Buhari writes on Nyanya blast

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE -

Sin­is­ter ter­ror and ha­tred have again reached from the shad­ows to steal the lives of in­no­cent Nige­ri­ans. In Nyanya, seventy-two people were killed by a car bomb. Hun­dreds more were in­jured in the dev­as­ta­tion. Their killings served no pur­pose ex­cept for those who ex­alt in evil. The bomb blast quickly came and went like the deadly thief it was; but we shall be left to en­dure the pain and loss from this ter­ri­ble act for a long time to come.

What the na­tion lost is ir­re­place­able. The num­ber 72 seems like just an­other grim tally among the death sta­tis­tics that have be­come all too com­mon. But what oc­curred is much more than that. We must re­ally stop and take no­tice of where evil is at­tempt­ing to drive us to.

We can­not al­low these mer­chants of death to make us numb to the tragedy they man­u­fac­ture. Those who were killed were not merely num­bers on a page. They were hu­man be­ings, made of flesh and blood body and soul like all the rest of us. They were some­one’s fa­ther or mother, brother or sis­ter. They had par­ents; they were some­one’s child. They were hus­bands or wives, neigh­bor­ing friends and col­league. They had dreams and hopes. They were loved and loved oth­ers in re­turn. Now, life has been taken away and those who cared from them must bear a grief no per­son should be asked to carry.

These people com­mit­ted no wrong. Their only crime was to be or­di­nary work­ing class people seek­ing to eke out a liveli­hood and tend for them­selves and their fam­i­lies. For this, they were killed.

They rep­re­sent the back­bone of the work­ing people. Not many of them lived an easy life. Most worked hard and long for mod­est wages. They lifted them­selves up ev­ery morn­ing to earn their daily bread. They faced the many so­cial and eco­nomic chal­lenges and ob­sta­cles our so­ci­ety poses, yet they worked not to de­stroy but to make this a bet­ter place by bet­ter­ing the lives of their fam­ily and loved ones.

These people lived anony­mously and died the same way. We do not yet know their names. But, in a fun­da­men­tal sense, we know who they were. They were part of us. They shared the same as­pi­ra­tions we all do. We seek an im­proved fate for our chil­dren and hope to leave them a bet­ter life. We want to work and live in dig­nity and re­spect. We want a life of peace and har­mony with our neigh­bors re­gard­less of re­li­gion, eth­nic­ity or back­ground. We seek pros­per­ity not poverty. We seek broth­erly un­der­stand­ing not strife. We seek peace, not bombs.

It was not just 72 people who were taken in this de­praved as­sault. Each of us lost some­thing that day. Yet, de­spite the loss and suf­fer­ing, we must not cower in fear, and let the pur­vey­ors of death be­lieve they have scored a vic­tory over us.

Those who com­mit­ted this act have de­clared war on all that is de­cent and good. They have de­clared war not against the state or even the govern­ment. They have de­clared war on Nigeria and all Nige­ri­ans be­cause this mur­der took men and women, old and young, Chris­tian and Mus­lim alike. In try­ing to scare, frighten and di­vide us, the evil­do­ers com­mit­ted in­jury to their own cause. For they have shown us that we all suf­fer in­hu­man­ity in the same way.

No mat­ter our re­li­gion or place of birth, we all bleed and are wounded the same way by in­jus­tice. De­cency runs through the teach­ings of each re­li­gion and eth­nic group that com­prise the people of Nigeria.

We may have our dif­fer­ences, but the vast ma­jor­ity of Nige­ri­ans stand united against the ap­palling vi­o­lence com­mit­ted in Nyanya and other places.

These acts have no place in Nigeria. Those who com­mit them have no place in our coun­try. The per­pe­tra­tors may look like hu­man be­ings. They may have limbs and faces like the rest of us but they are not like us. In killing in­no­cent people, they have be­come in­hu­man. They live out­side the scope of hu­man­ity. Their mother is car­nage and their fa­ther is cru­elty. They have de­clared war against the people of Nigeria. They have shown that they do not want to lib­er­ate the people. They want to kill them. Yet, with all the en­ergy of their evil and ig­no­rant ha­tred, they shall fail. The good people of Nigeria shall tri­umph.

Such a wicked mis­sion shall not suc­ceed. We have gone too far in our jour­ney to na­tion­hood and en­dured too much to al­low these ter­ri­ble acts to di­vert us.

Not only have these agents of death killed in­no­cent people, they also ab­ducted over 100 young women from their school. Why abduct school girls? What­ever they plan, they should be ready to face the wrath of Nige­rian people. They should re­lease these young girls un­harmed. Any­thing else would be an abom­inable crime.

We all must take close heed at this mo­ment and rec­og­nize the sever­ity of what is upon us. A small mi­nor­ity seeks to bring the na­tion to its knees through ter­ror. Thus, we must stand tall and united. We can ill af­ford to al­low their crimes to go un­pub­lished united.

I call on the govern­ment to im­prove and re­de­fine its strat­egy in the light of this ex­pand­ing men­ace. Clearly, its in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing needs to be im­proved so that it can break ter­ror­ist plots be­fore they hatch. More­over, it needs to en­act greater so­cial and eco­nomic re­form in the blighted ar­eas of the na­tion to win the hearts and minds of the people. Give the youth a vi­able al­ter­na­tive and they will not be duped by the lure of ex­trem­ist dogma. A ma­jor inia­tive with im­me­di­ate and long-term strate­gies for mass em­ploy­ment should be in­tro­duced right away.

Nigeria must and will over­come this scourge but it can­not do so merely by wish­ful think­ing. We need wise and de­ci­sive strat­egy.

As for me and my party, we de­plore and con­demn these and all such at­tacks. Those who com­mit them must know that the na­tion stands four square against them.

While we are en­gaged in tight po­lit­i­cal com­pe­ti­tion against the rul­ing party, we shall not play pol­i­tics on this is­sue so vi­tal to our na­tional sur­vival and well­be­ing.

We pledge our­selves to the unity and safety of this na­tion and shall do noth­ing to un­der­mine na­tional se­cu­rity. We seek no po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage from this calamity and wish the present ad­min­is­tra­tion suc­cess in fight­ing it.

We stand ready to help in any mean­ing­ful and pro­duc­tive way to fight this bat­tle against evil. We ex­tend our hand and earnest of­fer of co­op­er­a­tion in this re­gard.

Nigeria and Nige­ri­ans have suf­fered enough. Those who now lead the na­tion and those who would lead her must over­look po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences to find what­ever ways we can co­op­er­ate to make this a safer, more se­cure na­tion for all.

Thank you and May God Bless the Federal Repub­lic of Nigeria.

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