Hardball had canvassed the issue of finding succor for the victims of Boko Haram insurgency until he was wearied out by the federal government’s seeming rope-a-dope tactics. Your remember legendary pugilist, Mohammed Ali in his hay days perfected this fighting stratagem in which he leans against the boxing ring ropes, shields his face and goads his opponent to pound the rest of his body. Because a great boxer’s body is as tough as a mass of polyethylene, you would badger at his body only to your peril. To drill our point home, the federal government may (unbeknown to it) have adopted a rope-a-dope style of governance to the effect that it is almost impossible to canvass for alternative policy options today.
The Boko Haram Islamists have levied intense war on a large chunk of the north of Nigeria in the past five years without let. No arm of government is seriously taking records but an estimated 5000 Nigerians may have been killed while about 15,000 may have been inflicted with various levels of bodily injuries. There are huge material losses too in terms of property, businesses, goods and cash. But nobody is keeping tab which is bad enough, but worse is that government has not considered any response to these hapless collateral outcomes of our current hate and terror regime.
This callous indifference may have pushed visiting United States lawmakers to make a strident call to the federal government to spare a thought for these victims. Being Americans and extant lawmakers for that matter, perhaps government would be apt to listen to them and act upon their appeal faster that it would hearken to a ranting and disgusting Nigerian columnist. But let it be done all the same and done quickly. The US congress men and women who came mid-June said they were in town as part of the global effort to ensure the release of the teenage school girls kidnapped in Chibok, Borno State since April 14, this year. Having assessed the atmosphere of disquiet in Nigeria, they opined that the larger victims of terror need urgent help.
Steve Stockman who led the delegation to Nigeria puts it this way: “The best thing that could happen is if we have a fund set up for those that lost their lives and for the families that remain here on this earth.”
Another member of the delegation, Sheila Jackson Lee said: “Today, we call upon the government of Nigeria to establish a national victim fund for all the victims who are suffering at the hands of the Boko Haram.”
Nigerians, including this column have shouted themselves hoarse on this matter which seem rather straightforward and commonsensical. Why has the federal government or any government for that matter not deemed it fit to set up a committee and a fund to begin to sort the numerous victims and grant them some reprieve? What we have experienced since 2009 is that after each attack, the dead are evacuated and often poured into a mass grave while the injured are taken to hospitals and largely abandoned to their fate.
While kowtow and bend over double to appease the terrorists as we was done for the Niger Delta militants, we must track and manage the poor victims in order to heal not only the physical wounds but emotional and spiritual wounds too. It is called atonement.