21 June 2011
Engagements By Chidi Amuta.
Two days before the bomb attack on police headquarters, a title for my next column continued to play repeatedly in my head. It was simply this: “I Am Afraid”. The inspiration, the palpable fear of clear and present dangers, came from a quiet analysis of what I consider the looming dangers ahead of us: massive youth unemployment, angry demonstrations against thieving legislators, endless labour unrest for minimum wage, fuel price hikes, imminent bankruptcy of 65 per cent of state governments, depreciating naira value, flood in susceptible but most unlikely places because of climate change etc. When I ran this list by a friend, he laughed and quoted the Biblical advice to
: “Thy much learning maketh thee mad.” St. Paul
A great deal of discourse on last week’s Boko Haram attack at Louis Edet House may be missing the point. People are not contextualising the incident in the recent political history of the country. In the post military period since 1999, violence or threats of it has become, as it were, a legitimate tool for extracting political and economic concessions from the central authority. I am afraid that the emergence of Boko Haram and its recent activities, including the Louis Edet House bombing incident last week, forms a new chapter in the post-1999 politics of violent blackmail and choreographed intimidation.