By Dons Eze
Years back, each time we tuned to some foreign radio stations like the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), or the Voice of America (VOA), or some television stations like Aljezerra, we used to hear stories about the daily killings in countries like Lebanon, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, etc.
We would suppose such atrocious acts to be in the outer space, or way back in the Hobbesian era, when man was in the state of nature, the state of no government, the state of lawlessness. We never imagined that such daily killings would ever happen in our own country, Nigeria.
But these days, it has begun to dawn on us that what we saw happened in those days in Lebanon, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, was nothing to compare with what is currently happening in Nigeria.
Just a few days ago, media reports had it that between April and June this year, a total of 3,133 Nigerians were violently despatched to the world beyond in various parts of the country. This makes an average of 35 killings everyday. But those in authority in Nigeria do not seem to be bothered. They keep thumbing their chests, that they are performing, that they are very popular.
These violent deaths were as a result of Boko Haram insurgency, Fulani herdsmen and bandit attacks, kidnappings and abductions, clashes by different gang or cult groups, as well as attacks by Unknown Gun Men.
According to the report, a total of 296 security personnel, which included police officers, soldiers, customs personnel, DSS and NSCDC officers, were killed during the period.
The breakdown of these deaths through violence by geopolitical zones shows the North West zone recorded 895 deaths; North Central: 867; North East: 655; South East, 293; South South: 247; and South West, 177 deaths.
Further breakdown state by state, shows Zamfara leading the pack with 481 deaths, followed by Benue State with 473 deaths. Borno State, 444 deaths, Niger State, 277; Kaduna, 175; and Kebbi State, 145 deaths.
Imo State had 108 deaths; Yobe: 98: Ebonyi: 85; Rivers: 84; Katsina: 82; while Anambra and Oyo states recorded 72 deaths each.
In Plateau State, 68 persons violently lost their lives; Taraba: 60; Akwa Ibom: 59: Delta: 40; Cross River: 33; Osun: 31; Sokoto: 30; Gombe: 29; Ogun: 24; Adamawa and Lagos, 23 deaths each; while Enugu recorded 20 deaths.
Ondo State had 19 deaths; Edo: 17; Kwara: 15; Bayelsa: 14; Nasarawa: 13; Abuja and Kogi had 11 deaths each, while Abia and Ekiti also recorded eight deaths each, and Jigawa State, one death.
Notwithstanding this daily slaughtering of human beings like animals across the country, those who manage President Buhari’s image, like Femi Adesina, Garba Shehu, Bashir Ahmad, etc., would make us believe that Muhammadu Buhari is the best thing to happen to Nigeria, while his popularity is soaring.
Bashir Ahmad, for instance, in a recent video clip, showed President Buhari trekking all the way to his residence after observing Eid el-Kabir prayer at the Daura Eid Ground in his home state of Katsina, with crowds “cheering” him, and the President, perhaps, challenging any bandit to dare touch him.
In the same vein, Garba Shehu challenged the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to stop dreaming of winning the 2023 general elections, because “Nigerian masses will still reckon with President Buhari and will never abandon him”.
Garba Shehu, who spoke shortly after observing the Eid-El-kabir prayers in Daura with Buhari claimed that “the President enjoys unshakable support not only in his hometown, but also across the country”.
President Buhari himself, also believes that he was very popular, these killings, abductions of school children by bandits, claims by Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgents to have hoisted their flags in some parts of Borno State, apart, but would want historians and intellectuals to be factual in documenting the activities of his administration.
“The future of this country will be shaped by the diligence and honesty of those who document history and provide analysis of the situation,” he said.
Buhari told some APC Governors who paid him Sallah homage in Daura, that “the security situation in the country has improved,” compared to what it was before 2015, when he came to power.
For us, if President Buhari thinks himself to be populat, and that nothing happened to him when he trekked to his house in Daura from the praying ground, let him divest himself of the hordes of security men surrounding him, and let’s see what would happen.
Again, let our President trek on the streets of Ibadan or Onitsha without security guards, the same way he trekked in Daura, and let’s see whether people would be clapping for him. Perhaps, Buhari might not know the difference between those cheering him, and those jeering at him.
*Dr. Eze, KSJI, a veteran journalist, lives in Enugu