.I want to take a walk along the river bank, singing my favorite songs.I'm lost.It's against the rules to handle the ball in soccer.His talk covered many subjects.The machines will not operate properly.

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