Last week, as families of the over 200 secondary school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Borno State grieved and the masses longed for answer from the authorities, while a debate that seemed to yet again make light of the suffering of the victims raged, terrorists found another opportunity to unleash their nefarious act on the country’s capital. A bomb ripped through the Federal Capital Territory, killing at least 12 persons and injuring over 30 in the same Nyanya suburb where a terrorist bomb attack at a motor park on March 14 had killed more than 70 persons.
Political motives have been imputed to the latest attack, which happened a few days before World Economic Forum scheduled to hold between May 7 and May 9 in Abuja. Whatever the motives the perpetrators of the act might have, the bottom line is that the country did not take adequate precautionary lessons from the previous incident and the threats of more attacks issued by the perpetrators. The country has seemed to flounder helplessly in the face of a worsening security nightmare while the politicians entertain themselves with needless debates and exchange tirades at the expense of society.
The latest blast happened amid a debate opened by the national woman leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mrs. Kema Chikwe, on Wednesday at an occasion in Abuja dubbed “PDP Women’s Prayer for the release of the Chibok kidnapped school girls and the Nyanya bomb blast victims.”
Chikwe’s “rhetorical questions” about the kidnapped girls of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, and her call for the pictures of the victims had kicked off a debate that drew in many interests before she came out with a denial of the interpretations given to her comments at the prayer session.
“There is hypocrisy about corruption among individual Nigerians. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the kidnap of the Chibok schoolgirls. There are many questions to be asked and more to be answered. How did it happen? Who saw it happen? Who did not see it happen? Who is behind this? Those behind these crimes love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil,” Chikwe had stated in her speech at the occasion.
The Borno State government read Chikwe’s comments as an expression of disbelief in the genuineness of the abduction incident. It saw this as the poking of expensive fun at families of the kidnap victims and the state and federal authorities that have been making effort to secure the release of the girls.
While the back-and-forth continued, obviously, creating a substantial diversion from the security crisis that the country faced, the terrorists struck, leaving a trail of death and destruction.
It was the same politicisation, exchange of accusation, and debate that had trailed the previous bomb blast at Nyanya.
Nigerians must get down to the most fundamental parts of the security nightmare facing the country and rise above the needless politicisations that have tended to eclipse sincere efforts to tackle the crisis. It certainly does not speak well of the country and its people that unnecessary arguments about comments and perceived body language are dominating public discussion week in week out, while the country appears to grope in the dark for solution to its security problem. It also does not encourage the fighting men, the security agents, who are putting their lives at risk in order to save the rest of the population.
While it is good to pray, as the PDP women demonstrated on Wednesday in Abuja, for prayer to be effective, those who are praying must be sincere in their thoughts, actions, and speeches. And the government must back up the prayers with works aimed at putting the right structures in place to maintain the security of life and property in the country.