ON August 26, 2020, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) swore that 75 elders of his community in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State were rounded up by Boko Haram terrorists, taken to the community’s abattoir and “slaughtered.” He disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting organised by the Senate Committee on Special Duties and the North East Development Commission, NEDC, in Maiduguri.
For some unclear reason this shocking story did not draw much public reaction. Could it be that the story sounded too unreal to be believed, especially as there were no video or photo evidences to back it up? The alleged slaughter of 75 old men at an abattoir should have excited the lawmakers enough to at least investigate it and inform the public. Unfortunately, the matter did not generate the attetion it ought to have.
We woke up to another gruesome slaughter of defenceless Nigerians on Saturday, November 28, 2020. Scores of rice farmers (conflicting figures of 43, 78 and 110 were bandied) were ambushed at the Koshebe rice field in Zabarmari, Borno State and beheaded. This time, there were concrete evidences of the tragic killings, including videos of the mass burials attended by government officials and others.
The latest Borno mass killings immediately brought back to mind the New Year massacre of 75 people in Benue State on January 1, 2018, by suspected herdsmen, which also necessitated a televised mass burial. It still puzzles many Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari never attended these burials, at least to share the grief of the people over government’s failure to perform its primary function of protecting them.
The President keeps sending delegations to these tragic moments. More dishearteningly, he continues to ignore the clamour for the change of service chiefs, despite having publicly told them that their best was not good enough.
Meanwhile, the two chambers of the National Assembly and the general public have shouted themselves hoarse on the need to rejig the security architecture that has failed to effectively provide security, a top priority of this regime. What exactly are the top military, police and security appointees doing about insecurity in the land?
We may never know the bond that binds Buhari to his service chiefs until his regime is over in about 30 months. What will remain of this country by then? After claiming to have flushed Boko Haram from the North-East way back in December 2015, we now live with a situation where Nigerian citizens are blamed for moving without “clearance” when they are killed.
Buhari promised to protect Nigerians. That was why they voted for him. The slaughter must be stopped. Nigerians are not sacrificial animals.