There is no doubt the desire for impartial and fair treatment is one of the most common qualities among humans. Irrespective of race, religion, colour, creed or ethnicity, every human on earth desires fairness in their daily activities, either in court, work place, social gathering or even at home. Our desire for justice is a bond that is evident in every society. Little wonder every society has a judicial system that is designed to arbitrate differences and uphold justice. Amidst this is also the tendency for man to perceive himself as better or bigger than his fellow man, which is further amplified by man’s tendency to develop hatred for his fellow man. As evident in our history books, these two tendencies have been the leading cause of war, crime and violence in the relatively short history of man.
In the course of our daily interactions and activities, conflict and disagreements are inevitable, and despite this inescapable certainty, no society can survive without fair treatment. Hence, the need for justice in every society cannot be over emphasized. Unfortunately, justice has always been difficult for the common man throughout history and even in contemporary times, despite the advancement in science and technology. In present days, every civilized society makes laws, which are meant to achieve maximum good for each member of the society and when these laws are followed, a sense of psychological and social justice is realized. As the English philosopher John Locke rightly postulated that if people respect the rights of others and provide security to each other, then we could expect maximum good in society.
One of the most important functions of contemporary government is to uphold peace, security and justice within its national borders. In the world of Salmond, “Justice demands that freedom, equality and other basic rights be accorded and secured to human beings to the greatest extent consistent with the common good”. Hence, when a society is plagued by violence, unrest and justice is being denied, there is no doubt the government has failed its people. One of the sad realities of the past few weeks is the escalation of public outcry over heart-breaking and unjust incidents that seem to have exacerbated recently both within Nigeria and abroad.
While violent conflict, discrimination, rape and other forms of criminal acts are not new to humanity, it is expected that as societies get more civilized, the people should themselves do away with their barbarism. On the other hand, concerned governments need to intensify their efforts at promoting peace and security for all, as well as guarantee justice especially for the common man. It is understandable that people around the world are frustrated by the new realities that the coronavirus pandemic have created; however, this should not be a precursor to the resurgence of barbarous acts and violent crime. There is no time better than the present to love your neighbour and be your brother’s keeper.
Happy new month and remember to uphold justice in June.
June 2020 Editorial