For a great percentage of the populace, the most worrisome of these issues would be insecurity and the rising spate of brazen insurgent attacks on innocent and average citizens of the North Eastern region of the country.
Like rubbing salt on an open wound, the absence of peace is further compounded by the seemingly unresponsiveness and insensitivity of the government to the plights of her stricken people. To cut the government some slack, ‘concerted’ efforts far removed from public views may well be going on ‘underground’to protect the Nigerian people but the results are definitely slow in showing.
Come April 15, the missing Chibok girls –if still alive- would have been in captivity for a period of one year. Although the Nigerian Government would have the people believe spirited and calculated efforts are ongoing to secure their release, there has been little to show for it as the Chibok girls are still in captivity and would have forcefully become women by now.
From the period of the abduction till date, more men, women and youngsters have been reportedly abducted by the dreaded Boko Haram group in the same region.
The ‘BH’ group which has become one of the most dreaded groups globally is a controversial militant Islamic group founded in 2002. The group is intent on completely Islamising the Northern part of the country by the imposition of Sharia law and principles. Even though the purely Islamic group opposes Western education and ideologies, as well as every semblance of Western culture and modern science, they are apparently not averse to making use of the products of modern science and technology. This includes high tech fire arms in achieving their aims. The knife-wielding foot soldiers of yore have become an effective commando force that boasts of sophisticated weapons in its arsenal. They are no longer poor and disgruntled but are now reportedly backed by wealthy unnamed individuals within the Nigerian state.
It is clear that in the past five years, the group has grown horrifically in stature and gruesomeness in Nigeria's north-eastern region. The membership has grown in leaps and the mode of operations has drastically changed. They now control large territories after successfully establishing their ‘Islamic caliphate’ seat and all those beyond government control in a country regarded as Africa’s largest economy.
To conclude that the country lacks the capacity and will to battle the menace of insurgency in the nation may not be far from the truth if the rising spate of gruesome and horrific attacks are anything to go by. For whatever reason, the will…not the capacity.
So far, an estimated 14,000 people –peasants and elites, Muslims and Christians have been reportedly slain in the last five years with the latest massacre occuring earlier in the month of January in the city of Baga. There have been conflicting reports of the total number of casualties with figures as high as 2000 lost lives been bandied around. Millions have been displaced with many fleeing into the neighbouring countries to seek refuge, churches as well as mosques razed down.
Maybe if the whole world stood still as it did when France was attacked earlier in the week, the war would be half won in the hearts of the Nigerian people and the burden of mortal helplessness would become lighter to bear. Regardless of race or color, everyone is important in the big picture as we all form pieces and parts of the big jigsaw.
Also considering recent reports of attacks against Cameroun and Chad, it is becoming clear that the fight is gradually been taken from the doorsteps of Nigeria to neighbouring countries.
The message is loud rather than subtle to the discerning that the fight is no longer only that of the Nigerian people anymore.
As the Nation goes to the polls in February with a view of sorting out her corporate governance issues, there are flickers of (dwindling) hopes in the heart of the Nigerian people…hope of peace…hope of survival…hope of change...hope of an end to insurgency.
For as things stand, sleep has long been murdered and the Nigerian people can neither find peace nor sleep…unless the WORLD unites to fight this war for and with the people regardless of the (in)action of the Government.
Written by Abiola Olaleye