By Inibehe Effiong
Dear Christian and Muslim youths in the North East of Nigeria,
Let me begin by saying clearly that I share in your pains and agonies. I understand the untold and excruciating sufferings that you are experiencing in these harrowing season of ferocious and heartless attacks against you, your properties and loved ones. Even the most beastly and heartless human being should sympathise with you.
However, I am very displeased with the way and manner you are responding to the unabated bombings, slaughtering and killings that is being perpetuated against you by the Boko Haram sect. You seem not to appreciate the urgency of now and the historical significance of what is going on in our/your land. This is what precipitates my letter in the hope that you will retrace your steps and change for the better.
It is utterly foolish for you to be insulting, abusing and attacking each other on social media when you have a very deadly common enemy (Boko Haram) to fight. How can you be dissipating your energies and resources accusing one another of sponsoring Boko Haram when the same Boko Haram is killing both Christians and Muslims, and targeting both Mosques and Churches? Isn’t that illogical, shameful and self-destructive?
What we expect from you now is to close ranks, come together, and form a formidable alliance and resistance army against the monstrous Boko Haramites. Do not get me wrong, I know you are unarmed “bloody civilians”. But I also know that no guns, bombs or other weapons of war can conquer a united people.
Have you thought about those unarmed protesters in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Ukraine who despite the threat of being gunned down by military tanks, continued to march forward until they brought down dictatorial regimes? Presently in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and other nations afflicted by violent sectarianism and terrorism, there are youths like you that have risen strongly in defence of their fatherland.
So what stops you from doing the same?
I am very aware that you have an established command of leadership. Therefore, I expect the Emirs of Kano, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and other affected states to urgently enter into dialogue with the Chairmen of the Christian Association of Nigeria in those states and work out practical modalities for self defence against Boko Haram.
I expect the Muslim youths to form a protective barricade in Churches during the Christian Sunday services and Christian youths to do the same in the Mosques during Fridays’ Muslim Jumat prayers. It is possible. We did it during the Occupy Nigeria Movement; we can do it again.
Mere talks without actions will not solve the problem. You must develop security consciousness and strategies that will enable you to identify the members of Boko Haram. If these senseless criminals actually live with you and you grew up with them, then it is incumbent on you to bring them out. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. This is a war against all Nigerians; Christians and Muslims alike. It is now about humanity.
Sadly, I have also observed that politicians from the two leading political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have exploited the ongoing crisis and have divided your ranks. Again, it is foolishness for you to allow them set you against one another.
You need to realise that if Boko Haram kills you in their next attack, the way they have killed countless others, you will not live to see 2015 and both the PDP and APC will continue to be in existence without you. It is time for you to relegate political partisanship and save the future of your unborn generations.
For other Nigerians who by their actions are frustrating the unity of purpose of the Christian and Muslim youths in the North East, posterity will judge you. It is very naive to think that because the bombs are not falling at your door-post, therefore it is not your concern whether the North East is reduced to arches. We know where and how this attacks started, but who can tell where or how it will end?. Let us advert our minds to the fact that Injury to one is injury to all.
Do we still have a government in Nigeria? When will the President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of this country rise up to his constitutional duty? When will he desist from staying idle while those he took oath to protect are being roasted like worthless animals by a demonic and senseless group? When will this appalling blood bath end?
North East Muslim and Christian youths, history will not forgive you if you do not rise up today and say enough is enough. Will you come together now and fight Boko Haram or will you remain antagonistic to one another?
The choice is yours.