Nyanya bombing! What else can go wrong?
They were our brothers, sisters and children. Many were also parents like the rest of us. Like us, they had the right to dream, and also to contemplate a better future even in these confounding times. They also certainly reserved the right to travel or commute to their places of work. It was their inalienable right and basic expectation, and as usual hundreds sauntered to the Nyanya motor park to exercise that right yesterday.
They were the normal daily commuters into the capital. You could always tell the civil servants from their faded suits and trousers, but those travelled interstate often wore elaborate robes in anticipation of the warm embrace of loved ones waiting at the end of their trips. But they were not alone yesterday. They also had in their midst, the scores of petty-traders and their wheel-barrows. They, too, were also commuters of some sorts, even if this time, it was to their final resting places.
They troop to similar motor parks within Abuja and its environs on a daily basis to escape the sadistic clutch of hunger as their primary objective. This army of Nigerians at the wrong end of our social scale are never sure of where the next meal would come from. Just to survive each day has become a desperate battle. But they can never be faulted for lack of trying. They are what Franz Fanon once referred to as ‘the wretched of the earth’!
And Abuja is fast becoming an increasingly hostile environment for them. The other day, at an uncompleted building in the city, scores of these young men were gunned down by state security operatives in the name of fighting the very terror that has now quite ironically, snuffed life out of an uncountable number of their brothers at Nyanya yesterday. Mercifully, the National Human Rights Commission was swift to unmask who the actual terrorists were in their case, and to also demand for compensation on their behalf.
In the next several weeks and months, so many columns would be written about the tragic bombing, and why it could so easily have been carried out by whichever cold blooded terrorists perpetrated the infamy, but we cannot deny one thing: nothing would come our introspections, or even any hypocritical official reaction from any quarter. It is also a statement of fact that few lessons would have been learnt from the tragedy.
Since we seem so shamelessly incapable of learning from history, the bombing will almost certainly be repeated much closer to where we least expected it sooner, rather than later. And that is because unless my memory failed, this sort of dastardly bombing was last carried out at a motor park in Kano a few months ago. If our security operatives knew their onions, every single motor park this part of the country should have been swarming with agents on the look-out for exactly the sort of bomb-laden vehicle left behind at the Nyanya Park to kill or maim over two hundred Nigerians at the last count.
Sadly, the only guarantee we have is that those who died in the blasts have now also earned a ticket to unmarked mass graves and that is even more so for those whose remains are beyond recognition. And except for the everlasting grief of their loved ones, their memory is also certain to fade in officialdom as fast as it took the blasts to reap their gruesome harvest of death.
And yet, like the rest of the ‘fortunate’ the Nyanya bombing have now swelled the embarrassing statistics of hapless Nigerians killed presently on a daily basis, and they will most certainly not be the last. From teenage school children shot in the back as they slept peacefully, to the innocent villagers rounded up and machine-gunned in the style eerily reminiscent of the sadistic methods of the Waffen- SS style, to the frequent bombings which residents of the North-eastern parts of the country have become so used to that they now refer to the blasts as “ringtones”; one fact stares nakedly at Nigerians in the face with a vengeance.
The so-called terrorists and kidnappers, along with conventional bandits, are gradually eroding the capacity of the state to protect its citizens, or even itself, and that should worry all right thinking Nigerians regardless of their petty politics! And if there was nothing more to the recent incident at the Headquarters of the State Security Services close to the Presidential Villa, we don’t require any further proof to confirm the fact.
Already, in the North-Eastern part of the country most policemen and Paramilitary security personnel cannot wear their uniforms out of fear of the insurgents. Parents are afraid to send their children to school. Economic activities have been paralysed. Urgent measures are required before Nigerians lose absolute confidence in the ability of the government to protect them.
A few years ago when terrorists targeted the London transportation system, a combination of decisive action