Students Massacred 2 Days Before Nigeria’s 53rd Independence – President Jonathan’s Speech Today – A Time For Reflection (and Action?)


Rescue workers transporting hacked bodies, while onlookers watch on – Yobe State

Today is Independence Day – it’s a time for celebration of our emancipation from the British, but also a time of somber reflection. How well does our country “work”? Some people say you can know how safe somewhere is by if you can walk on the streets, but how about when you’re sleeping? We just had an article asking you to share your wishes for Nigeria, it’s now time to share our reflections.

Before you say we are late, we thought it best to talk about it on the one day in the year dedicated to Nigeria – are we truly one? – {keep in mind, most of the students slaughtered, if not all, are thought to be Muslims}. Is our country worth celebrating? You decide.

As you probably know, a deep tragedy struck two days ago – Sunday September 29, 2013 – in Damaturu, in Yobe State – in the North East of Nigeria.

nigeria map yobe state

Alleged members of the extremist Islamic terrorist sect Boko Haram – dressed in camouflage attacked male hostels at the Yobe State College of Agriculture, specifically avoiding the female ones – and awoke a sleeping group of students, aged between 18 and 22, forcing them to huddle into groups, slaughtering each group with a stream of bullets. Around 40 male students were initially reported dead. Now the death toll has risen to the 70s, as some were also hacked with cutlasses and machetes, and were injured initially.

Here’s an eye witness account, from Reuters:

“They started gathering students into groups outside, then they opened fire and killed one group and then moved onto the next group and killed them. It was so terrible,” said one surviving student Idris, who would only give his first name.

“They came with guns around 1 a.m. and went directly to the male hostel and opened fire on them … The college is in the bush so the other students were running around helplessly as guns went off and some of them were shot down,” said Ahmed Gujunba, a taxi driver who lives by the college.”

Parents and families were found mourning at the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital mortuary in Damaturu in Yobe yesterday. We pray for all the victims’ families to find solace in this tough time. Losing young men so full of promise – not even being able to bury their full bodies.

The Yobe state governor addressed the issue yesterday in a statement – Ibrahim Gaidam,  “devastating, heinous and barbaric,” and called for increased protection from the military. Survivors and relatives also seem to echo that sentiment.

The president – Goodluck Jonathan said on the tragedy,

“The people they killed they don’t even know them. This is the creation of the devil … No Boko Haram or any group can frustrate this country … I assure Nigerians we’ll do what is required to protect them.”

We have to to say, were not impressed by President Jonathan’s Independence speech today. He didn’t truly allay our fears on the lack of security and powerlessness we feel every single day. He said he will institute a national committee – but we have had many of those – what do they solve?

For the governor of Yobe to call on militant force, what confidence does that say we have in the investigative powers of the police?

For the the President to say this is the work of the devil, can only God save us now?


Jonathan said today,

“I admit that these may not be the best of times for our nation. Our people are divided in many ways -– ethnically, religiously, politically, and materially. I cannot hide from this reality.”

“This act of barbarism is a demonstration of the extent to which evil forces will go to destabilize our nation, but I assure you, they will not succeed.”

Jonathan plans to institute a national committee that will plan a “national dialogue” ready to report within a month. Well, we’ll see how that goes.

As for us – yes, you, reading this, what action can we take – if any? This goes deeper than a social media campaign a la #childnotbride. It’s not about a law. It’s about a general state of being – fear, feeling unsafe.

Thievery and violence is normalized in this country. It’s so normal to hear “my phone got stolen” that we don”t even think twice about it. We don’t think twice about the rotting body we rode past on the express way in the morning. An accident? A robbery? With so much to do we carry on just going. We can choose to chop rice and stew today, enjoy a day from work, or we can try to do something – anything.

Today – it’s time to think about Nigeria.

Share your thoughts.

Source: Photos via Al-Jazeera | | Jonathan Speech – Photographer: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images


45 Comments on Students Massacred 2 Days Before Nigeria’s 53rd Independence – President Jonathan’s Speech Today – A Time For Reflection (and Action?)
  • TeeWii October 1, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Divide Nigeria!! This can’t continue:: so SAD

    • Sonaya October 2, 2013 at 1:38 am

      Simply put, I no longer think about Nigeria as Nigeria does
      NOT think about me. For this country, the beautyful ones were born,
      have long died, and have since been buried. It’s everyone fend for
      yourself out here no government or militia group will ever give us
      the safety that we need or deserve. So grab a gun and arm
      yourselves. A word is enough for the wise.

      • nene October 2, 2013 at 9:53 pm

        i agree wholeheartedly with u. the good ones were born and some have died for their cause, other have been killed. we are all cowards in this country.

    • Ashley October 2, 2013 at 3:32 am

      guys, the problem wiv naija is that every single one of us
      both home and abroad. esp, those abroad. we can all spot n list all
      d problems with naija, but i dare anybody to come up with ultimate
      solution or even part solution. i have searched my soul and hate to
      admit () and @ least 90 million nigerians cannot do better

      • Elaine Watson May 17, 2014 at 9:27 am

        Leave religion out of the equation. The oldest trick the is the best weapon the ‘devil’ has is to divide to conquer. Together we Bargain; Divided we Beg. There is always the enemy that you never see. The one who throws out the bone and watch you fight while they pull the strings. Don’t look for differences rather for the commonalities that we all have. Pollution kills. It is time to go green and to heal the land.

