For Nigeria and Nigerians, 2022 has begun in earnest, in much the same way 2021 ended: with a harvest of deaths.
The new year is less than 90 days old but already, from Benue to Anambra to Kebbi to Lagos, to Sokoto, to Plateau, to Niger, to Borno, to Yobe and even to the Federal Capital Territory, death has continued to stalk Nigerians with the Grim Reaper only too happy to continue from where last year`s proceedings were stopped.
As the corpses have piled up, Nigerian hearts have continued to pound with terror with each assault on innocent lives or livelihoods that cedes more grounds to the terrorism that is so desperately resolved to strangle the Giant of Africa.
What is undoubtedly so frightening about the hydra-headed nature of the insecurity which currently ravages Nigeria is its reach and ruthlessness. Like, a giant octopus, like the most invasive of weeds, insecurity spawned by terrorism seems to have sown at least a seed in each Nigerian state.
In fact, so widespread and endemic has insecurity become in Nigeria that as Nigerians go about their normal lives, they have to look over their shoulders. The attendant consequence of living like this on both the physiological and psychological states of Nigerians is better imagined.
On Tuesday March 8, 2022, in Kanya a village in the Danko -Wasagu district of Kebbi State, terror struck as with a sledgehammer when after a fierce gun battle which lasted over three hours, about nineteen men which included thirteen soldiers, five policemen and one vigilante which formed a combined military and police detachment succumbed to the bullets of hundreds of bandits who invaded the village.
According to reports, eight other security personnel including four soldiers were hospitalized with wounds. The attacks of 8th March 2022 came hot on the heels of similar attacks of 7th March 2022 when at least 57 vigilantes were killed in nearby Sakaba by bandits.
It has become the most irritable of ironies that in the Giant of Africa, people continue to drop like flies at the hands of gnats whose sheer bloodlust and ruthlessness gives themselves away as savages.
Nigeria`s rural communities are especially at their mercy. These hapless and helpless communities long the victims of the appalling neglect of local governments by federal and state governments had always just managed to get by, scratching, scrambling and pulling themselves across the line everyday by the skin of their teeth.
Because these rural communities had long lived without good roads, clean water, frequent electricity, good schools or good hospitals, many who could, left for greener pastures while those who remained made peace with their fate.
Taking to farming and other agricultural activities, they had since learnt to fend for themselves while praying and hoping for better days. Instead, what now befalls them practically every day is a fate probably worse than death.
Terrorists which include Boko Haram, ISWAP and bandits attack and kill them at will, or take away as many as they want for ransom. When the criminals feel more audacious, they begin to run governments parallel to the Nigerian government: they mount their flags, promulgate draconian laws and impose extortionate taxes on rural dwellers who drink the dregs of Nigeria`s roaring inequality.
The wives of the slain soldiers have since protested in Kanya, but for the many families which include aged parents and young children, the heartbreak occasioned by the ultimate sacrifices paid by these gallant soldiers is almost unbearable.
In a country where many people have since grown so disillusioned that they do not believe anything is worth dying for, Nigeria may soon run out of those willing to lay down their lives in defense of the country. When this inevitably happens, what will be next?
There is no doubt that Nigeria must go all out to bring all those who do these things to book. When a country lacks justice as Nigeria does at the moment, the country soon becomes a killing field where every manner of atrocity is perpetrated and tolerated.
When because of bad leadership, a country lacks the will power to crush its foes, it soon becomes a playground for all manner of villains and their villainy.
They say that lightening does not strike twice but in Nigeria, it does not just strike twice: it keeps striking all over the place. All over the country, civilians and security personnel are routinely attacked and blood spilled.
To stem the surge of this tide, security measures must be made most severe, necessarily ascending in the process the superficiality and hypocrisy of lip service. This is most urgent lest the Giant of Africa becomes a giant graveyard where the sacrifices of many gallant men and women become in vain.