Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Boko Haram: 500 killed, 100 killed, so what?

Priests pray for corpse of Boko Haram victims before burial
Does it really matter how many die daily from Boko Haram attacks? Who cares who the targets are? Who is interested in the body count? What difference does it make if 500 die today or 100 the next day?
Have the gruesome details of victims being burnt, slaughtered, or buried alive made any impact on us? Are we even able to count how many have been killed?
Nigeria has descended to the dreaded lethargy prolonged exposure to gory lawlessness creates. There was a time when loss of a few lives drew those magnificent comments about the sanctity of lives and measures that must ensure that we never went through the fatal paths again.

Lives were important. Their importance did not lie in the numbers, but the fact that each life counted, it mattered. Feeble as the efforts governments made to sustain lives seemed, we were aghast at every instance of security agencies unlawfully taking lives.
Digging graves to bury victims of Boko Haram attacks
Government vented its anger on groups that engaged in wanton destruction of lives and property. We had feelings. We were humane. We believed lives were to be taken only according to the law. Our wide condemnation of disorder, wherever it occurred, was heard loud and clear.
All these changed with the arrival of Boko Haram in 2010. Daily, since July 2010, the group has killed men, women, children, and the elderly and even stretches its attacks to security personnel and their abodes. The message has been that nobody was safe from the group.
Condemnations of these attacks have waned. They have become trite. Some defend them. Their frequency cannot be the reason for the askance we witness as criminals who seek sympathy for their causes, maul people to death. No reasons are enough for taking innocent lives.
Few societies would lose the lives Boko Haram is taking without acting more stringently against the group. Nobody or group that develops taste for killing like Boko Haram should be allowed to go free.
The only thing worse than the killings is the realisation of relations of victims that they would not get justice. They have further fears that they would be the next targets. The lenient manners of handling the killers emboldened them.
Our security agencies are under attack. Children are killed in schools. Women are murdered at home, in markets and places of worship. The message is that Nigeria cannot protect them. Many have reasons to believe unless government counters by bringing succor to the afflicted, and stopping the attacks.
All legitimate measures should be applied to end the attacks. We still believe in the sanctity of lives, and those who do not, deserve the full weight of the law.

Source: Vanguard Editorial
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