Kanam’s cry from the heart

Kenechukwu Obiezu

Kenechukwu Obiezu

The corrosive challenges convulsing Nigeria today have successfully altered the dynamics and optics of many states, casting ashes on the beauties they were synonymous with not long ago.

For example, while Nigerian public officers helplessly wring their hands, Kaduna State, Nigeria`s “Center of Learning’ has been converted into a laboratory where terrorists of all shades and stripes carry out startling experiments that have successfully redefined the meaning of terror in Nigeria.

However, Kaduna State is not the only Nigerian state irked by this irony. The necrosis of names nips at its neighbours too. With its celestial weather and rolling hills, it is not for nothing that Plateau State, Nigerias twelfth largest state, which borders Kaduna to the north, is celebrated as Nigerias “Home of Peace and Tourism.”

Multiple ethnic groups adhering to different religions used to live alongside each other without incidents in a state which used to be an icon of Nigerias diversity. However, all that has now been relegated to the past by the troubles the state has known for so long now. The   tragic crises have been decades in the making. In 2001, the peace of the graveyard in the state was finally shattered when the state was turned into a killing field. A number of deadly disturbances have since followed almost annually as Nigerias “Home of peace and tourism” has become one of its most volatile states.

There have been multiple deadly clashes ignited by ethnicism, religion and competing economic interests. Many communities in the State have been randomly attacked with many slaughtered and countless houses razed.

In the afternoon of Sunday, April 11, 2022, a red mist descended on Kanam Local Government area of Plateau State when a number of communities which included Kukawa,Gyambawu, Dungur, Kyaram, Yelwa, Dadda, Wanka, Shuwaka, Gwammadaji and Dadin Kowa were attacked by  gunmen who rode on motorcycles and wielded dangerous weapons. At the end of the attacks, at least 70 people lay dead while countless houses were razed to the ground.

The questions continue in the state and elsewhere as to why one state should be suffer the asphyxiating grip of violence for years with no solution in sight. There is no doubt that the violent attacks which rattle Plateau State from time to time to leave families heartbroken are not the random acts of ragged criminals; they are too sophisticated to be. Instead, they seem the careful handiwork of killers who know how to mine the method in their madness and are only following the script perfectly as the actors of annihilation.

The government may be doing its best to secure lives and properties in the country. But for many, that best is the worst ever and it does not matter that many gallant security personnel continue to pay the ultimate price every day. There can be no question about it.

There is no question that as long as many Nigerians have to live in fear of ruthless criminals, something is gravely wrong with the way the country has been set up.

Plateau State is not at all in a school of its own when it comes to states devasted by criminal attacks. In that school of insecurity, there is Kaduna State, there is Niger State and even Benue State. But the most senior students of that school would seem to be Borno and Zamfara where terrorists have become so established that they now have the capacity to export terror to other parts of Nigeria.

All those who sow and sponsor terror together have become unbearable burdens onboard the ship of Nigeria`s journey to nationhood. They are the reason the ship is threatening to break apart. To lighten the ship, they must be cast into the sea.

If there is anything vulnerable Nigerians who   consume the dregs of poverty expect, it is that they be left in peace to eat the pancakes of privation served them by Nigeria. Instead of splaying them out like sacrifices to vicious criminals, Nigeria should do all it can to protect them.

Until Kanam and other communities ripped apart by terrorism are secured, Nigeria will continue to cry from the heart.

 

 

Kene Obiezu,

keneobiezu@gmail.com

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