THIS IS AN ORATORY PRESENTED AT THE GROUP STAGE, LITERARY AND DEBATING SOCIETY (UI) IN-HOUSE SPEAKING CHAMPIONSHIP.
DATE: February 7, 2014.
THUGGERY: A SILENT THREAT TO PEACE IN NIGERIA
In 2003, the policemen in Anambra state shot dead four persons, just because the driver conveying them refused to offer them gratification.
In December 2010, violence erupted in Plateau state, in which victims, including children, were hacked to death, burned alive, kidnapped, dragged off buses and murdered, leaving more than 200 people dead.
Again, In April 2011, we also witnessed the ‘post-election-violence’ in Northern Nigeria, which after 3 days, according to Human Rights Watch, left more than 800 people dead.
Apart from these, many a time too, we hear of 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds, 9-year-olds, being defiled by persons old enough to be their Great-grand-father.
What is common to all these events: Hooliganism, Gangster-ism, racketeering, violence and thuggery! Sadly, they have all become deeply woven into the great fabric called the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
We live with them every single day of our lives. We see their corollaries on the news on an hourly basis. We go to our schools and work-places not with the fear of God but in the fear of thugs. No single protest takes place without it been hijacked by scallywags. No single election holds without us recording death tolls to the tune of hundreds of souls.
It is so disheartening that thuggery is not only found amongst the unemployed, illiterates and youthful. We also see its traces in the police force. The police which are supposedly responsible for safeguarding the populace are the ones we find battling with the army, harassing and, in fact, slaying the people at the slightest opportunity. We see its traces in the parliament. The parliament, ideally the assembly of best intellectuals in a state, in Nigeria, is nothing but a gathering of professional boxers. We see its traces in the academia and university environment. An environment famous for civility and erudition is in Nigeria, infamous for cultism and intimidation. Students are not, therein, educated but instead, masticated.
The heart-breaking truth is that the youths are the main tools and instruments of turbulence and instability in this nation. That is why I have come to this stage, on this occasion, to deliver this talk; with the hope that we when we get to the crossroads of history, when we reach the moment of truth, we will choose civility and moderation above thuggery.
Let it be known that: When next you ‘sag’ your pants, know you are an inch closer to thuggery. When next you raise your voice on others, know you are an inch closer to savagery. When next you use curse-words, when next you abuse drugs, when next you assault another creature, remember the interest of this great nation. And please take a step backward.
The motto of this Nation says: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. Meaning if we are disunited enough to fight against one another, and intimidate one another, engaging in despicable acts of thuggery, there will naturally be no peace. And in a place where peace is inexistent, progress is a far cry as well.
From my years of research, I have made a discovery that wherever it is we have larceny, debauchery and thuggery; it is a matter of inevitability that there shall be misery, instability and insecurity. For us to make a recovery from this malady, we have to do that which is not only necessary but mandatory. We have to shun thuggery and embrace unadulterated harmony.
Friends, Let us put an end to thuggery before thuggery puts an end to us!