Forty Six Dollars On Our Heads

Today’s news reveals how low the price of human life has become in the Nigerian society (and the world in general?) in recent times. Our very own Al Qaeda lookalike-Boko Haram- pays its foot soldiers seven thousand naira each (about forty-six dollars) to carry out each terrorist operation against us infidels. That is forty-six dollars to plant bombs in churches, schools, police stations, public relaxation centers, and all such places where infidels can be found.

That means that the scores of lives that have been lost-the twenty people that died in Kano on the 29th of April 2012, the twelve people that lost their lives in Bauchi on the 3rd of June 2012, and the unspecified number of people that fell to gun fire when a church was attacked on the 10th of June 2012 (to name a few) – all perished because someone had been paid forty-six dollars! Money not even enough to buy a goat for sallah celebrations!

As a young boy growing up in harsh economic conditions, I often marveled when I observed people around me spend money on fireworks during Christmas. I wondered how a person could spend as much as fifty naira just for a flash and a sound, when my mother could make a pot of soup with two hundred naira or less! These days, I wonder how a person can spend forty-six dollars for a bomb, just for a fire and a bang (not forgetting the casualties) when I could buy three bags of cement for the same amount of money. Maybe it is because the economic conditions have not improved, or maybe it is because I am not very sane. Anyway, I continue with the story.

At the revelation of the forty-six dollar figure, religious leaders throughout the country have been raising dust, crying and wailing uncontrollably all over the media. But the irony of the matter is that they have done little or nothing to curtail the frequency of such incidences. Just as a father certainly knows his radical children, these imams cannot say that they do not which of their followers (sheep?) have the tendency to adopt violence either for the belief that it pleases God, or for the forty-six dollars on offer. So why do they keep quiet?

Speculations are rife that even the few imams and traditional leaders that have come out openly to condemn acts of terrorism are secret supporters and sponsors (of terrorism) merely masquerading as pacifists to keep the rest of us confused. This is supported by the fact that these terrorists have to setup base somewhere (in the domain of an imam and a traditional ruler) and must spend money to make their operations successful.

Perhaps the reason for our collective inaction is a part of us wanting to become martyrs. ‘Us’ here does not include me; I do not plan on dying anytime soon!

Everyday we are told to pray to God for his intervention, but in his name we keep on killing one another. I wonder if the holy lands from where our religions are borrowed are as drenched with blood as our country has become. While we profess to love God whom we have not seen, we hate our neighbors who we see.

And as long as we do not spread love, the true love which is ONE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE, there may be no end to this in the near future.

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