Since last week my home town has been struggling to come to terms with the killing of health workers: nine women and one man. As if to reinforce the nature of the madness that has supposedly taken hold in the North, two days later, in a neighbouring province, three North Korean medical doctors were found dead, their throats slit, one reportedly decapitated.
One was reminded of the heydays of this type of reprehensible violence committed in the name of Islam by young, brutal murderers in US occupied Iraq: eg. the video footage of the beheading of foreign workers by young men mindlessly screaming Islamic scripture. I am thankful that that ghoulish parade has ended. It may be over in Iraq but today I can honestly say I fear for my family, community and society.
Meanwhile as has often been the case when such numbing and spine-chilling atrocities have been committed, our Prime Minister Jonah was touring a few Western capitals -soliciting for help to fight the global threat of terrorism. The BH have not claimed responsibility for either attack, but no-one seems to really care anymore about that.
I am grateful however that I no longer have to wake on Sunday’s with fear and dread, praying that there will not be another criminal attack on innocent church congregations. Since late last year that type of terrorism has also ended. The terrorists have found other targets: My home town has been quietly enduring daily, sporadic shootings at checkpoints and recreation points. No one really cared until at the tail end of a whole week of shootings the Traditional Emir was attacked.
I worry that those in whom the trust and responsibility of governance have been placed are completely devoid not only of competence but also of conscience, shame and respect for human life.
This week we commemorate one shining light that shone for an all too brief six months in the life of Nigeria. General Murtala Ramat Muhammad, who was shot in his car, on his way to work on the morning of February 13th 1976. He was only 38. This great national hero exhibited such a selfless and total dedication to country that it was requited by a deep and fervent love that is still palpable today.
It was a mutual love that was of course not returned by the civil servants and international geo-political interests who have since been far more comfortable with the likes of our Obasanjos, Babangidas and now of course our very own Good fortune. We will continue to pray for the full and complete exposure of all the criminals behind the suffering of our people, sooner rather than later. One little bit of cheering news – yes our winning the Nations Cup after much striving and struggle – but more importantly- the forceful resetting of that selfish and mindless hardrive known as Officialdom by Stephen Keshi. I salute him for his courage, dedication and commitment to principle by resigning -even if it was for just 24hours. It has taught some people an important lesson or two!
This week (and the next) I present excerpts from my four-part series published in late 2011 expressing my concerns even then, over this atrocious violence being committed in a country supposedly not at war. It was called Theories of Boko Horror:
business elite are in a
quandary. … Time and again we have been fed footage of bomb-making ‘factories’ raided and nameless suspects arrested by energetic state security agents. In between all these main events, we have had a steady and nauseating supply of seminars, conferences and meetings to discuss ‘security’, interspersed with the obscene deployment of soldiers in our streets or homes as evidence of seriousness.
True to Cartelopian ethics, the singular unusual addition to this insincere narrative are the huge electronic adverts, billboards and television ads admonishing the public to be ‘alert and to report any unusual activity or sighting to security agencies’. Of course as pointed out in previous editions of this column – no specific telephone number or numbers are ever given out in these ads, because there are none. These ads merely serve as yet another Cartelopian avenue for making the quick buck!
Yes indeed – how to make that quick buck – even on the backs of scores of dead people seems to be the most enduring motive for nearly all the major conflicts of this 21st century. It turns out the earth shaking War on Terror declared by the United States after that fateful September day in 2001, may have run down that country’s treasury but not so the treasure chests of military equipment manufacturers and oil companies. Unlike the military spending of more ‘civilised’ democracies, however, our security votes are NOT allowed to be accounted for, by law!
There are many theories sprouting up to make sense of it all: starting with the strangeness of nearly all aspects of the story of the growth of the so-called Islamic sect, to the July 2009 uprising and that extra-judicial execution of the sect’s only identifiable leader by the police. Educated and informed members of the public are having to switch off from the government’s ‘official explanations’ to make proper sense of a land populated by suicide bombers where gun battles and bombings seemingly take place at the push of a button somewhere…
Historically, the State Security Service has been very much the most efficient and professional security service, able to provide substantial intelligence on the activities of all manner of militant or fringe groups. It is particularly surprising that these historically proven, professional abilities seem to have evaporated, overnight!
Take this statement made by the former head of the State Security Service (SSS), Afakriya Gadzama in 2009, to the House of Representatives’ Joint Committee on Security that the SSS had warned the Borno state government well in advance [before July 2009] about the activities of this BH. He is quoted as saying: Nobody was taken by surprise; it was something that was adequately covered; that was adequately reported.
In fact as with many similar fringe movements, the BH was known to have been infiltrated by under-cover agents, including women, who obviously reported fully and regularly on the groups’ activities. One is tempted to ask what happened to all that ‘intelligence’? Why is it suddenly so exceedingly easy for groups of young men to acquire weaponry, arms and ammunition, kill in broad daylight and disappear even in the midst of areas where there is already a heavy deployment of armed security personnel?
To be continued