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We Are Apprehensive

Editorial, Vanguard Daily, 21 October 2000

SINCE Monday, Lagos has been gripped with mayhem. Buildings have been touched; lives have been taken; economic life has been reduced in tempo in places and in some others to non-existence.

The air is ominous and expectant. People who have lived as brothers and sisters have been alienated.

What has given rise to this sad state of affairs? No one can be sure of the true cause or causes but different reasons have been bandied as the immediate cause.

The versions are as divergent as there are people giving them. Some have said the incident was triggered off because an Igbo man beheaded a Hausa man; another have said it started because a Hausa Chieftain has shielded some apprehended thieves handed over to him; yet some have said the anger stemmed from the reported case of an Hausa kidnapper who had turned two local kids into dogs. There are more versions equally as incredible.

If the stories are incredible the effect it has left on our social and economic life has been devastating.

What is clear is that someone is feeding our gullible people a diet of life-threatening lies that pitch them against one another.

We know that the Hausa Community of Lagos has become an integral part of that community; sharing the same ethos as the other members of the heterogeneous society.

Someone must be responsible for spreading dangerous rumours and stroking the fire of dissent. There must be an immediate response from the government information flow that will stem any such rumours now current and in future.

No one can be an island; the interdependence of peoples is a fact of life, it is necessary to oil not just economic life but social life as well.

Besides, the country we are striving to build politically has a place for all of us holding our different views; not hindering others from holding theirs but coming together to show the immense force behind our diversity.

May we advise our leaders, North, South, East and west to mind their language and the content of it. They can by such conduct help to build or destroy the country.

How we all handle the process of the aftermath of this sad episode will make the difference. And we are very apprehensive and very concerned.