When will the savagery end?

When will the savagery end?

By Ajayi Dada

 Sunny Okosun of blessed memory waxed the record: “which way Nigeria’’ in 1984 to point out the social malaise of the then society. Fortunately, the record is still relevant in the light of current developments affecting the contemporary Nigeria society as it was then.

The musician, philosopher and prophet vividly captured the Nigerian society then and when situated with current socio-economic trajectories, all he sang then are still currently apt considering the social vices endemic in our present day society.  He had sung philosophically then as follows:

Refrain: “Which way Nigeria
which way to go
I love my father land
O yeah
I want to know
Yes, I want to know
I love my fatherland

Which way Nigeria is heading to
Which way Nigeria
Which way to go
I love my fatherland
Which way to go
I want to know
Which way Nigeria is heading to

Stanza 1: Many, many years after independence
We still find it hard to start
How long shall we be patient before  we reach the Promised Land
Let’s save Nigeria
So Nigeria won’t die

Refrain: Which way Nigeria?

Stanza 2: Every little thing that goes wrong
We start to blame the government
We know everything that goes wrong
We are part of the government
Lets save Nigeria
So Nigeria won’t die

Refrain: Which way Nigeria?

Stanza 3: Inefficiency and indiscipline
Is ruining the country now
Corruption here, there and everywhere
Inflation is very high
Let’s save Nigeria
So Nigeria won’t die

Refrain: Which way Nigeria?

Stanza 4: We make mistakes in the oil boom
Not knowing that was our doom
Some people now have everything
While some have nothing
Let’s save Nigeria so Nigeria won’t fall

Refrain: Which way Nigeria?

Stanza 5: Green revolution is a reality
Let’s give it a chance to grow
Lets join our hands together to farm the land so we can have enough food to chew
Let’s save Nigeria
So Nigeria won’t die.

Refrain: Which way Nigeria?

Stanza 6: Our ambition to become millionaires is ruining the country down
We all want to be millionaires we want to leave in the earth
Let’s save Nigeria
So Nigeria won’t die

Refrain: Which way Nigeria?

Stanza 7: Remember that a single step is the beginning of a million mile
Let’s start right now to
Rebuild ourselves to make the country smile
Let’s save Nigeria so Nigeria won’t die

Refrain: Which way Nigeria?

Stanza 8 :Heaven and earth will pass away
It is written in the book of God
The good people will surely find their way
And the meek will inherit the world
Let’s save Nigeria so Nigeria won’t fall

The quintessential Sunny Okosun of blessed memory in the above evergreen record warned Nigerians against what he termed the unprecedented pelf and other social vices that had eaten into the fabric of the Nigerian system as at then. It was the case of bribery and corruption then mostly observed in private and public places. There was not the mind-boggling killing of fellow human beings by other human beings then that has become the order of the day in contemporary times.

The trending cannibalistic tendencies have prompted the question “When will this savagery, animalistic or beast-like trending attitudes replete of the Stone Age period

come to an end in our land, age and clime in particular and the world at large.’’  Thou shall not kill remains one of the commandments of God handed over to the Biblical Moses for sanity and orderliness to reign in our world. Are those into wanton destruction of their fellow human beings still believed in that injunction from the Holy Writ?

However, bandits, insurgents, hoodlums, social miscreants and misfits have seen the killings and the maiming of their fellow human beings as the vogue. They carry out this satanic act under various guises such as operating illegal commercial transportation called ’one chance’, abducting innocent people and asking their victims to call their families to pay them ransom before they can be released. On some occasions, the victims held hostage by the kidnappers had been killed by their abductees after the ransom they had asked for had must have been fully paid only to make the victims’ families to live with the pangs created by the gruesome murder of their fellow human beings  and with the  psychological trauma of such gory incidents.

Still fresh in the  people’s memories are beheading of of Pastor Lawan Andimi,  the CAN chairman for Michika Local Government Area of Adamwa State , Mr Michael Nnadi,  a seminarian from the Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kaduna as well as Mrs Agata, the wife of a medical doctor, Dr Philip Agata,  based in Kaduna. They were killed by their abductors under supposedly gruesome circumstances after the abductees had been held in captivity for weeks. The abductors alleged that the families of the abductees could not raise the negotiated ransom.

