I am having to write about this and to escalate this issue to the level of a petition on the matter of two men that we saw killed in the most cold-blooded manner on social media, by soldiers of the Nigerian Army. I haven’t been able to find rest since I saw that video. See https://www.facebook.com/hikimaman/videos/2641452925871382/.
In the video, we saw as two men and their laden donkeys were marched forward by men of the Nigerian Army even as they hailed themselves as ‘the executioner’. The sheer temerity of filming such a heinous crime boggles the mind. I shared the video on my Facebook page and as usual when it comes to serious issues, I got a few views and even fewer shares. The original video, shared by one Abba Hikima, has been viewed by a paltry 7,700 people around the world, but many Nigerians – especially muslim and from the north – dropped some very deeply sad and bitter comments. These things usually has consequences. I have seen heinous videos from the Boko Haram warfront but none has made me this sad. Injustice has taken our country to this state of infamy as we keep sweeping stuff under the carpet.
I have always said we have not got to the bottom of the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria. It is fully an intelligence warfare, and an asymmetric warfare. Oftentimes, such conflicts have different layers of engagement. Many interloping players come into the fray, it’s hard to know sometimes what the origins and ramifications are and also an army of players line up to make money from the misfortune – and mass death – of others. They say wartime is whoretime. Boko Haram is whoretime for millions of our poor peoples in the northeast and beyond. People’s lives have been made miserable, shattered and summarily ended. Tens of thousands have been killed for nothing. In fact the way the ‘war’ has played out, only the innocent, and the poor, get killed. That is why I am concerned about the two straggly old men that were mowed down by men of the Nigerian Army in that video. It doesn’t matter if that was the singular mistake made by the Nigerian Army since the insurgency. An injustice to one person is an injustice is an injustice to all. It is terrible that Nigerians have chosen to skip over that and busy ourselves with our daily gossips. The Press is totally unconcerned because these men are not connected with influencers. Social media aficionados couldn’t be bothered as well.
Nigerians have gone through so much trauma since this Boko Haram thing made its debut. It was like magic for most of us. Bad magic. And we have been taken through a rollercoaster. We were once told this was a religious war and many made fame and fortune spreading the religious angle. But except for the totally biased, it is more than evident that more Muslims have been killed because of the randomness of attacks and the region involved. Some people spun the issue as a tribal affair, but thankfully that has also been shown to be untrue. The only pattern I have been able to draw is that the war is somehow targeted at poor people. Almost everywhere we have seen carnage, a mass of poor people have died. In Abuja alone, we saw bombings at Nyanya bus stop which killed many poor Nigerians just trying to catch a bus to work. At EMAB Plaza, the women who sell bananas were targeted and blown to smithereens. We also saw these guys at Kuje night market where poor mothers sold small stuff to put their children through school. Also in Kaduna, I remember a bombing at Sultan Abubakar junction right in the middle of Okada riders, and many more targeted at stoking anger among the poor. The catholic church at Madalla, near Suleija, where the ‘targeting of churches’ started, was not posh at all, but it was a catholic church and so the event gained global attention. Patterns. Patterns. Patterns.
So back to the two poor old men. Even if they were caught on the side of Boko Haram, being evidently unarmed and also obedient of the instructions of the soldiers as they were marched over more than 200 metres, they ought to have been taken prisoners. If they were caught on the side of Boko Haram, is there any chance they were held hostage by the BH guys themselves? From the conversation that went on in the video, these men seemed helpless, not aggressive at all. What sort of training do our soldiers have? What is going on in the north east of Nigeria? I know that soldiers go crazy at the warfront especially when faced with brutal murderers like Boko Haram, but that does not give them the right to kill the unarmed at will.
We as a people and a country should occupy the moral high ground here. I recall incidences at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq, which buckled the US Army. See https://en.wikipedia.org/…/Abu_Ghraib_torture_and…. Perhaps Nigerians believe we needn’t make an issue out of our own soldiers’ excesses on the warfront but how do we attain humanity? Killing at will, and unnecessarily is not a thing that our Army should be caught doing. More so, why did they put that stuff on video? What sort of ‘tripping’ is that? Do they think that they will be hailed for being valiant; smiling to the camera while being hailed as ‘the executioner’, shooting people pointblank, and ending lives when they weren’t being shot at? Who even leaked the video? Is that our own Private Manning? Or Edward Snowden? Is he passing a message about the kind of things that have been going on in that war? Is anyone being recalled and questioned by the Nigerian Army and the authorities in general? Also, if such actions are rife, it is certainly a vote of no confidence by the soldiers in their ogas and the politicians who have often put them in harm’s way without as much as bullets. This madness will come back to bite us in the butt; all of us. Already we hear of 150 policemen who went AWOL upon being deployed to BH territory.
Those two poor men deserve justice. We want to know their names. We want to know that location. We want to know what’s going on in that asymmetric war. We want to know the meaning of Boko Haram – which the president said was nothing when he was struggling to get into power in 2015. We need to reset this country to normalcy. We have hemorrhaged humanity – and blood – too much. We need to save ourselves.
I even need to make a case for the two donkeys. Yes. There is something called animal rights. What did the donkeys ever do to the soldiers for them to be shot to death? Are the donkeys members of Boko Haram? Do they deserve the bullets wasted? I know that many readers will laugh at the case being made for the donkeys. Those donkeys are innocent. We have no right to waste lives of any living thing if we aren’t being threatened by them. May we attain the level of humanity that the rest of the world have since taken for granted
Justice for the two anonymous peasants please. Citizens X and Y, and their donkeys.