By Sam Amaku
In the editorial comment of the Sunday, June 5th – June 10th 2016 edition of the Christian Voice Newspaper, a serious human question was raised – “IS LIFE SPAN SHORTENED?” This all important question came very timely and should really engage the attention of all thinking Nigerians.
God’s “Yes is Yes” and His “No is No”. Our God is ever constant hence he does not change. That is why, what he was yesterday, he remains the same today and even tomorrow. God in his infinite mercies and GRACE have given us at least 70 years to live here on earth before we are called back home. This same God even extended our life spans beyond 70 hence we still have people of 80 years to 100 years and above. But how many of such people?
So, like the newspaper rightly asked, going by the death toll recorded these days in Nigeria, “Is life span shortened”? Why do we have many people dying?
In other words, are the kind of deaths we are experiencing these days in and outside our immediate communities simply an act of God? Has God’s mercy of 70 years and above life span for us expired? Why are our youths (males) pegging off before their 60s these days? Why are our newly married young ladies also dying these days between their 20s and 60s?
Again why is it that in some communities, you now hardly find ten healthy old men and women of between 70 and 80 years and above these days. These are issues that should seriously engage our thought.
Death, we know can come through old age (ie natural). It can come by way of an accident (ie unforeseen) and through extended ill-health. We know of how AIDS, LASA fever, Ebola and such other un-expected diseases have killed many Nigerians. Just recently, we also heard of Tomato Ebola. Who knows who will die next? Ofcourse, death can also come through one’s life-style.
While our social scientists are busy propounding their theories, from my own layman’s views, I am inclined to agree with the Christian Voice Newspaper that our “government has a bounden duty to ensure a higher quality of life and the longevity of all it’s citizens”. But, why should people not die even in their hundreds weekly when the governments we all labored to put in place and relied upon for our welfare and comfort have jettisoned us so to say until perhaps they are ready for another election. Then, they will suddenly remember we are there and we shall become their “good bed fellows”. Then, they would spend sleepless nights doing their nocturnal visits, distributing our collectively owned but stolen money and promising us they would bring down the moon and the sun. At that time, they would even go extra miles to sprawl on the floors begging for our support. Your guess of what happens when they eventually win and occupy that Ivory Tower may be as good as mine.
Why should people not die, when after spending their youthful years serving their father land, they are forgotten soon after their retirement? Nobody remembers to pay them their due entitlements of gratuities and pensions. Those who indulge in this heinous act, forget that one day, they too would retire from public service or become old and unable to help themselves. Is it not an act of sheer wickedness and even murderous that government would approve one’s retirement from service and for upwards of six months, would not pay that person’s pension for his or her up-keep?
How then does he or she survive in his or her old age when perhaps the children are still young and there is no alternative business to fall back on? How can a man or woman in such a pitiable condition not die since he cannot continue to cater for his family including even their medicare?
As a result of all these challenges, the issue of corruption would be hard to terminate in Nigeria because those who steal our money do so against their future challenges after retirement. Our youths who suddenly engage in criminal acts do so because government has failed to provide for their future and they have no alternative.
Such criminal activities may endanger their lives in the process and thus shorten their life spans prematurely. This goes to show that some of the deaths these days could be self-inflicted, through accident, through frustration or inability to fund one’s medical bills – while ofcourse, our so called “BIG men and women” can fly out any day for their medicare at our expense.
My wife, Mrs. Comfort Ihemji Amaku, was among the 4,000 Civil Servants sent packing in Enugu on 24th January, 1997 through an early morning Radio Broadcast by the then Military Administrator, Col. Usman Ahman (himself an Hausa man) because they were no indigenes of Enugu State.
As at today, 19 years after that incident, those dismissed workers have not received one kobo as their due entitlements. Before then, my wife was the secretary to the General Manager of the then Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and had worked for more than 27 years. So in an in human situation like this why should people not get frustrated and die even before their God-given life spans?
Why should a young girl or boy who has spent years writing JAMB exams without admissions not die out of frustration? Why should a newly married young man who suddenly lost his job in a government parastatal just shut down by government un-noticed, not lose his pregnant wife, the new baby or even himself when their hospital bills are so exorbitant and unbearable?
Indeed, there are many factors why people die too young these days even before their life spans. And when these human problems are beyond one’s immediate solution, hypertension sets in which in itself is a killer disease. So from all indications, the irresponsiveness of our governments at federal and states levels are responsible for the early deaths of most Nigerians these days.