Tuesday, 3 July 2007

A Salute to Purpose and Tenacity

The roughshod treatment and eventual death of a Nigerian by the Spanish agents has exhibited perfect lineaments of Nigerians that had been repressed by unknown soldiers or government. That unheralded destruction of Osamuyia on June 9, 2007 evoked the sweetest passions among Nigerians all over the world. It was an unprecedented move which will from now on define how Nigerians are treated abroad.

Having confirmed the truth that led to the unceremoniously brusque manner in which Spanish government stuffed out Osamuyia’s life, Nigerians moved in a swift sense to alert the universe about the way we have been silently killed by different law enforcement officials.

Within a twinkle of an eye, Nigerians all over the world mounted a protest letter, which was signed by over three thousand comforters. They followed this by a peaceful march to Spanish Embassies around the world on Friday 29 – to deliver their sorrowfulness neatly packaged inside the envelope.

I salute these Nigerians. I take my hat off to them. It was an action likely to place them in a golden book when the history of Nigeria is truly told. No intention to exaggerate. I know I’m being sentimental but please allow me to wallow as a relief; you may criticize me later.

My sympathy is not actually for the dead, but for the living. I am mournful and pensive because of you and I. I tell thou the lamentable tale of me because of my children and yours. I am heavyhearted but gladden because Nigerians all over the world have set the pace. They have cried to heaven to stop the primitive culture of torture being exhibited by these western officials.

I salute their purpose and determination. I salute the oneness spirit that gears the hearts of Nigerians to a call. I salute the sweat of our grandmothers who have originated our thought; and so we don’t have to wait for Godot, because expecting manner from our government to protect us is like self mockery.

I salute Ahaoma Kanu of National Daily Newspaper who is also the coordinator of the June 29 protest to Spanish Embassies. I salute Nigerians all over the world. Bennie Attoh, Kingsley Iwu, Simon, Bosede Olatunji, Reginald, Peter, Kaycee K Theo, Peter Clever, Angel, and Benin Union in Ireland, Ugo Daniels and Baba Aeniyi in Cyprus, Chris Isiguzo in Finland, Ogbemudia T Ode-Idahosa in Egypt, Olasupo Babatunde in Turkey, Gbenga Odjo in Burkina Faso, Taiwo Danjuma in Switzerland, Ofonime Andrew in Canada, Elie Smith and Kola Afolabi in France, Adigun Olosun in Germany, Charles Ezugha in China, Adeola Aderounmu, Iriemenam Emeka, Peter, Sola Balogun, Henry in Sweden.

Derrick Dog, Malaysia; Olufemi Oladehin, South Africa; Peter O A Jolad, Brazil; Oguzie J.J, Italy; Sam Adebowale, Spain; Tunde Solanke, NAR, Paul Adujie, Taiwo Olorede, Bolaji Aluko, Oluwaseye Olusa, Anaelechi Onwnwanne, Ogaga, Efrain Perez in USA; Charles Ezugha, China; Victor Oshioke, Austria; Onome Akpodiete, Japan; Walter Obiora, Senegal; Temple T. Nwafor, Algeria; African Community Netherlands; In Nigeria are Eezeebee, Kunle H.T. Olakunle, Okey Martins, Ugochukwu Okafor, Nathaniel Oriasotie, James ezenwa, Gemini T-Okoeguale, Simon Apeh, Ebi, Rose Mordi, Sunny, and Anthony Obonade.

And especially the UK Group. Wale Akin, Uncle Tisha, Angela Bruce, Anoited, Eja, Anne Mordi, Folayan Osekita, Tony Ishiekwene, Ishola Taiwo, Abike-Ade, Victor Akara, Babajide Ojo, Kelechi Akwiwu, Bukky, Owoh, and of course Uche Nworah who anchored the interviews and wrote to many organizations including the Amnesty International. You are all marvellous in this regard because you have infused therapeutic solutions into the veins of Nigerians.

While the death was a harrowing experience for most Nigerians, their government prevents from decaying their usual strong silence. The murder of a Osamuyia in Spain is less important. After all, Nigerian former first lady also died in that region. The culture of dying in Spain with puzzling terseness may gradually becoming an addiction. Interestingly enough, a Spanish citizen, Ruth Diaz-Ufano, strongly condemned the killing saying, ″It is absolutely terrible. I am ashamed to be Spanish″.

Although we have set an example for Nigerian government to follow, the journey has just begun. As from now on, any inhumane treatment of a Nigerian should be treated with integrated social concern. If it pleases our embassies, let them not open their ears or eyes to our cries. But one thing is certain: the era of silent killing or animal-like killing of Nigerians is over. We have moved to curb their untoward ribaldry.

It is perhaps ironically humorous, for it takes this vicious kicks of Osamuyia before one can appreciate the other side of Nigerians. Even if we are not actually doing it for Osamuyia, the message of our grief is clear: we can protect ourselves. We put our differences aside to create a symbolic in depth game worth the candle. I salute what we stand for – in this regard.

Egun nla nii Kehin Igbale. How can I forget Big K (that’s what they call him, and I have an insane wish to see his name longer than this) whose quick response unfolds the protest. These Nigerians are using the power of technology to define the way Nigerians all over the world should be respected like a glorious spring morning. And by this they have managed to divulge further the frivolity of their government when it comes to welfare or shielding them from danger. In case they don’t know, nigeriavillagesquare.com has gradually become a young child whose talents excite wonder and admiration; she is a voice.

The story is the same from Brazil to United Kingdom to America to Lebanon: strong and annoying silence from Nigerian government over the controversial deaths of its citizen in foreign countries. Or has anybody have any information that our government is actually doing something over Osamuyia’s untimely death. Or there’s nothing concern Osamuyia’s government regarding his demise? I just need to know. Hum, Bi oni igba ba se pe igba re, la se ba pe (whatever the owner of the calabash call it is what others will call it for him. I beg where is Wole Soyinka or Chinua Achebe?)

For example, Paul Adujie described how his efforts to make the Nigerian Consul General in New York, Ibrahim Auwalu, stamp the protest letter was cunningly thwarted. But Adujie should have known better. That’s the reason I didn’t bother myself going to our embassy here in Budapest. Says Taiwo Olorode, "There was even a lady employee of the Consulate who went our of her way to alert security people to remind us not to distribute the leaflet (in our Nigeria House fixtures) or anywhere around it".

In his own contribution, Nigerian Deputy High Commissioner in London, Dozie Nwanna, engaged the "protesters in free for all fight that brought the police to calm the situation," according to NVS. Well, twenty days after the killing, Nigeria Tribune reported that Osamuyia’s government gave the order in writing through the NCAA (Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority) to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Embassy in Spain for action. Hum, it’s never too late but I am much more interested in the outcome rather than the beginning, because such investigations had been suppressed in the past.

Meanwhile here in Hungary where I am hiding like a timid rabbit, it’s quite a task to organize a protest of this magnitude, especially when the incident occurred somewhere else. Besides, most Nigerians here often feel unconcerned about an issue unless it directly affects their lives. Please don’t blame us, for the language barrier is another ball game. Anyway, I informed the Nigerian Union Caretaker Committee about the protest but never heard from them. Perhaps they have an important and serious issue at hands for now.

So off I went to the Spanish Embassy in Budapest on Friday 29th after a slightly tentative approach. I called the Spanish Embassy and informed the Ambassador’s office about my intention. Half a loaf, they say, is better than none. I eventually spoke with one Hollai Zoltan who told me I could come to the embassy at noon according to my request. And so I delivered my sorrow and that of others in a neatly parked white envelope.

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