The killing Fields of Yobe and a Father’s Mind, By Joe Igbokwe

Joe Igbokwe

Nigeria is going under.

I have been trying to imagine the state of minds of the parents and the siblings of the 29 students massacred in Government Secondary School Mamudo Potiskum, Yobe State. I have had difficulty figuring out what was in the minds of those who on June 17, 2013, killed 9 pupils sitting for the National Examination Council Examination, NECO, at the Ansarudeen Primary/Secondary School in Jajeri ward Maiduguri in Borno State.

I have been trying without success to imagine the situation of the innermost part of their hearts in the face of this monumental tragedy.

As a father, I have found it difficult to close my eyes to sleep while trying to imagine how these children died for no just cause. I am totally devastated that because we have failed to do our duties as fathers, our children who will take care of us in our old age are being slaughtered like goats in front of our own eyes. Oh! Elders have gone to sleep and the nation is going under!

The bible puts enormous responsibility of protecting children on the shoulders of fathers, from Genesis to Revelation. It is an order, a call, position, responsibility, treasure, unique, honourable, dignity, special, sacred, cross, crown and blessing.

Whether we like it or not, a civil war has been going on in Nigeria and thousands have been killed. The president of the United States, Barack Obama says we have killed more people in Nigeria in the past two years than deaths recorded in Europe and America via crimes. I guess these Boko Haram insurgents mean business in stopping education in the North and this portends grave danger. As I write this, I hear the governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam has ordered the shutdown of all the schools in the state. Oh God, these mass murderers are winning the war! Nigeria, especially the North, is losing the war and the economy.

How can a society, a tribe, religion, culture survive without education in the 21st century? How can a region as important as the northern part of Nigeria continue to stomach this nonsense? How did we get to this sorry pass? Where are the leaders of the North? Who will protect the innocent children in the northern schools, churches and mosques? Are the soldiers in Yobe State not proactive? Where is this failure coming from? What do we do to save the North and Nigeria?

We may well be relaxing down South thinking that it does not concern us. The 10 traders from Ibadan, Oyo State killed by Boko Haram were not Northerners. The hundreds of dead bodies we have buried in the East in the past two years are not northerners. A wind storm from the Atlantic Ocean may hit the Lagos coast first but there is no guarantee that Owerri, Enugu or Bauchi will not feel its impact.

What has befallen Nigeria in the past two years should be compared to the massacres of 1966 to 1970- and this country is yet to recover from the mistakes made almost 45 years ago. Once again, the blood of bread winners, mothers and children has been flowing unabated in the past two years and there is no end in sight. Oh God, we must stop this madness, we must stop this bloodshed, we must stop this brigandage, we must stop this arson and wanton destruction of property, and we must say enough is enough.

I want our security agencies to find out whether the people perpetrating these evil deeds are really Nigerians. I am not persuaded that they are Nigerians killing Nigerians. No sensible person born of a woman will throw stones or bombs into a market place because his people may be there. I cannot by any stretch of my imagination believe that Nigerians can do this damage to young Nigerians growing up to serve their fatherland. Children are a special gift from God and whoever touches these ones is fighting God and this is the road to destruction.

Boko Haram, or whatever the name it is called, stands condemned forever. From generation to generation, they stand condemned forever. Those who plotted, planned, executed the killing of school children sleeping in their dormitories have murdered sleep and will sleep no more. By the power of anointing, I declare them enemies of God and humanity. In the name of God that we all serve, these murderers are on the way to Golgotha in the final journey to perdition and extinction. The cries of these children have been heard in heaven and woe betides those who killed the apple of our eyes for no just cause. I decree that the generation of those who did this colossal damage will be hunted forever. By the grace of God, they will live to ever regret their bizarre acts.

Even in war situations, children and mothers are protected; not so for Boko Haram. They kill children, mothers, nurses, doctors, teachers, youth corpers, elderly persons, foreigners, police and army. They bomb, burn and destroy houses, schools, offices etc.

I am begging our leaders and other concerned Nigerians to give us back our stolen country. This bloodshed must cease. This impunity must stop. This illegality must stop. This brutality must cease to exist. This embarrassment must be put on hold. Nigeria must seek help from other lands. I have said it before and I am saying again- Nigeria must seek help from USA, China, UK, Israel, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, etc to deal with this challenge. No country lives in isolation. Let us make the investment in security. This is a civil war and nothing more. Let us evacuate children and mothers from the war zones.

Joe Igbokwe, a public policy analyst and current spokesman for the opposition ACN, writes from Lagos

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