In America and Nigeria, while the coronavirus pandemic is busy spreading, the agitation for justice is also increasing among the citizens while the politicians are also scheming to retain or go into power. The whole world is caught up with what is happening in America with the metaphor “I cannot breathe” This came from the mouth of George Floyd whom the white Cop knelt on his neck for almost Nine minutes leading to his death. The killing of George Floyd sparked up protests in nearly all the states of America and now has assumed world dimension. People are beginning to look at life holistically and have seen mountain of injustices going on in the world and how it affects them. The pandemic may go, but the quest for justice may drag on because something may provoke it later and the struggle begins again.
The pursuit of justice in the midst of pandemic is increasing while the pandemic is also increasing. The mammoth crowd of protesters didn’t even maintain the social distancing and many didn’t wear the recommended facial masks. The mood and stamina of the people truly showed that they needed justice and ready to grab it with their hands if possible. This is bravery! They want justice and perhaps justice in handling the pandemic. The blacks, the Latinos and others of low income in America are said to be at the highest risk of the corona virus. This biased findings provoked them and others outside America. For them justice not pursued now would be dumped as before. The Lukewarmness and systemic racism of the American President did not calm the situation.
The protesters were protesting against all these. Policing in America is not helping matters either. In America, there had never been a black that police encountered that there would not be heavy altercation or death. Police training is short in America and there are lots of racial profiling which makes the blacks to be at higher risk of jail or death. It is now believed that a black man’s only sin in America is his skin. American police is always suspicious of a black man. He is seen as poor, criminal and a drug peddler because of the disparity in American society. In reaction to this an average black American is also suspicious of the police who have a biased mind of him. Whenever they meet the flashes of stories of the other blacks’ experiences take over the minds which could influence actions that create a scene. It is surprising to hear Trump’s polarizing mind and perception on the issue of policing in America.
He said that police are good people protecting the citizens but only very few are bad. He didn’t support what the protesters were doing. The Protesters, protesting against the dehumanization of their fellow human being and those who heard about it joined them because it touched and affected them which reminds me of the book I read written by a Black American “The condition of my fellow human diminishes me because I am a part of mankind” The mainstream of the blacks and part of mankind pursue this justice because George Floyd is a part of mankind. The voices are resonating all around the globe; the voices of the oppressed blacks in America are reminding others of their oppressions in their different corners of the globe even in Africa. Unjust wages, bad immigration policies, deportation of so-called illegal and undocumented immigrants living in anxiety and worries for many years.
After the 450 years of slavery, Justice still stands still. One would ask “Is this present generation of blacks going to change the political equation and stop the unfinished business of slavery in America? Laws have been made to ameliorate the injustices against the blacks but George Floyd re-awakened a racial culture of 450 years. At their protests, Americans revealed their anger by destroying statues that remind them of white denigration of power and racism. The young blacks believe that no one owns them. This is the idea of their time. It is the trend that is across the world. Down here in Nigeria, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Boko haram, Fulani herdsmen and kidnappings are still rearing their ugly heads and the citizens are asking for justice to live in their home without being molested and killed. Usman Dan Fodio was believed to have conquered some parts of Nigeria and not all.
His predecessors are continuing the unfinished battle in the South. The Nigerian dailies have been complaining of the intrusions of Fulani herdsmen in the Southern States to wreak havoc on farmlands and individuals with their AK47 rifles showing dysfunctional behaviours to the owners of the lands. The authorities are mute. If it were in America, protesters could have shown their grievances about the injustice as the blacks in America are showing without police shooting them down. Nigeria is said to be a democratic country but does not allow freedom of speech and demonstration. Our Nigerian police cannot tolerate demonstration. Even reading what is written on their patrol vehicles “Operation fire for fire” “Operation Bumper to bumper” “Operation scorpion dance” These scare protesters who would not want to die and end up not getting justice as the government is autocratic. Nigerians rely only on civil rights movement to give them justice and voice but they are threatened with imprisonment because the Judiciary which should have been the hope of the common man truncates justice.
As we can see that many innocent people are suffering because of the miscarriage of justice. These people are marooned in their own island with no hope of justice. Still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic cries have been all over Nigeria against the menace of rapists. This is now assuming a large proportion in Nigerian culture. Many people now are crying for Justice. Religious authorities even government and respectable Nigerian personalities frown at this ugly behavior. Even the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja; Ignatius Kaigama on Monday, June 22, 2020 in the Sun Newspaper condemned the spate of rape in the country and encouraged victims to speak up and act against it. Many NGOs are spear-heading several movements to secure justice for rape victims. Another pressing area of injustice is the marginalization in political appointments of the Southern Region.
According to the SUN Newspaper of Tuesday, June 23, 2020: A group of elder statesmen and leaders of socio-cultural platforms in Southern Nigeria have recently sued the President and the AGF to the tune of N50 billion over alleged lopsided appointments in the current Administration. The claimed injustice is highly glaring as most appointments favor only those from the Northern region without minding their profiles. All the heads of major establishments and the security agencies of the country are from the north. The citizens have cried out severally in the past but it seemed their voices were drowned by conspiracies from other regions. This has increased the agitations for the secessions of several regions in quest for justice. Yet in the midst of Covid19 while many are fighting for justice several politicians are busy scheming for political positions not minding the ravaging effects of the pandemic.
Trump just organized a political rally. Nigerian politicians are busy defecting from one party to another. Others are busy doing covert campaigns ahead of the 2023 elections. Many politicians have been accused of diverting the monies made for the covid-19 palliatives into their personal purses to help in their political ambitions. There are several areas seeking for justice Fighting For Justice In A Pandemic World in the country apart from the ones mentioned above. Many are endured because of the sacrificing spirits of Nigerians and sometimes the fear of being killed or humiliated when confronted for their legitimate rights. All these injustices both in Nigeria, America and all over are making the citizens unable to breathe.
Many Nigerians are crying silently that they can’t breathe because the weight of the injustice is like the suffocating knee of the American cop on George Floyd’s neck. Many Nigerians are no longer afraid to go out to look for food to eat in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic because nobody would give them food to eat. If they don’t eat, they might die before the coronavirus kills them. If there is justice, they could have been given reasonable palliatives that are distributed with justice. Despite the pandemic starring at their faces, hunger drives them out which is another form of seeking justice for their wailing stomachs. Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, Author of many books and a Social Justice and Peace Advocate.