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To keep Nigeria one

Let us thank government for banning inter-state transfer of corpses for burial. At least, that has reduced the fear of reprisal attacks in areas far…

Let us thank government for banning inter-state transfer of corpses for burial. At least, that has reduced the fear of reprisal attacks in areas far connected to the scene of crime and the danger it would have posed to national security and cohesion. This is why some of us who cannot stand common riots hide under the darkness provided by the internet to write incisive comments that only exacerbate the situation. This category of cowardly paper agitators despatch outrageous text messages to columnists who dare to call for caution or warn that no crime committed in the name of God or Allah is justified.

Mass burials notwithstanding it is still difficult to feel safe outside your community; that is granted that the family feud is not as dangerous as the ethno-religious one; and in most cases, they are. So, we can safely conclude that Nigerians are free, but everywhere there is fear. People who live around major routes would tell you that in the past months, those who can afford to relocate are relocating, either within townships or out of them. All this is happening on the dawn of our 50th anniversary as an independent nation. The glue binding the entity called Nigeria has never been this de-epoxified at anytime than this since the end of the civil war. Politicians are carrying on as if everything is normal.

Traditional, religious and other leaders do not appear to be doing enough to highlight the need for us to keep Nigeria one. There ought to be jingles and adverts reminding us every other minute. This is the most urgent task over and above even the quest for daily survival. It is a task that needed to be done now much more than Gowon felt the need in 1969. Unfortunately, not many so-called leaders worry much about the survival of Nigeria as much as they worry about getting their own bread buttered within the system.

The truth however, remains that if and when Nigeria goes, the dream of every member of this corporate entity will sink with it. And even ethnic gladiators who see themselves as potential presidents, governors or other positions in a divided Nigeria, will realise that life is more important than any other aspiration. Each human has only one.

For most of the week, Kubwa, a sleepy town near Abuja, was awash with hate messages warning of an imminent attack. The police in the area did not take anything to chance. They mobilised with sirens blaring in the middle of the night to instil fear on miscreants and a sense of security to the law-abiding. At such moments, you wonder where your safety is. Is it in the well-fortified walls, the bulletproof doors, the unarmed guards or what? If you could barricade your doors with chairs and tables, could you also prevent your roof from being set ablaze as happened on the Plateau? The killing scoundrels in that area left few witnesses while we in the media help them by calling marauders Fulani, Muslim, Berom, Christian or anything that would help neighbours rise against neighbours. If a man strikes in the dead of the night, how do we know his tribe or religion, except he first announced it?

Late last week, two wonderful Nigerians, – Abubakar Malabu and Bashir Danjuma were ‘kidnapped’ in the southern part of the country. As staff of a subsidiary of the NNPC, you would think their captors were after money. But when their dismembered bodies were found virtually a week later with no reported missing parts, you can’t help thinking that this is a crime of hate in an area where there had been arguments that people whose lands do not ooze crude are given lucrative jobs and contracts while sons-of-the-soil were left high and dry.

You read through their memorable life, their qualifications and job profile and that gnawing thought is reinforced. Yet, their story did not warrant a denunciation by the Inspector-General of Police or a strong statement from the governors in the states in which they were captured or killed, or both. Expectedly but sadly; no statement from religious or political leaders or any crown head. Why did they have to die? Who did the killing?

What messages are they passing to the rest of Nigeria? Should they go scot free? Or should we divert every ounce of our resources and sense of justice to fish out their killers, try them and send them to the hottest part of hell? Who is investigating? Is the police despatching its best detectives to unravel the truth? How safe are we all from our so-called comfort zone? Are we sliding towards Rwanda? What price to pay – to keep Nigeria one?

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