On February 25, 2014 the world woke up to the news that Boko Haram, the Islamist terrorist group in Nigeria, has once again invaded a secondary school hostel, this time the Federal Government College in the town of Buni Yadi in Yobe state and killed 43 students. The terrorists in the name of Allah hurled explosives into dormitories, sprayed sleeping students with bullets and even hacked a few to death. The death toll is still rising.
Since the news of the killings broke, I have been in a kind of dazed state of mind, heavy-hearted and not able to post or say anything on it. I have been kind of numb. I am numbed, not because it is the first killing of such, after all, just a few months ago, they did the same thing in a different secondary school, leaving about 35 young students dead. I think I am numbed because it is finally sinking in that this kind of barbarism has become normal in Nigeria. And the world would read this kind of story, look at the gross pictures of murdered children and just turn the page because it is no longer news.
We look at the horrific pictures of children with their intestines blown out by some bearded jihadists, we shake our head and sometimes express our outrage but within minutes things go back to normal. And the sad fact is these killings are now fast becoming part of what is ‘normal’. Children screaming in the middle of the night as their brains are blown up by some adults whose group’s name BOKO HARAM means ‘No To Western Education’, is now the norm in Nigeria.
I despair when I read posts of fellow Nigerians on the latest killings of Boko Haram. Many are busy calling on God (or is it Allah), to punish the evil doers. They pray for the dead students to find peace. They pray that God comfort the grieving parents. I read all these posts calling on God to act and I wonder about the logic in that.
It is not as if there is logic to the murders in the first place, after all the murders were a result of the illogical beliefs of some cowards who believe in a Skydaddy. Therefore when believers turn their posts on this travesty into proclaiming how their God is different from the God of these murderers, I despair more and just shake my head.
Gods are created in the sadistic, genocidal, egoistical and bigoted image of humans. Whatever makes anyone think their God is different?
What peace are the murdered children supposed to find after their cries for help in the middle of the night were conveniently ignored by whatever God you believe in?
What comfort are you hoping your God would provide to the parents of the murdered children when your God was a witness to the murder but chose to do nothing about it?
How dare you mention your God and go all out to defend your delusion when the splattered blood of these innocent children slaughtered in the name of God is still wet on the floor of their hostel?
Oh, how I despair!
As the country celebrates its centenary year, I wonder what good it was that in 1914, a British soldier and colonial administrator named Lord Frederick Luggard amalgamated the Southern and Northern protectorates known as the Niger area and from the suggestion of his then mistress, named it Nigeria.
What good has all the foreign religions that were imposed on these people of the Niger area done?
What we have are groups of people who seem to be forced to live together with nothing much in common besides the fact that they shared a vast area together now known as Nigeria and now share same imported religions, namely Islam and Christianity.
The Northern parts of the country are happy to embrace their Sharia law which allows them to take as many as four under-aged children as brides. It allows them to embrace their religious Almajiri (children begging on the streets on behalf of clerics) lifestyle and now the insurgents amongst them are trigger happy to blow up the brains of those who seek western education or ‘lifestyle’.
It is sad that religion provides a convenient cover for people to commit such atrocities.
It is also sad that religion provides a cover for people to be lackadaisical about seeking justice for the victims. They lazily claim “God has a plan”, “God is in control”, “Nothing happens without God.” These are claims that should necessitate the examination of the brains of those who spew such inhumane bullshits.
Adults, cowardly adults, invading the dormitories of sleeping innocent children in a bid to set them ablaze, spray them with bullets and hack them to death? What is left of our humanity?
How can the world continue to turn a blind eye to these atrocities?
How can President Goodluck Jonathan continue with his fanfare centenary awards?
How can any sane Nigeria turn up for that celebration knowing just what a fraud Nigeria is?
I am happy that a humanist, Nobel Laureate and much respected Nigerian, Prof Wole Soyinka has turned down his centenary award, calling it a national insult. I am beginning to think being a Nigerian itself is an insult.
Trade union leaders that should be speaking against this travesty were on a questionable retreat in Dubai, busy shopping for exotic cars with questionable source of money. I now think I wasted 10 years of my career life working for an organisation that I can barely recognise anymore.
Today I know I am not proud to be a Nigerian, but am I even proud to be human?
Of course, these atrocities are not just about being Nigerian but about the evil that humans do, justify and tolerate in the name of religion.
Men might still commit evil even if we wiped the slate clean and live in a non religious society, but at least we won’t have bearded men creeping into dormitories and blowing sleeping children up in the name of their Skydaddy.
We won’t have pedophiles hiding under religion to legally take children as brides. We won’t have people fighting and killing for so called holy lands.
We won’t have suicide bombers happily killing unbelievers and looking forward to the warm welcome of 72 virgins in paradise.
The list of atrocities committed in the name of religion is so long that it would take an eternity to name them all.
I am tired of reading about those killings.
I am tired of feeling this emptiness and rage inside.
I am tired of feeling this heavy kick in my heart every time I think of what the parents of those massacred children are going through.
I am tired of feeling this rage inside me that tells me I will definitely not hesitate to blast the head of these Boko Haramists if ever I was in the position to do so, even though I am against capital punishment.
I am tired of having these fanatics make me lose cherished parts of my humanity.
I am tired of being a Nigerian with their anti-LGBT laws, mob killings and religious rants. I am getting tired of being a human being.
However, in the midst of despair and all the inhumanity of man comes a glimpse of human kindness. In the midst of all the hate comes a flash of human love that says it is not all hopeless. I see a flash of human kindness and for a second my heart is lifted.
However, the existence of groups like Boko Haram is a constant reminder that humans are still barbaric enough to believe in a Skydaddy. And that is tiresomely sad.