I have been living in one of the North-Eastern States under the proclamation of a state of emergency,
A region considered by most a precarious place to dwell as it is the strong hold and insurgency base of Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad popularly known by its Hausa name Boko Haram meaning “Western education is sin” the dreaded terror group that has gained world prominence from her notorious, widespread killings and atrocious attacks on innocent and defenceless citizens.
The militant organization was founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002, the organization seeks to establish a “pure” Islamic state ruled by sharia, putting a stop to what it deems Westernization in all ramifications to which since their emergence they have pursued their evil cause in a dreadful and dare devil manner.
The group has never enjoyed much media attention as it has now despite her long on-going war of terror waged against the Nigerian State. Their relatively unknown status of a minor terror organization can be adduced to the fact that an attempt to designate them as an International Terror group by the US former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2012 was not done.
A development which many observers view if carried out, would have adversely affected their growth and operations.
Today with their abduction of over 200 schools girls after successfully bombing a bus station in a suburb of Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, the name Boko Haram now sends a terrifying signal to all peace loving people of the world about the existence of a blood thirsty and callous group of misguided fanatical religious sociopaths. Their recent acts of carnage and kidnaps has drawn the whole world’s attention to one of Nigeria’s most remote areas in Chibok as all frantic efforts are made to secure the release of the abducted school girls. The group’s inhuman act of tactlessness to the rights of others has generated widespread outrage and condemnation against their criminal and hideous activities.
It is exactly a year now since the declaration of state of emergency in the affected states of Adamawa, Maiduguri and Yobe respectively and currently the president has sent a bill to the national assembly seeking the extension by another six months on the emergency rule as the expiration of the period early declared has elapsed.
As I recount my life experience living under a state of emergency, the early months of the draconian law passed in year 2013 was very discomforting despite the views of many people as a welcome development, it was hoped to bring an enduring peace and security of lives that has for long eluded the zone.
It all began in a televised speech by the President on the 14th day of May 2013, it was on a Tuesday as I vividly recall the president in exercising his constitutional powers stated “We have taken robust steps to unravel and address the root causes of these crises, but it would appear that there is a systematic effort by insurgents and terrorists to destabilize the Nigerian state and test our collective resolve,” an act which he claimed any responsible government will not tolerate. To this present day I am yet to see how the crisis has been effectively managed and stopped with the ongoing trend of events still demanding an extension of the emergency rule.
For most of us resident within the boundaries of the affected states under emergency rule our freedom of movement was curtailed with the pronouncement of a curfew which initially began with a dusk till dawn plan which was subsequently reviewed.
The challenges we began to encounter was with a near crippling means of transportation and easy movement which hitherto had become as source of worry for most residents with the banning of the most commonest means of movement popularly known as Okada” also to add salt to the injury the numerous check points erected on the roads by a combined team of security operatives made our shortest journeys seem like hell. Most of us didn’t complain because we felt sacrifices, accompanied with discomfort has to be made for our collective need for peace and stability to be attained.
About a week after, with the state of emergency in place, I woke up one fateful morning on a Monday with the usual expectation of calling my friends and family via mobile phone to find out their well-being and exchange pleasantries but to my greatest dismay the mobile connection signal on my phone was not displaying without a doubt I felt it was the usual problem of poor services provided by our GSM operators not until I stepped out of my house to find out that most people within my neighbourhood were already complaining of lack of network availability. Then it gradually dawned on us that we have been caught off from the rest of the world as there was no other efficient means of communication.
Now it felt like we were totally lost given the fact that there was no forewarning about the planned shutdown of communication services which many of us were also exasperated with a subsequent ban on internet facilities and services. It felt like we were thrown back to the stone age as we all braced ourselves with the new challenges of zero communication status except by paying folks visit which was also hampered by the curfew in place and long traffic jams at check points.
The challenges posed by the shutdown of all means of communication can only best be imagined. Most of the people who suffered huge losses within the period were mostly business men whom some could barely operate efficiently due to the blockage of their GSM mobile channel of business transactions. For most of us whose immediate families are not resident in the affected state it became a source of worry for them because they couldn’t reach us whenever there was an attack carried out their hearts were never at peace for not having the means to know about our fate.
As the days of emergency rule progressed with little sketches of information fed to the public about the successes of the Military onslaught against the insurgents trickling in, we continued to live under
The shadows of threats which nearly paralysed all known social activities, most recreational spots and joints became deserted because of fear; many believed social gatherings were easy targets for the insurgents who always seek to cause monumental damage whenever they attacked.
On this particular day within the period of emergency rule, I ran into an old friend who is a serving military personnel, we have been friends for quite a long time we both have each other’s phone contacts but we both have been unable to keep in touch physically due to our demanding nature of work which time does not permit us to see frequently. What really caught my attention about his unusual appearance was his bandaged hand and walk with a limp aided by a stick. As we conversed I tried to ascertain the cause of his wounds which he opened up to me that it was sustained in his line of duty during a routine patrol to disband the militant groups.
He was honest to confide in me that they suffered a great loss from the ambush they ran into which claimed the lives of about four of his comrades. He didn’t hesitate, opening up the already healing parts of his body that got hit by bullets to reveal the severity of the attack they suffered in the hands of the insurgents. He was full of praises to God as he claimed it was a miracle he survived and endured the excruciating pains of undergoing multiple surgeries to extract the bullets lodged in his body. I was terribly shocked about his experience and also thanked God I didn’t lose a friend.
To be Continued…
© Tersoo TeeCube