If Nigeria were
to be a face, Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Niger states — you may add
to the list — would have the rather dubious tag of the axis of acne: areas
prone to zits and messing with the pulchritude of an otherwise healthy visage.
You might wish
to condone my winding analogy and the use of zits for the sporadic slaughter of
innocents by “bandits” and “Fulani herdsmen” — or whatever
name a bored public elects to call them.
have become so regular and so intense that many have become habituated to them,
concerned more about numbers than about the sanctity of human life. It is not
out of place to hear people say, “Na only 20 people dem kill today.” In
fact the president has made that markedly embarrassing slip in the past.
happening? How did we get here? How do we navigate this treacherous bend?
“One life taken in cold blood is as gruesome
as the millions that may go down in a pogrom. Let’s forget about number and
talk about life.” These were the late Dele Giwa’s words, from his 1986
op-ed Don’t Forget Them, as I remember
Dele Giwa, then
editor-in-chief of Newswatch magazine, would die later, blown to bits by a
parcel bomb sent to his 25 Talabi Street, Ikeja, residence.
Mr Giwa’s words
are still relevant today. We should be concerned that innocent people are being
murdered and the government has been ineffectual in arresting the situation or,
in the case of Kaduna, arrogantly complicit.
I ask again,
what is happening?
In the intervening months, I can only hope we rediscover, once again, the raptures of brotherhood, the blessedness of tolerance, the healing emollient of love, not forgetting good leadership, of course…