Another bomb attack yesterday in a lorry park in Yola killed 32 persons. About 80 others were injured.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is deeply saddened by this tragedy. We are seriously disturbed that violent death has become a recurring decimal in a geographical zone that has been peaceful and quiet for decades.
While we note that the imminent defeat facing the insurgents is the casu belli of recent bomb explosions, we urge the major stakeholders in the zone, particularly the state government and aid groups to focus attention on increasing awareness among the citizens. Tuesday evening’s bomb blast is one explosion too many. It amplifies the need to intensify citizen awareness more than ever before.
We suggest that announcements on radio and television should be repeated every fifteen minutes. Warnings printed on leaflets should be distributed to the public in motor parks, markets, mosques and churches. These announcements should educate citizens on what to do in these days of insurgency, how to identify a prospective suicide bomber, the danger in ignoring abandoned luggages, the need to report strange faces in our communities to security agencies, etc.
Nigerians must not leave the war against insurgents to the military alone. We must give our gallant soldiers every necessary support. America was able to stem bombings because its citizens were on red alert everywhere.
The military is doing what it should do at the moment. Boko Haram fighters are feeling the heat. They are now on the run and this informs their recourse to guerrilla warfare, striking behind the lines and attacking soft targets. The aim is to embarrass the Federal Government.
These attackers are not ghosts. The fact that they are still able to inflict serious damage implies negligence on the part of the citizens. The state governments in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe should raise the alert level to deep red.
The non-governmental organizations and aid agencies in the zone should enlighten citizens in the three states on the principles of self-survival and the significance of staying alive. More importantly, they must create awareness on the after-effects of falling victims of bomb attacks and the implications of losing one’s limbs in such circumstances.
As a necessary precaution, all the remaining state governments throughout Nigeria should be on the tip-toes of alertness. They should properly educate their citizens on what to do to avert bomb attacks inside commercial vehicles, in motor parks, markets, workplaces, bus stops, airports, etc.
We urge the press to take up this challenge. In view of the fact that educating the public is one of the cardinal functions of the press, the Nigerian print and electronic media is invited to embed in their publications and programmes short but catchy jingles capable of heightening security consciousness among the citizenry.
To round up, MURIC charges citizens in the North East in particular and the whole country in general, to be vigilant in order to avoid more bomb blasts. Peace is around the corner. We remind Nigerians that dead men can neither enjoy the dividends of democracy nor reap the fruits of Buhari’s change mantra.
All hands must be on deck: the army, the police, the state governments, the press, aid agencies, NGOs and all citizens. A united citizenry can never be defeated. We refuse to be intimidated by merchants of terror. But we must all remember that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Every citizen must therefore do the needful.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
E-mail: [email protected]
Yahoo Group: groups.yahoo.com/group/