After deciding to write about the two nightmares that have been bugging our minds and banging on the doors next to ours, figuratively speaking, I got stuck. What in the world was I going to write about that hadn’t yet been said or, as in this case, read? Every Nigerian has an opinion of one or the other or both. Most of the talking or properly put, opinions, make as much sense as… (fill in the gap as you see fit) *shrugs*. And the mischief makers? They practical took the illiterate Nigerians and made a super mockery out of them. Or what can be said of a situation where Nigerians were asked to use salt and hot water to take their bath and also drink to prevent / cure a virus! Na wa o! At least there has been a little bit more enlightenment on that. But what about Booko, the term I prefer for the Boko Haram, menace?
Anyway, I somehow got back into the writing when I realised that the familiarity, or is it similarity, between both was just too much to be ignored.
Firstly, they both got into the country with the government looking on as though they were guests bearing goodness for the nation.
BokoHaram – http://www.vanguardngr.com/2009/08/boko-haram-ressurects-declares-total-jihad/
Ebola – The first reported Ebola case in Nigeria was an imported case of a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, who travelled by air from Liberia and became violently ill upon arriving in the city of Lagos. Sawyer died five days later, on 25 July. How did he even get into the country in the first place? What about health checks at entry points into the country, more so when there was already an alert of the virus in West Africa?
Secondly, they are both very deadly. Booko has the ability to move around with a bit of restriction because it has a face, albeit unrecognised by the authorities. Ebola, as insidious as Booko, is unpercevieable by the human eye unaided. The fatality rate is 90%.
The score card in Nigeria is:
Boko Haram – not less than 5000 between 2009 and June 2014
Ebola – 7 people, with unknown number who may have been infected, between July 20 and Sept 1, 2014
Thirdly, the Government is slow concerning responding to these anomalies or they are just undecided about what to do
Boko Haram – “Since Boko Haram’s resurgence in 2010, the Nigerian government has struggled to respond to the growing threat posed by the group.” (US CRS, 2014)
Ebola – http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2014/08/05/nigeria-acknowledges-slow-response-in-ebola-case
And fourthly, the two have suddenly gained us un-needed notoriety for being both slow at curbing insurgency and generously allowing death join us for tea, or something close. A friend wants to visit Nigeria but has caught the cold feet bug after hearing that we already lost 5 lives to the scourge called Ebola.
I know I am supposed to be open minded and allow the government to make a response to these, but seriously I don’t want to hear nothing. I want to see. Just like I can see that the power situation has improved, even as I hope and pray that this is not because the rivers are full and they are able to generate substantial quantity for supply that would diminish at the end of the rains. I, and I believe a lot of other Nigerians, want to be safe in our country; protected by the government that is saddled with that responsibility under the constitution *sic* of the Federal Republic *sic sic*.
On a different note – the kind of news that comes to you on a Monday morning that a friend passed away early that morning just causes you to rethink not on the essence of life alone but the value that this life produces when we still have breath. Sad that it takes something gloomy as death to help us realise the value of relationships, but that is how it is.
It is a great day. Make that call to that someone you miss or you have been planning to call for a while, or send a text. Take the time to appreciate one person. Remember life, no matter how long we may perceive it, usually ends without us having a chance to say a proper good bye.
Live life largely!