Recently the Lagos state government deported some Anambra State indigenes accusing them of being homeless destitutes. According to reports, some of them were dropped off at the famous “Upper Iweka bridge” in Onitsha. Nerves are frayed over the incident and the normally popular Lagos State government and its governor are currently in the line of fire. Their defense was that these were homeless people that needed to be reunited with their families. Earlier they had also stated that it has been a government policy to rid the streets of Lagos of beggars, homeless people and destitutes.
I compare this attitude to Nazi Germany’s Hitler. I know it’s a strong comparison but hear me out just a bit. We are appalled when we hear that Hitler exterminated six million Jews in the concentration camps. Hitler did not do this alone. He had a loyal coterie among the German people who were convinced of the rightness of his actions. But how did Hitler get here? He began on a seemingly innocuous point, which gradually led down a slippery slope up to the death camps. It was that the German people had a right to “self determination” (sounds familiar?), and to be owners of their lands and patrimony. This right was then based on their race, which was considered superior to that of all others. All these others should therefore not be allowed to coexist with the “pure” Germans, lest they be contaminated and the race “weakened”.
Babatunde Fashola of Lagos is creating a fine city, but a state that has no place for the poor is not the state we want. The poor are a part of us, Nigerians like us. Lagos cannot be the state for the perfect, wealthy and jeep driving class (note the “class” again – it resonated with those harmful European ideologies). Lagos state cannot be the state of Nigerians who turn up their “elite” noses at the “smell” of their less fortunate countrymen. This should be a free state where everybody is equal.
All of this puts a lie to the claim of a one-Nigeria. A Nigeria where indigenes are constantly reminded that they do not belong, either because of their ethnicity or because of their lack of economic prowess, is not one-Nigeria. It is a Nigeria of perfect races – which reminds me of Nazi Germany and of Hitler.