    • Ashley October 2, 2013 at 4:14 am

      guys, the problem wiv naija is that every single one of us
      both home and abroad. esp, those abroad. we can all spot n list all
      d problems with naija, but i dare anybody to come up with ultimate
      solution or even part solution that will put an end to the rot. i
      have searched my mind, body n soul n hate to admit it that though
      jonathan is culpable in all spheres of his modus operandi. 90-95%
      of nigerians if elected, cant improve the lot of the country. so
      mathematically from my hypothesis, we r left with 5% of nigerians
      who can challenge jonathan or perhaps do better if elected. but
      since it is well documented in democracy that “Minority can never
      rule over majority” so it means whenever we get any elected leader
      from that 5% minority pool. the only logical thing to do is to
      exploit the remaining 95% of the nation. A situation we r all too
      familiar with since the so called independence. This they learnt
      from their colonial masters ” the art of disguised exploitation”
      but ofcourse since we r all black in d nation, there is no urgent
      need or ruse to disguide the exploitation of masses. it is there
      happening daily and clear to see like d biblical mene mene tekel
      urphasin( in d words of hon. P Obahiagbon) the lack of education,
      knowledge and so called exposure of most nigerians makes it very
      easy for the scam called Nigeria to hold and for the leaders to
      loot with impunity. although now helpless, the masses in Nigeria
      are to blame as well. the average nigerian is as corrupt as the
      C.IA n FBI in the states. (me included) as far as i’m concerned,
      those r d only match for d average nigerian. and now we wonder y
      things dont change when these average kids get into public
      office!!!! both d leaders n followers dont have what it takes in
      order to get us back to the path of normality, let alone
      greatness!!!! y do u lot think we r the quickest to leave it to
      God? because, truth be told, d average brother cannot help himself
      , let alone others. in a nutshell, lets admit it n utter it
      silently ” we r not intellectually sound enough”to be expecting or
      demanding the merits of democracy so soon. i can go on and on, but
      inwill cut it short here, hopin u can see y its always gonna be a
      swim or sink case in nigeria. one mans gain is another mans lost,
      one country’s boom is another country’s bust happy colonised
      mentality day

  • fred October 1, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    “but I assure you, they will not succeed.” Total crap, they
    are already succeeding, can’t u see?

  • NNENNE October 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    A hospital named after Sanni Abacha? For inventing what? Am
    bereft of words.

    • Tb October 1, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      Help me ask o. This country celebrates mediocrity and
      wickedness. Abacha of all people. Sigh. I’m tired of Calling God
      into this country’s issues.

  • Olulu October 1, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    hmmm, which way Nigeria???

  • slice October 1, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    shut down the schools in that area. we can’t keep the
    students safe yet. it’s not fair to keep sending them like
    sheep/ram to the slaughter. Parents need to take their kids out of
    school ASAP. You’ve been warned. Security is bad. if the place was
    in anyway secure, those people would not have been able to come in.
    At least not without some type of a fight

  • Justanopinion October 1, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Dividing Nigeria does to equate to dividing the good and
    the bad people…that’s what we need…a country where there are
    consequences for barbaric, corrupt and incompetent behavior …we
    always look for the crass way out without thinking
    critically….who cares about ethnicity or religion? What I care
    about is the moral and values of the people around me…we keep
    missing the point…God have mercy on us…may their souls rest in
    peace…what a huge loss to the nation…

    • Easy Now October 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      Let’s be truthful to ourselves we are not one @justanopinion.

  • Shoo October 1, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    are they killing their own kinds (like syria) or are they
    killing ppl from other tribes. I hope they are killing their own
    kinds. There less of them there are in the world the better. The
    world is Tired of these MFckers.

    • slice October 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      They’ve been killing students. So no they r not killing
      their own kind. Their own kind are fellow terrorists

  • Baker Street October 1, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    I don’t understand y we have the military in this country
    when they can’t stop these killings or are they for decoration.
    People are dying everyday and we are still talking about
    committees. Something must be done to stop these ruthless people
    who have no heart. The Government must act now. Use the military,

  • October 1, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    What a hospital named after sanni Abacha nah wah after all
    the atrocity the man and his family commitesnder his son has the
    guts to want to run for political office and also has the. Tell
    Nigerians to let by gone be bygones my heart goes out to the
    students and families mya God give you the strenght to take this

  • utu October 2, 2013 at 12:23 am

    God help Nigeria. May der soul rest in Peace.

  • dysfunction October 2, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Same old story. Boko haram is evil, muslim extremists are
    evil, but there will always be evil. What matters is how you
    respond to evil. In my opinion, the average Nigerian is numb to
    injustice. Boko haram thrives because of us. We all have to share
    in the blame. Although, this president just needs to go away.
    That’s how I was under Abuja heat for 30 minutes queued up for
    petrol, next thing taxi driver just cut everybody off and jumped
    inside fuel station. I almost had a seizure. The only reason I
    didn’t fight with that man was because he refused to come down from
    his car and he kept on apologizing. But everybody was looking at me
    like I was the mad man.

