On March 28, 2022, a day before a rollercoaster of patriotism and emotion at an expected qualification for the Qatar 2022 World Cup rattled to a stop at the hands of the Black Stars of Ghana at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, terrorism dealt a severe blow to Nigeria when terrorists successfully immobilized a passenger train heading to Kaduna from Abuja, slaughtered about nine passengers before carting away dozens into the bush.
The attacks had sent shockwaves around the country, but given that Nigerians were expecting their national team to bag qualification to the World Cup in perhaps the only sport that unites Nigerians of all shades and stripes, that was a bit of distraction.
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The very next day, when the Super Eagles Nigeria failed to recover from Thomas Partey’s speculative 10th minute shot which squirmed under goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and nestled in the net, a country was left to stare into the abyss of a double tragedy without any shades for its eyes.
The fact that men, women and children were in the captivity of nameless and faceless criminals was another nightmare layered on top of Nigeria`s failure to qualify for the world cup for the first time in twelve years.
With their hapless and helpless victims safely in their captivity, the terrorists soon began to make demands. Indeed, just a few days after the attack, one of the victims was released after he was said to have paid over a N100 million.
The terrorists soon took to releasing images and videos of their victims. As the victims clocked a hundred days in captivity, the terrorists took their time to unleash a video which showed them beating their wailing victims like cattle. They also had the cheeks to threaten Nigeria’s president and the Kaduna State Government.
Initially, money was not their priority. They had wanted to barter the victims for some of their co-terrorists held by the federal government. While the government balked and dithered, the horrific attacks on the Kuje Medium Security correctional facility which freed dozens of terrorists rendered the barter superfluous. Instead, the topic turned back to money.
If the security and welfare of the people is to be seen to be the primary purpose of the government then the dent done on the psyche of the country by such sacrilegious attacks which strike at the root of that security and welfare can only be imagined.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, many parts of the country remain inexcusably unsafe. It is time the authorities laid down the gauntlet for all those who give Nigerians sleepless nights in their own country.
Kene Obiezu writes via firstname.lastname@example.org