It has been a deadly week in Nigeria characterised by mass death and injury in two key points. Friday’s bomb attack in Madagali Central Market in Adamawa State consumed no less than 56 persons, officially confirmed by both the military and local government authorities. It could be more in that the bombs were detonated at two points. Figures of the injured as given so far range between 120 and 177. What is new in this case must be the promptitude with which the casualty figures were released almost at the same time by all the players in the field. The attack was obviously the handiwork of Boko Haram insurgents although they are yet to say so.
But a worse, though equally preventable tragedy was to occur the following day in far away Akwa Ibom where a church building collapsed, killing as many as 200, the figure that Nigerian newspapers and social media are quoting liberally so far. The occasion was the ordination of the leader of the church, Pastor Akan Week, as a Bishop and had attracted a multitude, including senior government officials who are now feared to have also perished as well. Buildings collapse routinely in Nigeria anyway and nothing is heard by way of punishment after the wailing and gnashing of teeth when one occurs.
Earlier on Wednesday, December 8th, 2016, it was an accident on the Benin – Asaba – Onitsha Expressway in South Eastern Nigeria in which 14 persons were killed. By popular accounts, it happened when bullion vans collided with a tanker, followed by burst of the tanker into fire and into which two commercial buses crashed. This time, policemen were also victims along with officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) and passengers of the buses. Of course, the usual gridlock that follows was reported.
These show the multidimensionality of insecurity and threats to daily life in contemporary Nigeria, overstretching the capacity of security agencies. The country seems to have ritualised insecurity with the issuance of statements of sympathy, condolence or condemnation as an accepted and adequate statecraft by major political office holders and politicians whenever any of these happened. And when they are probed into at all, the reports either do not come out or they are not acted upon, meaning that no one gets punished for anything.