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Published On: Thu, Apr 17th, 2014

Jonathan: How many more would have to die?

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President JonathanBy Charles Ofoji

Senator Ahmed Zannah authoritatively told the BBC last week that over 135 civilians were killed by the terror group, Boko Haram in three separate attacks in North-East Nigeria. Also Amnesty International has revealed that, at least 1,500 people, half of them civilian, have been killed in the restive region this year. This was reported by the BBC.

On Sunday morning, Boko Haram succeeded again in bombing the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Over 70 innocent people died (dozens wounded) when a luxury bus park at the Nyanya area of Abuja was bombed. As things stand now, there is hardly any day that passes without Nigerians being massacred by Boko Haram.

When you hear such number of Nigerians who have fallen victim to the terror campaign of Boko Haram, you simply ask: how many more would have to die before President Goodluck Jonathan did something to secure the lives of Nigerians, which in any case is his primary task as president and commander in chief.

Since the insurgency got worse, we have seen a National Security Adviser removed; a Chief of Army Staff has also being changed, all in an attempt to win the war on terror. In fact, there was a talk that the present Chief of Army Staff has relocated to the Northeast, yet Boko Haram appears to have the upper hand in the war it declared against Nigeria and its people. It therefore means that the government of Jonathan is merely running round the ring, instead of hitting the nail on the head.

I have a close affinity to Benue State and its people. Recently, I was irritated that the Benue people were being butchered by the so-called Fulani herdsmen. I could not understand where such could be tolerated by the present administration.

At an event in one of the European capitals I met a State Security Services (SSS) official. When we got talking, I found out that he works with the SSS. Immediately, I angrily demanded to know from him why it is difficult for the SSS to expose those sponsoring the herdsmen-terrorists and Boko Haram.

The man smiled drily in his stomach and said nothing as he gazed into my prying eyes. The unmistakable message was that he was not willing to divulge any information. But I was not going to accept that I pressed and pressed for an answer. And ultimately he told me, albeit reluctantly, that contrary to what Nigerians think, the SSS have not being sleeping. He confided in me that the SSS has done a good intelligence work on the Fulani Herdsmen, Boko Haram and their financiers. “The Presidency has been adequately briefed. The only thing needed is the political will to go after the sponsors of Boko Haram.” According to him if this is not done, the terror war would never be won. “It is simple: If there is no pump, the water won’t run.” The man concluded that those at the top lack the political will to deal decisively with the issue of Boko Haram. You mean Jonathan? I asked. “Those at the top, he corrected me.” Even though he refrained from mentioning Jonathan, but as the leader of those at the top, he takes the blame.

I shook my head in disbelief. I told him that Jonathan as the leader at the top is a commander in chief. Therefore, he cannot be afraid of anything or any person. The man quickly added that it is not that they are afraid. Rather he said that they are reluctant to clamp down on those behind the group because of political calculations. There was disquiet. How could Jonathan put his political gains above the lives of Nigerians he is constitutionally obligated to protect? I could not believe that. Though I found it hard to believe, at the same time, I did not know what else to believe.

Incontestable however is the fact that it cannot be hard to find out those behind Boko Haram. We all come from a community. And we all know who does what and what in our respective communities. So why should it be difficult for those in the Northeast to know those who are unleashing this carnage on their motherland?

There was something the man also said, which I concurred with. He said that it is hard for a Nigerian to kill a Nigerian for nothing. Saying that the attacks are mainly carried out by mercenaries from other neighbouring countries. He holds the same theory on the issue of the herdsmen killers.

I watched the video of the Nyanya bomb blast scene. It is a horrendous moving picture of innocent people, going about their lawful business, cut to pieces in the most bestial and despicable manner because they are citizens of a country that failed to protect them. You can only cry and ask how Nigerians could do such to fellow Nigerians? It is impossible. Then again you ask if such repulsive sight of Nigerians cut to pieces is not enough to spur Jonathan to move decisively against those behind this evil perpetrated against Nigerians?

Mr. President, how many more Nigerians would have to die before you moved boldly against the people importing these foreigners to kill and maim Nigerians?

The terror war against Nigeria is an ominous threat to its existence. It is time we faced this war squarely. The country needs to be secured. Without security, we can forget about making any kind of progress as a country.

Due to the fact that those in charge failed to summarily address the security situation, Nigeria has sadly entered into the same league with Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria etc, known for volatility.

Yes, ordinary Nigerians continue to die and pay the price for the inaction of the ruling class. It is heartbreaking to note that those who died at Nyanya park bombing are everyday Nigerians, who had nothing to look forward to.

Neither did they play any role in causing the grievance, for which Boko Haram took up bombs.

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