Give fellow Nigerians Christmas

By Tony Marinho


COVID-19 second wave brings deaths approaching 1,700,000 infections, 77,000,000 worldwide, Nigerian cases 79,000, and 1,230 deaths.

It is Christmas, for Christians the celebration of Christ’s Birth, in 2 days. New Year in 9 days. Unfortunately, Christmas is submerged in the exploding ‘tradition’ of merchandising of Christmas- feferriti, food, feasting, fashion and ever more expensive presents often leading to parental financial lack in January. We need more emphasis on the memorial of the symbolism of Christmas- the joy, hope and faith in Christ as the Saviour for those who believe. Even as we rejoice in Christ’s Birth, almost every individual of every religious belief has been through some form of hell this year in the struggle to survive alive and not be dead, injured mentally or physically or dispossessed of farms, home, work or family.

For many Nigerians this is the first Christmas in an IDP camp or without a family member killed as a civilian, soldier or policeman while defending Nigeria or particular Nigerian ‘big men’. This year’s murderous ravages of Covid, herders, other terrorism and the post-ENDSARS mayhem and murders cannot be forgotten or forgiven easily. We ask what danger faces us in our homes, neighbourhoods, roads, offices and even schools? Stories abound of friend, brother, employee, employer, husband, wife turning on each other, or being victims. This has ruined traditional trust in within families and in every domestic staff and driver. Most tragic is the loss of confidence to be nice to theirs. Few dare to stop to help on roads, when approached by strangers or answering door knocks. Will we even get through Christmas alive is a real question? We ask what terror tomorrow? Who will be ransomed, killed outright even after ransom paid, attacked in traffic, stuck for 7 hours on a 1 hour Lagos Ibadan journey – a ‘construction characterised by a lack of construction’ – a political terrorism crime against Nigeria? ‘Merry Christmas and pray we will all be INVISIBLE to the enemy. Amen’.

Wonderfully, the over 333 Kankara Katsina students, youth wickedly abducted at gunpoint have been released. Their release does not erase the horrors of that traumatic incident in their own young impressionable minds and the minds of anguished family, friends and all true Fellow Nigerians. The impact of the attack is unimaginable with individual, community, government social, national and international negative ramifications. Nigeria will sadly climb higher on the list of ‘gangster, terrorist and terrorised’ nations with even more travel alerts than currently exist. Boarding schools will perhaps become extinct at this rate putting one more nail in the coffin of education as traditionally the education you get in a good boarding school is an extension of the education you get in a day school. I was in day school initially and boarding school in St Gregory’s College Lagos. Which parents dare risk a child to such insecure environments like schools? Imagine the terror among students and teachers as the attacking hoard on motorcycles using gunfire overcome the brave police. Nigeria has not yet thanked enough the brave police who returned fire allowing many to escape. Nigeria await the true story of the wicked attack and those behind the nefarious plan and the ‘rescue package negotiations’ agreement. Perhaps our President was not with his cows on his Daura farm, but secretly ‘leading the forest front’ negotiating directly with the criminals? How dare government initially claim the number was ‘only 10’? How dare they always say ‘only’ as if even one kidnapped or dead is acceptable? Do they think this is Lekki Toll Plaza shooting?

Was there any or enough help from the unseen foreign and even Nigerian satellites covering every inch of sky over every country at one point in the day or night? Was there an emergency request for ‘concentrated satellite interrogation’ of the surrounding 200-300km areas from area military commander to GOC, COA, CDS, DHQ, MOD, to the Federal Government through the Nigerian Foreign Ministry to the Doyen of Ambassadors to Nigeria and even UN agencies to quickly produce satellite images of the area in the timeframe and subsequent tracking of the approach and escape with 330 children? A column of 330 children or a column of vehicles carrying 300 children even 30 or 50 to a vehicle would leave a heat trail easily followed and projected forward to destination or backward to origin by satellite observation.  Where is drone information? Community whistle blowers are suggesting involvement of local terrorist bands with or without connivance of the dreaded and seemingly unstoppable Boko Haram and ISISWA.

Even though the Kankara children have been released, Kankara sadly in history joins the Chibok and Dapchi, both female schools, on the growing list of mass school abductions. Another school Mahatu had its abducted children thankfully freed after a military gun battle. Congratulations to our troops. Each of the previous abductions led to deaths and many missing. The imprisoned Leah Sharibu symbolises defiance and suffering – a ‘Fellow Nigeria’ abandoned by her nation failing to rescue by negotiation or force.

Politicians, your forebears put Nigeria in this bloodthirsty mess:  Be FLH -Faithful, Loyal & Honest and change from this Christmas.

Remember pray aloud ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS AND WE PRAY WE ARE INVISIBLE TO THE ENEMY’.  Feed and clothe others, not just your family this Christmas or next year we may all go hungry or be ‘not alive’ – a medically polite way of saying ‘dead’!