By Chioma Gabriel
As a little girl, I loved horror movies and would always wait till late night to watch the Hammer House of Horror, a British television series. The episodes were riddled with different kinds of horror varying from witches, werewolves, ghosts, devil worship and voodoo and sometimes, non-supernatural horror themes such as cannibalism, confinement and serial killers. I grew up believing such things were make-believe because they could never happen in real life but only on foreign television stations of America and United Kingdom.
I also thought the horror news about bomb attacks and terrorism were meant for other countries other than Nigeria.
Mais je me trompais. (But I was wrong)
Nigeria has since joined the league of ‘big boy’ countries that can be seen on TV the world over where human beings are butchered like cows, goats and fowls in the public glare. Now the whole world has seen that Nigeria too can make things happen! We are also happening people! And trust Nigeria never to disappoint.
Recently, we made international headlines again. The news spread across all cable TV stations like wild fire.
Terrorists killed more than 50 people in an ambush on an oil exploration team in northeast Nigeria. The attack in the Magumeri area of Borno state on a convoy of specialists from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was the Islamist militants’ deadliest in months.
And what about the several attacks at the University of Maiduguri?
The attacks were not a surprise. The surprise was that these attacks were happening after government said it has eradicated the terrorist group and killed Shekau, who seems to be a cat with nine lives!
Typiquement Nigérien. (Typically Nigerian)
Many Nigerians got worried when the nation started looking to find new oil reserves away from Niger Delta, which has been blighted by attacks from militants wanting a fairer share of revenue for local people.
Production in Niger Delta has been hit by the attacks from militants and Nigeria therefore decided to shift in focus to explore inland basins, including around Lake Chad in the northeast, where Nigeria meets Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Nigeria was not alone on this voyage of discovery. Both Chad and Niger are exploiting reserves on their side of the freshwater lake. Activities on the Nigerian side had to stop in November 2014 because of Boko Haram violence but the military gave permission to resume exploration in November last year. Exploration is centred on a triangle of hotly contested land stretching from Gubio in the west of Borno to Marte in the east, and Kukawa, in the far northeast corner near the shores of the lake.
It is yet to be established if Boko Haram is motivated by a desire to control oil in northeast Nigeria (just in case they eventually find oil).
That would make militants’ attacks in the Niger delta a child’s play.
And to what do you attribute the several attacks on the University of Maiduguri in the past six months?
No doubt, the institution is under Boko Haram siege. Insurgents from all indications are taking advantage of the porous border to enter the campus and attack residents. Before the institution started witnessing suicide attacks some two years ago, over 70 professors and several other staff and students left following lingering insurgency in Borno.
It is difficult to curtail terror.
In other climes, Al Qaeda is planning a come-back with the son of slain Osama bin Laden leading the pack. Hamza, bin Laden’s son, has sworn to avenge his father’s death.
Like Abiku, Boko Haram, the Islamic State affiliate is coming back to life.
Women and young girls in particular have often been used against civilian “soft” targets such as the university in Maiduguri, which teaches the “western” education the group despises.
Who would have believed when we were watching the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in the United States that Nigeria would one day be in the news for such sinister attacks?
The situation leaves nothing to the imagination.
Massacre here. Bomb blasts there. Kidnap here. Rape there. The Nigerian story of all times!
But for how long is this going to continue? Is this situation beyond solution?
We were always our brothers’ keeper, watching each other’s back.
But something has gone wrong.
Even in our worst period in history, it was never this bad.
Alors pourquoi maintenant? ( So, why now)
The attacks have brought divisions amongst religions, ethnic groups and governments.
We are now battling Boko Haram, ethnic agitations and herdsmen menace.
The attacks which created abject poverty in the northeast with many abandoning homes for safer places of abode, are coming back. The terrorists have again occupied Sambisa forest.
Add that to the recession that has crippled the country and see where Nigeria is headed to.
Military efforts appear to be failing. Many are questioning the competency of the joint military task force.
The terrorists have abused government in Nigeria and that feat alone defies explanation. And they have done it first and repeated times!
First, they turned school girls into emergency mothers and each time, the military claimed they have dealt with them, they always come back .
What is going on?