Tunde Fagbenle: This is not my country. Damn it!

by Tunde Fagbenle

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Recognising (and admitting) that our military forces, navy et al, were ill-equipped and incapable of protecting our oil, our president conjured up the magnificent idea of putting the area under the protection of the militant warlords over and above the amnesty already granted all the militants who had been making the steady flow of oil uneasy for the country.

The title above comes from a private joke between myself and a good older friend of mine in our club in Ikoyi, Lagos, Olu Ajibade. And it also derives as a joke from the title of my first book – Nigeria: This Is My Country, Damn It! Olu, unfortunately now battling with health challenges, an old geezer cynic with a wry sense of humour if ever there was one, would, on his “happy” days, look at me as we attend to our favourite beer, feign a frown and muster under his breath: “This is not my country, damn it!” For him, there seems to be damn little left to rejoice at in the country.

And, to be honest, whatever little joy there may be left was taken out of me this past Tuesday as the news broke of yet another rampage of the demonic Boko Haram sect resulting in the bestial massacre of scores of innocent schoolchildren of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, in cold blood. At the last count 59 students lay dead either slaughtered, shot or burnt.

And while the country was still counting the dead, the bloodletting by the evil sect continued the next day, Wednesday, as over 37 persons were murdered in a rampage that saw several communities in Adamawa state sacked; banks, shops, houses, schools and churches raided and burnt in an over six-hour rage. It was reported that the soldiers at military checkpoints took to their heels when they saw that the terrorists were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and superior firepower.

It is highly unlikely that the timing of the latest attacks was a mere coincidence with the ongoing extravagant and untenable centenary celebrations decried by most Nigerians in all walks of life but which the federal government has stubbornly embarked upon. Did the Boko Haramist choose the moment to detract from the celebration and underscore their challenge to the continued existence of the country as one? If it is so, they have succeeded greatly, for the pall of gloom and grief was cast over the nation with virtually all the media, print and broadcast, relegating the centenary celebration with the array of international leaders and dignitaries attending to the background.

This is not the first time the sect would be targeting harmless and innocent schoolchildren for their murderous game. The first such horrific madness was on Saturday, July 6, last year when the world woke up to the news that 29 schoolchildren of the Government Secondary School, Mamudo, near Potiskum, in the same Yobe State had been murdered in their sleep. President Jonathan was then visibly horrified and angry. “Anybody,” he said, “who will target innocent children for any kind of grief (grievance) will certainly go to hell.”

I was livid with anger too as my column of 14/07/13 showed. Overwhelmed by grief I rained my own curses on the terrorists. I wrote: “And may their hell start here on earth since we don’t know much about the next: may the fleas of a thousand camels infest the armpit of each and everyone of them and may leprosy chop off all their fingers so they cannot scratch the itch; may a colony of AcanthamoebaKeratitis (Eye-eating parasite) infest their eyes and gorge them out while they are on earth; may they all turn blind, dumb, deaf, and paralysed on earth; may their limbs get eaten off slowly by the worst form of disease; may they spend the rest of their days crawling on their bellies; and may no human or god show them mercy.”

Since then, however, and with a series of such wanton disregard for lives of children, women and all by the merry hell-goers occurring with abandon, our president has ceased to grieve. Otherwise he would not have carried on with the meaningless centenary celebration the way he did, with but a fleeting comment on the horror of BuniYadi, leaving Nigerians to mourn their dead! Our president.

I also wrote then: “True these animals have, right from the beginning, stated that they are up in arms against “Western education” – from which their name derives. And destroying of places of “Western education” could then be seen as understandable fallout. But to then deliberately murder scores of schoolchildren? Haba! Which also makes one unable to completely absolve the high-powered Joint Task Force suffusing the state(especially upon the Federal Government’s declaration of a State of Emergency) of culpability. I should think that even an ordinary boy scout like me would imagine all educational institutions, particularly those with boarding facilities (and how many are there for Allah’s sake in an educationally challenged state like Yobe?), are high target for a lawless group that ab initio stated their mission is to wipe out “Western education” from their society!”

We cannot carry on this way. No nation can. I am now of the view that the “magic” our president did in the Niger Delta to “secure” our oil wells and assure our revenue flow should be applied to this Boko Haram region of the northeast. And what was it? Recognising (and admitting) that our military forces, navy et al, were ill-equipped and incapable of protecting our oil, our president conjured up the magnificent idea of putting the area under the protection of the militant warlords over and above the amnesty already granted all the militants who had been making the steady flow of oil uneasy for the country.

From reports, the militant lords were awarded the “protection” contract, running into several billions of naira annually. In the president’s reckoning that was easier and cheaper than appropriately equipping our armed forces. And, hurray, it has worked magic. And so, seeing how inferiorly equipped our armed forces are to the Boko Haram terrorists, a point already made by the fleeing soldiers in Adamawa, I propose that the government identify the Boko Haram warlords and cede the security of the “war” zone to them “with immediate effect and automatic alacrity”.

Yes, it will be another several billions thrown into a few hands in this land of malady, where sense is nonsense and folly reigns supreme. But, at least, the lives of our poor children who look upon their country for hope and succour will be spared.

I concluded then, last year, as I do now, “Let them be told: those young innocent kids of Mamudo (and of BuniYadi) they killed are my children; those kids are the children of Nigeria; those kids are our future. To so kill them in the manner they have done, this Boko Haram people (sorry, animals) have killed me! Dem no go die beta – insha Allah!”

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

One comment

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