By Nwachukwu Egbunike
Nigerian journalists are no aliens to adversities. By and large, the same holds true for anyone who chases news as a profession. However today’s simultaneous bombing of ThisDay newspaper buildings in Abuja and Kaduna has not only rocked the nation but also her media.
Need we add terrorism to the already enlarged list of media occupational hazards? While the brown-envelope syndrome has been the doom of credible journalism, though we are ever ready to trump the spiral fall of standards, yet the Nigerian journalist works in a harsh environment. With the almost peanuts that are handed out as income in most media establishment, how do we think that the height of media practice would fluctuate? We all expect a high level of media output yet as a society we encourage the disparity between the message of the ‘big man’ to that of the ‘common’ messenger.
Those hapless Nigerians who woke up earlier today and went to their offices in order to provide yam for their table were carried out in sacks. The mangled corpses were victims of terror, of the butchers of Nigeria – Boko Haram! Pray, what offense did they commit that would warrant such a death? Since when did human life become so cheap that some people have arrogated the right to determine who lives and who dies to themselves?
We live in troubled times. The killing continues, while our government sits and stares. Are these blood sucking vampires ghosts? When the US gave out the alert that some places may be bombed, our government flared up in Pharisaical angst. The worst part is that this whole mess is already making us numb. Without being aware of it, Nigerians are already getting used to having explosions and people dying. Yes, ‘people’ someone else, the ‘other’ – since I am not involved, it’s not my business.
This orgy of red river should be evaporated. And until the root of this maleficence is extinguished, the cosmetic approach currently being employed will not yield results. That’s why I was so irritated with this news item:
According to sources, most of the sect’s weapons entered the country through the Apapa Wharf and the northern borders of Chad, Mali and Niger Republic and are evacuated into tankers with the alleged assistance of some members of the authorized security agents at these borders suspected to be members of the group. (…)
It was alleged that a prominent northerner and one time military head of state (names withheld) was behind the recent tactics. The source further stated the former military leader had at a time called and notified a senior Custom’s Officer at the Apapa wharf when one of the containers of weapons of destruction arrived to ensure that it was not inspected.