In most cases, NOTHING. It’s as sad as it’s true. Here in Nigeria, when a dear one is kidnapped, we raise our voices in prayer, we organise Vigils and Novenas, we begin a scurry of activities, which unfortunately mostly end nowhere. It’s one grandiose hypocritical cycle. The more it repeats itself, the more hypocritical we get.
Today I visited a priest colleague who had recently survived a Kidnapping. As I listened to the gruesome tale of what he had been through, it became clearer to me how much we have all failed in this country. I saw with my own eyes the blood stained scars he had sustained from many days of merciless beatings. I cringed as I tried to imagine the trauma this experience had plunged him into. I tried to quantify the amount of pain and anxiety his immediate family had felt during the days of his captivity…
We tell ourselves we’re a believing people, who have surrendered totally to God’s will. We make excuses for our collective ineptitude and irresponsibility by quoting Scripture, while telling ourselves the lie that our lives as Christians consists in accepting whatever sufferings that may come our way. We’re so WRONG!
We know the problem. Yet we can’t address it. We WON’T address it. “Throughout history, it has been the INACTION of those who could have acted, the INDIFFERENCE of those who should have known better, the SILENCE of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph” – Haile Selassie.
As the body of Christ, our collective silence isn’t God’s will. It CAN’T be God’s will. Our head, Jesus Christ himself, stood up to the corrupt leadership in his day and got murdered for it. His forunner, John the Baptist, stood up to a corrupt leader in his day and lost his head as a result. Nearly all the Apostles of Jesus were murdered because they REFUSED to get used to evil. Where then did we inherit this culture of SILENCE that has become the order of the day? Where are the prophets?
Last year, precisely on the 23rd day of November 2020, I wrote an article titled: INSECURITY AND KIDNAPPING IN NIGERIA: WE’RE SITTING DUCKS!
I had written that article in the wake of the Kidnapping of a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, who was picked from his parish at St Anthony’s Catholic Church, Yangoji, after armed bandits raided the community and shot sporadically for about 30 minutes.
My major point in that article had been to decry the rising spate of insecurity in our beloved nation Nigeria, while we sit like condemned helpless ducks, waiting for our turns at the butcher’s table.
Again, more recently, on the 21st of May, 2021, I wrote another article following the gruesome murder of a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Northern Nigeria, Fr Alphonsus Bello, whose lifeless body had been found abandoned in the farmland behind the Catechetical Traning School in Malunfashi, Sokoto Diocese.
In my earlier article, I had categorically stated that “our security system has always been fraught with flaws, but under Buhari, it is in tatters. Under the incumbent commander in Chief of the Armed forces of Nigeria, criminals have become so emboldened, they can abduct a bus-load of people in broad daylight, without fear of being apprehended…” (see “Another Catholic Priest Murdered in Nigeria: Matters Arising).
In my latter article I noted that “many of my colleagues say that it’s time to bear arms and redeem our nation. But this would only make matters worse. To tow that path would be to make Nigeria another Somalia, where different War Lords call the shots in their own self acclaimed territories. Fr Israel ANAWEOKHAI makes this point clear in his earlier article “HAS BUHARI SOMALIASED NIGERIA?”
I rather advocated that “we must move away from our seemingly safe cocoons and begin speaking truth to power without fear. We must occupy the streets in loud but peaceful protests against this failed government…”
It’s even become more expedient to take this matter most seriously. I know many folks like me who are absolutely frustrated at the situation that’s become the norm in my country. I know many like me who simply wait for the right authorities to give us the marching orders to begin litanies of endless peaceful protests across the country.
I know that we can speak truth to the corrupt leaders of this nation and get them to LISTEN. I know that if we truly want to do something about our porous security situation, we CAN. I know that WE CAN’T CONTINUE LIKE THIS.
So why aren’t we doing ANYTHING?
© Oselumhense Anetor, 2021.