In about a week from last Sunday, it has been death, death, death in Nigeria. Of course, nearly 90 percent of such deaths are through bomb and gun attacks by members of Boko Haram, suspected Fulani herdsmen and other unidentified gunmen in that order. No one is even talking now about deaths from road accidents, home accidents and natural causes, including old age, diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, fever, cholera, cardiac arrests, stroke, etc, etc.
Just within days, the nation’s security officials confirmed that a total of 151 people were killed in seven Kaduna state villages in staccato attacks by gunmen, even as 21 people died horribly in the Wednesday Emab plaza, Abuja bombing by suspected Boko Haram members, one of who was reported to have been gunned down by the security operatives.
It was also confirmed that Boko Haram massacred 16 Nigerian soldiers in Borno state village on Wednesday while five people died in Lagos from an attack by unknown bombers. Scores of innocent Nigerians have been confirmed killed by those that should better be referred to as ‘sadists,’ in Plateau state, Benue state, Adamawa state, Kano state, Yobe state and other places around Nigeria.
Death is clearly walking menacingly tall in all spheres of Nigerian life now so much that a frightened Nigerian was, on Wednesday, forced to ask: where are we heading?
President Goodluck Jonathan made an obvious statement in the week, to the effect that the confusing situation in Nigeria now, especially, Boko Haram scourge, is almost like a civil war. That is true!
In deed, when Nigerians are no longer safe in their offices, in the markets, on the streets as they walk or drive pass and even in the comfort of their homes from the sadists masquerading in religious garbs, ethnic and other forms of darkness, nothing can be farther from the picture President Jonathan painted.
Human life has become so cheap now that death of a few people no longer makes a good news for newspaper editors unless they are in tens or hundreds.
As a matter of fact, the rate of deaths are becoming so frequent that one does not know which ones are fresh cases and which occurred a few days back.
How would one know when, in a day, like Wednesday alone, deaths were reported from Kaduna, Lagos, Abuja, Maiduguri and other villages around those states. And in great quantum. That was just in a day!!!
The excitement with which editors received news item about Boko Haram’s exploits in the past has given way to fear, uncertainty and hopelessness. Not even the security operatives are now at rest.
Amidst all the sound of death that is threatening not only to deafen us but consume us was still a tiny voice from the nation’s Vice President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo on Thursday afternoon when he visited the scene of Wednesday bomb blast at Wuse II, Abuja, that terrorism will not survive for long in Nigeria, and elsewhere in the world.
This, of course, should have been a word to soothe our collective apprehension about what this country is turning into, but for the fact that Nigerians had earlier been fed with “we are on top of the situation” by President Jonathan in the past, even when the situation gets worse daily; more than two years after such soothing word.
When a confusing, frightening and devastating situation continue to unsettle us, and we turn left, right and centre without a clear-cut solution in sight, the only body that we can, by constitution, turn to, is government.
Unfortunately, the government has shown its resolve not to engage the insurgents in dialogue, even when it is clear that they (the insurgents) are becoming more daring, devastating and even killing soldiers on whom the rest of us should ordinarily depend for security.
It is instructive to know that elders, elites, leaders of Yobe and Borno states, who knew where the ‘shoe’ pinched, seized the opportunity offered by the first and last visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to articulate a well-packaged position on how to dialogue with members of Boko Haram to end its onslaught. This was as far back as early last year.
But, after all the grammar, even by some professors, President Jonathan outrightly bluffed them, with even a veiled sarcasm that those who wanted a dialogue or amnesty for Boko Haram should step forward and sign an agreement with the government.
An elder statesman and former chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bamanga Tukur re-echoed the dialogue option on Thursday, with emphasis that even the world war ended through dialogue. And so also Nigeria civil war between 1967 and 1970.
It amounts to speaking from both sides of the mouth for, especially, President Jonathan to say that his being elected into office in the last election did not worth the blood of a single Nigerian while, in another breath, he is shying away from necessary things that need to be done to save hundreds of lives that are daily being taking away due to “playing hard to get” or putting up tough posture or simply playing the game of obstinacy!
Does any Nigerian blood worth sacrificing on the alter of obstinacy and careless regard of certain section of the country, even in passing, as “it is their business?”
President Jonathan and his government need to search in all corners of the country, and the world, for all forms of pragmatic measures that will stop the flow of blood in a country that should be in peace-time, even if such measures would come from devil.
Except of course, if we are being told that the government is enjoying the sound of avoidable death, death and death that is staring all of us in the face right now! Or that the government is operating, in the context of providing security for the citizenry, with purposelessness.
Read More Articles From This Author: Yusuf Ozi-Usman