Salome Abuh, and the cost of a Nigerian life

SIR: How much is a Nigerian life worth, to the kidnapper, to the arsonist, to the murderer, when a Nigerian’s life is cut short by the bullet of the same security forces that his/her taxes pay to maintain, who is responsible for the inhuman policies that are responsible for lives that are lost?

How much is the life of that woman that loses her baby because of avoidable circumstances in the slums called hospital, or who consoles the widower who has lost his wife because the hospital had no water, what is the cost if the children that are killed daily because of negligence.

Men are suicidal because they cannot meet their family responsibilities, women are doing the jobs of ten men, because of abuse of all sorts. Who is responsible when we do not know the value of life?

And when we murder our mothers, women, our sisters, our daughters, and people’s aunties due to electoral violence, who is held liable?

So, the Kogi elections have come and gone, and so has the Bayelsa elections too. As Nigerians we have moved on. There are winners and yes losers; isn’t that what elections are about? In the phrase of Professor Larry Diamond, our semi-democracy continues; it limps, it stutters, in somersaults, in a manner of one step forward, and ten backward.

Democracy without good governance, without justice and filled with bloodshed.

Read Also: Women demand justice for late PDP woman leader, Salome Abuh

For those that do not know, and trust me, many do not know, Mrs. Abuh, a PDP women leader who also doubled as a coordinator of the Wada/Aro Governorship Campaign Council, was holed up in her home and set ablaze by political supporters alleged to be from the ruling party.

The criminality happened on November 18, after the November 16, governorship election in the state. Suspected thugs who invaded the home of Mrs. Abuh at about 02:00pm, locked all exits in the house and poured petrol before setting the house on fire.

The hoodlums were said to have prevented locals from coming to the rescue of the woman as they shot sporadically to scare the people away and kept watch until the building was razed down. Mrs. Abuh reportedly attempted to escape through a window but was prevented by the metal burglary proof and bullets raining in her direction.

Elder Simeon Babani Seidu Abuh, husband of the, late Mrs. Abuh, described her death as premeditated and called on security agencies and all authorities concerned to ensure justice in the matter. He further stated that the community knew the culprits.

The United Nations (UN) condemned the killing through the Deputy Secretary of the UN, Amina Mohammed, who expressed the concern of the global body when the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, hosted her. “No person especially women should have to lose their lives when seeking political office,” Mrs. Mohammed said. She said it is incredibly important to make seeking political office safer.

Five days after the incident on November 24, President Buhari ordered a “scrupulous investigation of the murder of the women leader.”

Is there any agency that has a list of persons that died this year; that were killed as a result of state violence? People that died as a result of those collapsed buildings, those that were abducted and killed, Boko Haram related killings, even members of the security apparatchik that were killed on duty? Is there anywhere that serves as a remembrance for Nigerians because our lives are worth something? Really what is the cost of a Nigerian life?

Salome Abuh after all said and done, is gone, gone to the great beyond. This attack on womanhood that ordinarily should warrant reason to action by men and women of good conscience irrespective of political, social and religious leaning would just again be one of those things, collateral damage. Women that should be partners in our democratic space hacked down, Nigerians killed, and no one is accountable, or answerable, because we leave the space to urchins and all sorts of disturbed persons.


  • Prince Charles Dickson,


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