By Femi Fani-Kayode
Permit me to begin this contribution by quoting the insightful and powerful words of Hon. Dino Melaye who is undoubtedly one of the rising stars and stronger voices of the new and up and coming generation of political leaders in Nigeria.
On the 19th of March 2013, just a day after the terrible bombings in Kano in which over 100 innocent Nigerians were killed, Melaye wrote the following words on his facebook wall-
”The Kano bombing is barbaric, callous and wicked. God save us in this country. The Federal Government and indeed President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has demonstrated incapacitation and ineptitude by their inability to contain this growing insecurity. According to our constitution the fundamental objective of government is the provision of security and welfare for the people.
Unfortunately Jonathan has failed in both regards. Our President is overwhelmed. He should take the path of honour, take a bow and resign. There is too much blood in the land. There is blood in our roads, air, police stations, army barracks, churches, mosques, clubs, car parks and homes. There is blood every where”.
This is a courageous contribution from a young man who obviously has tremendous passion for our country and who is deeply troubled by all that is happening today. I only wish that there were more young men like Melaye in Nigeria.
Can any serious-minded person disagree with his observations on this matter? Is Nigeria not in a state of undeclared war today? Is this not a season of complete anomie in which human life no longer has any value and where life itself has little meaning?
Do we actually have a government in this country today? Are the murderers that killed the innocents in Kano on the 18th of march worthy of life let alone amnesty?
they really human beings? Can anybody, no matter how highly placed, respected or reverred still talk about amnesty for Boko Haram now?
What do such people suggest that we tell the families of the 100 that were slaughtered on the 18th of march and the 4000 that were killed before them? How do we wipe away their tears and ensure that they are given the justice that they so desperately seek?
Do we tell them that it was just one of those things and that they should consisder the murder of their sons, daughters, wives, husbands, parents, grandparents, siblings, distant relatives and friends as part of their sacrifice and contribution to national development and service?
Do we tell them that those that murdered their loved ones have now been granted amnesty for their efforts and that they have been forgiven by the state and reintegrated back into society? Is that justice? Is the very suggestion not utterly heartless and insensitive? No-one should ever sing the amnesty song again because too many innocent and defenceless people have been killed.
On saturday the 23rd of March, barely one week after the Kano slaughter was perpetuated, yet another barborous attack took place. This time it was in Ganye Local Government Area of Adamawa state and at least 30 people were bombed, hacked and shot to death by Boko Haram. In this matter justice must be done and until it is the massacres and carnage will not stop. Yet the sad tale does not stop at the loss of life. There is more.
It is a sad testimony to our national malaise that in the very week that a refreshing and exceptionally compassionate and humble new Pope was elected to lead the 1.2 billion catholics in the world today, we have been reliably informed by the Catholic Churchin Nigeria, through Rev. Father Ituah,that no less than 50 of the 52 Catholic churches in Maiduguri,Borno state have been burnt down by Boko Haram.
How does one explain this madness? How would the muslims of northern Nigeria have reacted if virtually every singlemosque that had been built in one of the southern stateshad been burnt down by christian militants?
Would they have shown the level of maturity and restraint that the christian community have displayedin the face of these provocations and attacks on their places of worship? Would they have insisted on amnesty for those who killed their people and burnt down their mosques?
Why is it that Boko Haram and those in the muslim community in northern Nigeria that secretly sympathise with them cannot learn a thing or two from the billions of muslims in the world that live peacefully and happily side by side with other faiths including christians, jews and hindus?
Why cant they learn from the yoruba muslims who are, generally speaking, exemplary and very liberal in their approach to adhherents of other faiths. Are they not muslims too? What is it about the islamist that he feels the need to kill and shed blood in the name of God? Indonesia has the largest number of muslims on this planet with 200 million practising muslims in it’s borders.
Yet Indonesia is a secular state with a sizeable and respected christian minorty population which runs into millions. India has the second largest concentration of muslims in the world with a muslim population of over 150 million.
The muslims of India are a minority because the country is predominantly hindu yet the religious rights of every Indian is guarded jealously and protected by the constitution because India, just like Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, Malaysia, Pakistan, Algeria, Syria, Lebanon, Senegal, Tunisia, the Palestinian West Bank and many other predominantly muslim countries, is a secular state.
Why can’t the islamists of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria learn from these great countries and these great people who have proved to the world by their conductwhat a civilised, humane and decent religion islam really is?
Boko Haram insists ontrying to give islam a bad name and the challenge that they have thrown down to us is one that we must take up vigorously.
Yet despite all the evil and ugliness that we see around us in Nigeria today we must not allow ourselves to loose sight of the light. St. Francis of Assisi whose name and memory has been resurrected by the new Pope Francis once said ”all the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of one candle”.
And he was right. The darkness of Boko Haram will not extinguish the light of Nigeria but it is time for us to bring a firm end to their carnage before it is too late and before all hell breaks loose. Though bitter the truth is this- Nigeria will not know peace until the blood of every single one of the over 4000 innocent souls that have been cut short and slaughtered by Boko Haram, Ansaru and all the other Al Qaeda-affiliated islamist terrorist groups that have plagued our land and bled our people in the last 2 years, is fully avenged.
Until this is done that sea of innocent blood that has been shed will continue to cry out to God in heaven for vengeance and it will attract all manner of misfortune and curses on our beleagured land. My solution to the Boko Haram scourge is simple and clear.
The President, the Federal Government and the people of Nigeria must join hands together, rise up as one and seek them, their secret backers and their secret sponsors out.
They must be unmasked, brought to justice, systematically eliminated and sent to hell where they belong. Enough is enough. Call it what you like- a crusade, a war against terror, a fight for justice and righteousness, a war against the kingdom of darkness, the final battle for the soul, liberation and independence of Nigeria or any other name that you choose.
Let us take our country back from these heartless men called Boko Haram that were sent to our shores by the devil himself to slaughter and torment our people and to paint our land red with the blood of our women and children. Mr. President needs to wake up, smell the coffee, rise up to the occassion and do his job diligently by defending and protecting the lives and property of the Nigerian people effectively.
He must have no sense of restraint and he must give no quarter in this war.
Yet if for any reason he cannot muster the will to do so then I would have to agree with my brother Dino Melaye that it is time for him to do the honourable thing, to resign and to leave the job for someone else who has the guts, the strength of character, the sense of urgency and the courage to do what needs to be done. Fani-Kayode was Minister for Aviation under the Obasanjo administration