Re: Odi, Zaki Biam and Okuama: Beyond sentiments

Re: Odi, Zaki Biam and Okuama: Beyond sentiments

In responding to the complex and emotionally charged subject addressed in the article “Odi, Zaki Biam and Okuama: Beyond sentiments,” by Suyi Ayodele, published in the Nigerian Tribune, it is crucial to navigate this discussion with a profound sense of empathy, ethical clarity, and an unwavering commitment to peace and justice. As a social commentator dedicated to examining societal issues through a Christian lens, the call to peace, justice, and love for our neighbors guides my critique.

First and foremost, it is essential to unequivocally condemn violence in all its forms, whether perpetrated by civilians against military personnel or vice versa. The sanctity of human life is a fundamental principle that transcends all boundaries and conflicts. The tragic events in Odi, Zaki Biam, and more recently, in Okuama, reflect deep-seated issues that require a response rooted in understanding, justice, and reconciliation, rather than retribution.

The biblical principle found in Romans 12:17-21 calls for a departure from the cycle of vengeance: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” This scripture challenges us to seek solutions that do not perpetuate violence. The killing of innocent civilians in military reprisals cannot be justified under any circumstances. Such actions only serve to deepen mistrust, exacerbate tensions, and hinder the path to lasting peace and reconciliation.

The root causes of attacks on military personnel often stem from complex socio-economic, political, and historical grievances. Poverty, marginalization, and a sense of injustice can lead to desperate actions. While this in no way justifies attacks on military personnel, understanding these underlying issues is crucial for preventing future violence. Community engagement, development initiatives, and dialogue are critical in addressing grievances and building trust between the military and civilian populations.

Corruption within the military and other institutions further complicates the relationship between the armed forces and the civilian populace. When trust in these institutions is eroded, it undermines their legitimacy and capacity to protect and serve. Addressing corruption is therefore essential in restoring faith in these institutions and ensuring they operate with integrity, accountability, and in the best interest of the people they are meant to protect.

Preventing future attacks and building a peaceful society requires a multifaceted approach. It involves strengthening democratic institutions, ensuring accountability, promoting social justice, and fostering dialogue and understanding between different community stakeholders, including the military and civilian populations. Education and awareness campaigns can play a significant role in promoting peace, understanding, and respect for human life.

In conclusion, the path to healing and reconciliation in the aftermath of violence is a challenging journey that requires commitment from all sectors of society. As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers, to love our neighbors, and to seek justice and peace. Let us, therefore, advocate for responses to violence that are rooted in justice, mercy, and reconciliation, recognizing the inherent dignity and worth of every individual. In doing so, we honor the teachings of Christ and contribute to building a more just and peaceful world.

Osoria Asibor

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