They came to free the people from oppression. The Taliban of Igboland. Their motto is Freedom, Justice and Peace.
Another piece of colourful rhetoric. Freedom, but not of expression. Justice must be the jungle variety.
Their peace is, undoubtedly, of the grave. ‘Arbitrariness’ should be slotted in beside ‘Peace’ so that motto is not altogether unrecognizable in their ideology and everyday actions. The Taliban of Igbo land.
Recently, they killed an innocent Anglican priest.
The priest didn’t want his students to miss their WAEC examinations. He provided the children with security. When the army left, the Taliban came. They butchered the priest and burnt his car. The brunt of their stupidity is always for the poor.
They wondered where Reverend Emeka Merenu got the guts to defy their lords. When their small gods said that the punishment for defying their curfew was death, we all thought they couldn’t be that mad, so mad. That’s how they have screwed up even our thoughts.
Now the shit has hit the fan and the Taliban gods want to shift the blame of the deaths and destruction they ordered to their wayward urchins. These gods are not mad. They know we are cowards.
Anyone who defies the orders of their leaders could lose the right to live. How we wish they had other punishments. Like the Taliban of Afghanistan. These other Taliban gods sometimes flog offenders.
But the Taliban gods of Igbo land maim, kill and burn. The Medellin cartel was once renown for savagery. But they didn’t always kill offenders and opponents. Sometimes, they broke fingers. They had a little sense of proportion.
They were occasionally capable of three-dimensional judgment. Why wouldn’t the Taliban of Igbo land learn from their ilk? Why kill a priest just to prove that their leaders had nothing left to learn from the Ayatollahs and Kim Jung uns.
The Taliban of Afghanistan claim a divine mandate to carry out a righteous jihad and institute an Islamic republic. The Taliban of Igbo land claim a divine mandate to rescue the Igbo nation from Hausa-Fulani oppression and establish Biafra.
Their own Biafra, it seems, would draw inspiration from North Korea. Both Taliban groups command the fierce loyalty of large followership whom they feed appetizing rhetoric. They are also united in the ruthless enforcement of the doctrine of supremacy of their amir/leader.
The group in Afghanistan have been around for a while. They have seen war. They have shed some illusions of invincibility. The Taliban of Igbo land are yet pupils of Talibanism. Some of their actions, even by the standards of Talibanism, are predictably infantile.
Before they instituted industrial-scale cannibalism and started punctuating every order with death threats, sit-at-home was for May 30, only. Then, besides commemorating the losses of the Nigerian civil war, they used it to brag about their control of the Igboland. They thought it necessary to claim they achieved compliance without coercion.
That was long ago. After they discovered the utility of the Unknown Gunman, all pretences towards the winning hearts and minds were discarded like worn faded clothes. Compliance with their whims and caprices were subsequently purchased by death threats.
On the eve of 30 May 2021, Radio Biafra which had mutated into a university announced that anybody who defied the sit-at-home would be dispatched to God. They said, “Not even cockroaches would be allowed to jump from one cupboard to another.” Diabolical innuendos had become their preferred language.
To avoid any ambiguities, they said that anybody who disobeyed would be treated as “bushmeat.” Slaughtered and barbecued, perhaps. That diabolical metaphor has cost many Igbo lives. Despite the many heads that have rolled to make people sit-at-home, trumpeted claims of voluntariness have persisted.
Their idea of voluntariness must include heeding the warning sent by God through the director of radio Biafra. It has to be because not long after, Radio Biafra announced the transfiguration of the struggle into a religion.
Since the man in Finland and other Otimkpus overruled Kalunta and instituted Ghost Mondays for human beings, the Igbo nation has shed lives and livelihoods and bled faith in the concept of Igbo amaka.
A business intelligence group has put the financial losses at over 100 billion. But we understand the mentality of the Taliban. The common good is more important. Nothing is too valuable it can’t be sacrificed for freedom. The problem is that the Taliban’s concept of freedom can only be mediated through totalitarianism.
In addition, the Taliban of Igbo land are plagued by their particular self-serving definition of the Igbo and Igbo interests.
The Taliban of Igbo land. Igbos say the taste of faeces can be foreknown from the pungency of the heralding fart. What started as veiled anti-intellectualism is now running around naked as a variant of Bokoharamism.
Intellectuals urging caution and moderation became instant Otellectuals- a pejorative for the brilliant but spineless. Now, school children and their future have become disposable diapers to clean the mess of a god who was too blind to see that leaving England for Kenya, in his circumstances, wouldn’t even make a good comedy.
How can the poor children of Nkume Secondary School pay, with their potentially life-defining WAEC Exams, for the carelessness of a field marshall who sleepwalked in Kenya?
The most telling consequence of this reign of terror is the wilting of the courage, the castration, of the elite. They only mumble indoors. I won’t call their names. Those who have always bragged about their infinite capability to speak truth to power suddenly can’t find any testicular fortitude to condemn the Taliban of Igbo land.
They have surrendered to idiocy and barbarism. Igbo industriousness is now being undermined by a growing culture of arson, brigandage and arbitrariness.
Everybody seems cowed. Governors have state protection, yet they only waffle and mew when they should be roaring and stamping their feet on the ground. With gunmen roaming and roving, dispensing murder and liquidating dreams, erstwhile strongmen have taken refuge under their wives beds.
But we must cut the cowardly elite some slack. These new gods are more temperamental than the mercurial Amadioha. Offences against them are never slight. Every dissent is treachery and treachery is treason.
All offences were punishable by death, and arson. Well, perhaps the Taliban of Igbo land are not entirely to blame. They might not be savages. They have no prisons yet. When they come to power they will build many prisons. There, they will house their opponents on life imprisonment.
The priest is gone. He left a wife and young children. His body has been gathered and deposited in a mortuary. That’s all. The rubbles of his car would be swept away. The police might find the killers.
Those who gave them the assignment would deny them and label them “agents of the DSS.” The dead priest’s bishop is quiet. He might be scared for his life.
He doesn’t want to go to heaven yet. The church is strangely silent. The Anglican church won’t do anything. They did nothing when Radio Biafra mocked and belittled Christ. They will remind God that vengeance is his and reposition their heads so that goats can continue eating palm fronds on them.
Again, let’s call it prudence rather than blooming cowardice. So that we exonerate the clergy. They are bereaved. The Igbo clergy had been in tacit collusion with the madness for long.
Many priests allowed their antipathy against Fulani hegemony and perceived cattle-mediated Fulani expansionism to metamorphose into sympathy for hate, charlatanism and reckless self-determination. Reverend Emeka Merenu was different. May his soul rest in peace. He died like Stephen.
Nobody earns the title of a strong man by killing his brothers and kinsmen. A week ago, on another ghastly Ghost Monday, a poor man drove out his truck to make deliveries. At Anike-Onicha, they stopped him and killed him. They killed 5 of his apprentices and burnt his truck and goods. Every Monday they go around villages and destroy the wares of old rural women who can’t sit at home because they eat from hand to mouth. When Buhari came to Owerri rather than confront him with placards on the streets, they locked themselves and people in their houses.
Who would have believed that a group that placed a 100m bounty on Gov Wike’s head would see Buhari in Owerri and choose sit-at-home? If they are gifted with such an amount of tact then why can’t they see that they need to win hearts and minds rather than intimidate people into submission?
Freedom, Justice and Peace. That’s their motto. The Taliban of Igboland. Fortunately, the Igbo can’t have Kings. Though they might suffer temporary captivity, no Pharoah shall prevail over them.