Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaFriday, June 12, 2015




he famous Shakespeare says that death is a necessary end which must come when it will come. All mortals must die. Biologically speaking, death is the permanent cessation of all bodily metabolic activities. Once breathing stops, the whole human body becomes stiff. There was a woman who attempted to slap her husband, but she was stopped by death as she slumped and died. Her palm and fingers remained in a slapping position as she was laid in state. The sympathizers who came to pay their final respect covered their cheeks with helmet to avoid the dead woman slapping them as they filed past her corpse. When her husband came across, she opened her eyes and sighed. The husband filled with trembling asked her to put down her hands and rest in peace. Unfortunately she became motionless again until burial. Before her corpse was lowered into the grave, the slapping hand was forced to normalcy to avoid the dead woman slapping people in the world beyond.

Yes, death can be natural or unnatural. It is natural when no human agent is involved. If a person dies as a result of natural illness, he or she is said to have died naturally. But where someone, through any means whatever, causes the death of a person, the person is said to have died unnaturally. Whatever the case, natural or unnatural death has no age limit. For instance, an infant who dies as a result of willful abortion dies an unnatural death. But if the abortion is natural, that is not caused by any human agent, then the baby dies a natural death. All said and done, death is death, whether natural or unnatural. We must therefore prepare for natural or unnatural death. I do not think that God considers if one dies natural or unnatural death on the Day of Judgment.

However, human life belongs to God alone. That means, only God has prerogative over life and death. He gives and takes away whenever he wishes. The fifth command in the Decalogue says: "You shall not kill (Ex. 20:13)." Even suicide is condemnable. What right do I have to take away my own life when all hope seems to be lost? Last week I read in a Newspaper that a married man with five children got up one afternoon, hid a wrapper in a polythene bag and left the house. He lied to his wife and children that he was going to see someone in the village. No one knew he was walking to death. Few hours later, the bread winner of the family was seen hanging on wrapper tied to a tree in the nearby forest. He left a suicide note which read: "I am tired of this world. Please do not cry for me. Goodbye!" If I were God, I will send the man back to the world to take care of his family responsibility. Whom did he leave his poor wife and poor children to take of? Suicide is the most foolish death anyone can die. The victim becomes the agent of his or her death. It can be done by hanging oneself on anything above the ground, taking poisonous substance, jumping into the sea or through other means. What is the destination of a person who commits willful suicide? Does he think that death is annihilation? My man, come down from that tree; throw away that rope and go home to face life squarely. The downfall of a man is not the end of his life. If a black hen can lay white eggs, then all hope is not lost. There is light at the end of the tunnel. There was a time that I became despaired with my life. I went to a bushy lonely place and was crying. With eyes full of tears I said, "God, take away my life." Immediately, I saw a dangerous snake coming from the bush and crawling towards me. I jumped up and shouted, "God save me!" What an irony of human life! If you have a plan to commit suicide, please cancel it before I finish writing this article. Do you think that this world is a bed of roses? The Holy Writ says: "In time of prosperity, adversity is forgotten. But in time of adversity, prosperity is not remembered" ( Sirach 11:25).

Evil men, evil spirits, hired assassins, armed robbers and kidnappers are agents of death. Evil men or women are holders of illiterate PhD degree, which means "Pull him (her) Down." Evil spirits operate through human agents to send innocent persons to their untimely death. Hired assassination involves paying a person or group of persons to murder a person or persons. Armed robbers and kidnappers do not only rob their victims, often they kill as well. Recently a priest of Awka Diocese was murdered alongside his immediate junior brother as they were travelling from Ondo to Lagos. Their car also caught fire and consumed the two brothers. What an agony they passed through! On their burial day, tears were flowing from all eyes like torrential rain. May the family take heart and trust in God. I pray for the repose of the two brothers. I wish the wicked armed robbers or whoever they might be repentance and not to shed blood anymore.

As if enough is not enough, fuel tankers and trailers are now on rampage as agents of death in Nigeria. Very recently, a fuel tanker driver was driving up the fly-over in Upper Iweka Onitsha, break-failure was said to have occurred, whereby it crashed into buses filled with passengers and people standing thereby. About 85 people were roasted alive by the devilish or humanistic inferno. What pains me most was that some hungry people among the dead went to scoop fuel. How can one play with fire, just to get money? The scooping of fuel has sent thousands of innocent Nigerians into their regrettable graves. When can we learn from history? If another fuel tanker falls tomorrow, you will still see people rushing to scoop fuel at the detriment of their precious lives. Any ignition of sharp objects around the flowing fuel can set the whole place on consuming inferno. The victims are normally burnt beyond recognition. I feel that the burnt human flesh can be among the dry meat we purchase from the markets. That is why no one can swear that he or she has not eaten human flesh.

Fuel tankers and trailers have caused a lot of bloody havoc in this our country. As a new driver, my herculean task was how to overtake a tanker or trailer. Whenever I see them then, I was always filled with fear and trembling. How long can I continue to be driving behind them at a distance, praying that the drivers could stop that I may drive past? One day I took the bull by the horn. I made the Sign of the Cross twelve times and began to overtake. Sweat covered my view that I started blowing horn loudly and repeatedly to attract the attention of the trailer driver. The driver peeped through the window and saw me battling with my steering. He laughed and shouted, "My brother, take it easy!" By that time I have already perceived hot urine flowing down my pair of trouser. It was caused by the euphoria I had then overtaking a moving trailer or fuel tanker. Thank God today I easily overtake dozens of such long and dangerous vehicles. However, I must be careful because life has no duplicate. I narrated in the past how I went into the duplicating office to duplicate my life, but there was no machine capable of doing it. So, beware my fellow drivers and passengers. Fuel scoopers, be warned! Life has no duplicate.

In Anambra State, fuel tankers and trailers have been restricted to ply at night. How long will this restriction last? Is it not better to build separate roads for big vehicles nationwide? Those who drive those big vehicles should be more careful. The careless drivers among them are agents of death. Often they take dangerous drugs and herbs in order to move like spirits behind the steering. Some get drunk before they embark on a journey. Some do not maintain their vehicles. Some of those big and long vehicles are coffins on wheels. The Government should check and confiscate the driving licenses of those careless agents of death. The owners should also be quizzed and punished accordingly. The coffins on wheels themselves must be banned until they are in order.

Most commercial motorcycle drivers in Nigeria are agents of death. They are very careless. They overtake from left, right, top and bottom on the roads. I was driving one day on the highway. An okada man wanted to fly over my car to the other side. I jumped out of the car and held the man on the throat for trying to commit suicide and murder. I told him that I want to go to heaven but not that very day. Many okada drivers have maimed and killed many of their passengers and passers-by. I think it is more honourable to die from car accident than motorcycle accident. As a child I thought that anyone who dies from plane crash goes to heaven straight away because the person died on the air.

Terrorists are the current world agents of death. They want to overthrow God and destroy all human beings on the earth. In Nigeria, they are known as Boko Haram. President Muhammadu Buhari is now having sleepless nights over the bloody mess taking place in North East of Nigeria. He promised to stop Boko Haram during his electioneering campaign. The die is cast! In Kenya and some African countries, they are called "al-Shabaab." In Middle East they are referred to as ISIS. In the villages, they are known as "onu-obara" (blood drinkers). These evil men and women, born from the tribe of Esau, slaughter innocent people like fowls here and there. They bomb, shoot, slash victims' throats, behead, cut and burn. The lucky ones are maimed for life. Thousands of children all over the world are orphans because their parents were victims of terrorism. Many women and men are ushered into untimely widowhood. Who knows the next victims? How long can God tolerate these blood- taste agents of death?