Former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday reflected on the killing of over 40 students by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in Yobe State. He described it a “one massacre too many”
In a statement from his media office, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader said “Nigeria is under attack.”
The statement, which is a follow up to a letter he wrote to Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said:
“As a father and leader, I am deeply saddened by the senseless killings of innocent students. It is unacceptable and indefensible under any guise. It is an act that must be punished.
“The recent carnage in Borno State and now at the College of Agriculture in Yobe reminds us of the sinister nature of the enemy our nation now faces.
“There should be no mistake at this sombre moment. Those who launched these attacks did not launch them at the people they killed. They knew not the names of their victims or who they were.
“The dead were just unfortunate souls who happened to be close enough to murder. The real targets of these massacres were our nation, society and any semblance of civilized, modern life. Nigeria is under attack and the earlier those in charge realised this, the quicker the situation can be arrested. In terms of security, the present is not safe, neither is the future secured.
“The killings at the College of Agriculture were particularly jarring. Under cover of darkness, evil crept unto a campus of higher learning, turning it into a place of slaughter.
“These murderers snatched the lives of young people who were just entering the fullness of life. The attackers fell upon them so early that many of the students were still in bed.
“These young people only wanted an education to improve their future and that of the nation. They
were armed only with this desire and with the tools of students. They had done no one any harm.
“Yet, their attackers executed them in the cruelest fashion. This is terror in its basest form. By this act, the crazed and armed menace we face tells us that attending school, attempting to get an education, is now a capital offence. Those guilty of seeking to learn are to be executed.
“This is a dire affront to fundamental humanity. It is also a frontal attack on our quest for economic development and social progress. Those that did this seek to cast a veil of fear and ignorance over Nigeria. We must remain steadfast in the belief that enlightenment and progress is best for our people.
“These killers want us to hide in the shadow of fear and live in the cave of ignorance. We must be brave enough to tell them “no.” No matter how they try to frighten us, we shall walk in the light of learning, justice, hope and tolerance, unity and progress.
“What we face is nothing less than a contest for the soul of the nation. We dare not lose the contest. These young people died just because they wanted to learn and live better. We can’t allow their deaths to be in vain. “Thus, we must rededicate ourselves that all of our children shall learn and live better because of the education they shall receive.
“We must look beyond the deaths and spilled blood of these innocent children. In times like these, it is easy to give up and recede into our fears. Yet, we must be of good courage. We must not give way to sorrow or despair. We must forge ahead with our best plans and preparations for the people.”
That said, we must beseech the federal government to tend better to our security. I make this not as a partisan jab. I make this as a Nigerian who sees the larger danger lurking behind these attacks. These murderers seek to shutter the educational system in the north. Should they accomplish this, they will only attack another social institution, then another, until all are flattened. They intend to make Nigeria desolate. In their warped minds, this will be paradise. Paradise for them will be purgatory for the rest of us.
With grim determination that Nigeria shall overcome this pestilence and that justice shall ultimately prevail, we cannot give up and retreat from the task of governance and building this nation. We must be of good courage. We cannot allow their violence to dictate the path that we must go.
They see a nation they want to destroy. I see a nation we should build. We shall win. They may have guns and terror. But they lack the moral force to stop us from building the nation we seek. We have justice and right. We shall win. They shall lose and get swept into the wash of history. The only issue is how long will it take and how many lives will be lost before this evil folds. Again, this is where the federal government must become more proactive in developing a comprehensive law enforcement, intelligence-gathering and economic incentives strategy that checkmate this plague.
On such a grave matter of national security, there is no partisanship. We are all Nigerians. We stand ready to help in this fight. We await the call of the Federal Government to do so.
Our condolences are extended to the governor of Yobe, the people of the state, and the families of those killed. Your grief is heavy and thick because of the senselessness of this tragedy. But you don’t carry this grief alone. All Nigeria grieves with you. Those were our children, too”.