African Lives Matter…

My heart goes out to all the people suffering from flooding caused by torrential rain and other natural and man made disasters in different parts of the world. This year alone we’ve seen massive flooding in Lagos, Rivers, Nassarawa, Plateau and recently in Makurdi. Let’s not forget the tragic mudslide in Sierra Leonne where more than a 1000 lives were lost and many still missing with houses and other valuables washed away. In the last couple of days there’s also been flooding in South-East Asia where over 1000 have died and now Houston is also battling with flooding of its own. The images from these places are heart wrenching and I hope they are able to find succor soon.

My concern however is how we are almost always oblivious of tragedy when it happens around us here and when it happens in the West (Europe & America), you find that we automatically become prayer warriors and start to pontificate about their problem, yet pay no attention whatsoever when it happens in our backyard. It’s almost like we have become so conditioned to bad news that we only see it as odd when it happens to other people. We have become so cold and disconnected that it is frightening.

Whether it is persistent attacks by terrorist groups like Boko Haram or Al Shabab or flooding in some of the places listed above, we don’t care or reflect until same tragedy happens in the west usually with a far lower death toll. Is it possible that we think these places to be some slice of heaven and the occurrence of any kind of tragedy there is synonymous with Lucifer rebelling against God?

It is shameful that Nigerian media would rather devote an inordinate amount of time covering tragedy/disaster in other parts of the world, but can’t get on a bus and go and cover flooding and its effect in Makurdi. Our sense of news judgement is broken, it’s almost damaged beyond repair. If the media doesn’t report and keep a matter in public view, it then becomes easy for people to shrug their shoulders and walk on by like nothing happened. We are constantly fixated on reporting the squabbles between the PDP and APC that we forget to report the real human tragedies around us.

I think it is hypocritical to say #PrayForParis #PrayForBrussels #PrayForHouston and we find it difficult to say #PrayForSierraLeonne#PrayForMakurdi #PrayForBorno or #PrayForLekki. I know God is merciful and mighty, but I doubt that He would accept prayers that come from a deceptive heart. If we can’t be empathetic towards people who are suffering around us, any tear shed for any tragedy in the west is nothing but vain crocodile tears.

With that said, please ensure you check up on friends and family in all of these places where flood waters are raging. May God comfort and keep them safe.