Displaced By Insurgency, IDPs Look Up To Nigerians
IN April last year, I wrote in The Guardian an article, titled, ‘Nigeria at War: The case for State of Emergency.’
I wrote that article because of what was happening in my country and the nonchalant attitude of my countrymen and women, who went about their business as if our men, women and children were not dying daily.
I have three beautiful daughters, who are still finding it difficult to recover from the shock and agony of the abduction and taken into slavery of the Chibok schoolgirls.
Then quite recently too, I saw on the front page of Daily Trust a photograph of rescued Nigerian men and women with their children all clustered in low spirit inside a truck that was conveying them back to Nigeria from God knows where. My heart bleeds for my people.
It was Charles Francis Adams (1807-86), son of John Quincy Adams, who said: “It would be superfluous of me to point out to your Lordship that this is war.”
Seriously, Nigeria has been at war with itself since 2010 when Boko Haram started operating like Mongol hordes.
At first, the Muslim North was silent, because the operators were Muslim. Non Enim facile de his quos Plurimum diligimus turpitudinem suspicamur, meaning, “For we do not easily expect evil of those we love most.”
Yet, the South was busy with their Niger Delta and Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and kidnapping and armed-robberies, so nobody took notice.
Even now, Nigerians who are far from the genocidal scene behave as if the northeast or northwest is in Asia.
Boko Haram promotes a version of Islam that makes it “haram” or forbidden for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with western society.
The group’s official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’a wati wal-Jihad, which means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophets Teachings and Jihad.”
Boko Haram loosely translated from the northeast Hausa language, means “western education is forbidden.”
These people should have lived in ancient Greece, where, according to John Lloyd et el in 1,227 quite interesting facts, the word “idiot” meant anyone who wasn’t a politician.
In April last year, Boko Haram abducted over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok village in Borno State into slavery.
In August last year, its leader, Abubakar Shekau, declared a caliphate in areas under its control, with the town of Gwoza as its seat of power.
“We are in an Islamic caliphate,” he said, flanked by masked fighters and carrying a machine gun.
“We have nothing to do with Nigeria. We don’t believe in this name,” he added.
Later, he formally pledged allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which gave the body an international dimension.
On May 29 this year, Boko Haram struck, killing seven people in twin explosions at a village wedding in Borno.
On May 30, a day after President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration, a suicide bomber struck at a mosque in Maiduguri during the afternoon prayer session, killing 16 people.
On the same day at Dala Lawanti, west of the city, Boko Haram insurgents killed 13 people. At 1pm on June 2, my birthday, at the busy meat market in Maiduguri, 30 people died. The list is endless.
What an agonising birthday for me. My countrymen and women and children are dying daily and I am powerless. But I can write their story.
Chinua Achebe was right. “Writers don’t give prescriptions; they give headaches.”
I can tell Nigerians what we all know is happening to our brothers and sisters, the pain and agony, sorrow and the shame and confusion our people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe are carrying as a burden today.
We all know and we all are aware of the death and rape and slavery that are recklessly going on in Maiduguri, Baga and Wagir in Gubja Council of Yobe State.
Since Buhari came to power, over 300 Nigerians have died in the hands of Boko Haram and yet, it appears Nigerians do not give a damn.
It is amazing and unbelievable, the human and material resources America, Britain or for that matter any other civilised country will put to looking for one missing child or the shooting of one of its citizens.
Here we are, hundreds of our people are dying and everyone pretends it is happening in the distance, when it is happening right in front of us.
General Robert E. Lee in a letter to his wife on December, 1862 wrote: “What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our heart with hatred, instead of love for our neighbours, and to devastate the fair of this beautiful world.”
My wife loves watching crime channels, so to make her happy, I have had to join her in watching such channels.
I have been having sleepless night because of the photo of those little children I saw on the front page of Daily Trust and I promised to do something about this insanity, stupid war and foolishness.