4th December, 2014
By Oyebanji Gbenga
The song of Eric Patrick Clapton “River of Tears” invoke sober feelings and pains. The month of October will be indelible in the heart of residents of Mubi in Adamawa State, Nigeria. According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, some 13,000 Nigeria refugees crossed from Adamawa after the Boko Haram insurgents attacked and captured the town of Mubi late October.
The attack late October rendered many homeless and many properties were set ablaze. An account of a sorrowful woman spoke of the decimation of her household when the insurgents came like thieves in the night.
“Our lives are in shambles, the attack was unexpected,” Mrs Adenike E. Okokuku, said.
“The attackers were masked men with weapons. At the time of the attack what was going through my mind was my four children and husband. This is a town we have lived all our lives, where do we start from?” she said, adding “I could not find my husband and my four children throughout the moment of the attack.”
This is one out of thousands of Nigerians that are displaced in the country of their birth, drowning in the river of tears as Eric Clapton sang in his song. The Boko Haram insurgents were forcing people to believe in their religious dogma. A town of peace and tranquility suddenly turned to terrorists’ haven.
When will normalcy return to the town? How will the indigenes be rehabilitated? Is this a war or terrorist attack?
It seems the Boko Haram sect has declared war on Nigeria’s government. What about the victims of war? Where do they go from here? Who will rehabilitate and compensate them?
The account of Mrs. Okokuku represents thousands of victims that have been displaced. How will they be integrated into the society? Is it not right if they seek political asylum in any other country?
Violation of human rights is of great concern to United Nations. Have these people not been badly treated in their own country? Who do we blame that Nigerians are fleeing to near and far countries? We have to speak on behalf of Nigerians living in these Boko Haram attacked territories. We should stand for what is right and is a noble cause. The tears of the bereaved will be assuaged when a cover is provided as shelter.
A tabernacle in the time of distress is the only protection of human rights, be it as a war victim or a victim of any form of human rights violation. Victims of human rights violation of any sort deserve political asylum in any country, provided the country agreed to Article 14 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Nigerians fleeing north-eastern part of the country deserve to reside anywhere their human right is protected.
•Gbenga wrote from Lagos