On my Twitter feed, I’ve been tracking and commenting on the fuel subsidy issue. But in the haze of the nation’s collective rage on the fuel subsidy removal, and in the euphoria of being virtually surrounded by a heightened sense of political awareness on the part of Nigerians on a level made even more intense thanks to social media, it is entirely possible that we may be allowing ourselves to be distracted by other pressing issues at hand.
Boko Haram has been responsible for two killing sprees in as many days. In Gombe, Gombe State, the Islamic sect sent a gunman to go to a Deeper Life church service and kill 6 and injure 10. In the other, the sect claimed responsibility for the killing of 20 in a church in Mubi, Adamawa State. These attacks, they claim, were in response to the government’s admittedly-laughable State of Emergency in both states.
And those are only in the past two days. On the 3rd of January, in Dutse, some suspected Boko Haram members attacked Birniwa Divisional Police Headquarters in Jigawa State, killing a teenage girl and a police officer before setting fire to the building. In a ridiculing of the State of Emergency put in place by President Goodluck Jonathan, explosions rocked both Maiduguri, the sect’s stronghold in Borno State, and Damaturu, Yobe State, late on Wednesday, the 4th.
This Vanguard piece also has a great timeline of Boko Haram’s attacks on Nigerians. In the face of government’s ineptitude in dealing with them, the sect has even grown so bold as to issue ultimatums to Christians to leave the North, lest they be killed.
It makes sense that the government would rather face a group of protesters it does not believe will hold firm to its purported ideals than its ineptitude in the mirror. And so we must do exactly that: stand firm. And we must hold that mirror up high.
It is good for us to train our eyes on issues like the fuel subsidy removal that directly affect us, but it is also very important that we do not let the rug be quietly swept from under us in other areas. Let us not be inured to the deaths of those that have suffered at the hands of a ruthless band of crazed men. Let us not forget to hold accountable the government that has allowed them such boldness as to believe that our lives are worth more when we lie blown to bits, our blood on our walls, our eyes devoid of life.