Readers cannot guess wrong; they can only guess right. If you think the above title captures what played out last week in Niger State, you are right. I have said it several times that I am tired of this country. Many have said it too; and we may not stop saying it soon. But it recently dawned on me that there is nothing wrong with Nigeria. It is our over-personification of Nigeria that makes it seem it is behind all our problems. To be candid, there is nothing wrong with Nigeria. Blaming Nigeria is unjust—though not a kind of injustice that anyone will be punished for.
Let’s come to think of it; let’s be sincere; what wrong has the country done to us? None in anyway. It is our ‘political leaders’. They are the ones. The only path they lead the Nigerian masses to, with effortless artistry, is the path of destruction. Though there are few exceptions, I doubt the current crop of political ruling leaders in Niger State are—they are not of the exempted few.
Niger State Government has clearly set a very despicable precedent: ‘be somebody and be miraculously released; be nobody and rot in kidnappers’ den’. This is what we are made to believe. A commissioner was kidnapped by bandits and got released within three days or so. What many consider to be comedy in the commissioner’s release is the claim that he was not rescued by any security agents and that ransom was not paid.
So how come? ‘‘‘‘the commissioner was miraculously released’’’’ was the claim. This is bunkum. As if the commissioner realized how stupid that sounds, he said, when asked about doubts expressed over his claim of being released without ransom: “those who doubt God would find it difficult to believe, I had a close shave with death. I can tell you that no ransom was paid”. But people retorted reciprocally: ‘we can tell you that we don’t believe your claim’.
People wonder (so do I) how bandits would kidnap a Big Catch and take him through the bush path for three hours before arriving at a thick forest and subsequently free him without ransom or exchange of gun shots. This is indeed miraculous!
Not only that, according to the commissioner’s account, he was blindfolded, tied (hands and leg), left in the rain through out the night; and worst of it, without food and water. Why miracle could not make it to the dens where the kidnapped Islaamiya kids are kept after spending about three months therein calls for serious brainstorming.
Miracle—it is true—can happen to anybody. Is it not all about unexplainable course of actions or events with a tinge of spirituality? When someone spiritually gets succor or was spiritually released like our case study in this write up, it is, to put it differently, like saying God intervened without any agent directly from His Magnificent Throne over the seventh heaven.
O Allah! Why your intervention in the release of a sinner but not the sinless? Readers should not get me wrong! A sinner is not necessarily a criminal. After all, we all sinners. It is a widely uphold notion in Islam—and it is jurisprudentially established—that an adult is a sinner no matter how godly or saintly he is. Contrarily, kids are sinless and innocent no matter how naughty they are. I hope this is clear.
If anyone would merit God’s intervention (miracle) to be released from kidnappers’ den, it is just human to think these kidnapped Islaamiyah kids are more deserved of it—considering the fact that they were kidnapped while reciting the Qur’an. But Nigeria is full of mysteries—mysteries that are not just mysterious but absurd. Should I just shut my mouth? For, I have to acknowledge the fact that “Allah does what He wills” (Q14:27). May be that is the case with this commissioner.
The commissioner hit me hard to the core of my faith when he said those who doubt God would find it difficult to believe that he was miraculously released. Ha-ha! ‘Did I doubt God?’ I asked myself. But I doubt I doubt God. I quickly said: Aamantu billahi wa Rusulihi (I believe in Allah and His Messengers). This is what the Prophet instructed us to say whenever we are afflicted with doubt in our faith. Nigerian politicians are very funny and very dexterous at manipulating people’s thinking—especially when they mention God’s name. So, for the fear of being condemned as doubting Thomases, we immediately ‘believe’ the honorable commissioner’s claim.
But we are not wrong to have doubted him in the first place. It is commonsensical not to believe Nigerian politicians. To be on the safe side, since he is a politician, one should not believe him. Here is why: The Zone C Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger State was also kidnapped and released few days after. His own release was not hinged on miracle. He was released without ransom by the sole effort of the Niger Sate Police Command. So they claimed!
At this juncture, I cannot but lend my voice to parents whose kids were kidnapped. These parents alleged that government is playing ‘discriminatory role’ in securing the release of victims of abduction in the state. I cannot think otherwise.
O Allah! It is established that these kids are sinless. It is also a fact that we are all sinful. So, what are the sins of these distraught parents for which they deserve this calamity? Could a calamity be more calamitous than what has happened to these parents? O the Merciful! You have never ceased to be Oft Forgiving and You are ever Most Merciful. Please forgive us our sins and help release these kids.
Do we need to be told? It is what we all know. These kids are drenched by rain, scorched by the sun, and punished by the bandits. They are bitten by mosquitoes, stung by scorpions and threatened by snakes. They are abused, dehumanized, and malnourished. They are traumatized, barbarized, and unkempt. They are crying, yelling, and homesick. I never new government in my country will be so useless, so callous, so heartless, and so brutish; to allow these sinless kids languish in anguish, in hopelessness, and in wilderness for this long.
Now, almost three months; and the days are still counting. Money has failed to get them released. Security agents might have chosen not to rescue them. Government seems not to be in existence. Parents have reportedly sold what they labored for and gathered for donkey years. They coughed out money to the tune of fifty million naira (N50, 000,000). Yet, yet, and yet; these kids are still where they are. O Allah! Why are we so unfortunate to be ‘led’ by these rulers?
While these parents ought to be consoled, sympathized, and helped; they are rather more traumatized by psychotic sycophants who could only sing the praise of government.
They dumbly argue that if not for this government, Nigeria would have been on fire. I tried but failed to measure the depth of shallowness of the thinking faculty of these people. It is like the fully vaccinated man who died of COVID, but doctors insisted that the result would have been worse if not for the vaccine. Funny.
O Allah! If these parents have actually offended the government (for voting them into their various offices) to deserve this punishment, please, please and please, touch their hearts to get these kids released. The VIPs in Niger state were released. One, miraculously. The other one by security men with no collateral damage. Why not these kids and other victims?