Adaobi Okwy: Dear Boko Haram… (Y! Superblogger)

I leave you with questions and only hope that one day…soonest, you’d find it in your heart to put down your weapons and leave us to heal and to forgive.

Dear Boko Haram,

I thought long and hard about this letter before I decided to put it out there (and by extension…put myself out there). For a faceless group holding a country of over 160million people hostage, I wonder why you’d need a letter from this unknown writer. It’s still scary about that number though… the over 160million and that hostage talk I just mentioned. These days, I wonder if that number is not yet a gross exaggeration.

Am not writing to tell you all the scary things you do – the senseless and incessant killings of men, women and children, the bombings of churches and mosques, the slaughters of uniform officials, the maiming, mayhem and pains you leave in your wake. You already know all that. The only things I find I am left with are – questions…yes, questions.

You know, when the bombings started, my first question was, how in the world did Nigerians get into this? When the bombings continued, I relapsed into shock and amazement… like, how do a people as religious as we are, show so little empathy? How in the world did we get to believing that we are worthy enough to fight for our God? You know, it’s funny how the most religious nations show the most abasement.

Do turn around and look at the people you hold hostage – a people held hostage by a corrupt, negative, uncaring, self-serving and self-righteous leaders. A people who come out from under the scorching heat of the sun into their own heating homes as there’s neither light nor water to even cool them down before the cockerel crows again. A people whose only joys remain very simple – the birth of a child, the graduation of another, the return of a sister’s child from abroad, the marriage of a brother, the car-gift to the old retired parents and other little predictable joys.

Note that I started with the birth of a child as this has become a scary anticipation for couples living on more hostile grounds of your captivity. A hen, as “brainless” as we often call them, would cry for hours after its chick is taken from it by either a human or a bigger head of prey… imagine how couples who have to look for the bones of their children feel when they either can’t find anything to bury or even when there’s something to bury. There’s no God anywhere that wouldn’t feel what we humans feel…no one deserves being ripped apart by your shrapnel. And I used ‘children’ loosely because, even the oldest human is the child of God.

Keep looking at this nation you’ve held captive a while longer and let me tell you something else, for a people you build your bomb-factories, purchase high powered weapons, curse and war over, millions have nothing on their hands to even begin contemplating a fair fight… and remember, if death was human, it wouldn’t be standing….

All these unprovoked attacks are still against a people who’d only breathe a sigh of relief if you just go away and leave them be to…to heal and count their losses to gradually heal.

You know, another festive season is around the corner, the fresh pains of last year’s black Christmas day still burns fresh. Have you already set your sights on your next target to use to send your “message?” Which message anyway? We only hear hate, sadism and cruelty. Even with all your weapons, you can’t purge even one heart of those.

I am no one you should be concerned with. I am a face in the crowd (just like all other hostages). Today or tomorrow it might be my neighbour… or it might be me. I think that though, but, my biggest fear isn’t dying. No, it is having to meet a loving father and not being prepared. That fear even trumps the fear of losing a child to all these mayhem.

I leave you with questions and only hope that one day… soonest, you’d find it in your heart to put down your weapons and leave us to heal and to forgive… leave us with our undeniable and inalienable right to choose our God, the way to dress, the place to worship and most importantly, our right to life.


Adaobi Okwy blogs at and tweets from @adaobiokwy.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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One comment

  1. Dis cldn't v been better written… I love how u described our joys as nigerians and d reminder of d things we hold dear. I hope someone in d sect finds dis letter n I pray it touches his human side.

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