Our President, Boko Haram, Tears And Blood In The Land By Bemdoo Hulugh
A report in Thisday newspaper some days ago said boko haram has killed 406 Nigerians in the first 36 days of the Buhari Presidency(I believe these are just the reported cases). Before I could turn to my neighbour to share this heartbreaking information, boko haram attacked again, again and again. I won’t be surprise to hear of another attack on our innocent citizens before I finish writing this piece.There is frustration, tears, blood and mourning in the land. Nigerians are counting on our new President to save them.
For the victims of boko haram who are living in fear and homeless in their homeland, they just want the government to secure back their villages and make it safe for them to go back and begin with whatever is left from the ruins of boko haram destruction. That should be the priority of the government. It is not about those people on tweeter who keep calling on those who criticised former President Jonathan to also come out and do same to President Buhari for every boko haram attack. I don’t want to talk about the shameful way former President Jonathan handled the boko haram issue because after all he is no longer the president. President Buhari has showed commitment in tackling the boko haram insurgency in the north-east. He relocated the military command centre to Borno and has gained the support of our neighbours to lunch a multinational military offensive against boko haram which is due to commence at the end of the month but the painful reality is our people are still getting killed on a daily basis by these lunatics. The message I see Nigerians sending to President Buhari is that no Nigerian will be satisfied till peace return to the north-east.
The way boko haram are activating suicide bombers from all corners and lunching attacks almost on a daily basis is a deliberate attempt to show their strength to the public. President Buhari too must insist our military show their superiority in other to retain the goodwill and support of Nigerians. Though I am not a military officer, I will suggest the president make the command structure and leadership of boko haram his major target. The hypocrisy of this war against boko haram is that their command and leadership has remained almost intact after all these years.
I know boko haram attack will not stop today or tomorrow but our president must also join us after every attack to properly mourn the dead. I saw how victims of the London terrorist attack were remembered the other day, I saw how the remains of dutch citizens who were killed in the Malaysian airline that was shotdown by a missile in Ukraine were beautifully carried in a casket covered with their national flag from the plane to the ambulance and it showed that even if they were ordinary citizens their lives mattered a lot. I know it is almost impossible for our President to do same for everybody killed by boko haram but he must find a way to always show that they truly matter. He must go beyond the usual messages of consolation and condemnation that no longer inspire anyone and find a more inspiring gesture.
I couldn’t in good conscience support former president Jonathan in the fight against boko haram because his actions and inaction didn’t convince me he was seriously concerned and I see no crime in supporting our new president that is certainly more committed. Showing support doesn’t mean we will not cry out when our people are dying everyday or demand more from him but our utterances shouldn’t degenerate into a Jonathan vs a Buhari presidency that is less than 40 days old. Former president Jonathan has moved on and l suggest his social media supporters do same. I understand that our president will be criticised and even mocked till peace return to the north-east and I challenge him to earn his respect and praises.
Our president must also know that the challenges of insecurity stretch beyond the north-east. The north-west and north-central are facing challenges of inter-ethnic wars, ethnic cleansing, cattle rustling and the conflict between herdsmen and farmers that has displaced my people in Benue State over and over again. All these have been relegated to the background due to the international dimension of the boko haram attacks but they are for sure very big security challenges.
The moment you include other security challenges of bunkering, armed robbery and kidnapping that has almost become normal in the other parts of Nigeria then you will understand that the insecurity question can’t be answered by solving just the north-east crises. I believe that social instability is closely linked to economic instability and social injustice. Our security challenges today is as a result of long term injustice. More guns and ammunitions will not be the final solution. We also need to urgently as a nation address the problems of inequality, poverty and unemployment to find peace again. These are the challenges before our president and history is patiently waiting to pass judgement.
Bemdoo Hulugh is an active citizen and he writes from Makurdi.
You can also interact with him on tweeter @bumy04