The recent murders and abductions in Bornu state make it impossible for anyone – in any state of Nigeria – to live at ease. The best response to terrorists is of course to live as normally as possible, for their object is to disrupt normalcy and infuse the public with paranoia. But an even better response is to visit the devastated with a humanity that overwhelms the inhumanity of the terrorists.
For a start there is no reason why our Army cannot respond to terror attacks within thirty minutes of a gunshot or explosion. Communications should be normalized and security alertness set at ‘red’. The idea of ‘army’ troopers arriving like undertakers hours and hours after an attack is anathema to the concept of empathy.
We cannot continue at ease when hundreds of thousands of parents send off their children to school daily, as for the last time. Perhaps Mr. President should move out of Aso Rock and take residence in an Abuja hotel or something – and only return when his army have found and returned our abducted children. He must dig deep for a gesture, an idea, big enough to galvanise his security forces and his fellow Nigerians into one cohesive union that says thus far and no further. He must draw a dramatic line in the sand that converts the billions spent on Resources into Results.
To turn from these regular reports of grief to an unalloyed normalcy is to chloroform our own humanity. This crisis must call out the president in Mr. Jonathan. It must crystalise the human in us. We are no longer at ease, and the enemy of our peace must feel the steel of our resolve.