“When beggars die, there are no comets seen/The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes” Shakespeare…. A “beggar”, someone whose services have been poor. A “prince”, someone whose services to nation and people is indescribable in size and magnitude. Even the heavens cry with the passing on of such people.
Uncle Femi Peters was such a person. His passing onto eternity is a great loss to all of us, not just his family or the UDP. He fought so hard against tyranny, unwavering and with steely determination. He defied the Public Order Act re use of loudspeakers and suffered for it u unfortunately. That was one of the first acts of defiance against tyranny. He showed us that people of conscience are not supposed to obey “bad laws”.
He became our version of MLK Jr. And in April 2016, he and his colleagues in the UDP Executive went out to demand the body of a fallen colleague and met the most ferocious, deadly, reprehensible state force, Davids against Goliaths. The rest is etched in our collective memory: men and women who thought less of themselves and more for country and posterity.
Great men and women are those who plant trees under whose shades they know they will never sit under but go to plant them nonetheless. Uncle Femi is one such great. We pray the great Lord have mercy on his great soul. He ran his race here on earth and in grand style. I am sure he is now in a better place, with the angels and smiling down on us. I pray the Lord give his family the fortitude to bear this great loss. It is our loss, all of us who appreciate the air of freedom we are breathing, all of us who know that freedom is often nourished with the blood of martyrs, few unselfish men and women who take the supreme sacrifice to give the rest freedom.
Since to the dead we owe both respect and truth, I need to say am bewildered by the seeming “neglect” (for want of an appropriate word) of the State towards especially the living men and women who went out with late Solo Sandeng and UDP Executive who went out of their way to demand for justice for Solo and colleagues.
One by one, these gallant people are passing on and we seem to be hopelessly watching the invisible hand of Death snatch them away. Death is inevitable but good health can be given and therefore life prolonged. Anyone who had seen the UDP Executive Executive upon their release would know they were in pain and needed overseas medical checkup. That was the needful. Not just one off but constant medical checkup. The same for.the Solo Sandeng group, especially after the revelation of unimaginable torture and rape of the victims.
The State, the primary duty bearer with the obligations to respect, protect and fulfill, was the violator and torturer. The rule of natural justice demands that that State should be fully and wholly responsible for the rehabilitation and medical expenses of these victims and survivors.
The heinous acts were committed in the name of the State by State agents, regardless of which government. I expect the Barrow Government to make the right to the best attainable standard of health of these people its primary obligation. The State has the obligation and the resources to fulfil this right. It should not be a financial burden on either the survivors or their families. Death is inevitable but it would be the greatest betrayal if another hero or heroine falls for lack of adequate medical care.
Sleep on uncle Femi, the two Solos and all those who passed on, who made the supreme sacrifice for us to be free today. We remain indebted. We pledge that the ideals you fought and died for will remain sacred and protected.