The challenge posed by boko haram terrorists in the northeast is still no doubt daunting. Although, the military has been able to root them out in most of their fortress, but the challenge is not yet over. At least, not until the people affected by the activities of the sects who are still in various internal displaced persons (IDP) camps are able to return to their homes, and carry on with their day to day activities without fear. A lot has been said on the various news outlets about the devastating level of destruction and the wanton killings that followed the crisis which unfortunately are still happening from time to time. Despite the going-on in this area, many of those living in other parts of the country still feel less concern about the crisis. Some are even saying it’s a northern problem, hence, it’s none of their business as long as the killings and maiming is limited to the north. But considering the humanitarian situation caused by the crisis, I think we might all become victims in the end. Yes, it is happening in far distant northeast but the effect could still be felt in other parts of the country.
If we remember, when the Niger Delta militants started kidnapping white expatriates in their area for ransom, many people initially felt they were merely collecting their due entitlements. The militants have however revealed to the millions of idle hands and criminal minds how lucrative this illicit business is. Today, the business of kidnapping seems to be booming across the country as people are being kidnapped almost on daily basis. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t matter whether you are poor or rich, some of these kidnappers won’t mind collecting even recharge card as ransom. The same can be said about the menace of herdsmen who maimed and killed innocent women and children in different parts of Benue state. Initially, some people in other parts of the country didn’t see any reason to be perturbed until they began to extend their malevolence activities to their backyard.
Like we paid in the past for violence that happened in other parts of the country, in one way or the other, we are all paying for the crisis in the northeast even though many of us knew nothing about it. Looking at the staggering figures (though, still small when compared to what some other nations without serious security threats vote for defence) that goes to the defence since the height of the crisis, you will agree with me that we are all paying for the crisis directly or indirectly. But for the crisis, part of what is allocated to defence would have been allotted to projects that have direct impact on the people. So for every bomb used on the terrorists or shots fired by our troops and allowance paid for their maintenance, it is we paying for the crisis.
For me, my concern is for the victims of the crisis who are mostly women and children. Some of the children witnessed the cruel murder of their parents and no one seems to care about their welfare. Many others have been out of school for the past two years and are roaming around. Of course, these children may never have a chance to make anything tangible out of life. Oh, it’s none of your business, right? Wait until they grow up to be one of the men of the underworld and cause harm to someone dear to you, or the girls among them becomes one of the women of easy virtue and infect a loved one with a deadly disease; then you will realize that we are all victims.
Shola Olayiwola is a freelance writer. He loves to write and defend the course of his country.