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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Tears in high places

Adebayo Fasunwon

Many felt the impact of the massacre that shook Owo town as the burial of the faithful peaceful worshippers of their loving God and Creator of the universe, was held. Men, Governors, People in Power, and those who nature had indoctrinated not to shed a tear in public could only sing, ‘would my tears forever flow’, as emotions were freely betrayed. The death of the builders of nations and the hope of many was not the main cause of the torrent of tears. They were the outcomes of many thoughts and mingled regrets.

The Governor wept mostly because he perceived that he had failed in his duty as the Chief Security Officer of his State, to ensure the safety of the lives of the innocent in his domain; the wife probably wept at the sight of the living (orphans, widows, and widowers) who would suffer immensely due to the death in the cathedral. The Olowo of Owo, who is forbidden as a Yoruba King to witness corpses, would have wept in his inner chambers that an attack close to his palace could not be repelled by the Irunmales that protects the town; the Preacher who knows that death is inevitable would have wept at the thought of some of the slain going to hell before of negligence to the doctrine of salvation.

The youth in the town would be weeping due to their inability to face four men who came to unleash terror on their fellows, and sneaked away successfully. The Islamic clerics who entered the church to mourn with the dead would forever weep at the negative impact of wrong doctrinal teaching of their ‘religion of peace’ is having on the nation, given that the attack was credited to ISWAP. The entire Christian community would weep at the realisation that all over the country, they are being marked as ‘sheep for the slaughter’. Sunday Igboho, would be weeping under house restriction in far away Benin Republic at the infiltration of his homeland. To many, it is a season of unwarranted tears as blood mingled with the Holy Communion.

Truth be told, the hallmark of President Muhammadu Buhari’s close to eight years administration in Nigeria has been ‘tears, blood and sand’. The administration from inception had treated murderers as very important personnel, and rather than cutting them in the bud, had seemingly empathized, and allowed them to build their armoury for the slaughter of the innocent. When Samuel Ortom of Benue cried out against the murderous activities of herdsmen in his domain, he, rather than the murderers became the target of enforcers of law. Sunday Igboho who decided to cry against the deadly acts of the kinsmen of people in power was haunted, hunted and technically exiled while his Igangan homestead was levelled by the rampaging herdsmen.

While Sheikh Gumi enjoyed the protection of the State, Christian leaders who spoke against injustice were invited for interrogation. With huge sums of investment on the Tucano Jets, feared collateral damage grounded them, while Helicopters were allegedly delivering food and logistics to Bandits. The regime seems a safe haven for bloodletting demons and flesh-eating human vampires. While the activities of security forces against the killers of the innocent are just a flash in the pan occurrence, the rampaging onslaughts of wielders of destructive weapons are daily headlines in the newspaper. Unfortunately, just as many wept in the Cathedral, during the mass burial of the Owo victims, our President’s predictable reaction is the condemnation of the heinous acts, and a promise to ensure that such does not repeat itself, but the episodes of murder daily escalates.

Another hard truth is that tears do not pacify the adversary. Tears is a fuel that encourages the bloodsucking marauders to seek for more trophies of war. The tears shed would only result into the shedding of more innocent blood within the State and Southern regions of Nigeria in months to come. With all the tears shed by King David and his men at the abduction of their wives and children, nothing happened, not even did the Almighty God help them.

But when they heeded the call to ‘pursue, overtake and recover all’, their tears were rewarded with joy. Nigeria, and especially now, the southern part of the nation has become the venue of unconventional war. Unfortunately, with tears beclouding the sight, many seek for conventional tactics to win the battle. Those who kill and subject indigenes to slavery, baptizing them with homelessness, use illegal weaponries to propagate their victories, while the legal and law-abiding citizens are left to gnash their teeth waiting for legal reprieves which would never come. The time is ripe to accept the fact that we are at war, and the enemies would stop at nothing until freeborn become slaves and landowners become vassals. The time is ripe for the employment of unconventional tactics to tackle unconventional warfare. By the way, where is Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the security expert and consultant? This is an opportunity for him to show his grit and win some laurels.

Ondo State, and in fact Nigeria as a whole are reactionary fighters. People are waiting for attacks before reacting. Wars are never worn that way. If the weeping in high places must be stopped, the battle must be taken to the domains and the hideouts of the wicked. The same manner surprise attacks are unleashed on the innocent, so must it also be unleashed on the wicked. Given that the intention of the murderers is the extermination of the people and the occupation of their territories, that must also be the rule of engagements in dealing with them. It is high time Nigeria, and the Southern States desist from the tactics of arrest, to the tactics of extermination, else the carnage continues. One of the winning points of Chaka the Zulu was the swiftness of his soldiers at night, operating under the Cow horn formation of encircling their opponents, and crushing them all. Chaka the Zulu, did not wait for the enemies to invade, rather, believing that attack is the best forms of defense, took the battle to the gates of his enemies, and triumphed. The activities of the State against insurgents should be hard, fast and cruel to the extent as to deter future attacks against the people. A cue could at least be taken from Israel and the United States of America.

When a government has failed to protect the citizens, and knows so, it is legitimate for the people to protect themselves. Restricting the peoples’ access to weapons of defense is being an accomplice to the crime of murder. It is time to install alarm bells and watchtowers in every community, as well build up armories in every village and towns. The poisoned arrows must be developed, and scientists in all tertiary institutions should engage their knowledge in creating deterring weapons for the safety of the people. Remember that if Aroni does not die, Onikoyi would not rest from going to battles. The time is ripe for the Lisabi Agbongbo Akala paradigm of war. It is time for the Churches and members to ‘sell your coat and buy a sword’; time for workers to build ‘with one hand, while the other carries a weapon’, and to our Yoruba leaders, ‘Ewi f’alejo ko lo, e ti sasara b’agbo’.

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