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Are Citizens Whistling in the Dark?

The term ‘Whistling in the dark’ is used among other things to refer to a situation in which a person try to believe that a situation is not as bad as it seems(Collins dictionary).

There is no better description of what citizens in Plateau and indeed in Nigeria are doing at this time than being described as ‘Whistling in the dark’.

Why is this so? Since 15th May 2023 a campaign of sustained attacks began on Mangu and surrounding villages in Plateau State, North Central Nigeria. The data from the attacks is damning to say the least. As of 9/7/2023 more than 51 villages have been attacked with 216 persons killed and several thousand displaced living either in internally displaced Persons camps or in host communities.

The disaggregated data in terms of districts, villages and men, women and Children killed are as follows:Bwai( Murish, Dungmunan, Kubat, Tim Naanle, Pil, Fungzai, Manja, and Chisu villages with 70 persons killed). Kimbun(Fungkipang and Nting villages with 5 persons killed).Mangu(Jwaktumbi, Kantoma, Mangul, Alohom 1, Alohom 2, Gongon, Dan Hausa, Kikyau 1 and 2, Gudum, Tyop, Kwaskipanleng, Gaude, Bure, and Ntam villages with 70 person killed). Bungha(Jwak Raas village with no death).Panyam Branch(Changal, Kombili, Washna, Jwak Chom, Larkas, Fushi, Kwahas, Dangdai, Atuhun, Adep, Ajing, Daika, Dikong, and Lakopal villages with 30 persons killed). Lakasi, Gwet 2, Gwet 1, Mutong, Keptul, Gung, Pyantuhul, Kus Hi, Nbwor, Vodni, Pwaskop, and Nten villages with 17 persons killed).Kerang(Konji village with 8 persons killed). .When the attacks yesterday on Sabon Garri and Ferrin kasa are added and the death of 12 persons we have a total of 2016 Nigerians killed. Now these are mere numbers. These are human beings who simply want to live their lives quietly in their villages as they go through daily struggles to feed their families abandoned by the Nigerian state.

The reality we face today in these almost sustained daily attacks is that ‘Without common standards, society dissolves into nothing More than contending factions’(Lindquist).Given this scale of bloodshed and deaths, it is not out of place to argue that the Nation is confronted with blood guilt and that these contentions are not likely to stop until atonement is made for the blood of the innocent crying out against the nation for vengeance. What is blood guilt? Blood guilt is the guilt resulting from bloodshed. Drawing from the biblical rendering of the concept, it means liability for punishment for shedding blood. In this sense, the idea is that deeds generate consequences. The Jewish Virtual Library makes the connection strongly in its reference to (a)Jonah 1:14, Genesis 4:10) where innocent blood cries out for vengeance(b)2nd Samuel 3:28, 2nd Kings 9:26) where blood guilt attaches to the slayer and his family for generations (c) Isaiah 26:21, Ezekiel 24:7) where innocent blood is rejected by earth (d)Numbers 35:33-34, Deuteronomy 24:4) where blood pollutes the land (e)Jeremiah 26:5, Deuteronomy 21:8) where blood has negative impact on a city and nation.

It’s unconscionable that Nigeria believes it can make progress as a nation with the current shedding of innocent blood. It simply can’t and won’t happen. Nigeria is guilty of blood! God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is unchanging, He is not arbitrary in his actions. He means what he says and says what he means. The commands ‘Do Not Kill’(Exodus 20:13) and ‘Blood Pollutes the Land’(Numbers 35:33-34) are eternal, they have not been modified for a season to allow citizens kill, pillage and sack whole communities. Are going to continue to whistle in the dark? or arise to address the current crises. ‘If we fail to live as brothers, we will die as fools’(Martin Luther king Jnr). " It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and draw conclusions”.


Ben Osawe Jos, Nigeria

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