JANUARY 27, 2020 will remain evergreen in the memory of Maryam Sanda. That was the day she got convicted of the murder of her husband, Biliyaminu Haliru-Bello and was sentenced to death by hanging. Before the unfortunate incident of November 27, 2017 when Maryam stabbed her husband with a knife which later resulted in his death, the two of them had lived together as husband and wife and had a daughter between them. They had been perceived by members of the public as a loving couple. But then in a fit on unexplainable rage she took the life of her husband. When the reality of the enormity of her action hit her, she tried to cover up the misdeed and blamed her husband for his own death. She said her husband had earlier pushed her to the floor, following an argument over nude pictures found on his phone, adding that a shisha pot broke her fall, the shards of which, ended up piercing Bilyaminu when he slipped on water that spilt from the pot. But the court refused to buy her tale and set her up for a date with the hangman.
The whole nation was shocked to its bone marrow last December when the story hit town of a final year student of the Lagos State University, Favour Daley-Oladele, who was lured by her boyfriend, Adeeko Owolabi, to a white garment church in Ikoyi – Ile, Osun State, where he murdered the girl while she was asleep by crushing her head with a pestle, after which a self-acclaimed pastor, Segun Phillip, harvested her organs to prepare a money ritual meal. The money ritual meal was devoured by the boyfriend and his mother.
Also last year, there was the report of a female student of the University of Lagos who was set up by her friend and former roommate to be gang-raped by a group of eight students of the university. According to her, her friend had invited her to a place within the university campus not knowing that it was a ploy to get the boys to sexually assault her. As if the act of raping was not bad enough, the boys filmed the transgression and threatened to make its video go viral on the internet should the victim venture into spilling the bean about her ordeal.
After the last November gubernatorial election in Kogi State followed with the announcement of the winner, some suspected thugs stormed the house of Mrs Acheju Abuh, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) woman leader in Wada Aro, Ochadamu Ward in Ofu Local Government Area of the state and set the house ablaze while shooting to guard against the woman’s escape from the burning house. The thugs did not leave until they were sure that the woman had died in the burnt house.
But what would make a wife kill her husband only to spew cock and bull tales about how it happened? What would make a young man with brains and brawn who had gone through the nation’s university system slide to the level of believing that he needed to eat a meal prepared with human organs for his fortune to change? What would make university undergraduates, supposedly being groomed to take up leadership positions in the country, gleefully rape a fellow student and make sport of that? It is the loss of humanity and the degeneration into bestiality. It is only in the jungle that a female animal would kill the male, or vice versa, without any sense of guilt. It is only animals that feast on their own dead. Oftentimes we see a cock chase a hen and forcefully take her but we never see cocks gang rape a hen; even animals respect their female folks, they know that intercourse should be a personal matter between two partners and not a communal or collegiate affair. What manner of people would set a house ablaze and stop someone trapped inside from escaping?
In Nigeria, fatal conflicts have become a regular occurrence. Security operatives and civilians are killed without any compunction almost on a daily basis. In the same vein, churches are raided, mosques are attacked, clergymen are decapitated, traditional rulers are kidnapped and members of the political class are subjected to opprobrium. No one is spared; no institution is regarded as sacred. How did we arrive at this pass of loss of our humanity? How did it happen that we no longer have any value for either the living or the dead? What has deprived us of our humanity? Or better still, how did we degenerate into the status of lower animals? How did we become beasts?
Bestiality is the precursor of dehumanisation. When bestiality is allowed to continue without any challenge, it leads to the denigration of the other person; he is scorned and dehumanised. When the denigration of the human person is encouraged, it attracts annihilation. That is what happened in Germany that resulted in the World War 2. It happened in Rwanda and resulted in a pogrom that saw about 800,000 people killed.
Our slide into bestiality needs to be arrested. We need to reverse the trend in Nigeria and regain our humanity before it is too late. But the question is do we have the will to stop the slide?