Few days back in Nigeria, it became a chain of events to hear the heart-rending news of Boko Haram finding, fixing, striking and exploiting civilian targets in the course of their bloodthirsty carnage. Tentatively, over 300 Nigerians were mangled and massacred with thousands seriously-injured as a result of the reprisal attacks by the sect in the towns of Gwoza, Izge, Bama and a subsequent public demonstration of cannibalism in FGC Buni-Yadi,a boarding school. The disturbing trend is that, the dreams, yearnings and aspirations of these future generations have been battered and shattered in the most inhuman of all ways. It however seems that rampage, looting, shooting, robbing, vandalizing, destruction of houses and compelling evacuations of towns and villages are becoming frequent in the North East region. Consequently, the presidency declared that ‘the Nation is at War’ with the spokesperson apparently referring that ‘we are engaged in a war that has been internationalised’. Therefore, this poem is written in honour of the Borno, Yobe and Adamawa victims killed in the BH Massacre. Their memories shall forever linger in our hearts as our lips continue to pray for the repose of their souls.
NIGERIA: A NATION ‘AT WAR’
In our joy, we were a nation at peace,
Standing proudly with honor for values everyone can see
Such a great nation, fluent in three languages
Our flag a symbol of peace and unity our founders hoped we will be
Our flourishing markets, lubricated soils endowed by nature from origin
A towering giant among others, The Giant of Africa
A land of unquantifiable opportunities.
But just yesterday………
Fate blew its ugly young head
The proud Northern States of Nigeria, reduced to ruin
Destroyed by the brutality of war
Scattered into potshards
We trembled at the sound of the invaders guns
We are thrilled by their presence
For it is never what we hungered for.
They came, they saw us
In our natural sense of innocence
They raped us, with magnanimous aggression and impunity
Subjected us to mental and psychological torture
Exploded a battalion into corpses, rags upon rags of bleeding flesh
A nation turned into a source of terrible jokes among nations.
A country divided, in a time in history when bloodshed reigns
Brother against brother, a land torn apart.
Our nation’s flag lowered to half mass.
For when our country calls for us to murder, maim and persecute
In a war where nothing is gained, where the slaughter of people is inhumane
When we send our children home in bloody bags
With anger strong and bitterness high
We struggle to fight the emotions inside
We are told to be patient, we are told to endure
But deep down inside we cannot hide.
Our children scream and cry while they get slaughtered
For they do not understand why
Why at war it is right to take a life, but in peace time its our worst crime
Our walls are knocked to pieces
Our factories and schools, churches and mosques
Broken into loose piles of stones, and lumber and black burnt wood.
Oh fallen angels!
Born in the wrong place, at the wrong time
Tiny nostrils clogged, what horror you have witnessed
Your sweet life nipped in the bud
Before your life really begun
Without having your dreams fulfilled
Never to know tomorrows treasures.
Why innocence should die?
A victim of man’s wars and cruelty
Living in a place where humanity is a disgrace
Where fear replaces love
Where dreams are born and killed
Where hardworking hands are put to rest.
Our pains feel cold and selfish
As tears roll down our hardest faces
Deafening silence fills the air
With each of us in personal prayer
The children remembered, forgotten by none
They leave to start the journey home
In a coffin draped in their own blood.
Who will salvage this land, I ask?
When grief, pain and sorrow make each breaking day our own
Politicians have much to say
No sign of them here to grieve today
They hide away and out of danger
Much easier if the hero is a stranger
The crowds have come to say farewell
The church bell rings a low death knell
The town folks feel the families’ pains
We watch helplessly our slaughtered children bathed in the sweat of death`
Knowing we are all casualties of this war.
Amidst our deepest fears
A dream beckons……
A dream that one day this nation shall rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed
A creed that bounds us in peace and unity.
A creed that tells our indivisibility and indissolubility
A creed that shadows out our common values and societal expectations
The past we cannot change
But yet the future waits unseen
The future we can change
If only we will take a stand
If only we unite………
Our hearts will forever bleed to your loss our fallen angels. Continue to rest in peace under the temple of the most high.
Poem by Nufaisah Garba Ahmed, a student of the Department of International Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
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