Opinion: Boko Haram: We are all casualties — Daily Times Nigeria

By Promise Adiele

Nigeria’s eclectic poet, John Pepper Clark, who recently journeyed to sleep with his ancestors, can be described as a prophet in certain terms.

When I use the word “prophet”, I do not mean those who daily drink from a common trough of deception and hallucinate with satanic visions to lace their pockets with lucre.

By “prophets”, I mean those who, in the practice of their art, envision tomorrow through the conscientious deployment of their talents.

JP Clark belongs to the latter category. The late literary sage and profound man of letters implicated both the Nigerian elite and those who died during the civil war as all casualties.

In his celebrated poem “The Casualties,” Clark says that those who died during the war are not the only casualties.

Those who lost relations and properties are not the only casualties too. In his identification of the casualties of the civil war, Clark includes all those who sponsored the way, those who sold ammunition to the warring parties, those who wined and dined while the common people died like cockroaches in the battlefield, those who could stop the war but looked away because they were benefitting from the war.

Clark summarily labels the two different categories of people as casualties. Of course, his use of casualties to embrace those who think they were safe during the war will shock many people, but Clark is true, always true.

By including the two categories of people as casualties, Clark implores us to accept a redefinition of casualties to include facilitators of bloodshed and accomplices of anguish in our national lives.

In this way, there are millions of casualties in Nigeria. While it is easy for us to identify physical casualties, those who lay dead, the moral casualties are more implicated because they will suffer untold harm in the now and hereafter.

The moral casualties are those who in one way or another are accomplices to the daily shedding of innocent blood in our country.

The souls of moral casualties will rot in hell and the tragedy they permit will trickle down their unborn generations.

Today, Nigerians are mourning the brutal killing of forty-three farmers in Borno State by the devil incarnates Boko Haram.

The United Nations reported that one hundred and ten farmers were slaughtered and many women missing after the Boko Haram attacks.

Nigerians mourn the death of these farmers with disgust.

Not because their deaths are more painful than the several deaths in the country which have become a regular occurrence, but because these deaths will continue, given that the commanderin-chief and his service chiefs are grossly incompetent or are not bothered about the utter failure in their basic responsibilities.

The bitter truth is that the deaths and killings will continue if nothing changes.

It is only a foolish man who will continue to do the same thing and expect a different result.

The question on every lip is when the next round of deaths will occur, who will be the victims.

As usual, we are all referring to the dead farmers as casualties. Of a truth, they are casualties but in this essay, I will refer to them as secondary casualties.

They are secondary casualties because they were all victims of a failed system, a comatose security apparatus that watches while Nigerians die like cockroaches in various parts of the country.

They are secondary casualties because their souls are not implicated in immoral negligence of duty.

They are secondary casualties because their deaths were not precipitated by their undoing.

Their only sin was a determination to farm and harvest their products. Unfortunately, in the discharge of their noble intentions, to harvest their crops, they were harvested by demons.

It becomes more enervating because Nigerians were informed not long ago that Boko Haram had been tactically defeated.

They have been defeated yet, they operate with murderous consistency.

They have been defeated yet they harvest human lives daily and inflict tragedy on our collective psyche.

Besides the dead farmers, there are casualties of different complexions in Nigeria.

We are all casualties of the prevailing economic failures in Nigeria, casualties of poverty, casualties of insecurity, casualties of Lekki shooting, and casualties of the industrial strike by university lecturers.

Millions of Nigerians are secondary casualties of a rotten system that they know nothing about.

But of course, we are implicated as casualties because we are responsible for enthroning the present macabre dance of death which we all like to call leadership.

I am a secondary casualty because I voted in 2015 under inclement weather without any idea that I was leading myself and millions of my compatriots to Golgotha for crucifixion.

Yes, we are all secondary casualties. But there is another category of casualties which we do not know. I am talking about the primary category.

These sets of casualties are the first on the list, they are the worst category of casualties and unfortunately, they are not aware that they are casualties.

As JP Clark pointed out in his poem, those who died during the war are casualties but those who aided the war or benefitted from it one way or another are also casualties.

Their recompense will be worse than the fate of those who were slaughtered at the battlefield.

The primary casualties are those who have the responsibility to rise to the occasion and stop the rot in the country but decide to connive at the situation because their bread is buttered in the process.

The primary casualties, the first on the line, are those who celebrate Boko Haram terrorists by pardoning them and treating them better than the toiling Nigerian worker.

I saw a video of Boko Haram terrorists pardoned by the Nigerian state in a posh restaurant with their khaki uniforms eating exotic food and drinking choice liquid. This is the kind of system that operates in Nigeria.

Murderers who behead people in thousands and bury them in shallow graves, psychopaths who rape women and girls are rewarded with a pardon and treated as national heroes.

Those who are accomplices, those who facilitate this kind of injustice in Nigeria are primary casualties and their souls will be troubled in Hades.

Primary casualties are those who Lai and defend a system that is gradually dragging Nigerians to a common grave, those hand-in-gloves with terrorists to decimate Nigerians, they are primary casualties.

It does not matter that they are temporarily enjoying fame and wealth, their poisoned hands will one day, sooner than later enter their mouths.

Nigerians will continue to exist but the comeuppance of our traducers will be nothing compared to the fate of the cockroach in the gathering of fowls.

Further casualties are those who think that the dead farmers in Borno State died because they did not obtain a military permit before going to their farms.

Primary casualties include those who embezzled the funds meant to procure ammunition to fight Boko Haram.

They are the reason why the terrorists are not defeated. Primary casualties are those who fund Boko Haram from different parts of the world ensuring that they lack nothing.

READ ALSO: Borno Killings: Boko Haram reveals reason behind massacre

Those who protect the funders of Boko Haram are also primary casualties. Indeed, it is easy to decipher that in the face of uncertainties in our country, in face of different challenges, we are all casualties either secondary or primary.

But I believe absolutely that the wicked can never go unpunished. I have already received my punishment for sabotaging my compatriots in 2015.

As casualties, we will receive our punishments and posterity will be vindicated.

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