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BORNO; A HOME OF PEACE INDEED!


By Okafor Christian Chidi  
 Published August 28th, 2011

With one side of my body leaning on the window side of a commercial bus, my eyes scanned through as our bus moved on a snail speed, a usual Monday morning traffic. I could read the slogan of different states on each car moving on the other lane that of Borno state’s acronym quickly caught my attention; “Borno, the Home of Peace”. Off course, with the recent happenings in the state, it sounded so ironical, if not crazy. As if to buttress this irony, the voice of Ayo Olowole of Hot 98.3 Fm echoed through my ear piece as he tabled the topic of Boko Haram and Borno state on the People’s Assembly-a platform where people air their objective view towards the growth of our young democracy. My ears were intent to hear if any peaceful news could come out of the state, but instead he read out the many bombings and killings that have taken place in that state in recent times; 6th of June, a bomb explosion in St. Patrick’s church Dadal, killing scores including children and women. 26th June, the state witnessed the launching of several unprecedented multiple bomb explosions in Maiduguri, killing 26 and injured 30. 27th June, another explosion claimed 25 lives and dozens were wounded. The Boko Haram sect and residents of Maiduguri have equally got a generous dose of the JTF fire power. Saturday July 19, took the life of Adamu Abdullahi, an employee of the university of Maiduguri staff secondary school. July 10th, an improvised explosive device killed 2 soldiers and injured several others in kareli, jere local government area and when the soldiers retaliated and descended on the community that same night. It was alleged that scores of youths were shot and killed. On 12th July, more than three bombs exploded in different locations in the state killing scores of people. And on the 16th July, the state experienced another bombing in bulumkutu Maiduguri. There was another on the 19th of July aimed at JTF patrol van at about 7:40pm.
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The attack left 3 JTF men seriously wounded. Maiduguri banks have not been spared as several attacks have been carried out in FBN, bank PHB and Unity banks, carted away millions of naira and killed some customers and staff in the process….. It was even so terrifying to my ears as my heart giggled in an undulating manner, if he had continued maybe the person sitting close to me would have heard the sound of my heartbeat. How I wish my co-passengers knew the picture of the drama playing inside of me. Hmmm…this home is in no small measure in pieces! The piece was felt here in Abuja on the 16th of June, 2011 at the police headquarters killing two and destroyed 73 cars by the bombs detonated by the suicide bomber, it happened to be the day I passed out from NYSC. A thick cloud of panic was cast over kubwa NYSC camp as the news quickly spread round the camp; some weak ones abandoned their discharge certificate as they perceived that the crowd of Ajuwires and their visitors might be a perfect target. All those that planned their party in town quickly resorted to staying back in the camp or somewhere in kubwa. But it all ended there at the force police headquarters. What a bad day for the NPF Chief!

Back to the home of peace, where are their chiefs? The elders of the land? Their government? In Igbo land where I come from, our people used to say that “an elder cannot be at home and the rope will strangle the goat in the pen – Never!” At least they should have been somewhere with a solution before the Big father (FG) comes in. why wouldn’t this issue of National Security matter to us than some issues that have heated up the polity lately. Is it that we don’t value life? But some will ask, what is this killings and bombing all about? Is still not clear to most Nigerians, even to the writer. The Niger-Delta’s had a clear and understanding agitation. What is your agitation boko haram? If it is good governance as claimed, why haven’t every Nigerian joined because we all yearn for the same thing. Whatever it is, I believe there’s no reason enough to justify this bombing and killings. If there’s any sense in your cause, then unmask yourselves and be bold to meet the appropriate authority. We all know that dialogue is the only key to meaningful co-existence. So why not give it a try instead of progressing in error.

My worry is, if they should succeed in bombing and wiping out the entire Borno state, which state will be next? Secondly, how and where do they acquire all this bombs? What is the source of financing? Do they have sponsors? Where is their base? Can’t they be apprehended? Instead all I hear is that they are recruiting, on the internet I heard. Gosh! What a waste of manpower. Don’t think the recruitment wouldn’t be patronized, the country’s situation even makes it more encouraging, and at least the unemployed is left with an option. How pathetic! Is this how we intend to promote our image? Is this how we can get there by 2020? There’s no better time to match “Enough is enough” with more serious actions if not now. If the energy exerted on this single tenure can be shifted to solving this National crisis, better it will be for all of us. I really don’t want to see the slogan on Borno state as irony again, that home must have peace. They wouldn’t consider another home; Anambra, which is “the home for all” even though we can accommodate them, it is not a better solace.

Okafor Chidi is an Abuja based applicant and can be reached through this e-mail; tenderpatok@yahoo.com

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