Bishop Mamza Dami who doubles as the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria {CAN} in Adamawa State decried the killing of Andimi.

Mamza said that the Boko Haram insurgents that killed the CAN chairman had demanded a ransom of €2 million (about N800 million) before they would release him. Andimi had been in Boko Haram’s captivity since January 3, 2020 after he was abducted from Michika his home town by the terrorists before they eventually beheaded him on January 21, 2020. Andimi until his untimely death was also the District Church Council Secretary of the Ecclesiya Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) Church in Michika.

The cleric who also advised the Federal Government to ensure that terrorism was defeated in Nigeria recalled that one Dennis Bagaure, a  pastor at the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria in Jere was killed by the insurgents having resisted efforts by them to abduct him.

Perhaps, more disturbing was the case of the Agata family whereby the unfortunate woman was abducted with her two children, Christabel and Jasmine, by the bandits. Thank goodness that they were released weeks after their darling mother had been murdered by her abductors. When this story will be retold to the children in years to come, how will they take it? Will they agree that the country’s leadership then did anything to salvage their darling mother from the savages before she was killed?

Will they not ask what was their mother’s offence that could have warranted her paying the supreme price? Will they not ask their father“ Daddy, what did you do when they were taking our mum away?  Did you report to the police and other security agencies in the land? What were their responses?  The what, what ……will be legion then and the society then might not be able to proffer and convincing answers that will assuage the frayed and the disappointing nerves of those children

Similarly, the same questions Agata’s children will ask will be asked by children currently in the various Internally Displaced Persons {IDPs} camps across the country. These children are majorly products of insurgency, and more disappointing, most of them do not know their fathers because they had been consumed by the senseless killings masterminded by  Boko Haram insurgents, bandits, herdsmen and other vices.

The list continues and not limited to  Mrs  Funke Olakunrin, the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the chairman of Afenifere  who was killed in July last year from gunshots from Fulani herdsmen at Ore junction in Ondo State that appeared from f the bush to attack her car and other vehicles.

Also in August 2019, some bandits killed a Catholic priest, Rev Fr David Tanko  at Kufai Amadu in Takum Local Government Area of  Taraba State, setting him and his vehicle ablaze while on his way to Takum for a peace meeting with his fellow clergymen on how to resolve the lingering Tiv, Jukun crisis.

 Cardinal Anthony Okogie, a respected voice of the voiceless pissed off by the embarrassing orgy of killings of innocent lives in a statement he titled: Walls Have Ears’’ and personally signed by him chronicled some of the past gory and horrible killings by either Boko Haram or  ISWAP  in 2019.

 As the year 2019 was coming to an end, a faction of Boko Haram under the banner of Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), intensified its terrorist acts.

He said, “On December 12, ISWAP executed a police officer and 14 civilians in northeastern Nigeria. On December 13, ISWAP executed 4 of the 6 workers it abducted in July 2019.  One of the abducted workers had already been executed last September. On December 14, as many as 19 Fulani cattle herders were killed by Boko Haram near Ngala, close to Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.On December 22, near Maiduguri, 6 persons were killed while 5 were abducted by Boko Haram. On December 24, Christmas Eve, Boko Haram visited Chibok, a Christian town, killed 7 and abducted a teenage girl.

“On December 26, a day after Christmas, Boko Haram released a 56-second video of the execution of 11 Christians.  Timing of the release of the video was obviously meant to dampen Christmas celebrations. Perpetrators of this heinous crime claimed it was to avenge the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of Islamic State.’’

The prelate added that Nigerians started Year 2020 with such gory tales as were recorded in the previous year.  “It began with the abduction on January 2 of Pastor Lawan Andimi.  He was eventually murdered by Boko Haram.  On January 7, not less than 20 soldiers were killed, and more than 1, 000 people were added to the number of displaced persons in Borno.  Meanwhile, Nigerians saw on video how the Governor of Borno State witnessed extortion on the highway by soldiers mounting a checkpoint in Borno.  Nigerians are yet to be told what happened to those soldiers.

