Bloodbaths: Danger Signs For Common Humanity

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BY SIMON REEF MUSA

We live in abnormal times that have thrown our days under the shadows of death. Not only are we submerged in internecine warfare of monumental proportions among warring groups seeking supremacy in our nation, these groups have turned into enemies of our humanity and are threatening our existential prospects. As Nigerians, we live on the throes of extinction and, before our eyes, we are experiencing the worst of times. Nigerians’ lives no longer seem to matter as we are forced to groan over the dreams of our founding fathers. We are living on a degraded existence as we see men and women created by God turned into tools for the attainment of political and selfish motives.
We see our fellow citizens only in their ethnic groupings and religious garbs. When news of deaths and destruction invade the cyber space, we are quick to probe the identities of victims and make conclusions in order to render our conscience lukewarm. While we pray that God intervenes in the affairs of our nation, we meet under the cover of darkness to plan and deploy our negative ingenuity to unleash terror. Political power is now not meant for development but a treacherous tool towards subjugating the people and weakening the bonds that once held our people united to the common cause. Politics of development has now been replaced with politics of conquest. You either fall in line and accept the fatality of your fate or be damned or annihilated.
Notwithstanding our groaning for a new dawn, our dream of returning to the old path of our common humanity is fraught with impediments. Blood flows in our cities and towns that were once bastions of hope and a rallying point of our existence. The angels of death may have left hell and taken permanent residence in our country. We need no seer to tell us that frightening uncertainties now stalk our lives. Our unborn children are ripped off from the wombs and killed before they are born. Thriving towns and communities are soaked with blood and decimated to rubbles. Here, we count the number of deaths and hurriedly bury them in hushed tones. We are too ashamed and too afraid to speak out. In our fears, we are told that speaking out could attract reprisals and many more deaths could be harvested. The blood of the innocent seeking justice has turned our nation into a hell hole of justice seekers. Both the dead and living seek justice, and the innocent blood shed in our various towns and villages has turned our country into a carnival of bloodshed.
Life has been reduced to a number, as gory pictures of the dead and the wounded, including hair-rising destruction of properties, no longer attract our sympathy. We have long forgotten that the red blood that flows in our veins also flows in the veins of others. So long we are safe with our loved ones, we seem indifferent to what fate may befall our fellow humans. We have become enemies of our religions, both of which preach love. We forget that God is neither a Muslim nor a Christian; he remains the creator of humanity. God is an inexplicable concept that cannot be fully understood within the prism of religion. We fail to appreciate the fact that God cannot be fully understood. He is only to be believed.
In the hilly town of Maru in Zamfara State that is populated by Fulani and Hausa farmers, cattle rustling and other criminal activities have left distressing attacks on the people. Not even the deployment of 1,000 troops by the federal government has resolved the issue. The feud between herdsmen and Hausa farmers, who are predominantly Muslims, has led to the death of nearly 4,000 people, yet the bloodshed is far from being over as no fewer than 80 were recently killed.
Katsina State is gradually turning into a den of abductors and robbers, with some of the victims fleeing into neighbouring countries for safety. Even Governor Aminu Masari has cried out over the security problems bedeviling his state and sent a May Day message to President Muhammadu Buhari to rescue his state from the jaws of these criminals. Plateau and Benue State are no stranger to these messengers of death, considering the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps housing victims. Borno is practically the global headquarters of IDPs, with billions of naira obtained from international organisations deployed to avert humanitarian crisis. Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and Nasarawa, among others, are yet to have complete respite from these conflict actors whose capacity for trouble most times turn out to be overwhelming. The Birnin Gwari axis of bloody crimes in Kaduna State has lived up to its billing as the axis of bloodshed, as hundreds have been killed and hundreds of others abducted. Cattle rustling and abduction of citizens have been elevated to a thriving industry, with many becoming vulnerable in the face of increasing danger.
The southern part of Kaduna State is in the news for yet another barbaric slaughter that has left over 4,000 displaced, and hundreds of deaths in Kajuru Local Government Area. Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai had, on the eve of postponed elections, claimed that no fewer than 66 Fulani were killed by Adara people. Despite denials and doubt that trailed his claim, the governor was later to adjust the death toll for the Fulani to 130.
Since Sunday March 10, 2019, Adara communities have come under heavy attacks. Not only have lives been destroyed, the prospects for peace has taken a back seat and increasingly becoming forlorn. Maro town have come under heavy attacks. Other villages are now shadows of their past. Elected representatives have remained silent and are pretending to be working at the background. There is absence of synergy between political leaders and traditional institutions towards ending the massacres. Those who should speak out to demand an end to these ongoing slaughtering have embraced silence. We all have become victims and conspirators in the horrendous decimation of our shared humanity by the enthronement of silence.
The massacres that have rendered many states in the North prostrate, including the tension sweeping across our nation, are red flags that our tomorrow is already imperiled by the refusal of our leaders to confront our unadorned present realities. More troubling is the absence of backdoor negotiations to end these bloody confrontations. If we fail to end the chaos that threaten our corporate unity as a nation, we may as well be heading into the valley of barbarousness. As a people, the present times have exposed our inability to forge a common ground to salvage what is left of our civilization. The political class is so unconcerned as long as their re-election bids are realised. Traditional and religious leaders should step in. The need for religious, community and traditional leaders to rally for common consensus is now. This is no time for silence. The National Peace Committee, headed by General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd), should step in and stop this shocking savagery that has turned our nation into a cynosure of barbarity. It’s time we forget our political, ethnic and religious leanings and work against forces trying to turn our nation into a flowing stream of blood. Nigeria must not be allowed to turn into Rwanda. We have sacrificed too many lives to keep Nigeria united. Looking the other way while little fires rage to disintegrate our nation is a dishonour to the memory of those who paid the supreme price so that we may be one.

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