Monday, February 2, 2015

Nigeria and the secrecy of the unknown soldier

Every year in January, the politicians celebrate the day of the unknown soldier. I have always thought the unknown soldier were those that died during World War II and the Civil War.

However, with recent events, I now realize that the unknown soldier is that man who has recently been sent to fight Boko Haram but has perished due to reasons we now know include lack of adequate equipment, poor logistics and other reasons.

The unknown soldier is that man who was poorly equipped to face the insurgents in Borno but who we are never told their names.

Defence HQ tells the whole world that 50 Boko Haram fighters were killed, but they never tell us that half that number of 'unknown soldiers' lost their lives.

The unknown soldier is the one whose family is given less than a month to pack out of the Army Barracks once he is no longer useful to society.

The unknown soldier is the man whose family is paid a dead man's pension that is less than the $10,000 winning bonus that a player in the Nigerian football team gets every time they win a match.

The unknown soldier is not he who died before I was born, the unknown soldier is continually being minted daily on the front lines of our war.

Why is the unknown soldier of our war without name?

Why does Defence HQ hide the names of our unknown soldiers when we could be praising their memory?

Surely, the unknown soldier has a name, a kindred, a family.

Give us an opportunity to mourn our heroes, tell us their names and stop shrouding the identity of our piling dead under bureaucracy.

Let us know their widows, let us know their sons and daughters so that we may show appreciation for the feat of their fathers whose blood continues to water our freedom.

Let us unveil the unknown soldier, a hero whose blood is as precious as mine.

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