On the night of January 8, 2020, gunmen wearing military fatigue invaded the Good Shepherd Catholic Seminary in Kaduna at about 10.30 p.m. and abducted four seminarians, young men being trained to become Catholic priests, namely: Pius Kanwai, Peter Umenkor, Stephen Amos, and Michael Nnadi.  The story bears the trappings of Boko Haram’s mass kidnappings.  One of the seminarians was found helpless after his captors had inflicted serious injuries on his body and on his mind.  Another one, Michael Nnadi, was murdered.

On January 9, young Daciya Dalep, an indigene of Plateau State on his way back to school at the University of Maiduguri was abducted and later executed by Boko Haram child soldier.  Dalep was abducted along with Lilian Daniel Gyang, another student of the University of Maiduguri and fellow Plateau State indigene.

Meanwhile, Leah Sharibu, a young Christian woman, has spent over one year in Boko Haram captivity.  Abducted among other young schoolgirls, she has not been released because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.  Her release does not look like something that will happen soon.  Unconfirmed reports say she was forced into marriage and has given birth to a baby boy.

According to Okogie, examples cited here are not exhaustive but illustrative.  With these and other indices available in the public domain, can it be sincerely said that Boko Haram is in any sense defeated?  And there are other questions our government must not shy away from. For the truth shall make us free. The octogenarian and a prelate in his conclusion said that incontrovertible evidence abound that the government is simply incapable of protecting the land and the people.

These are some of the reported cases of innocent lives killed by either insurgents or bandits without any justifiable reasons. What are the real motives behind the behaviours of the bandits that led them into choosing to take their own pound of flesh by snuffing lives out of innocent citizens held captive?

As if that was not enough nightmare for the public,  several countless innocent people going to their different  places of work in the mornings and returning home at night  have had to, unfortunately, board commercial buses not knowing that such buses are populated by robbers that disguised as responsible citizens.

 The miscreants in such buses popularly called “One Chance’’ always rip their victims of their personal belongings such as cell phones, ATM cards after they must have assaulted them.

After such actions, the robbers used to drive their culprits to unknown places, drop them on motion for the victims to turn to beggars before they can locate their relations for possible assistance.

How about the agents of Satan who called themselves pastors that connive with others to lure innocent lives to their self- acclaimed  worship centres only to `slaughter’ and `barbecue’ their gullible followers as if they were Christmas goats. The case that happened in Osun State is still fresh in the minds of the public. It is better imagined as a fiction than experienced.  One is forced to ask which god are such pastors with their diabolic intentions really serving.

What is the ulterior motif that is propelling them into such dastardly act of indulging in wanton destruction of lives? Lust for money, power, influence and fame? Have they forgotten that all such vices which money serves as their roots are mere ephemeral that will fizzle away with them after their death?

With heightening insecurity in the land, Nigerians have a right to question the competence of the service chiefs.  They are yet to demonstrate that they have solutions to the menace of Boko Haram.  Nigeria is at war.  But can it be said that she is showing signs of winning the war?

I still want to agree with Cardinal Okogie when he asked, “If indeed Nigeria is a democracy, then Nigerians have an inalienable right to ask government questions.  This right is not limited by party affiliation. It is not limited to those whom government perceives as admirers.  Even those who are rightly or wrongly perceived as opponents of government have a democratic right to interrogate government.’’

Will the evolution of regional security outfits such as `Amotekun’ in South Western Nigeria and `Shege Ka Fase’ in Northern Nigeria really be the solution? Will they end the insurgency that has become an albatross on our necks as a nation since our central police force and other constitutionally established security agencies do not have solutions to the lingering crises bedeviling the country?

Will those in power not, with time, be using the regional security outfits to settles political scores against their perceived enemies? When indeed will this savagery that has become a daily recurrence among us end and allow for brotherhood love to exist in our country?

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