THE METELE KILLING FIELDS

These are sad times indeed.
When news broke last week of a terrorist attack on a Nigerian Army base in Metele, Borno State, many of us hoped it was the usual social media hype of a non-event. This was especially so since there was silence from the military and mainstream media.
Little by little, information started filtering in that a massacre of immense proportions may have indeed been visited on our young soldiers fighting for their country.
Several controversies were weaved around figures of dead soldiers whose bodies have not and could not even be retrieved because the barbaric terrorists were making in impossible to do so. From about five, some figures have risen to above 100 slain and over that figure missing. No one has confirmed any figure. In this information age, silence in no longer golden. In fact, it is more like silence means it is the truth. So our government and military information managers needs to do more.
I am pained! But my pain can of course not be compared to that of the families of the massacred soldiers who would have been hoping for a miracle that the news was fake as usual.
The position of the grieving families brought home my experience with my father 46 years ago when as a young man just finishing secondary school, I wanted to enrol in the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, as a cadet. Some officials had come to distribute NDA forms to final year students who were interested in joining the military and come out a few years after as junior officers, i.e. 2nd Lieutenants.
There was a portion to fill at the bottom of the form which absolved the Army in case anything happened to the applicant. When I took the form to my father to sign, he asked me if my head was correct; that how can he sign such a thing which was like a death warrant he was signing for his own son?
Well, I couldn’t join the Army. But people do every day. If there’s any advert today for joiners, I’m sure there will be many applicants in spite of the current mourning mood. Some people genuinely want to serve their country. Unemployment makes others apply for any job! It’s like conveying the families of air crash victims to the crash location – they will still go by plane!
Our hearts and thoughts should go to the families of the bereaved at this time.
The Nigerian government must find out how the massacre came about and if there were things that should have been done to prevent it but wasn’t done.
Who did not do what they should have done?
Who did what should not have been done?
This is not the time to sweep anything under the carpet.
Families are in pain from their loss.
People are scared for their country.
We should be confident in saying ‘never again’; but is there hope in that confidence?
These terrorists seem to be gaining in confidence. Why?
Photo credit: Pinterest.

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