This is undeniably one of the most difficult times for the nonegenerian, Pa Reuben Fasoranti and his family as he continues to play back memories of his daughter, Mrs Olufunke Olakunrin who was gruesomely murdered last week. Loosing a loved one remains a very difficult pill to swallow. I know the many questions that will be going on in his mind now. For the Afenifere patriarch, he would certainly wish if this were to be a movie.
Sadly, this has been the situation of many families across the country for over a decade now. Families have woken up as bundles of sticks, hopeful of a greater tomorrow but slept like brooms scarttered along streets without holders. On the plains of Plateau, the forests and farms of Benue, the streets of Nimbo, Enugu, Taraba, Borno, Katsina, Zamfara, Ekiti, Ondo, Anambra, Osun and Oyo, “nameless” victims’ bloods have been spilled without recourse.
To the press and to many of us, these bloods had no names, they were counted as numbers. We, only, had quarrels with the number. The police will say they are forty, the community gives a 100 and the press hazards an average, maybe a 75. That has been our only ways to give names to these nameless victims. Nevertheless, a press man will leave his comfort zone to find out the names of these victims but before he would finish packing his bags, another mayhem has happened. Another bomb blast, another massacre, another maiming. News files could now go on for ten minutes on major national Televisons only telling tales of deaths, more deaths, and mere reactions to deaths. I happen to have interacted with one of those nameless victims. He lost his dad in one of those mayhems. He, happen now to be a close friend. For him, there are no worse things that could still happen. As we relieved the memory of living in the face of those catastrophe, sometime ago, a bang came from a nearby tire burst and immediately, he lost his cool. My friend till today feels apprehensive over any slightest noise because of the trauma of a bomb blast that killed his father. There are many nameless victims like him on the corners of Nigeria
In the words of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, “we are at the precipice”. But, our “leaders” say he is “unpatriotic,” so I wouldn’t want to choose his words, so that I do not also become “unpatriotic.” Painful, though, that the blood of so many “patriotic” Nigerians are now scattered on the streets, finding no resting place. They are hopeless because the people they jointly entrusted their power have gravely refused to act. They continue to argue what the names of criminals should be: herdsmen, Fulani herdsmen, Bandits or Kidnappers; when so many, whose throats have been slit with knives would not have a name for their deaths. For death is death. Murder is murder. Crime is crime, no matter who conmits it. One, even told us to trace the history of kidnappings…he even asked a question: “Is Evans a herdsman?” Certainly, No! Again, insecurity is insecurity no matter who harbours it!
The murder of Mrs Olakurin finally gave name to this insecurity situation. At least, she is identified by her father: “Fasoranti’s daughter.” May be, finally, because an identified personality has become a victim of these heinous crimes, action can finally be taken. Within days of the murder of “Fasoranti’s daughter”, the Presidency sent an emisary to the West to condole with the family and the “good people of Ondo State”. When they were nameless Victims, it took a national outcry to convince the President to visit Benue and Taraba. But did he get to the nameless families? No, he didn’t. It was rather a meeting with “stakeholders” to address the “numerous security challenges” facing the state and a caution to the people of Benue to be their “brothers’ keeper. By the way, we are one united Nigeria. His visit to those states were, nonetheless,at a point the polity was only heated up towards the elections. With the death of an elite, The National Assembly now asks for a National Security summit to be convened. It took a death of an elite. But when they were nameless, we kept on shouting without making impacts.
Today, we are dealing with herdsmen-farmers’ clashes( as they have choosen to call it or rename it), armed banditry, kidnappings and robbery on our highways. Numerous people without names are killed in droves. Foreign nations are issuing travel alerts to their nationalities. The protests by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, the Shi’ites are turning from “peaceful” to violent. Yet, one Security chief, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai is somewhere telling us that they have dealt with insecurity, that other hues and cries, we hear, are mere “political.”
It is saddening that we have got to this level and propaganda, instead of proactive steps to addressing the multifaceted security challenges, is adopted. The reality on ground is that we are in a major security mess. This may not be the case in Aso Rock where bandits and armed robbers have been completely decimated and totally degraded. However, for us on the streets of Nigeria, the same people that covertly or overtly voted those in power at Aso Rock, safety and sleep are far from us. We cannot travel through the highways of Nigeria, without committing our souls into God’s hands.
By David Nedu Okpokwasili …
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