Keen watchers are least surprised that Boko Haram terrorists have struck again in Borno State, killing vulnerable and unarmed farmers.
Since the tragic incident, on Saturday, Nigeria and its hapless citizens have, been thrown into deep grief and sorrow, over the unwarranted destruction of lives and properties.
Slaughtering human beings, as if they are animals, is quite provocative and totally unacceptable.
The massacre has triggered widespread condemnation against the bloodthirsty pillagers, as well as the nation’s leadership for its ineptitude over the rampage.
It is preposterous for this administration to continue, to watch idly, while people are hounded to untimely and violent deaths.
Beheading and all forms of decapitation of innocent citizens as well as foreigners are certainly incomprehensible and unjustifiable.
The audacity and frenzy, exhibited in killing people, by Boko Haram terrorists, just as their brethren in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and other Arab states, is driven by a deep-seated philosophy.
In Nigeria, for instance, this militant squad, allegedly, born and bred for bizarre political and religious expansionism has metamorphosed into a Frankenstein monster, as depicted in the horror novel by English writer, Mary Shelley.
The primeval and pernicious ideology, upheld by these insurgents and their cohorts, is at the root of this savagery.
To worsen matters, the current leadership and security operatives have been widely accused of lack of will to defeat these murderous group, due to cultural and religious affinity.
This is quite glaring, because for over a decade, state forces have been unable to rein in the dastardly group, despite their superior weapons.
Therefore the heavy dependence on conventional armament and tactics to this guerilla warfare is not working and cannot work.
This is clearly evident from their modus operandi – focusing on soft targets, raping women, kidnapping residents, arming children and bombarding worship centers, houses in rural communities, in the north.
The government, state authorities, army and the good people of the region, as well as other actors in the entire Sahel region, who understand these bizarre doctrines more than other people, with a different orientation, must find the good will to expunge all forms of radicalism and negative notions, often cited by these insurgents, as reasons for their nefarious activities.
The escalating violence in these areas, is not only sad for Northern Nigeria, but also for the country, which has spent incalculable funds on trying to tame these rabid killers.
In the latest onslaught, in Koshebe village, near Zabarmari, in Jere Local Government Area (LGA), the militants allegedly slew innocent rice farmers.
The United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon in a statement on Sunday, described the attack as horrifying saying, ‘it is one the deadliest attacks by the terrorist group, who have been raiding the Northeast region for over a decade.
‘I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in villages near Borno State capital Maiduguri.’
Recall that ‘in early afternoon of 28 November, armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields in Koshobe and other rural communities in Jere LGA. Reports we are receiving are indicating these innocent farmers were the victims of this callous violence.’
Kallon also lamented that several women may have been kidnapped in the attack. ‘We have also received reports that several women may have been kidnapped. I call for their immediate release and return to safety.’
His words: ‘The entire UN system and the humanitarian community working to provide life-saving and development assistance to the most vulnerable in Borno State is outraged by the incident.’
‘Such direct attacks against innocent civilians jeopardize the ability for the most vulnerable people to survive the adversity they are facing, and which we are striving to alleviate.’
The incident, he noted, ‘is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year,’ while emphasizing the urgency for ‘the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice.’
‘It is unfortunately one of too many such attacks targeting farmers, fishermen and families who are trying to recover some livelihood opportunity after over a decade of conflict.’
‘I strongly condemn this attack and any act of violence against innocent civilians and I firmly urge all actors on the ground to respect international laws and humanity.’
He further noted that ‘rural communities in Borno State are facing untold hardships. Helping them to farm land and rebuild livelihoods are amongst our priorities and the only way to avoid the looming food crisis in Borno State. They and all other civilians need to be protected and spared from any kind of violence.’
‘Innocent women, children and men desperately need food and other support and assistance, particularly at a time when we are recording some of the highest levels of food insecurity in Borno State. We owe to do our utmost to help them survive these difficult times,’ he added.
The dastardly act has sparked outrage across the country with most Nigerians blaming the Federal Government for its refusal or perhaps inability to halt the mindless killings.
The reactions have been massive, with many respondents on social media lambasting the current administration for colossal failure to secure the lives and properties.
Sadly the only respite from the presidency was the usual lame-duck statement condemning the criminals.
‘I condemn the killing of our hardworking farmers by terrorists in Borno State. The entire country is hurt by these senseless killings. My thoughts are with their families in this time of grief.’
Meanwhile, Nigerians have lambasted the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, over his comments on the issue.
In a series of tweets posted on Monday he said ‘the question I tried to answer on BBC was: Did the security sign off on the area as being free of mines and terrorists? The honest answer is, no.’
Governor Babagana Zulum said ‘President Muhammadu Buhari should listen to the calls of our people to end the madness of insurgents.’
He also urged the Federal Government to collaborate with Chad, Niger, Cameroun and neighbouring countries to dislodge the terrorists from their dens particularly, in Sambisa Forest, Lake Chad region and Mandara hills in Borno and Adamawa states.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), described the slaughter as ‘extremely wicked and devilish,’ in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.
‘This horrific killing of compatriots comes as yet another of the recurring horrid testament and badge of failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration to secure our nation and guarantee safety of life and property in our country.’
Similarly, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) in its reaction, blamed the current administration for this untoward development.
Its spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, called for an immediate overhaul of Nigeria’s security architecture, arguing that ‘the north had been abandoned to the mercy of insurgents, bandits and rustlers.’
As usual, several prominent citizens, namely, Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, called for more military offensive against these bombers and merchants of death.
These wanton killings have become an odious national emblem, reflecting a systemic rot that requires serious rectification.
No doubt Nigeria needs urgent international assistance in trouncing these enemies of society and their supporters as well as funders.
Ojukwu is a Fellow of Hubert H Humphrey Fellowship and journalist. She is a campaigner and advocate for improved socio-economic and health services for all citizens, as well as the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGS). Please kindly send feedback to [email protected]