Nyanya bomb­ing! What else can go wrong?

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

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

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