By Munyale Kwabe
“Justice is truth in action” – Benjamin Disraeli
Very often, I meet people who don’t truly know the function of a state. In political science, there are different theories, divinity, force, and so on; that goes on to tell us why the state exists. However, one that really sticks out is the social contract. Despite their differences in how anarchical the state of nature is, it is clear that all theorists from this angle believe that the major reason a state exists is for justice. The state is supposed to serve and protect its citizens. You and old. Small and big. Rich and poor. You and I.
What then is justice? According to Science Daily, “Justice is a concept of moral rightness based ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, equity, and fairness, as well as the administration of the law, taking into account the inalienable and inborn rights of all human beings and citizens, the right of all people and individuals to equal protection before the law of their civil rights, without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, colour, ethnicity, religion, disability, age, wealth, or other characteristics, and is further regarded as being inclusive of social justice.”
From the definition, we can see that justice is not selective. It is supposed to encompass every aspect of human lives and when that fails, the state has failed.
However, in the past two weeks, there has been a win for everyone fighting against sexual violence and gender-based violence (GBV) in Nigeria. Thanks to the Dorothy Njemanze Foundation, we have seen Idris Ebiloma sentenced to 28 years and Ifeanyi Dike got the death sentence on charges of rape. Also, the abductor and rapist of Ese Oruro, Yunusa Dahiru has been sentenced to 26 years.
So to all the people who worked tirelessly to see this come to pass, from Stand To End Rape Initiative, we say a very big thank you. For all the people who fought with their resources and their voices, we say a big thank you. We are not where we ought to be, but we would get there.
Together, we need to put in the work it takes to get Nigeria working. The system is failing us on a daily basis. Impunity still exists and many perpetrators still go unpunished. There is power in our number, so we have to make a conscious decision to continue with what we have or demand a real change. A change we all deserve.
Does this mean we are there yet? No. We still need to fight and fight harder. Use our voices to push for what we believe in. Because the injustice of one is the injustice of all. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once said, “It’s every man’s business to see justice done”.