Last Thursday a Boko Haram terrorist attempted to blow up the Borno state Government secretariat in Maiduguri. As Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman described, police officers stationed intercepted the suicide bomber forcing the coward to detonate his bomb at the gate. This tragic event immediately claimed the life of one of the officers while the second, he narrated, died of his injuries later in the hospital.
The story ended there for Nigeria.
The media reported it as above. No names were given of the heroic officers by the army, the police and the media too failed to find and provide the names of these two martyrs.
Nigeria is busy. Nigeria does not really care what the names of victims and brave officers are. Too many things are happening; too many people are dying premature deaths and the identities of the masses, ordinarily police officers and soldiers does not really matter. What matters to us is the numbers… TWO officers died. ONE died instantly and number TWO died at the hospital.
500 were killed in Agatu. 50 were killed in Enugu. 200 were killed in Dalori.
The media at least gives us the numbers while the army, police and ministry of information gives nothing.
If Boko Haram or terror herders or the Army killed me tomorrow, Nigeria would simply say, ONE was killed yesterday.
It gets so loose, the government agencies actually see it fit to unnecessarily and extrajudicially kill 7, 8 or even 1000 that the other numbers and elite may be happy. It’s just numbers after all.
Talking about the elite, the story is entirely different. When that minister died, we saw how the media and government addressed his death for several days. It was a day of mourning. It was not a number that had just passed but a person. A human being.
A new friend, Abdallah brought this social breakdown to my attention in conversation yesterday. He said the Chief of Police Arase will not even visit the family of the deceased TWO cops.
I said, they won’t get compensated. He said, they won’t even get their entitlements, talk-less compensation.
It was a sad moment of realization and reflection.
We agreed that it is not only about the government’s lack of care, but the media, and the people in general. Perhaps too many have died for us to care; or perhaps we simply lack that aspect of humanity. The masses don’t count, not to us, not to the media and definitely not to the authorities.
I thought it was impossible for Nigerians to create a picture and name public record of the dead but when hundreds of IMN Muslims were massacred in Zaria, I saw for a first time that it was actually possible to care, organize and get a complete list of names with pictures and not just numbers. The movement collated a list of names and images of 700, later updated to 750 victims.
Perhaps it’s too expensive for our government to coordinate. Or perhaps it is insulting to them and they do not see this “annoying” act as trust and confidence reinforcing. I don’t really know and at this point I don’t really care. My heart is with the families of the brave TWO who died in Borno that we may be safe.
May their Creator who cares about them, receive them warmly and may He accord their family the respect, compassion, empathy and support that they deserve in these trying times.
The TWO police officers are my heroes.
I care about them and their identities and have sent out ward for their identities and contacts to be retrieved.
The many NUMBERS of soldiers that have died fighting Boko Haram are my heroes.
I owe their families and wards my life.
I send them my prayers and on behalf of our ENDS.ng organisation, I promise to assist any of them who contacts us in any way we can as soon as we can.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah; @EveryNigerian; also on http://Naija.Live online Radio.