By Fr Pat. Amobi Chukwuma
Recently I went with one of my parishioners to a livestock market within my vicinity to purchase a bouncing adult goat for a religious feast. After rigorous bargaining, we reluctantly paid for the goat, whose price had skyrocketed due to the economic hardship in this country nowadays.
Then we took the sacrificial goat to the abattoir for slaughtering and cutting into pieces. There I saw various animal species being slaughtered against their will. I really pitied them. There was a wild drama when a giant pig was being dragged to the slaughter pavement.
It was groaning very loud and was resisting with all its last breath. The red-eyes slaughterers tied its legs and pushed it by force to the death arena. There they used a sharp long knife to cut its throat mercilessly as it was crying and struggling in pains. Blood started flowing like flood.
I couldn’t withstand it. Tears ran down my cheeks. Out of mercy I asked my companion that we should suspend the slaughtering of our goat there. I didn’t want to shed more tears. He took it to my car and we left for home.
When we arrived home, an arrangement was made for the slaughtering of the goat in my absence. It was done so. Later I saw the pieces of the goat meat in a basin. Its blood was shed behind me. When I was about eating the cooked meat with my guests, I prayed for the departed goat and for the slaughterer before I put it into my mouth for masticating and transportation into the digestive system.
Indeed, animals suffer a lot by bleeding to death on daily basis just for human consumption. Anyway, it is not sinful to slaughter animals for our food because God created them for human beings. However, the slaughtering should be done in a worthy manner.
The life of animals end at death. In other words, they do not transit to the eternal world. Hence it is meaningless to say, “May the soul of the goat rest in peace.” Instead they rest temporarily in human belly. Then they are further transported into the digestive system and absolved into the body’s metabolic system as source of protein. The unused parts are defecated into the toilet.
On the hand, human beings have bodies and souls. The body is material and it decays at death. The soul is spiritual and transits to the world beyond after death. Thus, human life does not terminate at death. It is transitional. The Preface of the burial or funeral Mass says that human life is not ended but changed. Every human being transits from mortality to immortality.
After creating the earthly and heavenly bodies, the various animals in the air, in the sea and on the land, including plants and non-living things, God asserted, “Let us make man in our own image and likeness” (Gen. 1:26). Male and female he created them. Then God charged them to be fruitful, multiply and conquer the earth (Gen. 1:28). Humanity is the climax of God’s creative activities.
The first murder case was committed by Cain against his brother Abel due to envy. When God confronted Cain over his crime and asked him the where-about of his brother Abel, he (Cain) retorted, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen.4:9). Later, God imposed serious punishment on Cain.
He was banished and he became a fugitive. Cain complained that his punishment was too severe. Why should it not be too severe, when blood is thicker than water? It is only God who has the prerogative over life and death. Hence in the Decalogue God commanded, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13). Human life belongs to God and not to us.
Human beings are not meant for slaughtering and consumption as meat like the brutes. Those who eat human flesh are guilty of cannibalism. A person who does so is called a cannibal. Please shine your eyes well whenever you are buying fresh or dry meat for consumption.
Human beings are often slaughtered and marketed as meat by criminals. There exists open and secret markets where fresh or dried human meat is sold. Some of the missing persons in this country have been butchered and consumed by cannibals. Even some innocent people have eaten human flesh without their knowledge. Lack of knowledge diminishes culpability.
Human life is of a primary value and cannot be toiled with. Murder, suicide, homicide, abortion and euthanasia are punishable crimes. Unfortunately, in Nigeria today, innocent human blood is flowing here and there like flood. Things have really fallen apart and the center can no longer hold. Merciless killings by terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, herdsmen and cultists are the order of the day nationwide.
In addition, known and unknown gunmen have joined the bloody trend. Hence our country Nigeria is bleeding seriously. The bleeding is beyond medical clotting. Millions of innocent Nigerians have bled to death here and there. More are still bleeding in various forests and open spaces around the country.
The heavens are crying for vengeance for the blood of innocent people bleeding to death on daily basis. Civilians, soldiers, policemen and other security men and women are victims of the bleeding. The Giant of Africa is bleeding and is almost at the point of extinction. Thick tears are flowing down my cheeks as I write this piece.
What it takes for evil to thrive in our society is for good men and women to keep silent. The Federal Government led by President Buhari is handling the bleeding with kid’s glove. Some of the bleeding culprits are canonized while some are treated harshly.
Our elected National Lawmakers in the Upper and Lower Chambers are not doing enough to control the bleeding of the citizens who elected them. Time may come when the bleeding will not respect anyone, no matter his or her position.
It has been diagnosed that certain factors are the remote and immediate causes of the national bleeding. Injustice is the root cause. Nepotism, greed, unemployment, wickedness, marginalization and lack of Federal Character in governance and appointments are adding salt into the bleeding wound.
Some highly placed known and unknown individuals in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Arms of the Federal Government are sponsoring the terrorists, kidnappers, herdsmen, cultists, known and unknown gunmen. If you see a bird dancing at the middle of the highway, then someone in the bush is beating the drums.
Also, some bad eggs in the Armed Forces and Police are supplying the bloody criminals with money, food, weapons and logistics. Some highly placed politicians and civilians are also sponsoring them because of self-aggrandizement.
To state the obvious, insecurity is the major problem we have now in Nigeria. Coronavirus is a minor issue. Thousands have died as a result of insecurity while only hundreds died of COVID-19. The Federal and State Governments should turn their attention to insecurity and devise concrete ways of securing the lives of their bleeding citizens.
Restructuring this country in all ramifications can no longer be neglected lest Nigeria will bleed to death. The 1999 Constitution must be amended for the country to move forward. Nigeria belongs to all ethnicities that make her up. Therefore, Nepotism must be jettisoned with dispatch. The Federal Character should reflect in national appointments by the President.
Open grazing of cattle, which causes serious bleeding of innocent Nigerians, must be abolished. Ranching is obtainable all over the world nowadays. Those agitating for self-determination are doing so because of injustice and exclusion. You cannot beat a baby and forbid it to cry. Justice and Equity are the healing balms.
The high cost of living and unemployment in Nigeria today is indescribable. There is hunger and anger among the people. Our country is almost in total darkness due to epileptic power supply. Many local and international investors have relocated to other promising countries because of insecurity and lack of electricity supply.
The cost of governance is beyond measure. Sophisticated weapons of bleeding and death are at the hands of criminals. Where and how do they get their supply? In most cases, soldiers in the warfronts lack such sophisticated weapons. Unfortunately. many of the soldiers and police have lost their lives.
The life of cattle is more valuable than human life in the unfortunate present situation in the country. The Machiavellian principle of the end justifies the means is reigning so high. The democratic power no longer belong to the people and for the people.
It now belongs to the powers-that-be in this country. The cloud is very thick. Uncertainty is flying over the skies. Nigeria is bleeding and collapsing. Let us join hands in prayer and positive actions to redeem her. God, into your hands we commend our bleeding country!