BY MOCK SAMUEL KURE
My eyes were filled with tears after listening to the Hausa programme of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) interview by Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai who shocked listeners that the mass killings in Nigeria are not significant to cause concern for the nation. Casting blame on the media for sensationalizing the issue of killings in Nigeria, the governor said it was unfair to assume that the nation was under security threat just because there was a breakdown of law and order in one village or area of the state. Without any form of doubt, the governor’s BBC interview was not only unfortunate, but reveals his nature as one who does not care about the lives of Nigerians.
Was this not the same governor who lost his two children and Nigerians were sympathetic to his losses and identified with him during his mourning period? Perhaps, God took the lives of his children to enable him feel the pain of loss and probably placed him on a platform for to empathy. Those being killed may appear to be just as a number, but they are cherished memories who once represented the dreams of many. Just as Governor el-Rufai’s lovely kids, Yasmin and Hamza, were once so dear to him, those killed were perhaps dearer to the hearts of their loved ones who still grieve because of the failure of state to protect them from merchants of death.
How comes now el-Rufai can now declare without an iota of introspection that the massive killings in the country are inconsequential and that it was only the media that were sensationalizing the massacre? As a political leader of the state that has been enmeshed in killings, when can these killings be enough to attract the attention of those in the corridors of power?
How many people must die before the killings are considered significantly enough? When dare bandits unleashed an attack on Birnin Gwari and killed no fewer than 100 persons; can such mass killings not be considered a significant milestone in the nation’s killing spree? When peaceful Nigerians going about their duties are slaughtered in Zamfara and hundreds murdered in cold blood; can it be said the media were engaged in the sensationalisation of a unjustifiable murders? Little wonder, considering the mindset of the governor, he embarked on campaign trail, instead of condolence visit, to Birnin Gwari during the recently conducted but inconclusive council poll in the state.
When Adamawa and Taraba that have become troubling cynosure of killings, with several thousands of people displaced, was there no cause for alarm because the bloodshed are happening in or two state? Or must Nigerians not lose sleep as Benue State was turned into a graveyard of mourning, with several hundreds, if not thousands, killed, including clerics and innocent worshippers in worship centres? If that does not cause the governor to tremble, is he not disturbed at the reported reprisal killings that took place in Makurdi in response for the killings of the two Catholic priests and worshippers?
Plateau is still enmeshed in violence once in a while, with residents of the state sleeping with one eye opened. Just when we think we are past the era of bloodshed, the angels of death fly over our skies and cast grief in our hearts. We recall past killings that have turned Southern Kaduna into a mass graveyard. Just last week, another “insignificant” two people were killed and three (3) others injured in Pasakori Community of Jema’a LGA. Should we keep silent because it involves few members of the community? Has el-Rufai not been told by the writing of the late Dele Giwa that one killed in cold blood is synonymous to a thousand killed in pogrom?
More worrisome, el-Rufai has told the world that what is happening in Southern Kaduna is ethnic clashes? Who are the ethnic groups involved in clashes? What are the issues behind the crises and why has the Kaduna State Government proved incapable of getting to the roots of the problems despite being in power for nearly three years? Since he claimed that his government has resolved the Southern Kaduna crises, why is there outburst of killings in the zone?
As the father and leader to all citizens and residents of Kaduna State, he owes everyone the right to protect their lives. The pain and anguish over the murder of a citizen should be same to the killings of hundreds by terror gangs. The memory of the slain in Goska, Bakin Kogi, Pasakori, Godogodo, Aso, among many other victims of mining site attack, including the killing of innocent commuters in Birnin Gwari and Chawai attacks, are living memories of the failure of state to guarantee the lives of the people. Until el-Rufai begins to see citizens as human beings who are created by God Almighty and worthy of protection by the government, their lives will continue to be insignificant to his administration.
Three years down the road, the el-Rufai administration has brought untold hardship and destroyed hope in many homes. Instead of the government bringing succour to the people, it has brought despair and poverty to the people. Our primary schools have been turned into feeding centres and the school feeding programme reduced to fleecing exercise for a few chosen one. Thousands of teachers have been sacked, while civil servants who are yet to attain the mandatory age of 60 have been forced to resign. Yet, there is no hope for their severance allowances. They die in installment as they wait for the retirement benefits that are gradually becoming a mirage. The Kaduna State Government has also denied scholarship to students, just as sacked Local Government employees, victims of verification are still awaiting their terminal benefits that may not come.
Leadership is a trust and those who betray such trust will have the hereafter to contend with. While death is inevitable, the failure of leaders should serve as a wake-up call to do the right and not hide under some excuses to justify obvious leadership deficits. As a Muslim and leader, the governor ought to be reminded that the Almighty God will demand from him what he did with the mandate given to you to exercise authority over the citizens.
Kure writes from Kaduna and can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org