Life & Meaning



The glory of God is a living person and the life of the person is the vision of God. (St. Irenaeus) Human life is a gift to humans, a privilege that should not be abused by a man. It is no gain saying that the world today has not stopped exhibiting the tendencies of Cain who had to kill his brother Abel, thereby terminating a life that he cannot generate.


disregard for human life
disregard for human life


The Human Life (Our World Today)

Our world today pictures a large degree of disregard for human life, especially with respect to the killing of individuals and denial of fundamental human rights, and this invariably hinders or cripples the rate of human development.

This is true because it is only those who are alive that can witness development both on the individual level and societal level. There are many problems that can be identified in the life of man today, such as the problem of bad government, lack of basic social or infrastructural facilities, insecurity, poverty, unemployment, anguish, death and total disregard for human life.

Therefore, our preoccupation is to look at the existential problems of man and how these problems can serve as a clog in the wheels of development. What do we mean by Human Life? According to Thomas Aquinas, ‘nomen vitae Sumtur ad significandum substantiam cui convenit secundum suam naturam movere seipsam’ which means; the name of life is given to a substance to which self-movement and the application of itself to any kind of operation, belong naturally. For him, life is a gift from God to be loved, nurtured and lived in proper charity.



The Human Life (Being)

human being
human being

The human being, as a respectful steward of this gift, does not possess absolute dominion over it. Absolute dominion over life belongs only to God. When we mean human life, man’s existence is being referred to, and the only way one can discover who a man is, is by his actions. Of all forms of human actions, the most fundamental or elementary one, and the same complex and rich in content is ‘Life’.

So Battista Mondin says, what differentiates man from all other beings is his ‘actions’. For Battista Mondin, man is a superior animal or being from other animals because of human actions which are characterized by life, presence and power of the brain (knowledge), self-consciousness, freedom, language, culture, and man’s capability to work.



What is Development?

According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Development can be defined as the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc. Walter Rodney in his book ‘˜How Europe underdeveloped Africa‘, gives the meaning of the word development. For him, development in human society is a many-sided process. It can be seen at the level of individuals and the level of social groups.

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At the level of the individual, development implies increased skill and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material well-being. While at the level of social groups, development implies an increasing capacity to regulate both internal and external relationships.

Development being a concept related to the welfare of human beings cannot be discussed outside the realm of humans, as such; it is concerned with human development. Human development is the process of enlarging people’s freedom and opportunities and improving their well-being. The human development index (HDI) was developed as an alternative to Gross Domestic Product and focuses on majorly the life, education, and income of a nation which is measured in relation to the citizen’s welfare.

What is Development?

HDI is used in ranking countries into four tiers which are; very high, high, medium, and low, and from statistics, Nigeria appears to fall among ‘low’ ranking countries. As a good background to justify that Nigeria`s situation is unacceptable, we deem it necessary to mention the objectivity of the sacredness of human life.

That is, the respect for human life should not be something that is relative or subjective, and demanding each culture to determine the level of respect they can give to life. Human life as it were, is not culture-made or religion-made but a gift of God, so, it is not in the jurisdiction of any culture or religion to abuse it. It should not be accepted from any culture or religion to give to human life a treatment that befits things that are not humane.

What is Development?

Therefore, any societal practice that has no regard for human life and exhibits it through bad governance, lack of concern for an individual`s well-being, should be discouraged and fought against. Nigeria Present Situation – The disregard for human life in Nigeria following the recent happenings like;

the onslaught activities of Boko Haram in the North’ eastern part of the country, the acts of banditry of Fulani herdsmen in the middle belt, the incessant killings of persons in Southern Kaduna, the increase of death caused by private persons or groups, the cessation of freedom of speech, and movement, the inequality before the law, the denial of fundamental human rights, the insensitivity of government to the needs of the citizens, haphazard educational system and corruption in general, have enveloped the inhabitants (citizens) of the country with fear, crippled many struggling families, destabilized many homes, run down the educational system, and placed the growth and development of the economy in the morning mist.

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The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the end SARS protest in Nigeria

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the end SARS protest that occurred in Nigeria elucidate the height of disregard for human life in Nigeria. On the one hand, while other world leaders are making headways to finding a solution to the Covid-19 pandemic in order to preserve human life, Nigeria leaders were busy playing politics with a pandemic that puts all Nigerian citizens (especially the poor), on the verge of death. It became worse when the palliatives that were donated by godly-minded individuals and organizations were being hoarded for selfish interests.

This is a total disregard for human life. On the other hand, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which was set up to promote human dignity, soon became notorious for its alleged connection to extrajudicial killings, extortion, torture and acts of intimidation.

Even while individuals came to fight for their rights in peaceful protest, they were still killed for standing up to defend their right to life. So, can we actually say that we have respect for human life in Nigeria? All these happenings have made people wondered and ask certain questions such as; Does life really have value? When will all these menaces to life cease? Where is God in the midst of all these? Can Nigeria as a nation develop in this municipal of total disregard for the life and well-being of its citizens?


How disregard for Human Life hinders Development Human life is fundamental and regarded as the foundation of all other rights.

The right to life is the nucleus of all other rights, if it is not respected, all other rights lack meaning. In essence, the fundamental right to life includes not only the right of every human being not to be deprived of his life arbitrarily but also the right that he will not be prevented from having access to the conditions that guarantee a dignified existence. Section 33(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) imposes a positive duty on the government to provide a safe and good infrastructure that guarantees a dignified life of the citizens.

How disregard for Human Life hinders Development Human life is fundamental and regarded as the foundation of all other rights.

The positive duties are contained in chapter II of CFRN, covering such components of the right to life as, food, shelter, healthcare, education, healthy environment etc. In other words, the government has a duty not only to protect our rights, but also to provide some infrastructural facilities like; good hospitals, good road, good education, good food, and healthy or conducive environment etc. which will help us live a healthy and comfortable life, and this, in turn, helps to some extent in the development of the economy, but when such positive duty is not carried out effectively by the government, it affects the development of the country negatively.

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The catholic church has always put first in her social teachings the human life and the dignity of the human person. For her, a just society can become a reality only when it is based on respect for the dignity of the human person. The human person is the ultimate end of the society, by which it is ordered to person: hence, the social order and its development must invariably work to the benefit of the human person, since the order of things is to be subordinate to the order of persons and not the other way round.



Having known some of the ills of the country, we suggest the presence or establishment of an effective statutory body responsible for upholding fundamental human rights and other human rights. On the aspect of governance, the government needs to be active and sensitive in the aspect of education, management of natural and material resources, provision of good employment opportunities should be provided for young people most especially in political offices and some other basic needs of citizens should be met.

It is a total disregard for human life when a government pleads oblivious to the facticity of the existential condition of its citizens. Knowing fully well that the development of a country cannot be discussed outside of human development, and using Walter Rodney’s view of development on the aspect of the level of the individual as stated above, there is a need for the individuals on their own part to be able to increase the level of skill and capacity, to explore new ideas, be responsible in all ramifications, disciplined, and confident in all actions.

But all these cannot be fruitful if the rights of individuals are denied as such, there is a need for fundamental human rights to be upheld and not manipulated. In other words, the right to life which is the bedrock of all other rights such as; rights to dignity, personal liberty, freedom of expression, movement, religion, etc. must not be denied.

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