A harvest of deaths

Kenechukwu Obiezu

Kenechukwu Obiezu

There is no doubt that life should be lived with dignity. To live without dignity is akin to living without clothes in a culture where clothes matter not jut because they cover nakedness but because they are a sign of one`s status.

Living with dignity is so fundamental because living without dignity makes life a living hell.

If life is practically meaningless without dignity, death must also be with some dignity to have any meaning whatsoever. People should be able to live not just with dignity but also be able to exit the world with some dignity when their time is up. This is the reason killing another person jarringly violates every sense of decency and morality no matter the person or what they have done.

Unfortunately, in Nigeria today, so many people live without dignity and die without dignity. This indescribably ugly situation has been foisted on Nigerians by the phenomena of insecurity. So, every now and then, armed criminals invade communities or simply ambush travelers and kill as many as they want.

Every now and then, news channels bulge with the news of more attacks and more deaths and it is as if the Giant of Africa has become a dead zone.

On Saturday, February 26,2022, while mourners converged in Mbacher Council Ward of Katsina-Ala Local Government area of Benue State for the burial of a Tax Collector, Zaki Atser Nor, gunmen struck, opening fire and felling no less than nine persons while leaving many others injured. The chairman of Katsina-Ala LGA was to confirm suspicions that it was a reprisal attack presumably carried out by criminals in the area in retaliation for the recent killing of one of the master criminals in the area by men of the Nigerian military under Operation Whirl Stroke.

Nigerians home and abroad who have paid only scant attention to the security situation of the country would have noticed that for years, Benue State has been in the thick of Nigerias insecurity crises. Herdsmen-farmer clashes used to turn the state upside down, delivering many blood baths. Recently however, criminal gangs and cultists have been threatening to overrun one of Nigerias most iconic states. Even now it makes chilling remembrance to remember how more than ten Nigerian soldiers were once gunned down while they toured some conflict-ridden areas of the state.

Indeed, it is the bitterest irony that Nigeria`s food basket has also become its blood basket.

To show that Nigeria`s invasive insecurity situation is no respecter of boundaries, on the same date when criminals attacked mourners in Benue State, at another funeral ceremony at Ebenebe community of Awka South Local Government in Anambra State, suspected cultists invaded a funeral ceremony and opened fire at mourners killing about 20 persons and injuring many others. The burial ceremony was being conducted for a thirty-four- year-old man who was killed by suspected cultists around the area in December last year.

The menace is as clear as day. Whether it be at the hands of Boko Haram, ISWAP, Fulani herdsmen, bandits or cultists, Nigerians continue to harvest deaths. The situation has become so dangerous that even funerals which should be occasions of sobriety can no longer be conducted in peace.

With the   security situation in Nigeria getting graver by the day, security agencies have a huge fight on their hands to keep Nigerians safe in the country they love. However, this is admittedly very difficult as more young people continue to take to crime by the day thereby constituting a danger to their immediate communities.

There is no doubt that there are people who profit from shedding innocent blood in Nigeria. No substantial progress can be made in the fight against insecurity until these people are identified, prosecuted and incarcerated. The task to do these has never been more urgent.

Kene Obiezu,

keneobiezu@gmail.com

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