At a Time Like This!: My Response on the Safety of Nigerians in Distress.

When I ponder the situation of our country Nigeria, the song that comes to my mind is that which seemed pejorative and degrading, yet a meaningful song of  Eedris Abdulkareem “Jaga Jaga”. The song;
“Nigeria jagajaga; Everything scatter scatter, Poor man dey suffer suffer…….” welcomed a lot of criticism at the time it was sung, but today everyone is bearing the witness on how the song may not have brought out in its fullness the decayed and ruined nature of our country Nigeria. The situation is so ugly that very many people are losing hope. But we are not to lose hope.

In life when you are confronted with a situation very difficult to comprehend; when you are met with a life-threatening predicament; when life seems meaningless because you do not know what will be your fate the next minute, what becomes your hope?


At a time like this, everyone is thrown into derangement of mind. One is gripped with extreme fear and anxiety. I came to notice the kind of atmosphere we are living in when I no longer move around as usual and at any given time because of the security threat. It made me realise the amount of damage already made in this country. The prevailing fear and other irregularities made me fully realise that we are living in a state of nature in the idea of Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes describes the state of nature; as a miserable state of war in which none of our important human ends is reliably realizable. As it stands today, there is nothing meaningfully being done to
provide resources to escape this miserable condition. Hence, the state of nature in which we are living becomes very much obvious.

At a time like this, when the extensive thinking on the way forward and the various solutions proffered to the amendment of the incompetent and tyrannical system, which reached its climax at this time have all fallen on deaf ears of the leaders. The question becomes, what is the right individual approach to this saga? This question is not an easy one. But we are to provide some ideas that will help individuals to cope. I am not writing for the government to change because just as Peter Obi’s description of Nigeria “as a vehicle without brain box”, nothing is going to happen until the structural changes are made. However, I am writing for the seemingly hopeless masses whose lives are constantly threatened and who are living in excruciating and life-threatening conditions. Therefore, for one to exist in this bad condition, we must take cognisance of the following;

1. Be calm and vigilant;

For one to be in the right psychological state, one must exhibit a serious level of composure and calmness. One must make every effort to be in a tranquil state of mind. Hence the need for calmness becomes obvious. Live as if nothing is happening. Do not die before your death. Don’t be a coward. In the scripture we were admonished thus:
“Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith” (1Peter 5:8-9). When we are surrounded by the crisis as we are experiencing today in Nigeria; when things have fallen apart that the centre can no longer hold, where anarchy is the prevailing practice, at a time like this, we must be calm and vigilant.

2. Be the change you wish;

Mahatma Gandhi once opined; “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” We must live out what we want. We begin the repair of the country from ourselves.
Since we are blaming the government for every problem we have today, we should not lose sight of the fact that we all have a share in this failed nation. We are not just making effort. The little we can do, we don’t do them. We blame the federal government, but the state government is doing practically nothing. The local government has also learned the wickedness of the state government and the federal. Even the village heads are doing nothing. Recently, I visited home and saw a bag of maize and garri my parents said it was the palliative from the government; believe you me, the maize and garri are no more good for consumption, they are all spoilt. You then ask; what sort of depravity and wickedness is this? Also, the individuals are not doing much to create a better environment. We should be able to be positive always towards others. Therefore, “at a time like this”, we simply need to be the change we would like to experience. Individually, let us have a better disposition to doing good. Let us do more positive things and in doing that I believe that the result will be great.

3. Be Security conscious

Never pretend that nothing is happening concerning security. We must be security conscious. Heavens help those who help themselves. We do not have sufficient security that can secure our lives and properties on the grass root. We have a whole lot of security outfits, but they are not sufficient. They are not enough to arrest the treats of the hoodlums and hooligans. These varmints reap lives from people without qualms. They don’t have a human heart. Therefore, we should be very careful and security conscious. Do not pretend as if nothing is happening, a lot is happening. Don’t make travels at night. Once it is night stay where you are. And give appropriate information about your movement. When going out, inform someone about your journey. Do not visit a person you are not quite sure of. In fact, to be on the safer side, stop every journey that is not necessary.

4. Watch your Psychological Health

In this part of the world, so many psychological problems are still seen as spiritual problems. Even, most of those addressing such claimed spiritual problems are psychologically down. Hence they can give only momentary satisfaction to their clients. Once you give the wrong attention to a particular case, you get the wrong result. We give less attention to our psychological health. And people most times exhibit such acts that suggest they need psychological attention; but, they lack the knowledge of their problem, and those to guide them confuse them all the more. The psychologists will tell us that every human being has psychological problems, but it then depends on whether one is aware of the area he needs psychological attention. However, the prevailing problem which all Nigerians should try and watch out for is the “increasing fear”, what the psychologists call “Phobia”. Even though fear is a natural, powerful, and primitive human emotion which alerts us to the presence of danger or the threat of harm, whether that danger is physical or psychological. But excessive fear which is Phobia is what we have to watch. A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder defined as a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation. The crisis in Nigeria is capable of stimulating and igniting phobia in us. Therefore, we must watch against that for our psychological health.

5. Be Your Brother’s Keeper

We are not to be Cain today who claims he is not a security to his brother. We must be a security to ourselves. If you notice any danger, tell others. Your information can go a long way to helping others.
The country is boiling. So many people are displaced and others are finding life very difficult. At a time like this, we need to be our brother’s keeper. Look around you and check whether everyone around you has something at their table. Don’t pretend all is well. Things are not normal now. But we can help each other. Be the Messiah to your neighbors. Give your friends and relatives a call. Your call can be consoling and can restore hope to that hopeless man who is already existing at the margin of their lives.

6. Be prepared

At a time like this, when things are in a terrible state of extremities, the best thing for each individual to do is to prepare oneself. The essence of this preparation is that no one is very sure of tomorrow. The rate of insecurity in Nigeria is very high. Therefore, it becomes necessary that we prepare for our last days. Many have died, and the tendency is that we may think that we are not concerned about killing. The Igbo’s will say “Eburu ozu onye ozo odi ka ebu ukwu nku” meaning, “when another person’s corpse is being carried away/around, it seems as if they are carrying a log of wood”. We should feel concerned and we should know that we are just lucky to be living.

Finally, “at a time like this”… we must call on God who is our protector and guidance. We must call on Him to restore our land. God can do all things. We must call on him for assistance. We ask the good Lord to intervene at this time our situation is a terrible one. We ask God to help us live our lives in obedience to the Gospel.

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  1. Your Ma Response on the issue of insecurity in Nigeria is very systematic and challenging. It is a must read especially at this critical time. Bravo padre John for this nice work.

  2. Merci mon père pour votre dévouement, que Dieu le Saint-Esprit vous assiste dans votre ministère afin de conduire les âmes vers la sainteté

  3. Thank you Fr. for this. Our country needs prayer and God. ….unless the lord has guided the city, he who guild it watches in vain.

  4. Thanks for finally writing abokut > At a Tiime Like This:
    My Responsze On Thee Safety Of Niterians In Distress.
    – Ma Réponse < Loved it!

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