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Nwachukwu Egbunike: The voiceless victims and the vicious violence of Boko Haram
by Nwachukwu Egbunike
About 10,000 souls have been grinded in Boko Haram (BH) blender since 2001. These innocents did not stand in the way of the vampires who have declared a hate war on the Nigerian state. They had each woken that morning with ambitions filled with hope, to strive to lay food on the table, to seek for a better future but sometime during the day, they had been sent on – with a first class ticket – an early encounter in the void unknown.
With time, the detonation of bombs became a daily icing that the living began referring to the dead as numbers. This was the situation before the declaration of state of emergency by the government on the hotspots where Boko Haram had almost established sovereignty and wishes to continue their blood bath.
Unfortunately, this aspect has been missing in the national conversation since the president called the bluff of the terrorists and declared full military action. It is unfortunate that the lead on the discussion has been on the constitutionality or otherwise of the state of emergency. Others are making a needless hair-splitting on the efficacy of this move because Goodluck Jonathan did not sack the governors of the affected state (as though he was the one who elected them)! However, what I find rather inhuman is the politicization of these events. The opposition (ACN) certainly gives no alternative: so much for their original thinking!
Although this action is belated, nonetheless it is better late than never. We cannot keep on playing ludo with the lives of Nigerians.
Who will seek justice for the people who have died, whose spirits cry to heaven for retribution? I shuddered as a tweep reeled out on Twitter the timeline of BH’s blood spree in the past years.
- December 24, 2003: Christmas Eve attacks in Kannama and Geidam in Yobe State
- September 21, 2004: Attack on Panshekara Police station, Kano
- September 21, 2004: Attack on Bama and Gwarzo Police Stations
- December 31, 2007: Attack on Presidential Hotel Port/Harcourt
- July 26-30, 2009: Launch of mass uprising with attack on a police station in Bauchi that spread to Kano, Yobe and Borno states
- September 7, 2010: Attack on a prison in Bauchi and freeing numerous prisoners including BH members.
- October 6, 2010: Assassination of ANPP leader, Awena Ngala in Maiduguri
- December 24, 2010: Christmas period bombing in Jos killed 38
- October 9, 2010: Assassination of Muslim cleric Bashir Kashara and one of his students in Maiduguri
- December 31, 2011: Mogadishu Assassination of ANPP gubernatorial candidate Modu Fannami Gubio and 8 others in Maiduguri
- June 6, 2011: Assassination of Muslim cleric, Ibrahim Birkutu in Maiduguri
- June 16, 2011: Bombing of Police Force Headquarters in Abuja
- August 26, 2011: UN Building Bombing in Abuja
- September 22, 2011: Attack on Maiduguri jail to free hundreds of prisoners
- December 20, 2011: Dozens killed in Maiduguri shootings
- December 25, 2011: Series of bomb attacks on Christmas day in Niger and Plateau States killed dozens
- January 22, 2012: Multiple bomb explosions and attacks in Kano on Police facilities and security agency offices: death toll 215
- April 9, 2012: Easter Sunday explosion in Kaduna. Death toll 38
What commonalities stand out in the above list? It is brutal and blood cuddling death. Boko Haram did not discriminate: they served it to Christians and Moslems; Nigerians and foreigners; adults and children; the government and the governed; armed personnel and civilians…
There can be no true peace without reconciliation. And reconciliation does not begin in a void but is rooted in justice – which means giving each one his/her due. Boko Haram insurgents need to be brought to book. And it makes no gain to over simplify this as merely revenge. Hell no! As much as it is human to err and divine to forgive however, we need not forget that to persist in evil is diabolical. While justice has to be tempered with mercy but on no account should mercy replace justice. It is about time someone grants justice to the victims of BH’s violation and protect others from falling into their grinder.
I support the state of emergency, for never had any Nigerian president captured the inner essence of many in this country. It is worthwhile repeating the words of Jonathan Ebele Goodluck:
I want to reassure you all that those who are directly or indirectly encouraging any form of rebellion against the Nigerian state, and their collaborators; those insurgents and terrorists… whoever they may be, wherever they may go, we will hunt them down, we will fish them out, and we will bring them to justice. No matter what it takes, we will win this war against terror.
And so be it!