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An Ode To The Vigilante Of Maiduguri!

Source: Dr. Ibibia Lucky Worika
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Local and foreign news media have consistently reported that suspected Boko Haram fighters have continued to kill members of vigilante groups trying to fight back against Boko Haram in Nigeria's Borno state. The most recent deaths occurred in two separate attacks on Sunday, 25th August and Monday 26th August, when men disguised in military uniforms stormed a meeting of one vigilante group in Bama, opening fire and killing 14 vigilante members.The second attack took place on Monday night in the Borno village of Damasak, some 200km (125 miles) away, when attackers crept up on sleeping members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, as they slept in a guesthouse and shot them dead.

Sad as Boko Haram's counter attacks are, they are not totally unexpected and could continue for some time to come. It is a natural consequence of a feeling, rightly or wrongly, of betrayal by their own people. I do not worry about Boko Haram's revenge attacks, which are expected. What I worry about is whether Nigeria's authorities especially the army and intelligence agencies are doing enough to protect these youths who in giving vital information have put their lives in danger, when they have no clear obligation to do so. Others have contended that the vigilantes of Maiduguri may actually trigger an escalation of the violence.Again, I do not worry about this. What I worry about is whether in not adequately protecting these, we are no sending the wrong signal that is neither salubrious nor beneficial to support the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.

Ever since President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three north-eastern states bordering Nigeria's north eastern boundaries with neighbouring countries Niger, Chad and Cameroon and the launching of an offensive against Boko Haram, whose major aim is to create an Islamic state in Nigeria, Nigeria's military has encouraged the formation of vigilante groups to help in this fight. So much has been achieved, yet so much more still has to be done. Boko Haram's counter offensive against these youths is clearly in bad taste and must be condemned by all right-thinking people. Beyond condemnation, enlightened self-interest suggests that, Nigeria's military and security agencies must begin a clear action plan with implementable strategies for protecting these youths from continuing onslaught of Boko Haram.

Permit me then tosubmit this Ode to the Vigilante of Maiduguri for the commendable bravery shown in the face of weekly atrocities of Boko Haram. Although I work and live in London and have never been to Maiduguri, I do have friends in Maiduguri and as a Nigerian, I feel every ounce of pain, suffering, determination and patriotism with which these youths have not only staked their claim to their land, but decided to place their lives on the line in defence of religious freedom and political tolerance. My candid opinion is that good deeds do not and should not go unnoticed. Besides, it was Edmund Burke, that famous Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher, who opined as far back as in the 18th Century that: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. It would therefore be a travesty of justice if after taking the bull by the horns, these youths are simply left to be slaughtered at the blood-letting and vengeful altars of Boko Haram.

From my very little corner of the world, this Ode is,therefore, a token of my appreciation for the selfless efforts of the vigilante of Maiduguri in service of our fatherland. It should be a testament that the silent majority of Nigerians at home and in Diaspora stand in awe of their candour, valour and sacrifice and are, indeed, appreciative.

At day or night they come
Disguised, or overt
Bearing arms – cudgels, machetes, guns, bullets and bombs!

To convert and to kill
That Western education is sin?
Whether we have a different faith
Or, that we share the same faith, but different zeal

Showing no respect for us in their view
Demanding we convert and or be killed
Oh Vigilante of Maiduguri!
You live yourlives that fear of death may never enter your hearts

You trouble no one about their belief, faith, political views or religion;

Yourespect others and demand reciprocity
Oh Vigilante of Maiduguri!
Always gentle and friendly to another
Always giving a word or a sign of salute when meeting JTF or a stranger

But, revealing in word, sign or deed when meeting evil in disguise

Oh Vigilante of Maiduguri!
Showing respect to all people and truckle to none
Standing firm in the face of terror
Terrorism that has maimed, killed and desecrated your land

Oh Vigilante of Maiduguri!
Your belief, your faith, your valour, your lives
In great esteem, we cherish and dearly hold
To you we owe this Ode!

Your lives in defence of your land
Your livesin service of your people
Indelibly, will forever remain in our hearts

A noble death song we prepare for the day and time
If and when you go over the line of life
Nigeria will forever hail thee!

Cos' the march against evil is won
On your valour and sacrifice
Oh Vigilante of Maiduguri!

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dr. Ibibia Lucky Worika and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."