President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly said in recent times that Nigeria has defeated terrorist sect, Boko Haram.
Buhari bases his conclusion on the fact that the sect no longer has the capability to capture territories. What the president fails to mention however is that Boko Haram is still killing Nigerians.
On January 30, 2016, about a month after Buhari said that Boko Haram had been technically defeated, the sect attacked Dalori Village in Borno State and left about 60 people dead.
The terrorists were said to have burnt children alive during the invasion which continued for hours without military intervention.
Since then, Boko Haram insurgents have killed four people in Mairi and Malari in the Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State, 40 people between February 8 and 9, also in Borno and six people in Kuda Village in the Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State on February 15.
Granted the casualty figures have drastically reduced compared to the heydays of Boko Haram, but every single Nigerian life taken by the sect is a loss.
Unfortunately, President Buhari issued a rather insensitive response to the Dalori attacks which he said were part of a plot to “embarrass” his government.
“Having lost the war, they (the insurgents) are seeking ways and means to gradually find their way back into society,” Buhari said in a statement released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
“They are not returning to contribute but to cause more havoc. They are so desperate to embarrass the government and the people that they have no qualms attacking isolated communities and markets,” the statement added.
Expressing a similarly unfortunate sentiment, Buhari said, while speaking in Qatar on Sunday, February 28, 2016, that Boko Haram is no longer a threat.
“We, however, take pride to inform you that since our coming to power, Boko Haram has been systematically decimated and are in no position to cause serious threat to our development programmes,” he said.
Dear Mr President, the war against Boko Haram is not about your government neither is it about your “development programmes”, it’s about the helpless people who are being butchered like flies, the people who the government is still failing daily.
It is highly insensitive for government officials to boast of how Boko Haram has been defeated when lives are still being lost and many displaced persons are still stranded in camps unable to return home.
It is even more insensitive to talk about how the sect can no longer hold territories or threaten the government, as if the people who are being killed are of secondary importance.
Dear President Buhari, you were elected because you promised to change things, so now it’s time for you to change how the government views its citizens.
No Nigerian is dispensable, every Nigerian life matters, and until every single Nigerian is free from Boko Haram and the terrors it leaves behind, no victory can be reasonably claimed.