Osamuyia, the Global Press and the rest of us

By Adeola Aderounmu.

My attention was first drawn to the gruesome murder of our dear brother Aikpitanhi Osamuyia through an article written by Sonala Olumhense in the Nigerian Guardian on Sunday 17th June 2007. Am I supposed to be surprised that I didn’t find this important News on BBC online News about Africa? To be sure, I conducted a local search on BBC website. I will not be able to explain why the BBC is quick to report news about drowning migrants trying to reach Europe and not about a migrant who has been senselessly killed by the Spanish Police on a so called deportation flight to Nigeria. Let us imagine that it is one Briton or an American that was killed….I leave the rest to your imaginations. What is the value of an African life, a Nigerian for that matter?

Though news from BBC and CNN are arguably bias regarding Africa, one cannot still explain how they choose what News is priority or worthwhile. Somehow, News organisation and journalists have prejudice for what is News and what is not. They have some funny standards or criteria to decide what to publish and what to ignore.  I mean if you can get breaking News on sinking migrant ship or boat, how can you not get breaking or late News about a deportee who was murdered on a flight especially after the pilot re-directed the flight back to Spain? It is a strange world.

Foreign News Agencies are trying really hard but Nigerians should thank the Home Press like the Nigerian Guardian for example for been the newspaper company that they are; otherwise living in the Diaspora (someone said there is no Diaspora) would have been living in the dark concerning things of true Nigerian interests. With internet and blogs, Nigerians are now not only creating News, they are writing them as well. Thumbs up!

And so Aik Osamuyia was killed by the Spanish police and the incidents as bad as it was did not get global attention. The Nigeriavillagesquare.com appears to be the arrow head in making this injustice known worldwide. Some other Nigerian online News services also devoted some space and reference to the story. Good job!

One more time, I am hereby expressing my disgust for the Spanish police. They discharged their duties beyond the limit of human undertakings and far above the acceptable limits of human error. In trying to deport Osamuyia by all or any means possible, they killed him.

There is a letter that has been signed by thousands of Nigerian across the world on nigeriavillagesquare.com.  The letter and the demands in it will not bring Osamuyia back but it is well thought and necessary. Beyond the letter, we (Nigerians) must begin to look at our existence from all angles irrespective of where we are and what we are doing.

Truly, home is the best! But Osamuyia was not willing to go back home. It will be difficult to see the views of Osamuyia but I would only imagine that, like me, he has seen the obvious disparity between living in Europe and living in modern day Nigeria. He was not willing to return (that much we have read) and he had his reasons.  Only those who are his close friends or families can give us detailed accounts of his entire travails preceding the unnecessary murder.

The most unfortunate thing however, is that he died and didn’t get the chance to fulfill his dreams of a better tomorrow. To ensure that Osamuyia did not die in vain, the Spanish interior minister should resign with immediate effect and the police officers who killed Osamuyia should start preparing for their trials and be ready for a long time behind bars. Anything short of this will mean that the Spanish government as an institution is a huge joke.

The Norwegian Police killed Obiora Eugene last year and they are still going about their abnormal duties. Every year around the world, people of African origin (maybe we should refrain from calling ourselves blacks) are killed senselessly and for nothing. In Russia, in the US, in the UK and other places, we have seen and read true life stories of unnecessary tortures and killings. Does anyone have the statistics of the number of harassments that people from Africa encounter daily globally? 

Back home, the Nigerian government should create the environment that will discourage her youth from running away without the thoughts of ever returning home. When I came to Europe for the first time in January 2002 and went back in November of the same year, I remembered a few people questioning me on “why I returned after only about 10 months”. A friend actually told me that he would never have thought about returning if he was in my position. There are many Nigerians like this, even those that are well established abroad. Some have sworn never to step on Nigerian soil again.

In 2006, I saw boys and men who told me that if they ever travelled abroad, they will not return to Nigeria until they are about 80 years or not at all. It was very difficult for me to explain to them that living abroad is not what they have in mind. The main reason I couldn’t do that was because I will be returning to my new base in Sweden. How can I convince them not to have such a thought about living abroad when I have shifted my base from Festac Town to Stockholm? They see people returning home in flashy cars without knowing how they got the money to buy the cars! They see their friends building mansions without knowing how the projects were executed. In their minds, living abroad is all you need to make money and shine!  But I must be quick to add that some Nigerians are reaping excellent results for their honesty, hard work and perseverance back home. They are too few sha.

I do not blame Osamuyia at all. The last time I visited Nigeria, I virtually ran away after 2 weeks! I am sorry if this statement hurts anyone. The previous times in 2002 and 2003, I actually stayed up to 2 months each. Nigeria is my home and I will always want to be there but the last time I visited, I was sure I didn’t want to stay 2 months. Things were at an all time low points. When I left on December 28 2006, a lot of people were actually heading back as well to the United States and other places. The stories for the sudden rush back were all the same. No light, no fuel, endless queues at fuel station, fear of daylight and dark nighttime sophisticated armed robbery, high cost of living, …., ….., ……, ……..  Fill the gaps.

One day in December 2006 around the time of the oil pipeline explosion near Abule Egba, I woke up and asked my friends why they were all at home with me on a day that was not weekend. One guy told me that that was the “good thing” with Nigeria. “There is no work, so you can stay at home enjoy and relax”. Is that what they call sarcasm? These friends of mine are all graduates like me and we left the University around 1995! Many people still see getting out of Nigeria as a lucky chance. They do not see our struggles afterwards and so for now, they don’t care. They usually say expressions like, “Let’s trade places and let me try Europe for sometime too”.

I wondered what Osamuyia escaped from in Nigeria, but I am sure he didn’t want to return to it. He preferred another life, another chance. He was not lucky. He didn’t get much of the other chance, not for long in any case.

Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday yet our cyclic politicians have started sharing loots….wherewithal our eternal hope?

  May the Glory of Nigeria come, soon!