"So I was just over here minding my business and…"
In a brief stint of traffic as I was driving to work this morning, I scrolled through my twitter timeline and saw the news of the Nyanya, Abuja bus park bombing. 7 am, Monday morning. Welcome to Nigeria.
I have been to Nyanya. I have seen the masses of people that congregate during rush hour. I can’t imagine how many families have now been thrown into the deeply overwhelming clutches of grief. All kinds of people pass through this bus park – Civil servants, clerics, receptionists, bankers, labourers, traders…you and me. The carnage this morning covered all bases.
At 8am, I got into work and tried to get on with my day, tried to get rid of the heaviness. Then my H.R. notified me of a colleague who was involved in a fatal accident. On the way back from a wedding, somewhere between Ekiti and Ibadan, the car fell into a dam. My colleague was driving. His fiancée was sitting up front. His younger brother, a neighbour (and friend of his mother’s) and his mother were at the back. My colleague and his mother are the only survivors. They are yet to break the news to them, as they are being treated for shock. Apparently, the medical team will sedate him THEN break the news to him so he passes out immediately. Nobody knows the full story yet but I bet we can all imagine…
Over the weekend, there was more bloodshed in Borno. Who remembers? Who cares? Or least, who cared before 7 am today when the bloodshed came a little closer to our comfort zones where we have been watching the country burn from, desensitized, removed?
Everyday, it gets harder to be a Nigerian. As someone commented on twitter this morning, all you have to do around here is wake up. Nothing is guaranteed. There is no respect for human life. We are all animals being led to the slaughter. All because we woke up Nigerian. If it isn’t a road accident, it may be a bomb, or an air-plane crash, or fake drugs, or carbon monoxide poisoning or….The list goes on. All you have to do is wake up.
The bloodshed is sickening. I have seen the pictures. Bloody bodies piled up in pick-up trucks haphazardly. Body parts littered on the ground. Friends, Nigeria is at war…
…and I am tired. I am tired because nothing appears to be working. Electricity hasn’t blinked in 10 days. Water is delivered by tanker every fortnight for N7,000. I’ve had to buy two new tires in the last week due to really bad roads – I live in a “nice” suburb YET my roads are flooded and bumpy. Employers have no respect for labour laws. AND my government appears to think this is all a joke.
In my opinion, the government’s response was slow, rehearsed and inadequate. Politically charged statements, and photo ops with furrowed brows and hands on chins mean nothing and will not go far.
Now, there is an urgent search for blood in Abuja. There are appeals flying across all social media platforms. Why? There isn’t one single adequate blood bank in the whole of this country. Even if there was, who would power the facility 24/7? Who would bear the cost of flying urgently needed blood to victims of senseless violence? Who?
So I keep on praying and talking; Praying that the violence stops, that all those who are dear to me are always far from danger, that we wake up from whatever slumber we are in and hold our leaders responsible, accountable. And I will talk. Wherever and whenever I can, to whoever I can. I will ask questions, and I will demand answers. I – We – have no other choice, no other valid option.
The only other option is to run.
* PLEASE, if you are in Abuja and can donate blood, these are the details:
National Blood Transfusion Service, No 39 Abidjan Street, Wuse zone 3, Abuja
Asokoro General Hospital, T.Y. Danjuma Street, Abuja