I’m a development worker. The organization I work with, known as the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) provides support to states to #BeatMalaria, #StopTB and also #StopAIDS. As the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer on the Global Fund Malaria project, I travel to states every quarter to provide supportive supervision and also validate the data they’ve previously submitted. I scheduled to pay this visit from 17th to 20th February, 2014 but this was not to be. The security situation in the northeast part of the country had exacerbated. Reports of killings in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe were coming too often. Health services in the worst hit areas are no more available as health centres have been shut down. And people are dying from preventable/curable health conditions.
In the past 5 months, I’ve travelled to Adamawa State at least twice, in defiance to warnings from some loved ones who were worried about my safety. I interacted with some senior government officials and ordinary people too. Like most Nigerians, they are very hospitable people, peace-loving and going about their daily activities in a diligent manner. Christians and Muslims work harmoniously in same offices. Yusuf, a friend’s sibling whom I was meeting for the first time bought cloth material and made babariga cloth for me free of charge. He also hosted me to a delicious breakfast prepared by his wife. That is the average Adamawa person for you. I’ve neither been to Borno or Yobe States but I doubt if they would be different. The terrorists whom I prefer to call blood-sucking lunatics are enemies to Adamawa people. They are enemies to Borno and Yobe people. They are also enemies to all well-meaning Nigerians.
It is no longer news that the blood-sucking lunatics went to a school, operated for multiple hours and killed tens of harmless and innocent kids. It is appalling that there was no emergency response from security agents in an area under state of emergency. This kind of stuff has happened repeatedly – remember Mubi? The reportedly abducted girls? And a similar incident at a tertiary institution in Yobe last year?
Like most Nigerians, I’m utterly depressed by the situation. We appear to be helpless in situations like this. But I’m also worried and very disappointed that some people politicize unfortunate situations like this. This is not about PDP vs APC, North vs South, Christian vs Muslims or GEJ vs his opponents, it is about the lives of ordinary Nigerians that the system has failed to protect. I salute members of the armed forces and other security agents for their efforts. Many of them have sacrificed their lives in order to protect the rest of us. The federal government has also done some good stuff but is it enough? As long as innocent lives are still being lost in this manner, FG is definitely not doing all it can possibly do. But will blaming each other solve the problem? If it can, Boko Haram would have become history.
A more decisive action is required not blame game. We’ve been garrulous about the challenge of insecurity all these while; it’s now time for more action to protect ourselves. Mr President, Governors and all politicians, please do the needful! Fellow Nigerians, let us unite against the common enemy. This is indeed a very dark moment in our history. May God bless the souls of the victims of the terror attacks and strengthen their loved ones. And may God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.