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Filming accident victims instead of helping victims: What kind of humanity?



By Nkiruka Ezedinugwu

THE insensitivity among our people, especially the youths is increasing with each passing day. In a world driven by ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and ‘views’ in the social media, the fundamental essence of humanity is being forgotten. The obsessions of recording, clicking pictures, and posting them on the social media have made our lives limited to the internet.

 Instead of making moves to help a profusely-bleeding man needing help, minutes after an accident, the bystanders will be striving to be the first to post the gory images from the scene on the social media. Within a few minutes of the accident, thousands begin to share and comment on them.

  But what we do not know is that while we are busy sharing and commenting, the victims are dying because the people who were supposed to help save their lives are busy snapping and posting the gory pictures. Indeed, this is the biggest tragedy of the modern times and sad enough, this is just who we have become, all we see, even while people are dying around us is an opportunity to share videos and trend in the social media.

  Lamenting on the increase of insensitivity among our people especially in accident scenes, Mrs Onyeze Catherine said, “my husband died in a motor accident in 2015 because of this trending attitude of people around accident scenes.

We were going back to Lagos from the East after attending a relative’s wedding ceremony earlier that Saturday. We would have waited till the next day to make that journey, but  we left our children with a neighbor, so we needed to get back as soon as possible, so we left by 4:00pm, on the day of the wedding.

  But midway through our journey, immediately after Delta State, the tragedy struck. A speeding heavy duty truck that had lost control rammed into our bus and two others, spilling blood and sending bones flying in different directions.

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It was a few minutes before 5:25pm and all around the scene laid men and women in critical conditions – a few dead and dozens others desperately clinging on to life while writhing in pains. A timely intervention was all we needed to change our situation.

  “Almost immediately, I saw some men and women running towards us, I thought they were coming to help and rush us to the hospital. I felt so relieved, but how wrong I was. The people who rushed to the scene of the accident were not interested in our plight.

Rather than flag down a vehicle and rush those of us who were still alive to the nearest hospital, they just brought out their phones one after the other and started taking our pictures and recording the incident.

  “My left hand was seriously injured while my husband sustained deep cuts on his head and was writhing in pains. I was crying for help but instead, the people just stood there and watched life gradually go out of him and others.

Even though I was also in pains, watching my husband die with all those people around recording every bit of it when they could have helped save his life hurts more than anything else. It took a while before officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps arrived the scene but by then, it was too late.

I still cry every day because I know that my husband could have survived the accident if they had rendered the needed help. It will take a long time for the wound to fully heal”.

  Like Catherine, Mr Ikeora Ceaser is yet to recover from the loss of his dear wife, Onyinyechi, two years after a fatal road accident in Upper Iweka, Onitsha, claimed her life. It was a Sunday morning, the couple and their three children were heading to church in Owerri Road.  As their Camry car approached NITEL Bus-Stop, in upper-Iweka, a very busy area in Onitsha metropolis, she lost control of the vehicle. The only thing Ikeora, a plumbing material seller, remembers is scores of sympathisers surrounding their car after it had somersaulted three times.

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  According to him: “We were trapped in the car after it somersaulted three times”. “My wife who was driving, because I was not so strong that morning, was in the front with me, was sandwished in between the dashboard and the roof while I could hear my children screaming for help at the back. I regained consciousness after a few minutes but noticed that I could not move any part of my body.

Soon I heard voices around our vehicle and within me, I was happy that help had come at last. But even from my dying state, all I saw was just people taking our photos on their phones and murmuring to themselves. None of them made any attempt to rescue us. By the time some policemen arrived at the scene about 20 minutes later, my wife had died while my daughter had slipped into coma. If the officers had not arrived when they did, she also could have died”.

  Continuing, he said, “I never knew the world had become this wicked.” The people just stood around our car, I could hear their voices even though faintly while my children shouted for help. In fact it was the shutter of their phones’ cameras that brought me back to life. I have never seen such a heartless bunch of individuals like that in my life. They were more satisfied by posting the accident on the social media and till date, I do not know what they stand to gain when they should have made efforts to rescue accident victims”.

  Also, according to Nonso Ezigbo, a student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, “While recordings of accident scenes and victims of such fatalities on smart phones have helped attract the attentions of the authorities and the relatives of the victims to such tragedies in good time, after they had been uploaded on Facebook, twitter and other social media platforms, it has sadly contributed to more losses than it had saved situations. Most times, many in this bizarre habit arrive at the scenes of the accidents within minutes of their occurrences, but do little or nothing to assist the dying victims. By the time emergency workers arrive such scenes, it would have become almost too late to reduce fatality.

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  On what could be done to curb this menace that is trending in our society, Okoye Pascal said, “there is need to start teaching humanity in our modern schools because we have to be humans first. In order to live in a good society, there is urgent need to teach students in schools and colleges to render help to people in distress.

This is important because any incident small or big circulated on social media can make anyone famous instantly. The craze for being famous among common people, especially the youths on social media has made us inhumane. The rush for uploading videos or posting photos of any incident has become an obsession nowadays.  We therefore have the responsibility of resetting the minds of these youths; teaching them compassion and selfless services in schools.

  Again, Miss Chidimma Nweze said that it is not totally wrong to video accident or crime scenes and post them online, but while some of the people that arrived early at the scene are helping the victims, some should devout their time to making videos, taking pictures and posting them online so that every interest group will get to know about it.

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