by Perry Brimah
What has happened to the war against Boko Haram since Lt. Col. Sagir Musa was pulled out of Borno and since the new morbidly obese, politically and tribally selected army chiefs were put in charge, and the new Minister of Defence was appointed?
It took eight whole hours for Nigeria’s army to partially respond to a cry for help from the people of Bama in Borno State. The Shehu of Bama said he and the Civilian JTF had heard of the convoy of several Boko Haram cars approaching his town well ahead of time and they had both told the army about it
This had nothing to do with Cameroon. This was not a town suddenly for the first time coming under attack. This was Bama, a town that has suffered repeated attacks for over a year. But there was no response from the army till Boko Haram got to their town. The army stayed away and gave Boko Haram terrorists ample time to massacre the vulnerable and set fire to all property in the town. Eight full hours!
The Youth and those who were ambulant ran into the bushes, but not with their parents – the lame and elderly. Those who could not run were left indoors, awaiting their painful certain death. House to house, Boko Haram ravaged, slaughtered and burnt with full impunity.
It is difficult to believe that this was not a supervised and permitted attack. How did Boko Haram know they would have such grace to operate for so long without coming under the onslaught of Nigeria’s military forces? Did the government lie that we are not as well equipped or did Boko Haram know that we will not come? It has to be one or the other.
What has happened to the war against Boko Haram since Lt. Col. Sagir Musa was pulled out of Borno and since the new morbidly obese, politically and tribally selected army chiefs were put in charge, and the new Minister of Defence was appointed? Is Bama a part of Nigeria? Is this what we get as a people in terms of police security and army defence? To be left to our fate and to an Armageddon before the end of the world for a whole eight hours? Or is the world’s end starting from Nigeria?
For the people of Bama and the students of Yobe, the Armageddon has already occurred. The beginning of the end of the world looks little worse than this and the end is marked by death and the things after.
I am blessed or perhaps, in a way cursed with the ability to put myself in people’s shoes and relive the pain and torture they go through. This horror which I have experienced since March 18, 2013 Sabon Gari bus stop bombing repeats itself every time the greed, callousness, insensitivity and tyranny of Nigeria’s government, who celebrate and dance on our graves, enables another massacre.
Can we all put ourselves in the shoes of the students of Yobe, who were left to their fate as, likewise, Boko Haram terrorists were allowed full impunity to operate and massacre them for hours on end? Picture being the 20 easily abducted girls? How loud will we shout if we were the victims of this carnage that is permitted by the mismanagement of our administration? How loud will we shout if we were the ones slaughtered in this government allowed pogrom? Have we not learned from the similar massacres of our past, to act immediately and protest loudly each and every time the slaughter of Nigerians is permitted by the government? Do we think the pogroms of our past were any worse than this?
Most massacres are not conducted directly by the government but are permitted and facilitated by the ineptness and political wishes and games of those in power, whose duty it is to fight the evil murderers of citizens. It is their duty to arrest Boko Haram terror sponsors, a duty this administration has done the opposite of. It is their duty to protect the people and the army, by investing in training and gadgets for the army and better wages for them and the police. These are not our tasks. However, the successive administrations, including this inebriated one, steal more than double our budget and deplete the army and society of safety, prosperity and hope.
Some of us were young during the massacres of the 70s, during the criminalities of the 80s, but we are of age now and here is where we engage; here is where we fight the government that loves the smell of the blood of innocent victims. A government that is preoccupied with politics and looting hundreds of billions of dollars, ensuring the army is ill equipped and lacks motivation to protect the people deserves our full anger and rebuke.
Proverbs 25:26 says, “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.” We must die to get rid of such. If we do not rise up and protect the more vulnerable of our societies, who will rise up to talk for us and protect us when we are old and weak and unable to run?
Some people ask why I write like this, suggesting that writing like this will get me to prison or killed. I have been threatened, of course. But the truth is, I don’t write, I cry. These are lamentations. And my tears are only welling up more and not getting less as I see the fate of my people and put myself in their shoes. Who will write for the people of Bama?
Who will write for the youth of Yobe? Who will write for the 100 million destitute? If we see these things and do not cry out loudly against the voracious tyrants who rule us, who will? Who will convey the plight of the dead and dying? The elders who cannot run into the bushes? If it is my time today, I will go happily, knowing that after me a hundred more wailers will cry in writing as I did.
It is wonderful to see that the alumni of Federal Government Colleges are rising up and gathering signatures and arranging meetings to protest our precious students lost. This is what we all must do. This is the least we should do; before someday soon it will be our turn.
As we decide and move to get rid of the system that permits the wanton murder of our people, our old and our students, I will like to ask for contributions to be made toward getting portable alarm trumpet systems for our most vulnerable communities and schools in the north east. This is so that when the Civilian JTF and town chiefs hear of such oncoming onslaught, the least they can do is blow these horns and alert the masses to run into the bushes for dear life – since the army can never be counted on in this our Nigeria under Goodluck Jonathan.
Our government lacks commonsense and the will to employ those who have. Their prerogative is to employ ministers and army chiefs who will do one thing and one thing alone—assist them win elections. They will never think of such things, the basic alarm systems employed in Israel and elsewhere to get citizens to run for cover under attack. And our dear billionaire cabal, north and south will never either. They are the government after all, they sponsor the candidates and dictate to them to enable the killing of us, to allow us be distracted and engaged against each other while they plunder and loot the nations commonwealth.
We must act or we will be held to account.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.