Posts tagged ‘Maiduguri’

So, Goodluck Jonathan’s visit shuts down Maiduguri!

Adeola Aderounmu

Nigeria’s ruler is visiting Borno State on Friday the 8th of March 2013 and it appears the state has shut down already.

Reports have it that the “entire” Nigerian security has been deplored to Borno State with high and tight security in place ahead of the president’s visit.

Residents are in panic and have piled up food and provision as it seems that there will be movement in Borno State on Friday.

In my opinion this is a very sad development from several perspectives.

This visit will not allow the ruler of Nigeria to see firsthand how the people of the states have lived under normal circumstances being murdered and decimated daily by terrorists (aka Boko Haram) and through government recklessness/maladministration.

Goodluck Jonathan may be visiting Borno State as a ghost town. Little wonder he said he can’t grant amnesty to ghosts. Of course he won’t see any terrorist during his visit because the state if shut down for his visit. If he is unlucky Boko Haram may disguise and blend in with his security men and do a great harm. A ghost town sometimes is more dangerous than the town of the living.

But trust the deceit of governments in Nigeria. They can rent a crowd at any time, t, and moment m. they can even bring the government-owned crowd from Abuja.

Does anyone remember the mad women and other people who demonstrated against Wole Soyinka recently? Some people in Nigeria are inexplicable useless and worthless, like the ones who organized and participated in the “rent a crowd” against Wole Soyinka after he took Patience Jonathan to the cleaners.

In any case, as per the matter at hand, would it have been out of place if Goodluck Jonathan paid an unannounced, unscheduled visit to Maiduguri?

That would have given him the opportunity to see a real life situation of life in Borno State.

This is a state that collects money from the Niger Delta oil revenue every month and yet provides no form of security for the people living in the state. Borno State doesn’t appear to be under the control of the Nigerian government. All types of terrorism network are fully established in Borno State. They come from far and near and settle in Borno. They are above the law and above the government of Borno. They have network across northern Nigeria.

In the past 2 years it is hard to know if a governor representing the Nigerian government exists in Borno State.

Suddenly the governor is giving a Friday-holiday. Why? What for?

The streets are already drying up of human and commercial activities. The holiday further makes it official that no one is expected to be on the streets when the ruler of Nigeria comes visiting.

How would Jonathan be able to access the real situation on ground after creating an artificial environment for his visit? I think, before his arrival, the purpose of the visit is defeated. For me a visit to a ghost town is useless. Why not visit the grave year instead?

Two True Stories From Pakistan

Adeola Aderounmu

There was once a liberal governor in Pakistan in the state of Punjab.

He wanted peace to reign in his domain and he wanted to promote the spirit of tolerance. He wanted to promote the right of children and women. He did his best.

One day a woman was sentenced to death, charged with speaking blasphemy against the holy prophet of Islam. But before she would be killed the governor decided to do a private investigation into the allegation and the judicial process.

He discovered that the woman was falsely accused. She is a Christian and one of the 2% of the followers of Christ who are scattered among 180m people.

The governor went on air to make a statement that he has found out that the woman was falsely accused and that the case against her may be dropped.

In addition he also said that he will be looking into either adjusting the law that allows people to be sentenced to death for blasphemy or have it removed altogether.

In the midst of this religious imbroglio the governor made a visit outside of his territory. He went to Islamabad. Then as he was about to enter his car to return to his hotel room he was shot 29 times by one of his personal security aides. He died.

The man who shot him was charged to court. As the trial was about to begin, thousands of Pakistani made their way to the court yard to praise the murderer. They throw roses and beautiful flowers at him.

They praised him for killing the governor of Punjab. Many of them mentioned that they would have done the same if they had the opportunity to kill anyone speaking blasphemy against Islam and its prophets.

There was also a young girl who was not born a Christian. Somehow she met with the Christian faith, became a Christian and decided to attend a bible college. She was very shy but studious and for two years she studied the scriptures and became versed.

One day she travelled back to her roots to help people who have been displaced by flood. As she helped them she spoke about The Christ.

People asked her many questions and she provided answers to all of their questions.

Some men did not like what the young woman was up to so they threatened her. They would kill her if she continues to spread the word about Christ.

She called her bible teacher who told her to leave the zone and report back to the district where she has attended bible school. She obeyed.

