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Frances Okoro: Fellow Nigerians, Let Us Have Some Compassion

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dreamstime_l_22723856So I am in a BRT bus again, on my way to CMS and thankfully the incident that usually happens hasn’t happened today.
But it almost always happens.

Here’s how it goes…
I sit in a bus and some young secondary school kids try to board the BRT bus to get home after school and the driver barks at these young kids and drives off in anger.
And I usually sit there thinking “but why are you so mad? And why do you have no iota of compassion inside of you?”.

It would seem that the world has gone bonkers these days. Almost everyone has a seed of anger inside of them, one that casts a veil upon the place where love used to live.
When I go out in public each day, my heart bleeds.

I was sitting again in a bus on my way to the Island when a guy with blood gushing from his head wanted to get into the bus so he could go to the hospital… and the driver refused to let him in.
I didn’t know when I shouted “Oga abeg I go pay the transport fare”

I thought money was the issue and even though I didn’t have enough, what’s a life compared to 150 Naira?
But the driver drove off, muttering “he go dirty my seats”.
And I lay my head down, with tears brimming in my eyes, asking God “what’s happening Lord? What’s happening to humanity? How can someone choose his car seats over a life?”
I cried, my heart was in pain.
And I prayed; praying for the hearts in this our nation.

The truth is we pray for God to help us out of our economic issues but refuse to do what God wants.
In Isaiah 58 God expressly says that the fast He wants isn’t the one where we bow our heads religiously, wearing sack clothes all around to show that we are religious… and unfortunately, that’s what most of us do.
The Word expressly says “set free the oppressed, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, release your workers from the unreasonable burden you have put them under…”

But we have so many oppressed people in Nigeria. Oppression is almost a normal thing in this country.
The rich throw their money around, shutting up the seemingly poor.
Using their “name” to jump the “small boy” in queues, hitting cars on the road and claiming rights because “you are a big man”.

How did our hearts get so seared that we feel nothing for the oppressed?
How did our conscience get so bad that we would gladly allow a man to die because our car seats are going to get stained?
And the one that hurts me the most, why would you drive off when a young girl/boy coming from school wants to stand (not even sit) in your bus so that they can get home?
If our hearts are closed to young children, then who can our hearts open up to?

We still have amazing people in Nigeria and I have met a lot of them. I have even written about some of my experiences here on Bella Naija… but this is just a plea to us all.
Oh please my country men and women, have some compassion on your fellow brother.
We know that everyone is hurting, the traffic situation in Lagos is a disaster, the fuel issues are terrible… but if we let these things turn our hearts into stones then indeed we have nothing left. Next time you go out on the streets, watch out for that helpless soul that you can help.
Even if you can’t help, please pray.

Our Nation needs help. And it starts with us.

We keep praying for change and help from God but our own attitudes and character negate our prayers.
Wickedness and oppression, everywhere you turn.

Oh we need help. Our land needs help. And the help would start from us making the necessary changes in our hearts.

Compassion, my sisters and brothers. Have some compassion as you go out today.
Be constrained by the spirit of love and have some compassion.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Hephzibah Frances is a child of God and a delight to her Father's heart. She is a Lawyer, author and social entrepreneur called to the nations.She is the founder of The Women At The Well a Christian women ministry based in Lagos.andAwakening Youthful Seeds For Christ Initiative a Non-Governmental Organisation focused on raising purposeful youths.She is currently the author of four books including the best-selling book PRAYERS FOR YOUR FUTURE HUSBAND. Get all her books here here And get her latest fiction book - "ENIOLA" for abused womenhereWanna know what to do while you are single? Join the "21 DAYS PRAYERS FOR YOUR FUTURE HUSBAND PRAISE AND PRAYER CHALLENGE GOING ON RIGHT NOW! "here Join up the challenge on her Instagram channel @HephzibahFrancesEmail her at [email protected] in touch with her: On Facebook: HephzibahFrancesOn twitter @Hephzibahfran/On instagram @hephzibahfrancesWatch her videos on her Youtube Channel at - FrancesOkoroVisit her website at www.hephzibahfrances.com

31 Comments

  1. Ada Nnewi

    May 19, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Thank you francesca for reminding us to love our neighbours. This is the golden rule..

    • Kadara

      May 19, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Thank you so much for this message. This is something that needs to be preached to all Nigerians.Peoples hearts here are hardened and it’s not the current economic situation because it’s been like this for a while. Another thing that causes it is lack of gratitude, you help someone and many times you end up regretting it when they are so ungrateful and bite the fingers that literally fed them. It makes people wary to help others, also you have cases of people helping accident victims then the police arrested and harassed them when the victim passed away. such things can make even compassionate people think twice . However we must always do our bit remembering that even to God we are ungrateful yet he never relents from doing good to us.

