Amidst political bickering and fraud, thousands of Nigerians die daily due to the inability of both the Federal government and security forces to curb continuous insurgence. Throughout my life as a Nigerian I have heard tales of unnecessary killings, be it by OPC, Niger Delta militants or Boko Haram. Administration after administration, Nigeria has been fighting various internal wranglers who claim to fight for “noble causes” yet, perform the ignoble. For nearly 5/6 years till date Northern Nigeria has been under fire from the Islamic sect popularly known as Boko Haram. This group has shed the blood of thousands of Nigerians; wasted the lives of thousands whose lives are equal to mine, yours and the Nigerian President’s. But, day-in day-out, the same rhetoric is blurted from the high towers in Aso Villa: “God is in control,” “It could have been worse,” and “terrorism is our turn.” I am sick and tired of listening to this. I am saddened that an army whose soldiers I have witnessed brutally harassing civilians cannot perform their duties adequately. Is there a chance they are ill motivated? I am amazed at the obvious inefficiency of the executive arm of Nigeria’s central government in fighting against this crime. And most of all, I am disappointed in Nigerians who sit in the comfort of their homes and do nothing to fight back against these mercenaries.
This is a black phase in Nigeria’s history. If we leave things the way they are we would forever regret the fact that we never took a collective stance to fight against Boko Haram. The problem of Boko Haram should no longer be considered regional, religious or ethnic. Whatever affects one part of the body, affects the rest. Our brother’s problem is ours too. The child who died in Izghe could very well have been your niece or nephew. The mother who was blown away in Kondunga could very well have been yours.
What use would this life be to each and every one of us, Nigerians, if we do not push and fight for the unity and peace which we have forever longed for in our nation? Our national pride is empty pride if we cannot fix the issues we have in our back yards. Boko Haram is not just a security threat but a social threat. The dynamics of living and doing business in Nigeria have changed significantly (for the common man at least) in the last six years. Families have been displaced, many left fatherless, motherless.
Time has come for us to fight. Redeem our nation. Taken on the burden of our fellow brothers and sisters who live in the north –Igbo, Hausa or Ijaw. We are one, on paper, in our hearts and in God. We must continuously fight to uphold our national unity and stability. Nigeria must change, it starts with me and you. It starts when we devote ourselves to fighting against Boko Haram. We all cannot and will not carry guns or throw bombs. But our words, our protests, our zeal and determination are enough, more than enough to push Nigeria. Enough to shake the pillars on which the elite wine and dine. Enough to awaken the lacklustre security services we have in our country.
I have written this because I believe that headlines will continuously report deaths of hundreds and thousands in Northern Nigeria yet, we would do nothing about it. We would become accustomed to it. It would become part of our daily lives and one of the things we learn to live with. We must all be aware of the damages the insurgence in the North has on us.
May the hundreds dead in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and other parts of Nigeria. May their souls rest in peace. God bless Nigeria.
Babatope Adeniyi Aiku
Views expressed are solely the author’s