However as she rode on the back seat of a bicycle to the train station, unknown to her, an ambush has been laid. She was shot at; she sustained injuries on her legs but was lucky to have escaped the murder attempt.

In pain she got to Lahore and was treated. She is alive to tell the story.

She didn’t want her bible teacher to visit the remote place in the south of Pakistan where she has worked as a volunteer and shot. The man of God wanted to make a police report and to see if they can start a judicial process to seek justice.

In the words of the young woman “I have forgiven those who tried to kill me because they don’t know what they are doing”.

These stories touch my heart and they remind me of the recurrent killings in parts of Nigeria especially in the Northern Province. Some of the religious and or tribal killings do not make the news. When they do, they are no longer headlines. In short they have become part of our existence.

We now accept that it is “ok” that innocent people be murdered in certain parts of Nigeria. Life has become meaningless and lawlessness is now an acceptable pattern to us. Or how many perpetrators have been arrested in Jos, Bauchi and Borno?

Just to let sleeping dogs lie, I try to refrain from discussing or writing about religious matters either in Nigeria or elsewhere. It’s too sensitive. People get stirred up when religion is debated or reported in a certain way. It’s puzzling because of rigid opinions.

Yet it is so unbelievable how evil has spread in the minds of people representing all the religious groups around the world.

Around 1992/93 I wrote an essay for an English course at the University of Lagos. It was titled Religion and Morality. I argued that religion from a moral point of view has helped to shape the world. That argument probably belongs to the dustbin now.

No doubts I can now add that religion has also changed the world order forever. Intolerance based on religion (along with social injustice) has come to stay as a parameter that has ensured that the world is totally unsafe for all.

Religion has ensured that peace is elusive to humanity.

I wrote down these stories after listening to a preacher from Pakistan. The stories are real.

Terrorism in Nigeria May Lead to Disintegration

By Adeola Aderounmu

On December 26 2009 I wrote on my blog page that Nigerians are not terrorists. That statement is no longer valid.

Nigeria is now among the league of growing terrorist nations.

On Christmas day in 2009 one over-pampered kid Abdul Mudallab put Nigeria’s name on the global map. He is the famous underpants bomber.

One year later at the end of 2010 there has been series of blasts in Nigeria. From Abuja to Maiduguri to Jos and back to Abuja.

Terror now has its grip on the Nigerian nation.

At about 1730 Nigerian time on the last day of the year 2010 there was a deadly bomb in a busy area in Abuja. Thirty people may have lost their lives with several others injured.

As usual the Nigerian government is quick to point accusing fingers. The blame has been shifted to Boko Haram, a group whose mission is not really clear to the rest of us.

It is cheap and easy to blame Boko Haram because of their attack on the police and civilian populations in Northern parts of Nigeria. People have been killed in Jos in violence related to both religious and political conflicts.

There are insinuations that MEND could also be responsible for the Abuja attacks.

Nigerian security forces need to step up and try to stay ahead of these terrorists whether they are MEND or Boko Haram. Otherwise there will be no solution to the oncoming onslaught of violence and devastations that will hit the rest of the country.

The current pattern indicates a clear motive to disrupt the fragile peace in Nigeria. We know we have political problems and we are aware of the massive corruption and unimaginable social injustices in Nigeria: it is therefore easy for a group or groups with selfish ambitions to penetrate jobless extremists and use them to achieve a sort of destabilization that will usher in the final demise of Nigeria.

That in my opinion is the goal of consecutive bomb blasts and terror attacks. The aim will be to fulfil the predictions that Nigeria will disintegrate before 2015. I thought there are better approaches. When this country becomes ungovernable I look forward to negotiations that will usher in the separations of its parts. The consequences of war we are all familiar with. The Biafran experience should not be an option.

Whichever way, there are going to be many questions from now on. How did we get to this point in Nigeria? Are these attacks preventable? Are these attacks related to bad government and corruption across all the tiers of government in Nigeria? Are these attacks premeditated to make Nigerian ungovernable for a man from the Niger Delta?

There are multitudes of questions. There will not be simple answers. Even in the Scandinavian countries where it seems that the government is almost perfect terrorism is beginning to take firm roots.

The government of Nigeria is now finding itself in a dilemma. So many things and issues have been neglected since 1960 that it will be impossible for us to fathom the reasons for these attacks and the nature of things to come.

