RIDDLING WITH A BARRAGE OF BULLETS: A NIGERIAN CULTURE OF HUMAN CARNAGE ETCHED IN TIME (WEEKLY SECURITY DASHBOARD FOR THE PERIOD DECEMBER 26 – 31, 2021)
Boisterous and full of life, he was joyously humming to the lyrics of the melodious song as he drove back to the Parish on December 24 before a barrage of bullets riddled through his system that cut short his life at the peak of his prime.
38-year old Reverend Father Luke Adeleke, accosted by gunmen at Ogunmakin in Obafemi Owode LGA of Ogun State, was brutally murdered on his way back to the Parish after celebrating Christmas Eve Mass at an outstation.
Recall that in 2019 such incidents literally broke the internet, as the murder of priests followed each other in quick succession. Barely a month after Rev. Fr. Clement Eziagu was killed; Rev. Fr. Paul Offu became the next victim of such gruesome murder in Enugu State. Hardly had the body of Christian faithful recovered from the shock than Rev. Fr. David Tanko was killed in Taraba State and after killing him, his assailants set him and his car on fire.
The latter incident led to the Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu give marching orders to the Commissioner of Police, Taraba State Command to fish out the killers of Rev. Father David Tanko who was gruesomely murdered in the most inhuman and barbaric manner by unknown persons in the early hours of August 29, 2019, at Kpankufu Village along Wukari Road on his way to Kofai Amadu Village in Taraba State.
The death was so gruesomely pathetic, that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, during the National Muslim and Christian Youth Summit in Abuja in 2019 decried the spate of killings that could create religious and ethnic tensions in the country.
However, the current spike in the massacre has led to Nigerians bemoaning the litany of investigations and arrests with no prosecution and conviction.
They crave justice, lamenting that criminal activities have reached a crescendo that ought to go beyond mere investigations to bringing culprits to book as a way to nip increase in this spate of killings and other dastard criminal activities in the bud.
Nigerians yearn for justice for the common man on the street as a means of rekindling hope in the government and security of lives and properties again.
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Because it seems that the only qualification to merit being riddled with bullets in Nigeria is by being a resident of a country where the sacredness of human lives have lost meaning, and the government fails to give an account of human lives entrusted to its care.
Suffice to say that Nigeria has become a nation where unleashing a barrage of bullets at the slightest encounter has degenerated into a norm. Victims of such encounters that make it alive are abandoned to their fate, while the “unpopular ones” have their cases swept under the carpets.
Reverend Fr. Luke Adeleke represents an iota of the voiceless Nigerian citizens whose deaths neither trend, but whose killers need to be brought to justice as a deterrent to other perpetrators.
Fr. Luke Adeleke is just one of the many whose death has inflicted indelible trauma etched in time.
Will government leave no stone unturned to bring the perpetrators of his death to justice to affirm their genuineness and seriousness in the fight to exterminate insecurity from the grassroots and confirm that crime does not pay?
Alternatively, has the riddling of a barrage of bullets become an indelible national culture etched in sands of time in Nigeria?
How the government manages the killers of Revered Fr. Luke Adeleke will determine whether there still lies an iota of hope for the average Nigerian in the Year 2022.
The state of the nation has become one in which everyone, directly or indirectly, is grieving, with no one person devoid of a loss resulting from the ceaseless carnage of unarmed civilians.
What else may inform unleashing terror on an unarmed, hapless citizen and man of God zealously going about his mission and mandate as he drives home within the confines of the law, if not that his country has failed him?
The continuous degeneration of the nation’s insecurity into an endless abyss formed the crux of Bishop Mathew Kukah’s 2021 Christmas message titled “A NATION STILL IN SEARCH OF TRUTH AND VINDICATION”.
According to Kukah, the government has become oblivious of the cherished value of the sacredness of life.
Suppose the government was to live up to its responsibility in accounting for the human lives entrusted to its care. In that case, the President of Nigeria owes its citizens an explanation and answers about when the abductions, kidnappings, brutality, senseless massacres of human lives will end, Bishop Kukah reiterates.
Bishop Kukah’s assertion that the sacredness of human lives has gone with the winds in Nigeria further came to the fore when security operatives threw caution to the air on December 26, 2021, stormed St Peter’s Anglican Church, Nkwerre LGA, Imo State, in the middle of a service firing sporadically to make an arrest.
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In keeping with the trend of storming worship centres, it was not surprising therefore that in less than a week after the Nkwerre incident; bandits' upheld the norm by storming a Mosque in Magami District, Gusau LGA of Zamfara on Thursday, December 30, 2021 and kidnapped an unspecified number of worshippers.
As the Year 2021 wraps up with a record of deaths due to insecurity averaging 10,000 from January to December, what hope does 2022 hold for the average Nigerian?
How the numbers stand in 2022 would be a true reflection of how insecurity has been handled: increase, suppressed or reduced in line with improved security apparatus?
Will the culture of the riddling civilians and clerics with a ceaseless barrage of bullets thrive in 2022, or will the government go beyond words of promises to live up to the expectation of accounting for the human lives entrusted to its care?
The numbers will show.