Nigeria, The Graveyard

There seems to be a tradition among many tribes in Nigeria that only living Nigerians should reside abroad. Those who die should be brought back to be buried at ‘home’.

I am yet to come to terms as to why Nigeria is considered a graveyard for Nigerians who die abroad. Why should they consider Nigeria a graveyard, a burial ground? Or is it the families of the deceased who insist on the return of the corpses? When can we stop this practice or tradition?

A man has been out of Nigeria for 30 years. He probably has no root anymore in this country. But when he dies, he is brought home to be buried here. Why is that? Is it that it is too expensive to bury people in Europe or North America? I don’t think this is the case.

When you consider the expenses to be incurred in conveying the body home, the logistics and stress, the feeding and entertainment of the home people and the pressure on spouse, children, family and friends of the deceased person, the conclusion would be that it would be easier and more economical to lay the person to rest wherever he dies.

Would it not just be easier to insert in your will that you wish to be buried wherever you die? What does the dead body gain from the Nigerian soil that it will not get in Europe or elsewhere? At least in those climes, you are sure of a neat cemetery to lay your head, with landscaped environment, plants and flowers growing luxuriantly around to keep the air fresh.

Nigeria is already a graveyard in many ways and we should not add to the stress.

Nigeria is a grave yard for those whose lives are snuffed out by Boko Haram in the North-East daily.

It is a graveyard for those killed by militants in the Niger Delta.

It is a graveyard for innocent citizens who meet their deaths through extra judicial killing by policemen and other security agents.

It is a graveyard for armed robbery victims who are murdered for refusing to surrender what they have worked hard for all their lives.

It is a graveyard for kidnapped Nigerians whose families cannot not raise the ransoms and they were killed by their abductors.

It is even still a graveyard when the ransom is paid to the kidnappers but they go ahead and kill their innocent victims.
It is a graveyard for people who daily meet their untimely deaths through accidents caused by bad roads and poorly maintained vehicles.
It is a graveyard for politicians and business people assassinated by their opponents and competitors.

It is a graveyard for children who die at childbirth in a country where child mortality rate is still quite high.

It is a graveyard for mothers who die at childbirth due to absence of good maternal health care.

It is a graveyard for foetuses aborted by teenage girls and adult women alike.

It is a graveyard for victims of human rights abuses.

It is a graveyard for rape and other sexual abuse victims who have little or no protection under the law.

It is a graveyard for innocent prisoners wrongly condemned to death.

It is a graveyard for prisoners on death row.

It is a graveyard for victims of oil pollution and abandoned environmental disaster areas.

It is a graveyard for Youth Corpers sent to serve in States prone to terrorist attacks.

It is a graveyard for those caught up in election violence.

It is a graveyard for those murdered by the marauding new-wave herdsmen and bandits.

Let those who die abroad be buried abroad. We can manage to bury those who die in Nigeria here. There are too many deaths here already. Needless deaths. Avoidable deaths. Deaths caused by insensitive governments. Deaths caused by poverty and harsh economic policies. Deaths as a result of man’s inhumanity to man.

Let us stop making Nigeria a burial ground!
IMAGE CREDIT: Unsplash, Vanguard, bbc.com
Epa Ogie Eboigbe, veteran journalist, broadcaster and public affairs specialist writes on, and analyses current and historical issues with a ‘wise pen’.

One Comment on “Nigeria, The Graveyard”

  1. Nigeria “a grave yard’its well captured narrative.The reasons people give for bringing the dead to be buried in Nigeria is a cultural thought tied to the believes in ancestral affinity, identifying with their dead ancestors for whatever that means it has come to stay baring all other costs.
    I went to my village in December to be part of a burial of an uncle who lived and died in the UK and had wished his corpse be brought home to be buried because,that was his wish which had to be carried out.There’s also a belief that if such is not done, the soul of the dead will not rest.
    Concerning other issues raised concerning the high rate of insecurity, carelessness of drivers on Nigerian roads and the increased accidents arising from this, you are very correct and am wandering when this can stop.The reckless killings by Boko Haram and other groups either herdsmen or ritualists are appalling and indeed very sad.May God rest the souls of the dead and wisen the living to do the needful.
    God bless Nigeria.

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