The year 2020 has been a very turbulent and tragic year for many people globally, especially with the counter on the death toll of the coronavirus pandemic still going up. It is equally very tragic for many Christians in central and north-eastern Nigeria who are killed almost daily not by Covid-19, but by radical Islamic groups carrying AK 47s and machetes, slaughtering women and children in their beds at night and torching the vulnerable while they scream for help and protection from a government that has consistently turned a blind eye to the continuing decade-old tragedy.
It soon be Christmas in December, but certainly not for the 2.2 million internally displaced persons in north-eastern Nigeria or 420,072 households that have been destroyed. This is of course not counting the hundreds of thousands in the central and middle belt regions of Kaduna, Plateau, Taraba and Benue States whose tragedies the government tries to hide, deny, and deflect.
Of course, there will be no Christmas for Leah Sharibu and over 120 Chibok schoolgirls still unaccounted for and generally ignored in their enslavement by the Jihadi Islamic Boko Haram sect lead, as far as we know, by its champion, Abubakar Shekau.
The deadlier ‘Khilafa army’, a seeming breakaway sect of the Boko Haram Islamists has been making its mark in the last couple of months, searing its insignia in the public psyche by the abduction execution of people, predominantly Christians, since September 2019, with at least three videos. Online, including the execution of Aid workers and Revd Lawan Andimi, the Christian Association Chairman in January 2020. Its recent execution of five aid workers, to send a message to Muslims who work for Aid organizations, “this is a message to the infidels who are using you to cheat and turn our people into unbelievers,” the terrorists said in the video and shot the Aid workers.
The selection and killing of Christians traveling between villages in Borno State rose to an alarming rate from late 2019 whereby Christians are identified and removed from commercial vehicles and then executed while the females are either shot on the spot or taken away to serve as sex slaves and domestic workers for the Islamists. Many are still in captivity.
Yes, it will be Christmas in December, soon it will be Advent, but not for those in captivity and tragically, not for those who will still get killed before Christmas by marauding Islamist Fulani Cattle herdsmen, while the Nigerian government, spends billions on security, makes lame promises, denies complicity and threatens and intimidates critics.
It will soon be Christmas in December and those who will most probably enjoy the celebrations and the festive holidays are those who are benefitting from the conflicts and tragedies, those who are getting rich on the blood money.