By Tessa Doghor.
Today I am not very articulate in my writing, I don’t want to be, I woke up this morning with the *ALUU4 on my mind. If you have not heard of them yet then you are either not Nigerian, not an activist of any kind or unfamiliar with what is going on in the Nigerian universities. Four boys were killed when they went to retrieve N200, 000 owed to them, from another young man in Aluu community Port Harcourt. I schooled in Lagos all my life so this is the first I am hearing of the existence of an Aluu community and it is under unpleasant circumstances.
The story is not very clear but we have some facts. The boys are aged 20-24, pretty young; they must have thought ‘how much is 200k?’ If they had grown up to be as old as me and had joined the working class, they would have come across the jungle truth, ‘a man can be killed for as little as N2000’. Unfortunately, they were not ‘in the know’ and paid for that naivety with their lives. I have blamed everyone blameable, I have discussed with friends who say killing is a way of life in Nigeria and it isn’t strange because they went through a similar case at the hands of armed robbers; but it is not resolved.
The ALUU4 are uniquely different, they were killed for their money. I glanced through their pictures online and they were what we called ‘cream boys’ in student speak. They could have passed off as cultists as was first peddled about them on the internet. Alas they were too cream to be cult boys, so I didn’t buy the story. They could have easily been my younger brother and his friends.
I try to imagine what it must have felt like been paraded naked with people taunting you when you know that you are not a criminal. I try to imagine begging for mercy when you know that you are the one who is being wronged. You are the one who is owed 200 thousand naira; the people jeering and beating you with wood cannot possibly kill you for your own money or can they? I can’t imagine it. I wonder if the Aluu community thought they would get away with killing the ALUU4. They kept asking, ‘una don die?’ and ‘abi, una don pay una school fees?’ They beat them with wood, mocked them and when they were done, they put tires on their neck and burnt them up. Barbaric!
I have some questions to ask; why should an Aluu community think they have the right to snuff out the life of four young men in their prime? They were taken to the chief’s palace before being paraded around town for three hours and then killed like common thieves. Why should an Aluu community believe that they can snuff off lives without repercussions? Nothing can bring the boys back to life; I don’t even know their eternal destination; but I know that some form of justice can be fought for.
The media can do something, the youths and the youth activists, the government bodies, the governor of Rivers, the president of Nigeria. Is this what we should expect when we send our children to Nigerian universities? Before you respond, I am not asking you to defend your position, I am asking you to do something! Don’t ignore it. Don’t just sit put, talk all day with no actions, I want something done, I believe every Nigerian youth is asking for the same thing.
*ALUU4: Four boys who were beaten, stripped naked and burnt up for the N200, 000 owed to them.
*Aluu community: A place in Rivers State of Nigeria, where the University of Port Harcourt is located.