By Fr Amobi Chukwuma
Few days ago, I was behind the wheels going for an important appointment somewhere. I have gone midway when I saw motorists reversing emotionally and driving away with enormous speed. The cyclists did the same.
Those on foot did round-about-turn, took off their uncomfortable shoes, sandals or slippers and took to their heels without looking back. When I saw some masquerades running away also, I told myself that this thing must be serious. I overheard one of the masquerades shouting, “Blood of Jesus cover me! My ancestors come to my aid!” Then the masquerade unmasked his face to see clearly as he runs without break.
The scene was unimaginable. To my utmost surprise, I saw a soldier and a policeman, with their Ak-47 riffles held tightly with their right hands, running away also for their lives. Without ascertaining the cause of the pandemonium, I reversed my car like a baby’s toy and drove away at the highest speed.
By this time, my heart was beating like double hard drums and my blood pressure rose abnormally. My entire body system was panicking. I began to feel dizzy. As I was driving without concentration, I was chorusing, “God of mercy, take control!”
After driving about two kilometers away, I stopped where I saw a good number of people clustered in small groups whispering to each other with one arm akimbo and the other one resting under their jaws.
They were discussing about the cause of the pandemonium. I tapped one of them at the back. He turned sharply and shouted, “Back to sender!” I appealed to him for attention.
He hearkened to me respectively, probably because I was putting on my immaculate clerical garment. With artificial smiles on my face, I asked him, “What is actually happening? I am on the run because I saw others running. In fact my breath is failing me now.” He replied, “Man of God, there is fire on the mountain.
Kidnappers blocked the road over there and were kidnapping some motorists and passengers in broad daylight. Those who resisted their abduction were shot dead instantly.”On hearing this, I cancelled my journey and drove back home because life has no duplicate. For one week I did not step out of the church gate for fear of the unknown.
On daily basis I entered the Chapel of Divine Presence to adore and to implore the intervention of God in the tensed insecurity in my state and in my distressed country Nigeria. Indeed there is real fire on the mountain. Where shall we run to?
My people say that the hunger that kills a rich man buries a poor man alive. If masquerades, armed soldiers and policemen are running away, what can toothless bulldog do? At this moment there is panic now in AbujaCapital City.
America and other countries have issued a terror alert to their citizens, warning them of imminent terror attacks in Abuja metropolis which will be targeted at churches, schools, government establishments, embassies, markets, transport terminals, etc. Since the dead does not live to give account, the Americans and other foreign diplomats and citizens are leaving Abuja in droves.
Terror network is on the air in Abuja and the adjoining towns. The foreigners are fleeing because they have safe havens to run to. Where shall we Nigerians flee to, since nowhere is safe now. The terror network has spread all over our country.
The Federal Government under her spokesman and Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has come out to debunk the terror alert as baseless. Is he telling us the truth? The President should boldly reassure Nigerians that they are safe with concrete evidence. The primary role of government is the protection of lives and properties of her citizens.
Few days ago, the Security Council sat with President Buhari over the current terror alert. At the end, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mongono, assured Nigerians that there is no cause for alarm. He advised all to go about their daily businesses. My fellow Nigerians, the mother hen advised her chickens to be watchful as they search for their daily bread.
The state governors should also take concrete steps to douse the growing tension in their states. It is on record that the south East Governors after their most recent meeting held at Enugu among other things stated in their communiqué: “Our economic activities have come to a halt while kidnapping and wanton killing have become the order of the day.”
To forestall hope among their subjects, the South East Governors have agreed to set up a 24-hour Joint Patrol in all major highways within the South East, especially during the forthcoming Yuletide season. The taste of the pudding is in the eating.
Therefore, the governors should hurry up before we are finished. Kidnapping is so rampart these days here and there. Many innocent people going about their daily businesses have been abducted and millions of ransom placed over them. Some have been tortured and killed. Many are missing. Brutality is the order of the day. Human life has been disvalued at the altar of greed for money.
There is palpable fear that the 2023 general election may not hold due to the increasing insecurity situation in the country. Some have even alleged that the Government in power at the federal level has a hidden agenda to hand over power either to the military or to terrorists. If this materializes, then we shall be roasted alive. God forbid!
In every rumour or alert, there is always an atom of truth. A mad man in my area of pastoral jurisdiction said that he would not say anything to the man following him behind with a machete until he did not find his head.
This is absolute stupidity. Concerning the tensed insecurity in our country and states, all and sundry must rise to the occasion. The federal and state governments ought to be proactive in thoughts and actions. Intelligence gathering is very useful.Many of our gallant officers and men of the Military Forces and Police have lost their precious lives in the hands of terrorists and assailants.
Even though it is paying the ultimate price, it is highly regrettable. So many civilians have lost their lives in unforeseen circumstances nationwide. Human life is the primary value. Life lost cannot be regained.
There is no smoke without fire. Everything has a cause. Certain pertinent questions must be asked and answered. Who are the Boko Haram terrorists? What are they fighting for? Who are their sponsors? Where and how do they get their sophisticatedweapons? Who are the bandits? What is their target? Where do they come from? Who arms them? Are the unknown gunmen faceless?
What course are they fighting for? Why is kidnapping so rampant these days? Who are there collaborators or accomplices? How do foreign terrorists and foreign bloody herdsmen enter into Nigeria? The Indigenous People of Biafra are agitating for self-determination, which is a human right.
Why are they suppressed and not heard? Dialogue is the best solution. Until the rotten tooth is identified and pulled out, the mouth must continue to chew with caution. Bad governance breeds anger. An angry man is a hungry man. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Unemployment can lead to criminality. Millions of Nigerian youths are unemployed. Hence some of them resort to the immoral act of the end justifies the means.