A LEGACY OF MASS GRAVES
Can someone tell me “MASS GRAVE” is a movie and not reality? These scenes are well cut for a horror bestseller. A city turned into mass graves with millions of inhabitants buried alive. Some buried up to the knee, waist while others buried to their neck. I look on helplessly, unsure of what to do. Caught between rescuing the victims, staying safe from the executioners and finding out who these heartless humans are. As I entertain these thoughts, I feel uneasy, my feet heavy.
Face to face with the unmasked Marksmen, I am determined not to go down easily without giving a fight. This piece is one of my arsenals for survival, a cry to individuals, inhabitants and passerby’s who are yet to be buried alive, those half buried and half dead; a bid to rally them to form an army. Can we fight? Can we escape the trap? Can we live wholly again and rescue those at the point of death?
Anger and sadness well up as I play back heart wrenching scenes. In February 2015 Professor Ahmed Mustapha Falaki a Professor of Agronomy and Director Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and also former Country Director of the SASAKAWA Project in Nigeria lost his life in controversial circumstances to a Police Officer and mobs in Fala village of Tudun Wada LGA, Kano State. He was said to be mistaken for a Boko Haram Terrorist, even when he produced his ABU identity Card and Driver’s license for identification.
In another scene, an officer of Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Service (SSS) was caught on tape at a public function polishing the shoes of Abdulrahman Dambazau, Nigeria’s Minister of Interior. An indication of the unfortunate abuse perpetuated by supposed leaders. One is not unawares that some politicians and men of authority unlawfully assign security personnel to their girlfriends and concubines who make them wash their undies and perform other unsavory tasks. These are men and women commissioned to maintain law and order in the society and charged to protect lives and properties.
On Friday, December 23, 2016 Grace Onaivi left her school, Kogi State University for Lokoja, the state Capital to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays with her family. She answered her father’s call about 5pm the same day assuring him of her safe arrival to Lokoja. Grace did not get home, her decomposing corpse was found on Thursday, December 29, 2016; legs, hands, eyes and mouth tied. Hindsight tells me that a properly trained and equipped police will have rescued her alive.
It’s an impossible task to outline the evils carried out on Nigerian soil on a daily basis. I dug into the history books to find out how we got here; a quest to know if we ever got it right in the past and attempt to identify where we derailed. My findings revealed that Nigeria never got it right from independence. My heart bleeds to know that the foundation of our nation stand on faulty and shaky grounds.
The leading actors have failed to salvage a dying Nation. A tale of one step forward, several steps backwards. Actors propelled by greed and self-centeredness instituted a culture of mass graves, they have not stopped digging. A situation that made it impossible for them to manage the events and circumstances that lead to the civil war. At the wake of oil discovery, they moved to Oloibiri, Niger Delta, they began digging mass graves for the inhabitants. Today the Nation battles Marksmen tagged Fulani shepherds and cattle rustlers. At every turn, Mass Graves are being dug, citizens buried alive.
The life expectancy of Nigerians (Male 53.4, female 55.6) and every measure of economic stability of the Nigerian nation maintains a steady decline. Who will think that the exchange rate of the Naira to the Dollar was N1.00 to $1.53 in May, 1977 but today (2017) it is approximately N315 at official rate and N490 at the parallel market. A trend that alludes to the success of the marksmen and their strong determination to make Nigeria a hell for the citizenry.
The Nigerian citizens have not fared better. They have largely fallen for the ploy of the con men, divided along religious, ethnic and political lines. Accepting a fate of poverty, injustice or at best swearing allegiance to the powers that be and joining them in the harvest of death.
We, Nigerians, are not oblivious of our problems. Evil men veiled as leaders will stop at nothing to divide and loot this country to nought.
Are there still sane Nigerians on the Nigerian soil? Where are you? Can we get elected leaders, our representatives to halt this pogrom? How many deaths are too many to get us to think, unite, resist and fight (if need be)? Must we wait for the next harvest of deaths? How many deaths are too many? 180 million?
To the government of the day, if the efforts put at silencing the Biafran agitators are committed to ensuring good governance at all levels, the agitation will have long died a natural death. I call on the Buhari administration to rethink the idea of tasking one man with three ministries – Power, Works and Housing.
My final advice to the Buhari administration is to commit to appointing qualified persons to occupy the available portfolios. What will it benefit our nation to have incompetents occupy critical government positions; individuals with questionable antecedents who have not shown themselves worthy in character, knowledge and ability? Should we sacrifice competence and merit for mediocrity on the grounds of tribal, ethnic and party affiliations?
My message to those sponsoring and nurturing a culture of bloodshed in Nigeria and attempting to create an artificial heaven and safe haven for themselves and members of their families; what goes around comes around. You will someday be visited by misfortune, die humiliating and excruciating death, here on earth and in the hereafter. The deaths you fertilize and catalyse will not go unrewarded. No solution and immunization has yet been found for cardiac arrest, mysterious and disastrous ‘gifts’ brought by Karma. You may laugh now but I can assure you it will last only last for a time.
I choose my fights carefully and remain undeterred by the obstacles placed on my path and those of fellow Nigerians. Armed by the truth, common sense and goodwill for the citizenry, I will not relent in my efforts to contribute to a better Nigeria and urge all well-meaning Nigerians to tow the same path.
I pray that the good hearted Nigerians triumph in the end. Evil may last for many years; the truth will overtake it someday. As long as we breathe, we must keep hope alive and commit to a better and prosperous Nigeria.
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