Just as recent as October 2010, we wasted over N20b celebrating a useless anniversary. We made the biggest cake in the history of man. There are over 100m Nigerians who are poor and impoverished. They have no hope and no option to a life of poverty. Yet we wasted so much money for nothing! Stupid people making useless decisions!

The Nigerian politicians continue to steal and loot across all levels. The presidency, the executive arm, the National Assembly, the state government and all places where politicians reign across Nigeria it has been stealing, looting and enrichments as usual.

Our legislators earn the most money in the world. We complained that they should review their salaries to what civil servants take home, all in vain.

In Nigeria there is no electricity. Where I live in Nigeria we have 4 generators and run 24-7 on them. There is no public power supply. We don’t have water from the government. Our roads are bad and we drive at average speed of 30km/ hr or less.

Public Schools are becoming historic. We pay high fees to keep our children in schools. Education is now a luxury. Foods are expensive, quality and standard of living are terrible and unacceptable!

Pensioners are suffering and people get laid off indiscriminately. NITEL staffs were dismissed without the benefits of continuous pensions. What a wicked government! So silly!

Nigerian politicians keep their families abroad while they suffer us at home.

When you add all of these woes together you get a failed country. Nigeria is a failed country. Therefore it appears as a golden opportunity for those who believe in violence. It doesn’t even matter if the stimulating or sponsoring agents are within or outside Nigeria. The fact is that they have found cracks in the wall and it is therefore too easy to penetrate and destabilize the country and the government.

The government of Nigeria will be at a dilemma and crossroad for sometime to come. How do you begin to know the elements or characters that are so angry they only resolved to kill innocent people? The Nigerian politicians have a way to protect themselves and their families. The victims of the attacks in Jos, Maiduguri and Abuja are people or individuals like me. We have no means to protect ourselves and the security provided by the Nigerian government is almost non-existence. Usually troops lined the streets after the evil has been done. Sometimes this fans the violence and lead to more deaths.

Who will save our souls? Evil is on the rise. The government has failed the people. For fifty years, public servants and politicians stole and stole. They are still in Nigeria. Nothing has been done to them. They ruined our lives. They stole our future and they took our hopes away. Until this day the story is the same.

The new found love of terrorism in Nigeria is an additional plague that we will now have to live with. It has taken 50 years to destroy this country. It will take more than 100 years to fix it.

Nevertheless we must start to build this country now. This is a country with vast potentials. The task of reclaiming the glory of Nigeria is before all of us. It should not really matter who becomes the president if we established a sound foundation for our democracy. What matters is that the likes of Atiku, IBB and even Jonathan should be sent to face trials for the mis-governance they have participated in. I see no hope in the present crop of looters and thieves that are in Aso Rock then and now.

If Nigerians think that they have democracy now, they really need to wake up from that nightmare. Democratic structures run on institutions and not individuals. Democracy runs on the rule of law which no one is above. In Nigeria, several people are above the laws of the land. This has made it possible for impunity to reign supreme. Our political parties are so useless they have no clear cut goals and objectives. Their dream is to capture power and loot the treasuries nationwide.

We really need to sit down in this country and think. We can’t afford to get it wrong this time.

The first ingredient for our future attempt at progress and development will be to find a genuine democratic process.

When we do, we must begin to address the issues relating to the rule of law and the promotion of social justice and state welfare. There is a need to form political parties based on ideology and good governance. We need to promote literate participation with the attempt to eliminate thuggery and insanity from our politics.

The people must know that they have government and governance that works.

The Judiciary must be independent and have the possibility to work with the police to wipe corruption once and for all.

Nigerians must start to probe the sources of wealth. People are stealing in government and private businesses. The nation is sinking because of the actions of a few men and women.

We must rebuild all public institutions, not physically but mentally. Nigeria must now tap deep into the cognitivity of its intellectuals with a view to promoting merit over national character. There is an urgent need to revive nationalistic movements that will carry everyone along. A massive re-orientation along the line of nation building is urgent. The goal will be to save this sinking nation.

The other option is to allow it to continue with the status quo and pretend that all is well while the nation sinks. Such pretentions will allow terrorism to take a firm root and grip on Nigeria. One day a new group will declare once and for all “to your tent O’ Isreal!”

At that point, the prediction of the disintegration of Nigeria would come to pass. Our lives are in our hands.

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