“Daddy, why did the bomb affect them?”, my young daughter enquired innocently. She had seen visuals of the hospitalised patients in the aftermath of the May 1 Nyanya bomb blast which had sustained the strings of dastardly attacks that had held the Nation under siege. The shock of the initial bomb blast at Nyanya some weeks ago had not fully sunk in when the news broke of the abduction of about 234 girls from their school in Chibok, Borno State. The wave of demonstrations in protest of the slow response of the security agencies to this embarrassing episode was just gathering steam when the news of another bomb blast broke. More harrowing was the significant target; a spot very close to the scene of the first Nyanya bomb attack.
Her initial question had prompted an explanation from her Mum that the wounded were affected by the recent bomb blast. I had just a few seconds to figure out how to navigate the innocuous question that followed, without triggering further rounds of questioning. Thus, began my laborious task of explaining what a bomb meant to a five year old and why so many people were wounded from its impact.
As I did my very best to quell her curiosity, my mind drifted to the parents that have lost sleep because they do not yet know the fate of their daughters after almost three weeks of incarceration and those that are still hoping against hope that the news of the loss of their child in the bomb blasts would turn out to be a ruse. I couldn’t help wondering where we were headed to as a Nation. Bomb blasts have become common place and the people’s psyche is daily inundated with images of bloodshed and news of horrific events.
The gruesome assassination of Dele Giwa in 1986 was the first time I can consciously recall that someone died of a bomb blast in Nigeria. He was the editor and founder of Newswatch Magazine and was silenced in his prime via a mail bomb. I was in secondary school then and still recall the shock that pervaded the entire Nation at that incidence. Before then, bombs to me, were restricted to the movies, war comics and “Juo Obinna”; Tony Ubesie’s classic Igbo novel, set during the Nigerian civil war, that chronicled the hilarious attempts of Obinna to escape conscription into the Biafran Army.
How the world have changed these few years. Now, weapons of war have become toys in the hands of unscrupulous elements in our society, who seek to achieve their despicable agenda by wanton destruction of lives and properties.
Our responsibility is therefore to rise up to the reality of the times and as one, repel the forces against us. Private Institutions and indeed every Nigerian must be on high alert. Heightened security must be put in place anywhere that a large number of people are likely to gather; churches, mosques, schools, parks, markets, malls, offices, hotels etc. Our security agencies must seek and implement whatever strategy necessary to tackle and overcome this threat. Like the hunter who must learn to shoot without aiming, in a bid to keep pace with “Nwanza” the bird, who had learnt to fly without perching, they must rise up to the occasion and outwit these maniacs who have turned our streets into minefields.
It is most importantly, a time for us to get up and pray for God’s intervention… that He that holds the heart of men, may turn these devious men around from their mission of destruction, that peace might reign again in our Nation.
Everyone who has a stake in this Nation has a role to play, as we engage this menace that threatens to overrun us.