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Badaru, a house please for Musa Usman

In the pervading national overbearing atmosphere of anomie and foreboding, one in which Nigerians seem to have lost all feelings of humanity, a small spark…

In the pervading national overbearing atmosphere of anomie and foreboding, one in which Nigerians seem to have lost all feelings of humanity, a small spark appears that means a lot.

The spark of humanity is the sacrificial action of Malam Musa Usman a simple gateman who after a meritorious service of 25 years with a pharmaceutical company in Lagos, rejected a parting gift of a house in his village, heroically requesting for and getting instead, a borehole for his community.

The report revealed that Musa Usman’s Indian employer Mr. V. Verghese, MD of Jawa International Limited, had offered to build a house for him in his hometown, Giljimmi, a Fulani settlement near Birniwa in Jigawa State. This was as a reward in appreciation of his diligent service while he was his gateman in Lagos, for 25 years.

Understand that Usman was working in Lagos yet mindful he was, that his community suffers from not even just an acute water shortage, but a total lack of it.

The single selfless action of Malam Musa Usman as set against our current national backdrop of anomie and foreboding is a seeming unheard occurrence. It resonated across the nation where all humanity seems lost, and values of selflessness and sacrifice for the common good no longer in existence. The days are presently ruled by bizarre criminal activities that defy all logic and explanation.

Through much of Northern Nigeria, a senseless wave of killings of poor communities rages on with marauders raiding and attacking defenceless communities and setting their homes ablaze with impunity. Did we ever imagine that Kaduna Abuja road travelled by an endless motorcade day and night could be blocked by robbers and kidnappers for hours in broad daylight and hundreds of commuters abducted like livestock for ransoms? This week alone, several abductions have taken place and victims include the Chairman of the Board of the Universal Basic Education Commission UBEC, and the Deputy Registrar of the Taraba State University. In cities across Nigeria, kidnappers raid homes and abduct their victims, in some cases, by knocking down walls to gain entrance! In Kano State alone, a near 3.5 million people, mostly young men and women and indeed children, are victims of drug abuse and addiction. Did we ever imagine this happenstance? Did we ever imagine that officials of Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) would tag a drug-laden bag to an unsuspecting passenger who gets arrested in Saudi Arabia or even anywhere abroad, to face the possible death sentence for luggage she did not load and had no knowledge of? Today in Nigeria, a man and his wife agree and sell off their new born baby to total strangers because they need money to run a business. Abroad in the United Arab Emirates, Nigerians are apprehended for raiding a bureau de change, an ATM or a bank. Globally, Nigerians are in the centre of several nefarious criminal activities that do not only tarnish our image but destroy the national economy.

Nigeria now perfectly fits the definition of anomie, the system structure no longer has integrity, there seems to be no political will and capacity to guarantee safety of life and property. Greed and materialism rule, resulting in the failure of society itself to provide moral guidance to individuals. There are conflicts in belief systems to the extent that social bonds are continuously breaking down nationwide. This accounts for the intra ethnic feuds and several conflicts, community versus community.

Even without this grounding of chaos in Nigeria, the lone act of gateman Musa Usman stands out to beg the questions – what has prevented Birniwa Local Government all this while from ensuring that his community has just a single hand pump borehole, the type the Fulani call talaka siutai meaning the poor have yet to find rest? In all of the North of Nigeria, many a  Local Government Chairman’s first task is to locate himself a house, may be even take a new wife, build his wardrobe of starched guinea brocade, buy himself a tinted glassed SUV and spend his whole tenure dodging the very poor who voted him in. The thought of a borehole or medical drugs for a primary health clinic, for a community such as Musa Usman’s own, hardly comes to mind. At the State level, even as basic a first line commitment as salaries is relegated to the background in preference to a fleet of expensive SUVs and exotic official living quarters. Kogi State reportedly owes its workers a whopping 38 months of unpaid salaries.

What of Musa Usman’s elected representatives – the State Assembly Member, the Member House of Representatives and the Senator – how do we look at these over pampered and over paid legislators when we appreciate the heroic act of this lone gateman that they have been incapable of addressing?

For his act, the people in Usman’s community, no longer will trek long distances for their drinking water, they have bade farewell to drinking water they shared with their livestock. Yet we must recognise that for his sacrificial loss of a house, his community have gained a life dream of potable drinking water. As the story was trending on social media, I noticed pledges from public spirited Nigerians across divided committing themselves to contributing to provide the house for Malam Musa Usman. For this reason, this column is today titled a plea to Governor of Jigawa State, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, ro please provide a house for selfless Malam Musa Usman.


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