30 May 2014

Nigeria: They Are Lives, Not Statistics


WE are already in danger of not appreciating the enormity of the loss of lives that Nigeria has witnessed, with varying intensity, since 2010. The statistics flummox us. We strip them of the stories they tell.

Lives are at stake, the future of the country is tangled with the outcome of operations in the North East, which many under-estimate because of distance and long-lasting indifference with which Nigerians treat matters affecting parts of the country where they do not reside. We see the issues as "their challenge".

Few words aptly capture the perilous situation in the North East. Efforts to reduce the operations to releasing the abducted Chibok school girls is another misunderstanding of the depth of the challenge and issues that would follow after the girls are freed.

When bombs went off in Jos, last week, there was hardly an appropriate response from either security or civil authorities. The concentration of efforts on the North East means that other troubled spots have been forgotten.

Jos added to the daily statistics of deaths, destruction of trust and obviously the spread of panic. The statistics are treated as cold figures, fit for the records, and for addition to the figures that originated from similar incidents.

We have run out of rebukes for the criminals who have vowed to keep our communities unsafe. They maintain their killing and destruction of people's confidence in the ability of the state to protect them

The daily death of people, human beings of all ages, who had plans, a future, and who could have contributed to Nigeria's development is abhorrent. Circumstances of people change in seconds for the worse. Widows, widowers, orphans and childless people are created within moments of a blast.

Our security people are dying daily in more numbers than at any time since the civil war. These concerns are not captured in the figures we publish. The hardships families are going through cannot be seen in the litany of deaths and destructions the terrorists are imposing. They seem normal, almost like a way of life that hundreds of our people are counted dead every month.

Abuja, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Yobe, the major centres of these deaths affect all parts of the country. It has become more important that Nigerians rise against their attackers without considerations for religions or regions.

The instability the attacks centred in the North East are causing, has set the country back for decades. We cannot keep quiet when our opportunities are being dispersed by those who think the only way to express their positions is by killing others. Enough of the killings.

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