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THIS AGE OF FALSEHOOD

with DANN JACOBS

I am trying to understand what Boko haram insurrection is trying to achieve, and also President Jonathan’s difficulty in dealing with it.

Jonathan doesn’t see who he is fighting. Boko haram actions bother on insanity. They are also killing their own people and ruining the economy of their own area. In fact, that part of the north   has no economy again. If the wretched people of that region are to survive, it will be by miserable hand-outs that will just manage to keep them breathing, not necessarily living. So what are they trying to do? It all looks like nemesis and payback time – from what they did to Biafra. That’s what God does to tormentors of his people.

Let’s assume they want to seize power through violence. They don’t have the education to hold power. It will be a rule of barbarians. Barbarians ruling civilized people won’t work.

President Jonathan has vowed that Nigeria will never yield to boko haram’s evil campaign of escalating violence. They can only confront it and vanquish it. How do you wipe out an enemy that is mixed up with your population? They use them as cannon fodder and also as hostage.

One mistake the national confab made was not to have had a committee on boko haram, insecurity and militancy. The job of this committee would have included the Chibok girls’ abduction. Sorry, we missed that opportunity.

But the outcome of such a committee’s work is predictable. It should have recommended non-military responses to boko haram in addition to the military approach. Those non-indigenes and non-Muslims they asked to go home should be ordered to leave. This is no surrendering of sovereignty. It is to, in the meantime, cool the temper of the killers on this point alone, hoping it stops them from further killing. If in spite of this, they go to other places to kill, that’s another matter, requiring another approach. Conceding to one or two tolerable demands of the sect is a way of keeping them at bay and saving innocent lives, thereby frustrating them. This is a partial defeat for them.

Another measure that can curb the madness is economic blockade of the entire area. That will induce internal revolt there, pitting boko haram elements against their own people. This is thinking aloud and offering alternative solutions that may be more effective than the ones in use.

We must assume that the people of northern Nigeria (wherever they are) have sympathy for boko haram. Without this assumption, the war against boko haram will never make a

head way. Every northerner is suspect in the protection, sponsoring, harbouring and defending of boko haram militants. Anything short of this is dangerous sentimentalism. This is a truth we don’t want to tell ourselves. It is like saying that someone who was once a Biafran has stopped being a Biafran. Once a Biafran, always a Biafran.

Jonathan is fighting principalities and powers we were warned about in the Holy Book. These are faceless entities without flesh and blood. God gave us the armour for defeating them – truth and righteousness, which we are determined nationally not to use. We must wear them about our loins and as breast plates. You don’t go back to God in fighting the demons. He gave us the weapons and declared our victory over them and finished with it.

But since we reject the weapons, the principalities and powers are overcoming us. We can’t have peace any more, the very opposite of insecurity which is our main problem in this country for a very long time.

Have you been seeing the group photographs of the Chibok girls on TV for days now? Are these the very girls we are shedding tears for? How come they are so relaxed, orderly, looking well-behaved and comfortable in the bush, under the tree? I saw no sign of anxiety on their well-powdered faces. They were smooth and clean in new dresses covering the whole body up to the head. They didn’t look like people in forced captivity, running through the bush for about a month now. What’s going on! Even if they were in the best of conditions while in captivity, they wouldn’t look that way.

Remember they were women folk, taken in their sleep? They must have been in night-gowns or wrappers. Some must have been barefooted. Could they have been asked to dress up before take-off? Where did they have their bath? Were there soap, towels and buckets, enough in stock for them (276)? Where did they get water? Did they all bath naked in the so-called forest while their abductors were looking? Women mistreated and exposed that way would be shy in front of the camera. But these ones were even posing and smiling. Where did they feed? Did they travel with their food cooked or raw? What of the perishable items? Where were they preserved?

Were they not worried about their parents’ and relations’ safety back home, knowing how rampaging their captors have been? They did not look like girls in trouble or troubled.

Are these not another set of girls? They cannot be the same people we are crying for. Common! Why can’t the government of Nigeria be honest with us for once? Did the government ask any question?

We have heard stories about mutiny in the north among soldiers. If this is not the case, people cannot be in hot pursuit of the girls and their abductors since the incident without catching up with them by now! Were they travelling with jet and our own soldiers were moving at snail speed? There is more to boko haram and the federal government’s response to it, than we can ever know, or they are prepared tell us. It is the age and environment of falsehood in which we find ourselves. Fortunately, foreigners are here to help us deal with boko haram. But I think their value will be more in telling us the truth

we cannot tell ourselves, than in killing boko haram per se. They propounded the theory of mutiny in the army, which was promptly swept under the carpet. It was suppressed immediately. That theory supports the notion that some soldiers are perhaps refusing to do things when they are supposed to do them, playing truancy maybe about their duties.

It will be a long drawn out war with boko haram. To settle it, one side will be worn out and surrender to the other. It may be any side. This is what people are afraid of in suggesting a dialogue with the killers. If boko haram will be defeated like Biafra, the entire area where they are will be wiped out. That’s heads will roll both of good and bad people. In the end that territory will also be lost to either party. It must be a devastated no-man’s land at last if the matter is settled on the battlefield. The effect of this to the entire country of Nigeria is what nobody can contemplate yet.

Our age of falsehood began with colonization. It was a military conquest to rob and plunder. They falsified it as colonization. We denied ourselves this truth. We wanted freedom. They baptized it independence. But we became more dependent than ever. Thus falsehood was transferred permanently into Nigeria. Now we have internal crisis. We depend on foreign aid to quell it. We can’t call a spade a spade about boko haram. We can’t say how many were killed or maimed. If it is ten we say three, sacrificing truth for so-called patriotism. If you tell lies about your country, that’s patriotism.

We can’t say who was killed. If they are Igbo, everybody has to be silent on that. If they dare complain we face them. It is patriotic to hide the true facts and figures of the victims.

Falsehood, falsehood upon falsehood, that’s how the principalities and powers have taken over in this country. Only truth will make us free. That’s our only victory over principalities and powers. Otherwise your guess is good as mine. Nigeria has incorrigibly adopted falsehood and corruption. That’s the problem I see there.

 

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