Vampires, Victims and Numbness
BY Nwachukwu Egbunike
April 15, 2014

I awoke on the 14 April 2014 to the news of Boko Haram’s terrorist attack in a crowded bus station in Nyanyan, Abuja. I am too numb to write something new, too shocked to comprehend this latest wave of terror and I dare not imagine the agony of the families of the victim.

I have reproduced below, excerpts of my earlier writings on the morbid terror that reigns in my country. Nigeria is at war, the earlier we realize it and cease the blame game, the better for us. Fear is the greatest asset of bullies. Boko Haram aims to consign us into a cage of hate and so doing make us servile savants of their macabre manipulation. For those that wish to impose grim and gloom on Nigeria, you have failed and you will fail again!

 

Boko Haram, the Vampires of Nigeria[i]

Boko Haram (BH) has won an exclusive franchise to violate Nigeria. These butchers have opened up a fountain of blood, bullets, bombs, deaths and more deaths. It seems that we all wake up each morning with the dread of another Boko Haram bomb projectile. Their almost predictable assault has added a new dimension to the poisonous cuisine prepared in the death kitchen of Nigeria’s number one merchants of destruction.

My country currently faces the gravest threat to its cohesion. The fire that would decimate more has just been enkindled and no one seems to care. The down side of revenge is that it never ends. Parties to a fight always dream up more cruelty to surpass the last one. In the end it would take more effort to quench the blood thirst once the appetite has been cultivated. BH has hoisted confusion on our land. Gorier because charity is now interpreted as timidity or plain stupidity.

However, what is more painful is that BH seems to have succeeded in redefining our perception of reality. With the bombs detonating like fire crackers, the deaths have added the unfortunate angle of numbness. In this case, not the pain of others dying – although it still remains – but sadly we are beginning to view each death as one more occurrence. Each soul that goes is viewed from the compass of statistics – another number added to the hole of death. Our common humanity is on trial because these ‘numbers’ are someone else father, mother, brother, sister, niece or nephew. How can we be indifferent to their wails of anguish? To the promises and plans that have been cut short? People are been killed, families are perpetually thrown into mourning.

Justice is the first step in creating an atmosphere of peace. These butchers and their sponsors have to be grilled for their offences. What is not so clear is whether the establishment is committed to putting a stop to the BH vampires. This is no longer a situation that will be abetted by strong words, action is need. The resolve for action is nowhere to be found. Nigeria is like a plane on autopilot, a battle ground between those who vowed to make the country ‘ungovernable’ and a government that lacks the courage to put them behind bars. Little wonder that the peace we all crave for may remain an illusion for quite some time. Meanwhile, the gravest affront on human dignity continues.

Gloom, anarchy and doom: right? Viewing Nigeria through the lens of reality alone is like signing one’s death warrant. However, we cannot lose hope.

 

The Voiceless Victims of the Vicious Violence of Boko Haram[ii]

Over 10,000 souls have been grinded in Boko Haram (BH) blender since 2001. These innocents did not stand in the way of the vampires who have declared a hate war on the Nigerian state. They had each woken that morning with the ambitions filled with hope, to strive to lay food on the table, to seek for a better future but sometime during the day, they had been sent on – with a first class ticket – an early encounter in the void unknown. With time, the detonation of bombs became a daily icing that the living began referring to the dead as numbers.

Who will seek justice for the people who have died, whose spirits cry to heaven for retribution? I shrouded as a tweep reeled out in Twitter the timeline of BH’s blood spree in the past years.

