I am an extremely angry man and my anger is no respecter of persons. To put it simply, my anger knows no bound and I strongly believe you will either feel the same way I feel or even worse than I do if you have an idea of the thought that runs through my mind.
The feeling that enveloped me yesterday is one I have not felt in a long time. At first, I buried my head in the pillow, not knowing what was going on, but by the time I decided to raise my head, I discovered some wet patches on the pillow. When I stood up and finally summoned up the courage to write the message I had intended to post over the news of yesterday’s bomb blast in Zaria and Kaduna, drops of water touched my writing pad. That was when I realised the wet patches on my pillow were the result of the tears that poured from my eyes. I had to pause at every short interval either to fight back tears or to wipe up my eyes as the thoughts of the bad name that Boko Haram has given me reverberated through my mind.
This is what I wrote with tears:
Nigerians today woke up to yet sad news of deaths as multiple explosion rocks two churches in Zaria and another in Kaduna, leavings scores of people dead and properties worth millions of naira destroyed. Although the news of bomb explosions is almost becoming a norm and hardly comes as surprise to most Nigerians, the events of the past few weeks which threw the country into a state of national mourning is one too tragic for most Nigerians to bear.
From the bomb blast in Bauchi, Jos and Maiduguri to the Dana plane crash in Lagos and then the multiple explosions in Zaria and Kaduna today, it has been about four weekends of deaths in the country.
As we condole with the families of those who have been killed in these avoidable tragedies, we pray that the souls of all the departed rest in peace.
That was all I could summon courage to write yesterday, after seeing pictures of people, particularly children killed in the Kaduna and Zaria blasts. The aspect of the bomb attack that really got me worried is the reprisal attack that followed the Kaduna church bomb explosion and the inciting statement that came from people whom you expect should be able to read between the lines and pass an objective judgment. The reprisal attack which led to the death of some people and the destruction of properties didn’t come to me as a surprise as it is almost impossible for people of the Christian faith whose churches have faced constant attack in different parts of the country to hold back the anger such tragedies created. The questions however is does reprisal attack solve the problem?
Many if not the majority of my brothers and sisters in the Christendom believe the incessant attacks by Boko Haram are attacks by Muslims against Christians, otherwise how would one explain the bashing of Muslim faithfuls in social media and even a call by a university lecturer who said “I urge Christians not only to defend themselves but to go on all out war” Obviously, It takes only a strong heart to understand that this ‘war’ is not between Muslims and Christians, but between Boko Haram and all of us. I said all of us because this group of killers does not sieve Muslims from Christians when launching their attacks. Agreed that churches have become their most visible targets in recent times, but they had also bomb places where Muslims and Christians both co-habited. Even if Muslims decide to sleep in churches today, Boko Haram will still carry out their attack if they choose to. They are just evil and should be so seen.
The group claims it is fighting the cause of Islam, yet Islam is a religion that does not condone the killing of innocent souls. Even if it does, it is not in place for a group of few to speak or represent millions of other Muslim in the country who have consistently distance themselves from the activities of the group.
I feel the pain of all those, either Christians or Muslims who have been killed by the attack of this group, but we must not generalize their activities to mean that all Muslims are in support. Each time I hear of a bomb explosion most especially in churches, I feel deranged that this group have killed innocent lives and is giving me and Islam a bad name.
I love my Christian brothers and sisters. I have lived, wined and dined in their midst. I attended their school, most of my friends are Christians and I attend their church service each time any of them is getting married, why then would I turn back to kill them? What reason do I have to bomb their churches and what do I stand to gain?
I call on the Christian faithful to understand that we are all enemies to Boko Haram as much as they see us as enemies to them. What we need to do at this point is not to resort to killing innocent Muslims in the name of retaliating the bombing and killing of Christians. This is the time for us all to come together and fight the dreaded monster called Boko Haram.
Some people have said that leaders in the not are either in support of Boko Haram or are not doing enough to stop them. Much as I do not doubt some of this insinuation, we need to understand that the real people who can stop the Boko Haram insurgency are the government. The government has the resources and man power needed to prosecute this war, but has continuously failed to do so. Rather than face the monster and suppress it when it first surfaced, they choose to play politics with it and still do, except for the innocent souls they continue to kill in the name of suspect. They told us Boko Haram is in the government and even know who their sponsors are, but months after promising to publish the list of the sponsors, they are yet to tell us who they are, let alone prosecute them. The best we have got from this insensitive government is condolence message, while many more continue to die.
What we need to do is to prevail on the Government to take decisive action and deal with the Boko Haram menace once and for all. Reprisal attack will only end up in killing innocent souls while the real perpetrators of the attacks will live to continue more of the killings.
May the souls of all those killed in all the bombings rest in peace.
Share your thought please.
Abubakar Sidiq Usman
I am @abusidiqu on twitter.