Tuesday, December 27, 2016

NIGERIA'S CHRISTMAS BLUES

It was a rather long Christmas weekend and holiday for me, as with typical Nigerian to make up in weekdays the holidays that fall within the weekend. I spent much of the time indoors, before the TV (when "NEPA" permitted) and my phone and I mention this because of the different things that both media focused on, as the days passed and how that influenced how people reacted especially on social media, if you could gauge people's feelings from there as I routinely do. Except in a few spots, celebrations was largely low key, though I cannot say if that accounted for what I hear was the total absent of queues for fuel at the various filling stations in Lagos, a clear departure from what was obtainable in the past, for which the vuvuzelas of the party in power have rushed to declare as part of the change promised, without considering the possibility of a lack of disposable income (with all the trouble associated with collecting money from banks and ATMs that was the face of Nigeria last week), for that state of affairs.


Beside stories associated with Christmas celebrations, nationwide and internationally, one news the media covered in Nigeria was the takeover of the Sambisa forest from the Islamic  fundamentalist group, Boko Haram with the army chief declaring that the area will be turned into a military training base. Like sugar, this news item invited like ants, reactions from various sides and shades of the Nigerian polity. Those by whom the government could never do wrong simply jumped into celebratory mode despite the fact that there wasn't much in terms of video evidence to support the so called capture of "Camp Zero" (more like the operational base of the group) of Sambisa forest (apparently without news of a single shot fired, or arrests of insurgents or release of more Chibok girls abducted more than two years ago), in an age where picture and video is everything. The opposition People's Democratic Party, PDP while congratulating the president and the military for a job well done, was quick to remind all who cared to listen that the foundation for the military success of today was laid back when they were in  government, pointing to the continuous use of military hardware purchased by that government as largely instrumental to the present military gains.

SOLDIERS PULLING DOWN A BOKO HARAM FLAG AT "CAMP ZERO", SAMBISA FOREST, BORNO STATE. 

As if to remind us that the storming of Camp Zero may best be described as merely symbolic, as the group (as most terrorist groups are) remain amorphous, a female suicide bomber detonated her "wares" at the Kasuwan Shanu (cattle market) in Maiduguri, Borno State, while the other whose explosive vest failed to detonate was
THE SECOND SUICIDE BOMBER AT "KASUWAN SHANU" WHOSE EXPLOSIVE VEST FAILED TO DETONATE. 

arrested by security forces, the day after the "fall of Sambisa". Thankfully, no one save the suicide bomber died. Interestingly, news of this victory came just days after pictures of soldiers appeared to hold hostage a crew of a military helicopter that had just brought them supplies, days after a video surfaced of soldiers in the theater of war dying from thirst and starvation, but was roundly denounced by the Nigerian military echelon as fabricated since it was mainly circulated on social media and sources unverifiable. But when you match the so called "truths" by the military, and the All Progressives' Congress, APC-led  government in power, with the reality on ground, from the citizen/soldiers' independent videos on YouTube and interacting with those on ground, coupled with the antecedents of a government that came to power on the strength of lies, propaganda and false promise, it makes you want to question the veracity of the so called takeover of the notorious forest (which in actual fact, is more desert, than forest) by the Nigerian military, which you'd sincerely hope should be true, as the negative consequences of that been a lie could be better imagined especially seeing how in recent times officers as high as lieutenant colonels have lost their lives in ambushes and tales of mutinies hushed, as in the case of the many deaths of the "cat with nine lives", Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.


What the news about the capture of Sambisa's Camp Zero, and the reactions surrounding it couldn't bury, especially on social media, despite intentional repetitions be mainstream media, especially government owned and biased privately owned ones, was the act of genocide that was ongoing, even till Christmas Day, in southern Kaduna populated by mainly Christians and animists compared to the Muslim northern part, with several killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen, despite heavy security deployed in that area by the government led by a Fulani, Governor El-Rufai whose sympathies to the Fulani expansionist cause has been well documented over the years, from the time he said killing a Fulani is a debt that must be repaid, to recently going as far as outside of the country to pay Fulani in the West African region (with state funds) in a bid to persuade them to stop invading Nigeria and particularity his state, seeing that "one of them" is now in power there, and then turning around to blame militants in the Niger Delta of masquerading as Fulani herdsmen to kill the people of southern Kaduna because he couldn't fathom the killings been perpetrated by the "terrorists" he had just paid a huge sum to (in ransom) for the lives of the people of his state.


