Why separatists should not be trusted with power

“And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.”—Deuteronomy 25: 2-3

THIS week,  separatist elements in Nigeria’s South-East gunned down traditional rulers, recalling the dastardly event of September 29, 2019, when their cousins set upon Florence Ayafor, a mother of three returning from the funeral of a loved one in Pinyin, North-West Cameroon, and dispatched her to hades in the most horrendous fashion. The separatists, a.k.a Amba Boys, had snatched the 46-year-old wardress working at the Bamenda Central Prison from a vehicle along the Bali-Bamenda road. They had then proceeded to strip her stark naked and rape her to stupor. Not done, they tied a rope around her neck and dragged her body, legs wide apart, along the dirt road, for several hundreds of meters. Then, one of the masked fighters proclaiming the Ambazonian dream viciously detached her head from her body. The body convulsed as the knife went in—and I must confess I couldn’t watch the entire episode. Two of them, Niba Innocent Akuma and Ngu Roger, were paraded at the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) on July 10, 2020.  They wore nose masks, afraid of the death they had dished out to many with relish.

On August 11, the freedom fighters obtained another prey: Comfort Tumasang, 32-year-old mother of two. The venue was Muyuka. Like Florence, Comfort had been accused of being a “black leg”, an informant for the murderous Biya regime that has taken great pride in dehumanising the Ambazonians. Comfort’s mother, Mary, 63, was home when the killers took her daughter away. This time, the weapon was a machete, buried deep into the neck region. “Fine play!”, an Amba Boy commended the striker as he dug the machete in. Treasure Ken twerked her way to death in Bamenda on August 3, 2020: bullets found her on her boyfriend’s lap. Capo Daniel, spokesman of the Ambazonian Defence Forces, said that he had great regard for the Geneva Convention, which permitted a country to kill spies from another country.

Southern Cameroon lies in a trail of blood as Biya’s soldiers and Amba Boys make human barbecues. Of course, as in all cases, linguistic manipulation is wielded as a chief weapon, and websites sponsored by the regime abound lamenting the horrors of the Amabazonian terrorists. Biya’s Gendarmes, burying entire villages in shallow graves after wearying guns and bayonets with spurting blood, are heroes saving the Republic. I have seen that responsibility-shying spirit before: Suka Bukar Dimka, navigating the most difficult part of his coup plot before the military Tribunal, said: “The firing started.” Notice the omission of agency, the ones who did the firing that silenced the Head of State. But at least he had some honour, unlike the intellectual midget up North who personally drove the tractor that brought down his political opponent’s home for the crime of non-payment of ground rent, or the despot down South who, under the guise of Covid-19 laws, brought down hotels owned by his business rivals in a fit of comic rage. Separatists, whether in mainstream politics or on the guerilla front, can never be trusted with power. They are power-drunk, and eventually power-drowned.

Were the Bard of Avon around today, he would have booked a date with Amba machetes. He had the nerve—no, the temerity—to craft this poisonous piece of piety: “The quality of mercy is not strained/It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven/upon the palace beneath.” Separatists, like the Nigeria big man who vowed that baboons and dogs would be soaked in blood if he did not have his way—and yes, the dogs barked in 2011, cutting down corps members in cold blood—have no time for the mercy which Shakespeare claimed was “enthroned in the hearts of kings.” Amba Boys, and their cousins the Unknown Gunmen of Nigeria’s South-East, see no mercy dropping as the gentle rain from heaven: what they see is a barrage of bombs dropped by fighter jets on their rebel heads. Desensitized brutality is real, and it is what members of the Eastern Security Network have now found themselves in. Like all separatists, they started with little exercises of power: “Eh you, stop there!” Remember the child soldiers in William Goldin’s Lord of the Flies “doing” (that is, killing) their foes and saying: “Halt! Who goes there?” That’s how power starts for separatists.

Then comes the final straw: the sight of blood. Once separatists discover their power at the sight of blood, they lose all humanity. And so we have ESN murderers resurrecting Civil War errors. Biafran soldiers turned against their own people, and now ESN blood merchants daily remind the same people of that dark period. They enforce a senseless sit-at-home order, murdering traditional rulers, priests and businessmen at will and circumscribing the growth of the region they claim to love. They dump vendors’ freshly cooked food in the drainage for violating their sit-at-home decree. If Biafra ever comes, these goons will be worse than Idi Amin: they have been empowered by the sight of blood, which drives separatists to the height of frenzy, and don’t shudder if they ask communities that have just witnessed genocide to accommodate their killers.

Now I return to the Bible quote above. Almighty God, as shown here, has great regard for His creation, asking that even the wicked be punished in moderation. Think about it: if you deal a person endless blows, the moment will come when (s)he becomes mere waste in your sight. Transpose this to the community and see why separatists cannot be trusted with power: the people mean nothing to them. If Obafemi Awolowo worked hard at the country’s problems while his contemporaries caroused with women of sewage, it was because he had respect for the people. Separatists do not, and yet—and yet!– this land is preparing yet another band of separatists to take over in 2023!

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