The Blood of Innocents Hold Us in Nigeria (Opinion)

THE BLOOD OF INNOCENTS HOLDS NIGERIA
There is hardly a country in the world where innocent people have not been murdered. In many countries, it is easier to commit a murder than to get away with it. In such cases, the killer knows that there is a high chance that he would be caught. In our case, a killer may know that he could be caught but he also knows that nothing will come of it. He can get away with it with ease. If you ask me, Nigeria has spilled too much innocent blood and if the blood of the innocents can cry out in the case of Cain (Genesis 4: 1-16) and Abel, the outcry against Nigeria and its leaders will be so deafening by now.
I grew up to read about the ones that happened before. The hundreds of women and children who were slaughtered in the north in 1966 because some soldier boys came together to plan a coup. If you close your eyes and try to re-create it, your eyes will snap open. Picture women (some pregnant) and children (some of them toddlers) running in every direction with men and boys cutting them down indiscriminately and without fear of anyone asking questions. But again, I ask myself, ‘what has changed in the north since then?’ The last elections saw young southerners including NYSC members murdered with impunity. What has changed?
Over the years in Nigeria, all manners of religious riots have happened and NOBODY was ever put on trial or convicted. When a cartoon was drawn in Denmark, people protested all over the world and burnt flags. In Nigeria we burnt houses, churches and people. When the Miss World beauty contest was to be held in Nigeria, a reporter wrote something some found offensive. The riot claimed lives and property. Perhaps the only one that resulted in a trial was the one involving Major Gen. Zamani Lekwot in Zangon- Kataf ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zamani_Lekwot) Gen. Babangida put him on trial before a tribunal, sentenced him to death. The sentence was later reduced and finally he stayed only a short time in prison. He has received a state pardon. Zamani Lekwot was a Christian and his trial was seen as politically motivated. What I gathered from it was that the man armed his own people and for once they defended themselves against their aggressors.
Shall we dwell a little on the senseless and shameless murder of innocents on Christmas day last year. There can be no act more despicable than to kill women and children in their Christmas clothes. Children whose parents had cooked up their meals and were only waiting for the service to end and they would go back to enjoy their meals. People who ate their dinner and breakfast the following day murdered these children – in their Christmas clothes. Nothing has been heard and no one has been arrested. Even the ones arrested for similar attacks are said to be in detention (who knows what is true) and today there are claims and counter claims by the same people that are leaders of men. Shameful. And the killings continued to the UN building and several bombing of churches and public places.
Let me not go to the millions that died in 1967-1970 because of the controversy Chinua Achebe’s book generated. The ones that died in Ife-Modakeke (http://suite101.com/article/ethnic-crises-in-africa-the-hidden-costs-of-the-ifemodakeke-war-a389841); the ones that died in Ijaw-Ishekiri-Urhobo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warri_Crisis ); the ones that died in Aguleri-Umuleri (http://www.google.com.ng/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=aguleri+umuleri&sourceid=opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&channel=suggest) and the ones that are still dying in Plateau State. Some will say those were conflict situations.
A fortnight ago, President Jonathan in his media chat, said Obasanjo’s gun-blazing approach killed women and children (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odi_massacre) . Obasanjo ‘called up’ Femi Fani-Kayode (I doubt if he went to Odi) to defend (http://www.punchng.com/news/fani-kayode-faults-jonathan-on-odi-killings/ ). President Jonathan, I read, said when they got there, there were no militants killed. The corpses were of women and children (http://pointblanknews.com/pbn/press-releases/our-response-to-president-goodluck-jonathan-on-odi/ ). Who is telling the truth? Who wants to know? Who will do something about it? There was also Zakibiam (http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/10/zaki-biam-invasion-10-years-after-we-still-mourn-our-fate/ ). The point is, some people most definitely did something wrong. But to go into a community and shoot at anything that moves and rape women…there has to be the problem of the cry of innocent blood.
Shall we talk of the police and their consistent killing of unarmed civilians. The more despicable of the police killings are the ones they may have done for money, or to cover up evidence or crime. And sweet Jesus, I cannot dare to put a figure to it. One case in hand is the APO SIX (http://mobile.saharareporters.com/report/apo-six-and-justice-denied-trial-murderous-polices-officers-involved-killing-six-abuja-based- ). These young people were murdered in cold blood. The story tells us that two were alive and unhurt and were taken to the station. While people were making efforts to get them out, they were reported to have died. (http://www.nairaland.com/465778/police-admit-lying-apo-six ). Do not even dare to ask me how. And the trial remains inconclusive (http://www.nigeriaa2z.com/2012/02/01/apo-six-killings-trial-of-policemen-suffers-another-set-back/ ) Here is one classical case for which the nation suffers now. The leader of Boko Haram, Muhammed Yusuf was captured and a while after police denied that he was with them. The army insisted that he was caught alive and handed over to the police (http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/news/29044-how-boko-haram-leader-yusuf-was-arrested-by-army-chief.html ). They said he had an injury in his arm and that it had been treated. Soon after, the police admitted that he was with them and that he had been killed in an escape bid. His bullet riddled body was put on display. It took BBC to put his photo online when he was handed over to the police, hands tied behind his back, to make the police admit that he was indeed handed over to them. Interestingly, that photo from BBC is the only one that we have. Who took it and how did it get to BBC before Nigerian media. Don’t even dare to ask me. Then we were later to hear recordings when he was being interrogated in Hausa (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePpUvfTXY7w . Who ordered his execution? Don’t even dare to ask me. Just know that the entire Boko Haram anger stems from this.
Many agencies have continued to call attention to the number of extra-judicial killings in Nigeria but both the government and the police have continued to deny. But we know better. There were Bakassi Boys in Anambra and nearby states that cut up their victims with cutlasses in front of their families and without trial of any kind (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakassi_Boys ). There are cases of killings by OPC under whoever. People who hide under very wide umbrellas to commit very personal crimes and get away with it. While they were all denying accusations of extra-judicial killings, Aluu happened. Four boys were beaten and burnt to death! Blood and more blood.
Now let us add the innocent people killed by cult members of all descriptions. Add the ones that died because of the activities of politicians and the assassinations. Then add the cases of armed robbers and other money related killings. Add the ones who have died on the road because of negligence of government. Like the ones who have died from tankers falling and catching fire; from running into the canal when government bombs exploded; the ones who have been crushed when containers fell on commuter buses (it is the government officials that allow containers to be transported without holding them down to the trucks), and the ones who died because of activities of the police at checkpoints. Let us also add the ones who have died from fake or expired and adulterated food and drugs imported with the connivance of some big people; add the ones that have been crushed in falling buildings owned by landlords who care more about money that the welfare of people who will live in those houses. Also add the ones that have been electrocuted because of the incompetence of electricity workers and then add the countless ones who have died from the ritualistic beliefs of Nigerians.
Now hear this one. Add all the families of these people who are still reeling from the impact of these deaths and calling to God for justice. This is where I started and this is where I will end this sermon. There is too much innocent blood shed in Nigeria. The painful thing is that the bloodletting continues unchecked. How can a nation like this find favour when the Bible says that it is righteousness that exalts a nation? Like Tunde Bakare I believe that Nigeria can flourish again but ladies and gentlemen, somehow, we need to pray for justice for all these people. The outcry of the blood of innocent people shed in Nigeria is deafening.
Why have I put in so many links? For the younger generation who need to read up on this country. For those who will argue that these things did not happen.

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