By Justine John DYIKUK

Eleventh September remains a day that will be difficult to erase in the annals of America. The gory sight of flames on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre which housed nationals of different countries, was one tragedy too many.  The black smoke that covered the skies, scores of death, sight of helpless victims in the pool of their blood, voices of women and children in the rubbles and the efforts of the police and other rescuers was a ‘dark night of a soul experience’ for Americans and other humane creatures around the world. This piece sets out to reflect on lessons of 9/11 for America and our own current war on terror.
Though it is twelve years since the onslaught, America has remained resolute on the war against terror and protection of her citizens. The attack was one with many lessons. For the American government and people, the melancholy only served as a psychic and practical panacea for unity and stamping out all acts of terror. The sad episode of the Boston marathon bombing was one case in point. The doggedness of their security agencies and all Americans at tracking the perpetrators only proved the point that the lessons of 9/11 were not thrown to the winds.
Whether it is in America or Nigeria, terror is terror and no human society succeeds when there is chaos. The declaration of State of emergency by Mr. President on Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States has no doubt brought some respite not only to the affected areas but the North East as a whole.
Traveling from Yola town to Mubi was quite revealing. The picturesque green plains, divinely arranged mountains decked with green fields reminded one of the beautiful mountains of Jos, the Plateau State capital; in-between the hills, neem and boabab trees decorate the paths that one feels like counting them as one drives through the terrain. The presence of the Joint Task Force (JTF) well-dressed in their peace-keeping khaki dutifully carrying out routine checks is worthy of note. The new camouflaged hilux vans plus the military attire marched the green fields perfectly; a match best watched in a Hollywood thriller.
In Song town, one could see people going about their normal businesses: women ridding motor-cycle, farmers busy on their farms, traders buying and selling precisely in Muchalla-Gombi market. Fulani men and women were all over the place finding pasture for their flock by the roadside and around the hills. In Gombi and Hong towns, commercial activities were normal. The horn of cars, automobiles, bicycles, animals, men, women and children disclosed what peace can offer.
Commuters were equally handy as motorists plied the road to and from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. The initial fear of the unknown, countless checkpoints and delays was surprisingly absent. This gave the writer a soothing travel-relief and a great feeling anyone embarking on a trip would wish to have. At this point, one felt that the hitherto caution and attempts from others to stop one from embarking on the journey was uncalled for.
The voyage took an unpleasant turn from Mararaban Mubi to Mubi town. The road was a jungle ride experience. On that road, you don’t need to practice kurukere or azonto dance to dig it out. Your disappointment is that you will dance while sitting down. A journey of about 18 kilometres, approximately ten minutes took over an hour; you don’t have to insist on your lane – cars just wangle their way through the rocky yet bumpy paths. Some even drive through bush paths all in an attempt to reach the border town in time.
The town was surprisingly calm with people going about their businesses. I have bored you with this details just to buttress the point that peace is priceless. Perhaps we have learnt from our own failures in tackling insecurity. Which attacks can we describe as our own 9/11? Is it the 1/8 eagle square bombing, 26/12 Madalla, 20/1 Kano or 26/8 United Nation’s House attack(s)? Whichever, these sad events should furnish us with renewed commitment to living in peace, reporting terror-threats and cooperating with security agencies to ensure the protection of lives and property. May the victims of all terror acts who have died rest in peace; may the living live in peace. God bless Nigeria!
Fr. Justine John DYIKUK, a Catholic priest, freelance writer/poet and Public Affairs Commentator writes from, Centre for the Study of Africa Culture and Communication, Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where he is a post-graduate student in Communication Studies/Pastoral Communication!
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