Day 11, Burning Down Justice (#31DaysOfDecember)

The Igbosere High Court in Lagos was my ‘home parish’ in the 80s when I started private practice. I recall court visits here as teenager on a vac job with a law firm. It is described as the oldest court building in Nigeria (…I should like to research the point). But driving past its burnt-out husk recently was affecting. Here is a sliver of poetry from Praise Poem. It is Stephen Derwent Partington, writing on the aftermath of the bloody Kenyan riots.

We praise the man who,
though he held the match between
his finger and his thumb,
beheld the terror of its tiny drop of phosphorus…
      - How to Euthanise a Cactus

The rioters who took advantage of the recent #ENDSARS protests to loot and burn did not ‘behold the terror of the tiny drop of phosphorus’ and hold back. They burned down the Igbosere High Court and hundreds of other buildings and cars. And people.

blindfolded… and burned

Justice can be maddening, especially when after, say, a decade of litigation you are cheated of justice. It is enough to want to torch the whole place… until you hold the black blob of phosphorus in your fingers and behold the terrors in its heart, and realise that for all your anger, you are a builder, not a burner. You are a healer, not a killer.

If my #Day11 photograph in the #31DaysOfDecember series has a theme, it is that there are builders and there are burners, and in countries destined for Hell, burners always have the last word.

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