Russia, Ukraine, and Nigeria

By Rev. Fr. Gerald Nwafor

I have watched with great concern the opinion of some actors in the world, and how they ignore the mayhem going on in Ukraine. I am concerned about the people in Ukraine and Russia because they are human beings like you and I are. What is the real reason behind killing and destroying properties in the name of war? I should say power. If you think there is any other reason, please let me know. I will be glad to read your opinion. The citizens of Nigeria are also in Ukraine, and my own cousin Icheke is also in Kyiv. From the statistics, Nigeria has more than 1000 Nigerians studying in Ukraine. Therefore, we should not see the conflict in Ukraine as the car ladened with firewood and show no interest. Moreover, the government of Nigeria has not shown any concern for the citizens here at home, much less of the citizen abroad. There is war in Ukraine because Russia, in the person of Vladimir Putin, thinks “might makes right,” but I should remind Putin that the cow without a tail has bequeathed its trust on God to remove the flies that will perch on its nose and eyes (Efi na-nwero odo chie na-achuluya ijiji).

The Nigerian factor is not very different from Ukraine because the people of Northern Nigeria have been long displaced from their ancestorial homes and farmlands and business areas by the bandits, terrorists, and Boko Haram sects. The tears in Ukraine should be well analyzed by Nigerians of every tribe because we know in practice and theory the effects of war. If the war comes from the people who are supposed to protect you, as in the case of Ukraine, who humbly gave up their nuclear weapons to Russia so they could be protected by the big brother. When the government of Nigeria invaded Biafra many years ago, the story was not different. When the Islamic sect Boko Haram started bombing mosques and kidnaping school kids of Muslim extraction the stories were not different. When the bandits started to massacre the people on the farm, and then turned around to demand bags of rice and beans, the story was not different. The people of Ukraine need our prayers now more than ever because we are the only people who can understand their present condition. We feel their pain. Ife ana eme mkpi adiro atulu mma (The injustice being meted to the He-goat is not pleasing to the sheep).

Russia is a superpower in the world of today, but they should not be a bully to the people of Ukraine. From history, we read that 30% of Ukrainians are Russians and one out of every six Ukrainians speaks Russian. So, the question is thus: why is Putin killing his kinsmen and women? My people say that Iwe nwanne ada-elu na okpukpu” (The brothers’ feud doesn’t go deep into the bone marrow). But from Putin’s behavior, it has shown that brother’s feud has crossed the bone now, it is into the bone-marrow. Look at the bombings, mortalities, and fatalities. Every day the number of casualties is rising; both Russians and Ukrainians are dying. Now I read that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has ordered the people of Ukraine from ages of 18 to 60 to stay behind and pick up arms to defend their country. What will Putin do with Ukraine if he captures or conquers it? Maybe as a lawyer, he did not pay attention to history classes, because Stalin and Lenin had tried but failed. If you do not learn from your parents’ pitfalls their mistakes will consume you also (Onye ajuro ese ife melu nna ya, ife melu nna ya ga-eme ya).

I have heard that the Ukraine agents refused to board black people who wanted to leave Ukraine. They were boarding only Ukrainians to leave Ukraine. So why are they denying the blacks’ exit from Ukraine? It should have been the other way round, allowing the blacks who were visitors to exit and remand their citizens in Ukraine. If they wanted to fight for their country, why are they fleeing? Anyways, I will not go into the intricacies of the osondu (fleeing for life) but, the government of Ukraine should do the needful. Keep Ukrainians in Ukraine to fight for their country. I have watched in the news where the Russian army and armored tanks were decimated and destroyed. I have watched in the news where a member of the Ukrainian parliament was hanging an AK47 across his shoulder while granting an interview, stating that they would defend their country to the last man. I was encouraged because that is the spirit of freedom fighters, not stopping immigrants from Osondu. I hope they can contain the Russians and shame Putin and all his manipulations and machinations.

The world leaders should rise quickly to stop Russia from acquiring Ukraine. It is not a time for long speeches as we are seeing today from Macron, Biden, Trudeau, and Buhari. It is time for concrete action against Russia to stop the insurrection and war. I read in the news that the western world slammed sanctions on Russia, and I wondered whether these sanctions are different from the ones that allowed them to host the world cup in 2018. If we have learned anything from the west and President Putin of Russia it is the single fact, “Sanctions do not work with Russia.” May God deliver his children in Russia, Ukraine, and Nigeria.