It’s an occurrence that should worry anyone. Five undergraduates of a university assaulting a fellow student in the most distressing manner. They order her to kneel and go further to employ varying instruments to maul her. It’s a sight that leaves one aghast. When I saw clips of the unfortunate incident, what repeatedly came to my mind was, “Who raised these kids?” How was it possible for young people who were barely out of their teens to imagine it’s okay to pummel another student let alone carry out the heinous act? The absurdity and sheer cruelty of the ambush is the stuff of stories we see on the Crime & Investigation channel.
The vicious students of the Federal University of Technology Akure are either products of failed parenting or victims of peer pressure. I’m tilting more towards a situation where this young man and ladies were deprived of the training and discipline that should have seen them toe a more dignifying path. I struggle to see how a child who has been taught to eschew violence would perpetrate the level of brutality displayed. It’s incongruous to imagine that children who were raised on an anchor of kindness, love, and respect for humanity will jettison those values on the altar of a popularity contest or the independence that being in a higher institution induces.
I would have sworn the unwholesome scene was a rarity during my days in the university until I remembered at least two occasions when I came across students ganging up to physically assault another student.
One time, a female undergraduate was flogged and smacked around by her friends. Her sin: she had dared to “snatch” another friend’s older lover. The humiliation happened in full public glare. What was worse was that almost everyone who was watching the disgraceful scene agreed the victim deserved the treatment she got.
The second time, a group of boys ambushed a coursemate close to the school gate and beat him up for “running his mouth”. In future, he would learn to be more circumspect in his speech. This happened at night, and students simply walked past because everyone was scared the assaulters might be members of a cult.
Violence has become rife in our society; so much so that it is seen as the most effective way to settle scores. The recently held Kogi and Bayelsa elections were marred by violence. Our homes are not even spared the onslaught. Domestic violence is a recurrent episode in spite of all the activism and stringent measures deployed to quell its prevalence, and we wonder why this epidemic has spread to the younger generation.
I live in Lagos, a city where daily street fights are normal. The ability to initiate physical harm is seen as a strength in these parts. A little altercation with the next motorist and he threatens to decimate you with his fists. Parents are quick to hit kids, men measure their manhood based on their ability to emerge victorious in a fight. Lovers slap and employ household items as arsenals in domestic warfare.
I have never understood people who are inclined to resort to violence as a means of expression. People who are quick to attribute their lack of self-control to frustration or an innate quick temper, worse still, they blame others for their appetite for destruction.
It’s plausible to deduce that in a society where more than 70 percent of the population wallow in penury, there will be a lot of angry people.
And for those who do not fall in this category? Nigeria devises other creative ways to frustrate them. But if we all went about hitting and slapping and pummeling and punching, then we would only succeed in birthing a society of monsters. A jungle where action is taken on a whim and not as a product of rational thought.
Already, we have to deal with police brutality, religious extremism, cultism and sundry acts of violence that make for an unsafe environment. To not seek ways to curb this ugly trend is to raise a new generation of young people who think violence is a legitimate recourse when aggrieved.
For now, it’s good to know that the authorities of FUTA have taken a decisive action to suspend the erring students whilst conducting an investigation into the incident. But beyond that, the students should be psychoanalysed to determine their state of mind in a bid to get to the root of such behaviour.
On a preventive level, however, parental nurturing and discipline is the more effective way to ensure we do not raise savages as kids.