Earlier in the week, I wrote a scathing critique of the Nigerian Media establishment, and those within it that have relegated themselves, for whatever reason, into the mouthpieces of propaganda for political elites. By so doing, I argued, that they ignored the unnamed and unnumbered victims, and thus reduced and dehumanized them and the untold suffering that is affecting ordinary people in that city and region. I received a blowback from some in the media, who explained, that unlike other countries, the governments in Nigeria (Federal, States, Local), do not provide a public record or a list of names with documented death certificates for media outlets to publish and investigate the biographies of the deceased. Further, in most instances, the government tries to minimize the total the death toll, which in Offa has risen to over 50 victims. Thus, like many other things, duplicating in Nigeria what is the normal standard internationally, of naming and numbering victims and telling their story, is somewhat more difficult in Nigeria. In that, I do accept and understand this explanation.
Still, while I recognize that doing the right thing in Nigeria, may be substantially more difficult than it is elsewhere, it is not impossible. After several media outlets received my article, several stories began to appear, naming some of the victims.
In addition to these stories, the statewide advocacy group, #KwaraMustChange, compiled the stories of 2 more victims of the Offa Massacre. The first is Mrs. Oyinlola Ajogbe Shakirat, a 26 year old mother of a 9 year old boy, who also left behind her husband.
The second is Mr. Jamiu Adekunle Alawode, a 40 year old banker at Stockcorp Microfinance Bank in Offa (one of the 6 banks robbed that is not even mentioned in the press). He had 4 children, was a degree holder from University of Ilorin, and was a prominent figure in the Oyun local government area of Kwara State.
In expressing our condolences to both families, and thanking them for sharing with us these photos of their loved ones, it is important for all to see them and realize how similar these real people are to ourselves and our own families. The suffering that is now impacting them, could just have easily have been any of us. In calling for justice for their killers, we need to also re-examine the total and utter neglect that the successive Governments of Kwara State have shown for providing security within the state.
The City of Offa had been robbed before, and still had no armoured vehicles supplied to defend the town from such attacks despite numerous requests from residents. The state government has purchased and supplied armoured vehicles to protect the political elite, but somehow, did not find it necessary to provide the same equipment to its second largest city. Further surveillance drones, that are used in Lagos and other parts of the country, could easily and inexpensively have been deployed through Kwara to aid in early detection, and apprehending suspects. No such equipment’s were in Offa. Adding insult to injury, the states leaders have not visited any of the homes of the victims, or attended a single funeral. They have only paraded the city in their own armoured vehicles, only visiting the king, and retroactively passing blame to other arms of government. If the suffering ongoing in Offa today is to end, Kwara Must Change, and we as a people can support that change by unmasking the human faces of the suffering and demanding the change that will be a befitting memorial.
David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.
The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.
Kuranga and Associates Limited is an investment management advisory firm and an asset manager with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates LTD contact us at theassociatesincubator@