Baga massacre and a Nigeria of number haters

By Funke Tega Philips

NOTICE: There’s yet to be photographic proof of what happened in Baga. The images you find online, including the one here, purporting to depict the massacre are fake…so far.

We’ve always had a problem with numbers in Nigeria. That isn’t a secret. We are not too finicky about details and that in itself is very bad.

Some time ago, it was my daughter’s birthday and I wanted to buy party favours for the kids in her class. I asked the teacher how many kids were in her class.

“Between 20 and 40,” she said.

I didn’t understand. Were they 20 kids? 25? 30? 32?

I told her I was bringing the stuff the next day so I needed to know the exact amount to bring.

“Just bring 40.”

“Are they up to 40 in class?”

“No ma. They are 18 but bring 40.”

“Why 40 then?”

“Well anything can happen. We can get new student”

“I doubt if 22 children will just change schools in the middle of term to her class tomorrow but never mind.”

I gave her 18 packs because numbers are important and I like details. Besides, I’m not a mugu. These teachers ehn…

Anyway, back to the matter.

People saying that the numbers don’t matter whether there were 2000 or two people killed in Baga, Borno State there are wrong. The numbers do matter. Very much.

But what is even more wrong is you, yes you! You’re using that to make excuses for this government’s incompetence. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You simply have no conscience. You are wicked.

Even if two people died due to terrorists attack, where is the President’s outrage? Are they longer citizens of this country? Don’t they matter? Or do they deserve it because they are in the north?

Not even a minute silence on their behalf. Nothing. Just business as usual.

And you think this is a sane country? And you dare tell us to be like the French and support our leader? Perhaps, when he begins to lead, we’ll support him. Not a minute before then.

You wonder how people (2000 or 2?) will die in a country and no one blinks? Well, we are numb. We are tired of hearing stories like these. You can’t blame us for being tired. The stories too plenty.

I’m sorry, the President of a country cannot claim to be numb and tired of hearing these stories, even if he is. He doesn’t have the liberty to say or show that he is numb and tired.

Even if there’s a bomb blast everyday, get your mug out there every day and say something. You can’t be silent. Your silence speaks volumes. Condemn it. Show empathy. Fly flags at half mast. Do something. Anything.You cannot be tired.

You’re the President goddamnit!

Funke Tega Philips writes from Lagos. You may follow her on Twitter via @funketega.

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