Nothing is as it should be. The sky is dark, ominous, yet the heavy cloud doesn’t seem to be pregnant with rain. The heaven seems to be shut against this land. All it pours is blood. Our land is hot and thirsty and the skies smile only to bare its bloodstained teeth. There is so much pain and gnashing of teeth, so much tension everywhere.
God is angry, that I’m sure of. He’s never pleased with the death and blood of the innocent. Even the ancestors are pissed with us. Yet we are recalcitrant, beheading the old and feeble at dawn and extricating the infant from its still breathing mother’s uterus. Are we now possessed by blood-sucking spirit? Have we totally lost our humanity? Where are the men who are paid and perked to secure our internal and external borders? Do they just wear their ranks and starched uniforms for fashion? How do these ones even sleep at night, knowing that another set of Nigerians won’t make it through the night?
Why does it look like armed robbers are more organized than the owners of the house and the owners of the entire community? Look at what happened with Offa bank robbery. The evil young men who invaded the Kwara town did their homework. They knew Offa is a border town with bad roads on either side of it, meaning that even if distress calls went to Osogbo or Ilorin, the bumpy road would still have given them ample time to do their evil deed. But they still left nothing to chance. They went to the Police station first and mowed down everybody and everything in sight. They neutralized the ‘enemy’. And those were exuberant young men whose planning didn’t include escape from the law.
However, what you can’t take from those armed robbers is that without a formal training and zillions of tax-payers’ investment like we devote to training security agents, those boys successfully did their evil. Like the killers of priests and children. Unlike the men who were actually trained to secure us. How did we even arrive at this fork in the road, this place where we look like sitting ducks and our military men can’t secure one state, only one state called Benue? Now the killers are spreading their missions.
If truly the Iraq war consumed over 4,000 people and more than 2,000 Nigerians have died in the hands of killer herdsmen, are we finally at war or not? How do you describe houses being razed and dozens being killed daily?
I overheard this conversation between two chickens during this past week
Chicken A: You know it’s now safer to be a chicken in Nigeria than be a human.
Chicken B: Yes o. Nigerian humans are dying in their dozens daily.
Chicken A: We don’t even lose this many members during Christmas or Easter.
Chicken B: At least we are just Nigerian Chickens. We don’t have to worry about being Muslim chicken or Catholic chicken.
Embarrassed? Yes, even chickens now think they are safer and better off as Nigerian chickens than Nigerian humans.
Where are the men who swore to protect this land? Where is the head of this family? That would be President Muhammadu Buhari, right?
Mr President, let me first commiserate with you. These losses are huge, the pain made even worse because they are unending. The kind of bad news you receive everyday can’t be good or safe for the heart of an old man. Indeed, the most dreaded fate of any parent is to outlive his or her children. So, I can imagine what this season is like for you sir. When they serve you breakfast, they serve it with casualty figures, your lunch with descriptions of how priests were killed and dinner with stories of how 60-year-old women are burnt along with their houses. How much can an old man take? I really feel for you because I know that beneath that smile and stoic ramrod frame is a hurting man, a grieving father.
So what are you going to do? I know that taking decisions when your heart is bleeding is difficult but you must stop this land from bleeding to death. You cannot continue to bury your children. You are our father. We are looking up to you to do something, anything, in fact everything doable, to stem this evil tide.
Abiyamo kii gb’ekun omo re
Ko ma tati were
A caring parent does not ignore the cry of his child.
Mr President, you need to get up from your grieving mat and rescue your children. Your compound is beginning to look like a graveyard, a cemetery. The enemies are laughing, deriding you, calling you names that should not be said in the same breath as parent. They said you don’t care. Some have even gone as far as saying that you have too many children to care about the death of a few.
But they are heartless. They do not know what it feels like to be in your shoes, what it feels like to have to look strong when all you want to do is crumble in your bed and cry and mourn.
In our culture, when a woman keeps burying her children, people begin to call her a witch, that she is using the children to do ‘monthly contribution’, ‘ajo’, target saving. The Yoruba are the meanest in this regard. If the poor woman does not do something quickly, one day, the young people just wake up one morning and stone her to death. Uncouth, uncultured and cruel but it still happens.
Our father, you cannot afford to let the wanton, mindless killings continue. We cannot continue to dig graves and commission coffins instead of digging for gold and commissioning rails and roads. We cannot continue to weep and wear sackcloth. It is your duty to protect us.
First, Daddy, you must start seeing the people being buried differently. The dead are not Hausa, Fulani, Tiv or Idoma. They are Nigerians. You are the father of the nation. You are supposed to defend this homestead, this compound, this land. Death cannot become the head of this family, plucking us one-by-one like ripe fruits and devouring us when you are still alive and kicking. No Sir.
Sir, we all thought the days of ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ are gone but priests of the Most High are still being shot right on the altar.
But the saying: A kii fi omo ore bo ore (you cannot use the offspring of the gods as sacrifice to the same gods) is still valid before the Creator who will soon remove his hands from the folds of his garment and defend his servants.
Our homes being desecrated is bad enough, calling God into battle has never and will never go unpunished. Whether it is an Imam or a Reverend Father that is killed by bandits, the Almighty will avenge because vengeance is His. And if it is true that there are some people aiding these killings, I feel sorry for them and what awaits them and their generations unborn.
I’ll leave them with these words:
‘’ When the Lord stretches out his hand
He who helps will stumble,
He who is helped will fall;
Both will perish together.”
Double Imam is gone, just like that?
What’s life but a passing phase, a journey that can end when the owner of life decides to end it? What’s breath but just a pipe, which switch the breath-owner can turn off with one flip? On April 27, 2018, Imam Dalhatu Imam’s journey ended. Just like that.
His breath ceased. He laid still, stiff and done with this side of the divide, gone back to his maker. He was only 40.
Double Imam as I called him had dreams, hopes. His wife just had a baby. He wanted to go to the House of Representatives, this time as a member. He was there before but as Special Adviser to the Speaker then, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
Until last Friday when he took his last breath, he was the Special Adviser (Media) to Governor Tambuwal.
Fine gentleman, focused journalist, Imam Imam. He was a friend. He was hardworking. I’m flat on my tummy with grief. How does one even attempt to decipher this? I called his number as if he would answer and tell me it was a hoax.
For Imam, the call has been made and my friend has answered. I can only cry. I can only pray for his family. I can only cry…