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Buhari’s curious 90% casualty score on Muslims

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President Buhari. Photo: TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV

One of the things Nigeria’s politicians are good at is the act of being slovenly with language. Often times, Nigeria’s political leaders find it difficult to use language and ensure that what is said is really what is meant.

The untidy manner of language usage is largely the fault of users. However, the manifestations of this carelessness have resulted in a situation where many politicians use language in an inappropriate manner or in a disdainful way to score a cheap political point. It was George Orwell who wrote in one of his literary essays, ‘The English language becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts’.

The other day, President Muhammadu Buhari’s untidy language was revealed in an opinion article where he gave a whooping statistics of 90 per cent victims of Boko Haram attacks as Muslims. Indeed, it is surprising to discover that President Buhari is not just a great researcher but a good statistician.

Certainly, it is difficult to divorce a political advantage in what Mr. President hopes to achieve by stoking such a dangerous religious analysis. Nevertheless, does such comparison in any way whatsoever reflect or describe the pain and loss Nigerians are feeling from the Boko Haram insurgency? No doubt, Buhari’s language is likely to seduce some sections of society to see themselves in constant need of aids because of the unfortunate situation as painted by the President himself. Therefore, nothing can excuse the disheartening and discordant opinion the president chose to toe in a foreign religious news outlet. In the same breath, it is absurd for anyone in the calibre of Mr. President to start producing statistics and figures of Boko Haram’s victims in religious colours.

The President, in the said article published in Christianity Today a US-based Christian news outlet wrote: “It is the reality that some 90 per cent of all Boko Haram victims have been Muslims. They include a copycat abduction of over 100 Muslim schoolgirls, along with their single Christian classmate; shootings inside mosques and the murder of two prominent imams…” It is sad that Nigerians are quick to forget things so easily. However, the President should be reminded that the so-called single Christian classmate (Leah Sharibu) became ‘single’ and abandoned in an island of choice with a strong conviction when she refused to join her other classmates to renounce her faith. She is definitely not the only Christian schoolgirl in the Chibok abduction phenomenon. Also, churches have been targeted and bombed across the northern region. While several Christian religious leaders and worshippers have been taken as hostages and either killed or released after negotiations.

The greatest uncertainty about the Boko Haram insurgency is the inability of the government to present a clear figure of how many Nigerians may have been killed or displaced since Boko Haram started unleashing its venom on defenseless people in the society.

Perhaps, Buhari’s 90 per cent imaginary Muslims casualty and mathematical calculations could be seen as a counter-reaction to the recent Pastor Adejare Adeboye led ‘prayer walk’ in Lagos as Christians protested against insecurity across the country. Is Mr. Buhari writing to oppose the Christians by discrediting their claims of rising insecurity in the country or he is expressing deep concern and speak on behalf of Muslims who bear the major brunt of insecurity as he alleged? Indeed, if one may ask, what is President Buhari trying to achieve by expressing such an opinion? The implication of President Buhari’s ‘fancy’ analysis on Muslims is that Nigeria would continue to be seen as an unsafe country by the international community.

Indeed, these are uniquely perilous times. Fear has enveloped the nation as insecurity is changing the nature and tune of politics. Therefore, Nigerians particularly the political leaders need to understand that what is at stake is beyond partisanship, ethnic or religion colouration.

No doubt, politics has always been a cathartic exercise for politicians, a form of exuberant self-expression. But, it is either too little or too late for the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan who, the other day, said that the state of insecurity in the country has reached a tipping point and urged President Buhari to take drastic action to stop the tide of insecurity. Of course, the same verdict of foot-dragging is applicable to the House of Representatives that recently specified and passed a resolution asking the president to sack Service Chiefs and make way for officers with fresh ideas to tackle the insecurity menace.

Consequently, under the present security situation, the increasing victory jingles from government circles that the Boko Haram insurgents have been severely degraded is not only laughable but shameful. If anything, the ruling government through its slovenly language is acting as an intensifier of the Boko Haram crisis. Somehow, it is not easy to forget that President Buhari promised to nip the Boko Haram crisis in the bud when he took the oath of office in 2015. But, what is happening now with the rising cases of insecurity across the country, to borrow Mr. President’s words, is surprising.

With the current security situation, the Boko Haram crisis cannot be kicked down the road any longer. Everything the Buhari administration has done so far suggests to its credit, that the government has not been able to achieve its promise on securing the nation as a whole. Undoubtedly, Nigerians are tired of being displaced in their own country. And for victims and their families, the acts of terror leave wounds that never heal. President Buhari must distance himself from opinions that suggest infectious affection to a certain group of people. Rather, he should quickly get this insecurity mystery behind the nation before it is too late.


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