Yesterday October 1, 2021 marked the 61st year since the British flag was lowered to give way to the emergence of Nigeria’s green-white-green flag. At birth, our newly independent nation showed all the promises of becoming a world’s giant. Sadly, over three decades after, the country has not only demonstrated a dismal performance, but also receded into the valley of barbaric killings and inscrutable destructions on a daily basis.
In the last seven years or so, demons of bloodbath have left the hottest part of hell to take permanent residence in our country. Most of their criminal activities have been concentrated in some parts of the North-west and North-central zone, popularly known as the Middle Belt Region that is inhabited by ethnic nationalities of the North.
While the incessant bloodshed in the name of presumed herders/farmers’ clashes has continued to incinerate thousands of lives and devastate Nigerian communities, both state and national leaderships have shown obvious failings in curbing the storming exploits of these killers. Thursday September 30, 2021 will forever remain one of the highpoints of bloodstained status Nigeria has attained in barbarity. There has never been a comparison of the present massive destruction and devastations unleashed on vulnerable citizens and communities with the past. Our nation has become a political entity soaked with the blood of the innocent.
There is no event that has epitomized the tragedy of our existence as a bleeding nation than what happened the day before yesterday at the Government Secondary School Mallagum in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaura State. It was the first time I would witness the burial of more than one person. On Thursday, I was at the mass burial of 35 persons out of the 52 persons murdered in cold blood last Sunday September 26, 2021 in Madamai and Abum in Kaura LGA.
Before the attack on Madamai, the village had come under attack thrice by the vicious gang of herdsmen killers. On each occasion, the village had repelled the attackers and saved the day. However, last Sunday, the villagers were caught unawares by the angels of death who took advantage of the rains and hacked no fewer than 52 persons to death. Determined not to heed to pressure to dump corpses of their loved one without according them befitting, the communities organised a mass burial for their loved ones.
Last Thursday turned out to be a painful experience as the trucks bearing the 35 corpses made their way to the football field of GSS Mallagum for the mass burial. As the trucks arrived at the venue of the mass service a few minutes to 2pm, emotions ran high as cries of anguish from mourners rented the air. I saw a man appealing to grievers to play down their emotions as he tried to control them. Few minutes later, I saw the same man in his own little corner, far away from the crying women, wiping tears from both corners of his eyes.
The mass burial of Madamai and Abum massacred victims epitomizes the tragedy of a nation that has become a massive graveyard. Less than 12 hours to the mass burial, the media had reported that no fewer than 30 persons had been killed in Niger State. Many of the slain were displaced persons of Gbagyi ethnic group from Kaduna State who have become perennial victims of murderous assaults unleashed by bandits. The absence of any Kaduna State government’s officials in Mallagum reveals the depth of scorn and insensitivity the administration of Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai has for the Southern Kaduna people.
More than any other time in the history of our nation, the threat against our corporate unity as a country has never been so obvious. From the North to the South, the hope for the quick return of peace has retreated and made worse by spiraling violence and bloodshed shredding across various parts of our distressed nation. Not only has life turned short and brutish, leadership deficits have cast a long pall of inability to combat the raging bloodbath.
Nigeria @61 is a nation still engrossed in grappling with the dynamics that have worked against its unity. Despite over 22 years of unbroken democracy for a country that accomplished political freedom on October 1, 1960, the centrifugal forces threatening Nigeria’s unity are yet to be resolved.
As Nigerians witnessed yet another independence day, the ghost of Biafra that was once deemed to have been exorcised has been resurrected and led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the imprisoned leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). It is now clear as the day that the platform upon which our nation was founded now provides the catalyst for our country’s volatility.
When in 2015 Nigerians voted out President Goodluck Jonathan on account of insecurity wrecking Nigeria, especially the North, not a few citizens expressed the confidence that the light at the end of the tunnel was on sight. Over six years since the inauguration of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency, citizens and communities have been turned into soft targets for terrorists. No fewer than hundreds of our towns and villages have been invaded and now being occupied by the conquering killer herdsmen and bandits.
Those opposed to the continued existence of Nigeria as one united political entity have not only restricted their evil machination to not only the Middle Belt zone, but they have also extended their evil exploits to other parts of the country. The President Buhari-led administration should take the entire blame for not tackling insecurity plaguing us.
While promising to take charge of the security situation if elected in 2015, the Katsina-born General had vowed to lead from the front. In the midst of the uncontrolled security challenges we now face, Nigerians can’t see our president at the front or rear in leading the charge against these enemies of the State.
If the purpose of government is to “enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness, and “that government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors,” as declared by the 3rd President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson, then, it is clear that we have been taken for a ride.
Even to the undiscerning, the monsters of destruction have placed our country on a life support. To celebrate the independence of a nation that has so much witnessed bloodbath and colossal devastation is akin to living in self-denial. It is apt to mourn and not to celebrate the failure of a nation that has failed to protect the lives of citizens.
…Good Night, Barr Shekarau!
I was at the burial ceremony of the chairperson of the Abuja chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which took place yesterday in Mabushi, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
A consummate fighter for the oppressed and vulnerable, Shekarau, who was a former president of the International Federation of Women’s Lawyers (FIDA), was a lady of many shades. The advocate of women’s empowerment and child rights was a quintessential advocate for justice and equity and was never known to turn down an offer to serve her community and humanity.
One of the unique qualities of the late lawyer was her ability to play at both local and global levels. The late Abuja NBA chairperson demonstrated humility and deployed incomparable commitment in all duties assigned to her. As someone noted yesterday, she appropriated divine strength in the pursuit of her goals. The lawyer who hated injustice was loyal to a cause.
In the death of Barr Shekarau, I am greatly pained and diminished, knowing that she left a vacuum that will be too difficult to be filled. She was not given to personal gains as the basis for her actions. Considering the dignitaries that turned up to pay her their last respects, it turns out a crystal message that she lived a worthy life that impacted positively on many.
On a personal note, I found in Barr Shekarau someone who “understood all and forgave all”. She never allowed her position in society to influence her dispositions and attitudes.
Barr Shekarau, you run your race with an untainted devotion to your Maker. May your soul find eternal repose in the bosom of Jesus Christ whom you served with dedication during your lifetime.
Good night, Barr Shekarau. We shall meet at the Eastern gate!