The leadership and followership of Americans stood up when some Black Americans were killed and asserted that Black Lives matter. It came from the pulpits of both Catholic and Protestant churches, from mosques, from temples and from political parties. GOP’s response was tame but it is on record.
Not everybody believed that the killers’ stand was wrong but all agreed that killing was not the solution. As President Assad is killing his people, the world arose in anger as they did when Saddam and Gadhafi did the same things. Initial condemnation came from Syrians, Libyans, Iraqis.
How different is Nigeria’s. Nobody in Nigeria is speaking out as President Buhari is killing peaceful demonstrators at first in Port Harcourt and now in Onitsha. At PH two citizens were killed and in Onitsha nine others were killed by the men in uniform in both cases PMB’s troops shot and killed unarmed demonstrators bringing the total Buhari killings to eleven in five months of his administration. Since the demonstrations have not stopped the civilian killings by the “man of God” is bound to rise.
If a president killing his people is bad what about the reactions of politicians, business leaders, religious leaders, civil rights advocates, internet warriors, etc.? The reaction is a deafening silence. Not a word from Imams, bishops, “men of God”; nothing from the Senate or the House; nothing from Human Rights groups, Nothing from governors, etc. Nothing but silence.
The question becomes: why this silence?
I offer these guesses:
1. Nigerians are cowered by Buhari’s administration given his antecedents. Nobody wants to “mess” with him. If this is the case it is dangerous indeed. He will be emboldened and we shall eventually pay the price. Ask Germans’ of Nazi era.
2. Killings from kidnappings, armed robberies, Boko Haram, accidents etc., have denormed the citizens to the extent that the killings by government has become so normal that it is no longer news.
3. Past military governments followed by civilian governments have made state executions standard. One recalls the disappearances or political murders during Abacha, Obasanjo, and Yar’Adua’s governments so that Nigeria’s attitude is “so what? “ The only exception to this rule is President Jonathan. I do not recall a suspected political killing in his six years which might be part of why he was considered weak.
Nigerians loose when they see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. People may not agree with the idea of a free and independent Biafra, but that should not prevent fair minded people from condemning the killing of unarmed civilians. Any well trained police force should be able to handle an unarmed crowd. They should have and do possess crowd control weapons such as tear gases, batons, etc. that would force a crowd to disperse.
But this initial use of force was not even tried before the killings started.
It is obvious that killing was in the mind of the government from the get go. Otherwise how does one explain the presence of the army, navy, and air force in this combined operation? It looks as if Biafran war has been declared. If this was accident how come that the Head of State has not addressed the nation and lamented the killings and called for high powered investigation into this nefarious action by his men in uniform?
I will not be surprised if Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and MASSOB get together in mass demonstration for the burial of their fallen heroes which could result in more confrontation and more deaths. I will not be surprised if they dedicate Bridge Head in Onitsha as “Buhari Cemetery” and start burying all the dead’s from Buhari’s war there as PMB’s gift to SESS peoples.
I have warned severally that a stitch in time saves nine. Release Nnamdi Kanu and save Nigerian lives should be the battle cry of Nigerians. Killing Nigerians, be they the advocates of Biafra independence, or otherwise should be condemned from the church pulpits by church leaders, from political podiums of all political parties, from the Houses of Parliaments of all states, from all mosques, from all temples, from Federal House, to the Senate of Nigeria. Let the market places, from town unions, from farm lands, from cattle ranches condemn all civilian killings.
If we keep silent because the dead are Igbo, the ethnic origin of the next group may not be Igbo. If we say “good for them”; “they deserve what they are getting” now will we be ready to do same next time?
Enough is enough.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba, Boston, Massachusetts