  • December 24, 2003: Christmas Eve attacks in Kannama and Geidam in Yobe State
  • September 21, 2004: Attack on Panshekara Police station, Kano
  • September 21, 2004: Attack on Bama and Gwarzo Police Stations
  • December 31, 2007: Attack on Presidential Hotel Port/Harcourt
  • July 26-30, 2009: Launch of mass uprising with attack on a police station in Bauchi that spread to Kano, Yobe and Borno states
  • September 7, 2010: Attack on a prison in Bauchi and freeing numerous prisoners including BH members.
  • October 6, 2010: Assassination of ANPP leader, Awena Ngala in Maiduguri
  • December 24, 2010: Christmas period bombing in Jos killed 38
  • October 9, 2010: Assassination of Muslim cleric Bashir Kashara and one of his students in Maiduguri
  • December 31, 2011: Mogadishu Assassination of ANPP gubernatorial candidate Modu Fannami Gubio and 8 others in Maiduguri
  • June 6, 2011: Assassination of Muslim cleric, Ibrahim Birkutu in Maiduguri
  • June 16, 2011: Bombing of Police Force Headquarters in Abuja
  • August 26, 2011: UN Building Bombing in Abuja
  • September 22, 2011: Attack on Maiduguri jail to free hundreds of prisoners
  • December 20, 2011: Dozens killed in Maiduguri shootings
  • December 25, 2011: Series of bomb attacks on Christmas day in Niger and Plateau States killed dozens
  • January 22, 2012: Multiple bomb explosions and attacks in Kano on Police facilities and security agency offices: death toll 215
  • April 9, 2012: Easter Sunday explosion in Kaduna. Death toll 38

What commonalities stand out in the above list? It is brutal and blood cuddling death. Boko Haram did not discriminate: they served death to Christians and Moslems; Nigerians and foreigners; adults and children; the governed and the governed; armed personnel and civilians…

There can be no true peace without reconciliation. And reconciliation does not begin in a void but is rooted in justice – which means giving each one his/her due. Boko Haram insurgents need to be brought to book. And it makes no gain to over simplify this as merely revenge. Hell no! As much as it human to err and divine to forgive however, we need not forget that to persist in evil is diabolical. While justice has to be tempered with mercy but on no account should mercy replace justice. It is about time someone grants justice to the victims of BH’s violation and protect others from falling into their grinder.

 

The Numbness Remains[iii]

 

Deep in depth

Flashes of lighting

Thunders of death

Razed you from earth to nether land

 

Did you cry?

Was the surprise swift?

Did you turn?

Only to die?

 

Smothered to ashes

A whole village demolished

With rockets and bombs

To die in pain

With none to hear your wails

For Baga is no Boston

 

What was on your mind?

How was the story?

The sordid taste of death

A cruel journey

Through the furnace

A man-made forge

 

When news broke in Boston

Theirs was an instant reply

No speeches made

They hunted down terror

For terror paid for its crimes

Justice was served with no appetizer

 

Yours was obviously otherwise

Lost in the savanna of Borno

None to sing of you Baga

None to stand with you Baga

Who pushed you into on this express train to hell?

Who will sing odes on your mass grave?

 

The haram says they were victims

The army claims they were ambushed

And you – Baga – tossed in the middle

As the cloak to hide their lies

As the sacrifice to the gory of blood

The gods of hate

 

Today the numbness remains

Tomorrow just another number

And today more blood flows

For tomorrow another bomb will glow

Today the blogosphere’s aflame about it

Tomorrow we’ll blog something else

 

For it is one more incident

And who cares

These numbers only create numbness

 

 


[i]  Nwachukwu Egbunike, "Boko Haram, the Vampires of Nigeria" (June 22, 2013)

 

[ii] Nwachukwu Egbunike, "The Voiceless Victims of the Vicious Violence of Boko Haram” (May 17, 2013)

 

[iii] Nwachukwu Egbunike, “The Numbness Remains” [a poem] (Originally published as “The #Baga185”, April 23, 2013 )

 

 

Learn more about this story:

Boko Haram: When the Heart Goes Weary March 27, 2014

How Not to Lose a War against Terror April 27, 2014

Deep Inside Sambisa Forest April 28, 2014

Walking Uphill May 1, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls: Mysteries and Unresolved Doubts? May 5, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls: Statement from Concerned Nigerian Bloggers May 8, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls: The Chibok Abduction, Looking Beyond Street Protests May 8, 2014

Boko Haram, It's Not Just a Religious Problem May 8, 2014

If Jonathan was not President, will there still have been Boko Haram? May 13, 2014

It Might Be Night Somewhere May 14, 2014

Warriors without Borders May 14, 2014

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