    • Frances Okoro

      May 23, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      One thing keeps me in times of lack of gratitude kadara.
      Galatians 6:9. Do not grow weary in doing good because in due time you will reap a reward/harvest.
      It may not be that person who will give you your reward but your seeds of good will surely germinate

  2. el patron

    May 19, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Pastor Ms frances everybody eye dey red oooo…its not only in naija all over the world.
    No JOY! this world is a jungle! every man for himself.
    A fi ki olorun gba wa ni ooo..
    only God can help us.
    if you done make am sope ti and try to help.
    if you still dey hustle, my brother hustle tight! nobody know you oooo..
    people of these world are oil fingers, they don’t lick bloody finger.

    • nwa nna

      May 19, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      @ El patron, I beg to differ.. It’s not the same all over the world.. Nigeria is a society that lacks empathy in every sense, I never understood the difference until living outside of Nigeria.
      Our culture unfortunately doesn’t teach empathy, I’ve always said that if we as Nigerians can show just a tiny bit more compassion & empathy it would go a long ways! I realize there are plenty of Nigerians with very good hearts but it’s dwarfed by those that don’t..
      Even the overly religious folks & Bible stingers amongst us are not exempt from the lack of compassion & empathy which makes you wonder if they really understand what Christianity is all about at its very core.

    • Amaa

      May 19, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      I beg to differ our culture teaches empathy take your mind back to our parents days when we trusted each other eat from the same plate borrowed soup from our eight our house etc empathy is embedded in our culture but we have let poverty and fight to survive divide us

    • bimcol

      May 20, 2016 at 4:14 am

      I completely agree with you Amaa. Nigerians display astounding amounts of empathy. People in developed countries are very individualistic and the scene you described about the school kids plays out everyday on my way to work in Amsterdam.

      A marked difference is that while a Nigerian wud typically offer to pay dier fare, a Dutch person would look the other way.

      Most importantly, most (emphasis on most) of these kids are given tfare by dier parents but they spend it on snacks and hope for a free ride. This is the beginning stage of d entitlement mentality that plagues an average person in Nigeria. A system cannot work if will allow short cuts on d ground of compassion.

    • Naijamum

      May 23, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      I agree with you, there is something about Nigeria and it’s even worse in churches

  3. ElessarisElendil

    May 19, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    I have a belief that the dearth of compassion is the price we pay for modernity; perhaps we as human beings are naturally selfish, why the societal rules of old were so strict.

    The sad thing about Nigeria is our being infected with the wrong attitudes of modernity without the perks. Solutions that revolve around morality and social cohesion are not likely to work, not in our brave new world where rules of decency are so old school or worse patriarchal, the price we pay for our gadgets and tech is the west’s individualism as opposed to our traditional morals.

    The best we can hope for is that most put our natural selfishness to good use, try to make the state work for us, that way, the kids get a free ride from home and we can nonchalantly dial 911 when somebody is bleeding out in the streets, in the modern world, we can pay for compassion.

  4. DL

    May 19, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Compassion and humility is what many Nigerians lack. I’m not sure if it’s due to the frustration of hustling in a country where everything is just gra gra with a mentality of “survival of the fittest”. Naija is not an easy country at all and Nigerians are some of the toughest, crazy group of people I know. It’s good at times but with a whole lot of disadvantages. Thank God, we are not licensed to buy guns anyhow because the level of anger that many have we will be killing each other like chickens.

  5. Eni

    May 19, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Ride on Sister. All people do is condemn single mothers as if they themselves are saints.
    For those who care, please read Matthew 25:31 to end. Jesus says “as long as you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me”.
    Keep consoling yourselves you all self-righteous people. One sin is not better than the other except for the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

  6. Babycakes

    May 19, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Those kids ehn…. they spend their fare on frivolities, then start looking for a free ride. What do we call it?

    • Somborri

      May 20, 2016 at 10:27 am

      schoool children in lagos are actually entitled to a free ride on BRT buses. look it up. The bus driver was just plain wicked.

    • Frances Okoro

      May 23, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      I agree that its wrong for them to eat their money oh Babycakes… but we all know what childish foolishness can do.
      I wont even go into stories of stuff i got into with my brother when we were young based on money and transport deals.
      So why judge these kids with adult sense when we were’t judged that way?
      would leaving them on the road bring the transport fare back?
      Wont more good be done by counseling them instead when we see them?
      Words are powerful and one word on a ready heart of a kid can go a long way. Kindness to the kid too can go a long way

  7. Sai sai

    May 19, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Lol..the comment session of BN and other blogs need compassion in their soul…some people will prefer to add more fuel to fire than quench it..Jesus Fix it!
    This is my serious face on a serious note

  8. Henry

    May 19, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    The dearth of compassion in our society has nothing to do with modernity. Modernity with its tools, only shed light upon compassion or discompassion. If it does heighten discompassion; it does same to compassion.

  9. Las

    May 19, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    I hear you. I wonder when compassion became a ‘weakness’ in Nigeria. An example is news and articles about the rescue of one of the Chibok girls (hopefully there will be more, with the news of another rescue); the amount of vitriol from some Nigerians online is just astounding. I think the prevalence corruption has a lot to do with it. A compassionate person would find it hard to cheat another human being, while a corrupt person is heartless.

