Wherever one is in Nigeria, chances are that they are that a fiery proximity prickles, like red-hot pins from hell.Because a beloved country has refused to bow to the iniquitous idols of terrorism and anarchy, its citizens are being fed into a furnace heated more than seven times.
As twenty-three hapless passengers travelling through Gidan Bawa village in Isa Local Government area of Sokoto State burnt to their deaths on 6th December 2021, with fire scorching their feet, singeing their eyebrows and fingers, and roasting their hopes for a better Nigeria, they died with the taste of ashes in their mouths.
As they burnt, they must have cursed the day fate melded with (mis)fortune to deposit them into the laps of Nigeria. Who will comfort their families? Who will comfort Nigerians? Routine messages of condolence have been issued by the government to the families of the victims.
But those messages jar with their perfunctory emptiness. Those condolence messages jar with the falsity of their routine repetition. Those messages are all the countless victims of Nigeria`s victimization ever get.
Every day, when Nigerians open newspapers or tune in to radios and televisions, they are inundated with news of horror after horror.
And as the relentless attacks continue, Nigeria burns with the fury of terrorists who bathe with the blood of Nigerians. Nigeria burns with the impotence of government at all levels and the inability to confront the killers prowling the land.
Among Nigerians, the feeling grows by the day that among high-ranking government officials, security personnel, traditional rulers, business men and diasporans are those feeding the flames burning up the country. Suspicions are mounting that terror has some sympathizers in Nigeria`s corridors of power.
Nigerians want to know them. Nigerians want to know those who sell them off to killers. Nigerians want to know those stoking the flames that now raze a country that once promised so much.
Bandits have been declared terrorists. But even that took an inordinately long time, undoubtedly delayed by the politics of those who call the bandits brothers.
Now that the dog has been given the bad name it richly deserves; having grown rabid since then, it must be hung and immediately. They have grown more rabid. With their sole interlocutor having withdrawn his nebulous services, Nigeria and the bandits must now go to head in a pas de deux of death.
The wind of economic austerity tears through Nigeria, brutally wiping away the little financial stability few Nigerian families had.
Nigerians can no longer travel or live freely. Terrorists routinely jump out of the bush surrounding the Abuja-Kaduna expressway and many parts of the Northeast to kill and kidnap passengers.
In communities in Niger State, the crude economists of terrorism advise impoverished villagers to sell their farm produce and raise ransom to secure the freedom of their kidnapped relations.
In Sokoto State, searing flames become the portion of those who run into the terrorists. Nigeria faces a security crisis and in spite of the posturing and grandstanding of the government, security agencies appear overwhelmed.
While young Nigerian soldiers are caught down in their prime by the superior fire of terrorists in the Northeast almost on a weekly basis, legislators bicker over a closed NYSC orientation camp.
While well-heeled terrorists rip through communities with cyclonic fury, the government trains its propagandists to dispute the findings of a judicial panel of inquiry that a massacre happened.
While point-and-kill prosecutors hound political and ethnic opponents of the powers that be on incredible allegations of financial impropriety, ISWAP pushes its billions through the country`s leaky financial system.
There is no doubt that death stares Nigeria in the face. And more than ever, it appears that those who should rescue Nigeria are poised to be its undertakers.
Nigerians must rally. The fires did not start today. The fires burned during the Kaduna and Jos crises of the early 2000s.Terrorists torch the farms of impoverished villagers when they deem fit in the Northeast.
Police stations and INEC offices have been burnt by those who should be truly ashamed of their crimes. Last year, the EndSARS protest was so brutally cut short last year by the bullets of Nigerian soldiers, but the seeming silence is that of the graveyard.
The queries for those in authority must flow again, thick and fast. Nigerians must learn, emboldened by self-preservation, to question those who hold the reins of power in the country.
Nigerians must unequivocally demand that those who contribute to terrorism`s blood money be unearthed and prosecuted. Nigerians must ask all those who fill public offices but are unprepared to lift a finger for anything other than self-preservation to exit those offices.
2023 is very much around the corner and Nigeria must look away from those who currently govern the country. Nigerians must look away from those who log the fire which now burns with unquenchable rage.
Nigeria must look elsewhere for the fourth man in their fire. Perhaps, he will come from the east.