28-04-2019 /2019-04-28/Social degeneration - The Nation Newspaper
Social degeneration - The Nation Newspaper
Jolting incidents suggesting anomie are on the rise in Nigeria. News of a man who allegedly beat his father to death, another man who sold his mother, yet another man who attempted to sell his children, and a woman who sold her child, grabbed the headlines in a week.
In Niger State, 25-year-old Babangida Usman is said to have fatally injured his father, Ali Haruna. Usman is reported to have intervened in a fight between his father and mother in their home behind Shango Primary School, Minna, in Chanchaga Local Government Area of the state. He was quoted as saying: "My mother is not safe with my father because of his temperament, everyday there must be an issue that would escalate to a fight. I never knew he would die, I was only protecting my mother." It is unclear how violently Usman had intervened in the clash between his parents, but his father's resultant death suggests he showed no regard for normal filial considerations.
In Ondo State, suspected ritualists allegedly killed 60-year-old Mrs. Rukayat Abodunde, a hunchbacked fish seller kidnapped from her home in Ayetoro Street, Ondo town. Abodunde's son is said to have colluded with the kidnappers who "reappeared a few days after the abduction of the woman to demand refund of N7m from her son." The kidnappers were said to have discovered that the hunch was not natural but caused by a domestic accident. A report said: "Sources hinted that the ritualists who discovered that the hunchback was not useful to them after killing the woman, threatened to kill the young man if he failed to refund the money." The son, who is at large, is said to have insisted that the ritualists bring back his mother alive before the money could be refunded. At the heart of this story is an unconscionable lust for money. The ritualists who bought the hunchback, and the son who sold his mother, were possessed by the spirit of possessions.
In Calabar, Cross River State, 30-year-old Edet Essien Inyang was arrested for attempting to sell his children, a male and a female. According to a source quoted in a report, "He came here with the children and asked after one rich man on this street and when he did not see the man, we asked him what he was looking for the man for and he said he was looking for someone to buy his two children. He said the male child is N200, 000 and the female N150,000." Essien said he was from Akwa Ibom State but resided in Using Inyang in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State. Those Essien approached contacted the police. What would make a father want to sell his children? What happened to his paternal instinct?
In Imo State, 23-year-old Chinonye Oparaocha was arrested for selling her baby boy, just six hours after his birth on February 2, 2019, at a clinic in Owerri. She is said to have sold the newborn for N850, 000. A report said: "Chinonye allegedly conspired with one Confidence Anyanwu, a 28-year-old nurse, and her husband, Amaeze Anyanwu, now at large. Amaeze carried the baby to Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, where one Duru Christian was waiting for him... Duru, in company with George Iyowuna, met him, collected the boy and handed him over to a buyer, one Mrs. Cynthia William and her husband who eventually paid the sum of N850, 000... On April 13, operatives of the Scorpion Squad arrested the suspects and recovered the baby already named Abiya William." Why would a mother sell her baby? What happened to her maternal instinct?
These pictures reflect individual degeneracy as well as social degeneration. Whether it is unintentional patricide or conscious materialism, they are signs of a collapsing value system. When people behave like enemies of society by acting in ways that contradict social values, it calls for a focus on the existing socio-economic conditions. Socio-economic challenges, which include hunger, poverty and unemployment, can engender despair and disorientation. Disoriented people are likely to engage in acts that are socially destructive. While individual loss of values is no defence in these cases, it is pertinent to draw attention to the possible social consequences.
Anomic instances, like the ones highlighted, show the need for improved socio-economic conditions. It is not enough to talk about good governance without governing well enough to sustain necessary social values. The truth is that when there is state failure, there is systemic failure.
It is noteworthy that President Muhammadu Buhari observed the "lack of social and economic inclusion" in Nigeria at the recent World Economic Forum on Middle East and North Africa held in Jordan. "I strongly believe that lack of social and economic inclusion is the root cause of many challenges we are experiencing,'' Buhari said, while noting that Nigeria is "the largest economy in Africa and one of the fastest growing economies in the world." It is unacceptable that the country's socio-economic conditions encourage anomie.
But whatever the case, the law has to take its course in each of these cases. There can be no justification for these unconscionable anti-social behaviours. While the respective governments do their parts by putting in place measures to alleviate the economic situation in the country, citizens must also know the limits beyond which they cannot go in pursuit of economic interest. When those involved get their due comeuppance, it will signal to the rest of the society that government would not take kindly to such crude and barbaric behaviours.
he is a seasoned educationist. He obtained his bachelor degree from Obafemi Awolowo University. He has written many educational articles on different blogs
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