    I am also of the opinion that as a country we collectively suffer from PTSD.

  10. nwa nna

    May 19, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    @Ama- Empathy definition: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

  11. Pleasefeelfreetojudgeme

    May 19, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Was in a bus one day when a guy rushed in with tears in his eyes seeking for help for his conductor who had just fallen off his bus. He claimed the conductor was in d hospital and has been asked to look for money. Had 1100 on me. Gave 1000
    Others on my row also gave their widows mite.

    We were sha hearing people whispering ” ha, oh, hmm, etc” from d back seat. U can only imagine our anger when been told by d “ha, oh, hmm” group dat d guy is well known in d area for such smart ass stories.

    Now please free to judge me when I do not give my 100 bucks to the next dirty looking beggar I see.

  12. Pleasefeelfreetojudgeme

    May 19, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Case 2;

    I got this new job, automatically became the girl in the office! Oh what a compassionate me. Everyone had a story from d cleaner to the security, to the God knows who! My father is in d hospital, my daughter naming is …, I need …. To balance up my rent, etc.
    I received SOS pleas almost evryday. In the beginning I complied with a heart of compassion but then it suddenly dawned on me dat d all probably had a netting and evryone wanted a share of the my salary before it finished.

    I had it one Monday morning wen I had not even gotten down from my car wen I was approached for a sickly father in d hospital. That was d last office benevolent I did.

    And guess what after turning back 4-5 of them. Dy all stopped! So am almost certain there was indeed a meeting. Please still feel free to judge me. Maybe just maybe i will feel compassion again towards my office people.

    • Me too

      May 20, 2016 at 9:06 am

      This is me right now!!!!! Today will be my last as the cleaner in my office just approached me to say that its her child’s dedication on Sunday and she does not have a silver shoe to wear and needs money to buy one or if I can lend her one ? I kept quiet for a while, typing on my laptop just to calm down. First question I asked with a smile was what are you wearing? She said blouse and wrapper. Me: is the wrapper long? Cleaner: Yes. Me: So why do you need to match esp in a colour you don’t have. wear what you have and do your thing. I went back to work she stood there for like 30 seconds before she got the gist. Nonsense!

    • Tru

      May 20, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      I honestly do not believe in giving to able-bodied beggars or strangers who stop you on the street with sob stories. However, there are times when I clearly see that the person needs help, so I help. Afterall, I too have been helped by strangers who saw me in distress. We can apply wisdom but still have compassion

    • Frances Okoro

      May 23, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Hi me too…
      I do not deny that there are those whose needs aren’t valid and they simply want to bleed you dry with lies… However, i am not sure if you are a Christian but i use the Spirit of discernment.

      I have been in a bus before and got asked by The Holy Spirit to pay someone’s tfare. he didn’t ask for it.
      I have also been asked for help by someone else before and something was just off and so i passed.

      The fact that some lie would not be a reason for me to close up my heart to loving my neighbor and helping when i can.
      Thats the part i pray we all get.

  13. kelvin jeweh

    May 19, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    some time when you hear stories of how people device crafty ways to scheme money from unsuspecting nigerian you would just not want to help again..

  14. Honeycrown

    May 20, 2016 at 1:44 am

    Very Good read! God bless you for the reminder ?

  15. Different

    May 20, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Nigerians in general lack human feeling. Beating or burning a supposed criminal to death is an indication of the seed of hatred and anger lurking inside us waiting for the right opportunity to spring up. God will help us all

    • Frances Okoro

      May 23, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      And may we take and make use of this help Different.
      God will pour out His help and grace on us but i pray we also take and run with this help and grace in Jesus name, amen

  16. ACE

    May 20, 2016 at 8:32 am

    It’s well with Nigeria.

    • Frances Okoro

      May 23, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      It is indeed WELL WITH US Ace.
      I wont say otherwise

  17. molarah

    May 20, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Spot on. But it’s not a Nigeria thing – it’s a human nature thing.

    “The heart (of humans) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” – The book of Jeremiah, chapter 17 verse 9

    We see it very glaringly in Nigeria primarily for two reasons: 1. It’s our environment and the situation we can comment confidently on. 2. We are largely without the trappings of a civilized society: law and order and (a sense of) social welfare. Strip these two attributes away from America or any of the rich European countries and you’ll witness exactly the same scenario.

    How can the situation be improved then? Through Godly influence: the real type, not the religious masquerades we see so commonly. “… by the fear of the LORD, men depart from evil.” (Proverbs 16:6b)

    • Frances Okoro

      May 23, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      I so agree with you molarah.
      Too much religion and not enough people who sincerely have a relationship with God and so their attitudes and character spring out from that relationship.
      These people still wont be perfect but they would fear God and love people for real not as a facade but as a result of their being progressively conformed to the image of Christ Jesus.

      We still pray that we get there as a nation

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