So a village in the Northern part of my country, Nigeria, was just recently attacked by the terrorist sect Boko Haram and local officials in the village say that about 2000 persons lost their lives in that attack. About the same period terrorists also attacked the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France and 12 persons were killed. On Sunday about 1.6 million persons including 40 world leaders took a march of solidarity along the streets of Paris and it was recorded as the highest turnout on record by the French Government.
All of this is well and good, but what happened to the attack in the village of Baga in Northern Nigeria. I see no one holding hands in solidarity for the lives lost in Baga. Does the Nigerian Government see terror acts by Boko Haram as such a commonplace that they do not care that 2000 of their own citizens were lost in an attack? Today, Monday, the defence ministry released a statement claiming that the lives lost in the attack was no more than 150 and that figure included “many terrorists.” This might just be the Nigerian Government trying to downplay the threat of Boko Haram, as done many times in the past but it does not change the fact that lives were lost.
Our own dear President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, expressed his condolences for the victims of France but stayed silent on Boko Haram’s attack on Baga. Media Analyst Ethan Zuckerman said that Jonathan is “understandably wary of discussing Boko Haram, as it reminds voters that the conflict has erupted under his management and that his government has been unable to subdue the terror group”. Elections in Nigeria are set to take place on February 14 and he obviously doesn’t want to seem like an incompetent president. NEWS FLASH! Most of your country already sees you as incompetent because you always hide behind your fancy words and your cabinet while your country takes beating after beating by Boko Haram. Even the the Nigerian minister I most expected to speak out about the attacks didn’t. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, our finance minister, tweeted this on her official twitter page, “Terrible incident. Our deepest sympathies to the journalists and their families. We are one with France in mourning #JeSuisCharlie”. She made no comments on Baga.
I do not care whether 2000 lives were lost, 150 lives were lost or even just one life was lost, no life should be taken for granted. I envision the day that Nigerian leaders actually care for the people of the country and don’t just see the people as stepping stones to their political aspirations so they can sweep every bad report under the rug.
Je Suis Charlie, but I am Baga too. #BagaTogether #WeAreAllBaga.