Everyone except the most cold hearted will have sympathy for the plight of Ukrainian citizens. Facing bombs and an invasion, they are being forced to either flee or bear arms and be ready to kill. Even as outpourings of sympathy are appropriate, the reality is that Ukrainians are merely joining the ever increasing numbers of innocent citizens worldwide suffering the consequences of unnecessary wars. Now as in practically every other case worldwide Ukrainians through no fault of their own have become refugees from a war they didn’t want and had nothing to do with and cannot be blamed for.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) the global refugee population has more than doubled in the past decade and there are now an estimated 82.4 million around the world. More than two-thirds come from just five countries; Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South \Sudan and Myanmar. The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) in Nigeria is more than those in Ukraine, yet the western world pays little attention to this mass suffering because such brutish behavior is supposed to be the hallmark of backward nations with poor leadership.
This is perhaps why there is a prioritisation of suffering in Ukraine over ongoing conflicts in Myanmar, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Syria and Afghanistan which have lasted far longer and given rise to far more deaths, destruction and hardships. Surprisingly history teaches us that inflicting mass suffering should not be associated with leaders of backward “third world” nations.
The most brutish and destructive behaviour inflicting the greatest levels of mass suffering had always been exhibited by white skinned Europeans to the detriment of world society. It was they who invaded America, committed genocide against the indigenous native America population, and now through institutionalised racism go about behaving as if the land belongs to them. It was Europeans who caused the world to engage in two world wars which were all about their own interests. Europeans carried out the holocaust against the Jews, indulged in the slave trade and brutish colonisation of Africa, and under the guise of being “Americans” are the only people to have ever dropped a nuclear weapon on another country where as to be expected the population was not white.
It’s quite clear that anyone who believes that President Putin is doing something that Europeans have not done before needs to brush up on history. As for Nigerians trapped in Ukraine to nobody’s surprise many of them have dismissed the offer from the federal government to repatriate them. They said that the federal government is merely posturing because most of them would prefer to stay in Ukraine and take their chances rather than come home. One of them even went as far as saying that returning to Nigeria would be humiliating as it would be a “demotion”! He claimed that many of them sold their land and cars to escape Nigeria for a better life and still believe that as bad as things are shaping up to be in Ukraine, things are much worse in Nigeria. This isn’t too far from the truth. Within the last week, Uromi in Edo State was under siege by around 20 armed robbers who robbed four banks simultaneously by blowing up their security doors and killing an unverifiable number of police and innocent citizens. The gory pictures of the dead litter the social media. Also at a funeral in Ebenebe Community in Anambra State, there had been warning not to go ahead with the burial of a person said to be of ill-repute. Gunmen arrived at the venue and started shooting until at the end of the day 16 corpses littered the ground. As for Northern Nigeria mass killings in the region have become so commonplace and routine that they no longer capture headlines. The sad truth is that no matter how bad things are in the Ukraine it will be difficult for them to become as bad as in Nigeria. Nevertheless those Nigerians who arrived in Ukraine as refugees now look foolish. Even as Ukrainians remained in their country to fight the invaders and secure their future, they preferred to run away and castigate their country from foreign shores. There is a sense of poetic justice in the fact that these unpatriotic Nigerians who ran away from their country to live where there is better infrastructure are now seeking refuge from the place they went to as refugees! Now that Ukrainian infrastructure is being destroyed with such abandon, perhaps the Nigerian political office holders will learn a lesson and appreciate that the need for peace and security which they have failed woefully to establish is far more important than their obsession with infrastructure. Nigerian governments borrow endlessly to build the type of infrastructure which is being destroyed in Ukraine with such abandonments at a time of war. In Ukraine, the president donned military camouflage and armed the population to resist the invaders. In Nigeria, a presidential spokesperson had the temerity and insolence to tell Nigerians to happily give up their ancestral lands to foreign invaders or be ready to die! It comes as no surprise that while the stock of the Ukrainian president is rising internationally, that of the Nigerian president has fallen to an all-time low.