…Of Common Weal, Grass-cutters, and All of Us

By Ikenga Chronicles April 27, 2017

…Of Common Weal, Grass-cutters, and All of Us

— Ikechi Mgbeoji

A lot of people like “bush-meat”. They can travel long distances in search of it. Nothing wrong with that. Some would even park their cars in the middle of the road just because they want to buy bush-meat. Now, that’s criminal and irresponsible.

15 months ago the Ministry of Education, Abia State succeeded in persuading a corporate entity to construct a brand new 5 classroom block for a community in Abia State. The sparkling school building was commissioned last year. And I thought I had achieved something. I was wrong.

5 months ago, a band of youths in that community (they are not Boko Haram and not aliens) set upon the floor of one of the classrooms and dug up the cemented floor in their search for a grass-cutter. Yes, you got me right. They hunted down a grass-cutter and with diggers, shovels, and pick-axes they destroyed the floor of a school classroom right there in their own village.

I know we usually like to bash the “government” as if government was a disembodied entity out there. But I think that as individuals, we generally lack a sense of the public good and defence of the common weal.

When we destroy public infrastructure—people pee on the floor of public washrooms at our airports, thrash the roads from the comfort of their air-conditioned cars, drive against all traffic rules known to civilization—are we really serious about building and maintaining a civilization?

Tearing up the school in your village in your hunt for a grass-cutter is not just criminal, it is absolutely beyond the pale. Unpardonable.

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