Henry is deep. So deep. I don’t know what else to say. He’s been my friend for like 4, 5 years, and he’s just deep! Does he annoy me? Of course! You need to see us
arguing debating stuff on Twitter. But there’s always something to be learned, and what’s a relationship if there’s no growth?
This is one piece in the entire series that resonated so much with me, it made me emotional.
The carnage caused by terrorism so far in 2014 is unprecedented. The insurgents have become even more brazen. They have made it look as if there is nothing security forces will try that will work. It has been harrowing.
While I walked to church this morning, with roads across and adjourning the church premises cordoned off with armed, anxious looking soldiers and policemen standing on guard at the entrances and at strategic positions, my mind did a very quick time travel to what life was about 5 years ago.
Sunday mornings were days of bliss, with everyone out dressed in gay attires, with smiles and expectation of a miracle from their God. There was no need for soldiers to be around, except maybe they came for Armed Forces Remembrance day thanksgiving. Police was around, in very few places, just to maintain law and order. Barricades in front of a church would have been seen as strange. There was peace then, relative peace. A kind of peace we took for granted and would do anything to have now.
We are at war.
The other day after the EMAB bomb blast at the end of June, I came across footage of what actually went down that fateful afternoon. The first thing that caught my eye on the video was a hand, lying lonely on the sidewalk, blown away from the wrist. I saw a girl, a “pure water” hawker. She couldn’t have been anything more than 15 years old. She was dead. Burnt with only her hair remaining. She died face down with her legs blown off. I also saw a man, badly burnt. So badly burnt all you could see was the blackened form of what used to be his body. Both of his legs had been blown off. He laid still. By the time the camera panned back to him, he was moving. He opened his eyes, tried to get up, he couldn’t. He looked down at his legs and collapsed again. He wasn’t dead, but I doubted if he knew where he was. I saw a lot of things I would rather not continue describing.
5 years ago, these kinds of things were alien. People don’t just get blown up by a car that a well dressed man parked in front of a shopping mall and walked away.
2014 has been gruesome.
A guy I used to do some work with, Emmanuel is still in hospital recuperating. He was a victim of the Nyanya bomb blast. He had only just got married 2 weeks earlier. We don’t know if he is ever going to walk again. He is only one of the lucky who are alive to tell their story from the two blasts that rocked Nyanya Motor Park.
The first half of 2014 made it evident that we can’t take peace and life for granted anymore. Every day we are told to avoid crowded places like markets, places of entertainment, places of worship, motor parks and bus stops. Places we didn’t need to think twice before going to in the past.
It is sobering that our lives now have to be remodeled so that we can at least have a chance to remain alive. We don’t know where the next bomb will go off. We don’t know what next the terrorists are planning, we don’t know if all of a sudden a bullet will whizz over our heads and hit the unfortunate man in front of us. We don’t even know if that unfortunate man will be us or our family member.
My name is Henry Okelue, Nigerian and a Public Servant; I miss the peace I used to know. I miss it so, so dearly.