Not even his visit to the President, another Fulani for increased military presence in the state would stop the killings, as it looked like the curfew imposed on three of the affected local governments in southern Kaduna, was a ploy to keep the people indoors, to make their slaughter by the suspected Fulani herdsmen hitch-free and of maximum effect, as the military were conveniently just nowhere to be seen on the occasions these men with dark hearts stormed the various villages, especially Goska to wreak wanton destruction on lives and property of the people they were constitutionally mandated to serve and protect.
GOSKA, THE MORNING AFTER THE ATTACKS BY SUSPECTED FULANI HERDSMEN ON CHRISTMAS DAY, IN WHICH ELEVEN PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES. 

Unfortunately, going by the tone of the presidential media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina who said there was no need for the presidency to comment on happenings in southern Kaduna (even though the president personally visited Zamfara to launch a military operation against cattle rustlers), since it deemed the governor capable of handling matters in its domain, anyone expecting that there would be a "State of Emergency" declared in Kaduna is dreaming. Unlike in the very "peaceful southeast", where President Buhari's body language to the "five percent" has resurrected secessionist ideals by unarmed protesters, has led to "OPERATION PYTHON DANCE" (Nigeria's military and crazy operation titles though), that did nothing but make life difficult for most easterners that traveled to the homeland for Christmas celebrations. The same president had to hide under a ridiculous excuse not to attend a summit for the southeast held in Enugu, after the pro-Biafran group threatened him, like those in the Niger Delta did months back and he failed to attend the launch of the oil-spill cleanup operation in Ogoniland, making the phrase, Commander-In-Chief of The Armed Forces sound like a joke, except if the truth of the matter is that he doesn't give a hoot about the people of the southeast, and of course the Niger Deltans, except of course their oil and gas.


The posture of the military, like the president also seem to favour cattle, as the military chief recently intimated Nigerians of plans to set up ranches in military formations nationwide, claiming to have sent some officers to Argentina to learn the tricks of the trade, making most discerning Nigerians suspect that it's another ploy by the government in power, pursuing a Fulani herdsmen agenda primarily, to introduce, activate and implement to the latter, bits of the roundly condemned, "grazing (at the heart of herdsmen killing of innocent villagers and destruction of farming communities, from the north-central region of Nigeria to the south) bill" especially in Nigeria's southern region. All of these and more occupied my mind during the holidays, making food and drinks bland, and thoughts of the future of and for Nigeria scary to imagine, despite the not too inspiring Christmas messages by the president and other politicians, as they are wont to do at this time of the year, to applause of the gullible, hangers on, and those who just don't want anything to spoil their celebrations, in spite of genocide happening somewhere else in the country where hopefully they have no relatives residing or affected directly or indirectly. I choose to feel differently.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://thenewsnigeria.com.ng
- http://www.nairaland.com

2 comments:

  1. Well read. Truly, the yuletide celebrations were generally low key in the country and most people will quickly point to the ocassion of recession which has plagued the country for months. No thanks to unfriendly policies implemented by the PMB led govt.

    Apparently, the FG has made gains in the war against BH and thnks to the capture of BH stronghold at Sambissa but the counter claim by Shekau in a video that later emerged is left for the public to judge.

    The president in person of Buhari can no longer hide the fact that he values cattle more than human lives. Although, some people will say they're not surprised owing to himself being a Fulani man and possesses cattle too. But as president of the country,he ought to understand that he belongs to all and not a section of the country as his body languages have unfortunately indicated so far. The change really need to start with him.

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  2. I couldn't agree more with you Sir.

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