  • Onyeka October 2, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Sami Abacha Soecialist hospital ke? Wonders shall Neva end
    in this my country called Nigeria. Ihe na eme o.

  • intheoverseas October 2, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Bless you Ness for this. I think the major problem is that
    everyone is backing reality and focusing on the less consequential
    things. I know that I’m guilty of this BUT I think the online media
    is largely responsible. By media I mean the bella naijas, LIB, LLs,
    and so on. Each day 80% of the news that WE the “enlightened class”
    are exposed to is about fashion, gossip and whatever else you have.
    The more important news is glossed over and in the end what remains
    in our subconscious are irrelevant particles. See us trash
    “celebrity” outfits, gush over “omo olowo” wedding and analyse
    music videos but when some serious news is published the article
    begs for opinions… and the cycle continues. This is such a
    painful situation because I know for a fact that we have so many
    young and intelligent Nigerians on Bella Naija alone that can start
    a movement but the question is, how can bella naija team support
    this? Personally, I will be ready to work.

  • Milly October 2, 2013 at 1:16 am

    May the soul of the innocent slain students hunt their
    killers! May they die brutal deaths to their 10th generation.
    Nigeria will not give in to terrorism ,I do not understand why the
    Governor wants military help ! and I thought there was a state of
    emergency in the those boko haram infested states. They are even
    helping Christianity,as a lot of muslims are converting to
    Christianity,as they know the difference between love and barbarism

  • MEYO October 2, 2013 at 2:45 am

    Na only God go save us 4rm all dis elictrocite,naija go
    beta,its a matter of time,let just keep praying.

  • asgrl October 2, 2013 at 2:52 am

    “Creation of the devil”….this phrase tells you everything
    you need to know about how serious your president takes this
    crisis. Oya let’s begin a month of national fasting and prayers, my
    fellow Christian, Muslim and Traditionalist brothers and

  • Echeji mimin October 2, 2013 at 2:54 am

    God!! My lord Jesus,please give Jonathan an advice on ♓øw
    to tackle this problem..through a trance or your instrument..we
    cannot do it on our own, father.. We ask for help..we can’t be keep
    running away from our country cos of insecurity..keep us under your
    mighty wings Amen!!!

  • Echeji mimin October 2, 2013 at 3:02 am

    Its either Nigeria is being divided or the Us troops are
    invited over.. Those ones don’t smile@all… Nigeria is as good as
    independent,the british should maybe come into play again..Dear
    President think about this α̇̇̇̊Ω̶̣̣̥̇̊d̶̲̥̅̊ ask God to help
    α̇̇̇̊Ω̶̣̣̥̇̊d̶̲̥̅̊ show you mercy becos he’ll question U̶̲̥̅̊ over
    the people he gave over to you to serve as a leader, what you did
    wiv is so precious to God

  • ao October 2, 2013 at 4:10 am

    You all were warned about them. – The Igbos.

  • meme October 2, 2013 at 6:13 am

    I swear.. I am tired of seeing these sort news about killing and boko haram..what can be done ? if its means dividing the country let it happen! if the muslims want their own country pls let it happen or since they say there is soooo much money in Nigeria, then invite the US to come help this country!
    This is pure EVIL!!

    • Italian Princess October 2, 2013 at 8:20 am

      Really? This IS what you think is the solution? I hope you realize that there are muslims in Ijebu Ode, there are muslims in Ilorin, there are muslims in Auchi.

      Also, you think that the US should be called in to “help” y’all? I hope you watch the news… You need to. Because I aint gonna need to talk to you about the US government shut down of the past couple of days.

      Let’s all be informed before we make brash statements. Okay?

      “It is Well”.

  • Lil Miss October 2, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Boko Haram didn’t begin it’s reign of terror today. We have learnt to tolerate and somewhat accept the brutal and senseless killings that is their trademark. History in Nigeria has thought us that these acts of violence are acceptable.
    The boarders who were murdered in their sleep have become history, countless men, women,children and even the unborn who where blown to bits in churches have become history, our brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, hundreds of villagers who were burnt to death or hacked to death in their sleep have become history, husbands and wives-to-be, who went to serve their nation up north and never returned have become history too!
    At first we assumed it was a religious war, then we said it was political now we’ve come to realise and know it is terrorism and over time Nigeria has become a terrorist nation.
    We make a lot of noise and condemn these killings but in the end do nothing and hope too, that the problem just goes away. In a little while, we will again hear and see gruesome pictures of yet another.

  • Francis October 2, 2013 at 8:24 am

    I think what is best for this country is to invite the British back for a ten (10) year contract to come and teach the present crop of Nigerians Statesmanship and if possible, help clear the mess that they bequeathed to us in the name of Independence. There is so much selfishness, nepotism, corruption, incompetency, ethnicity and other divisive tendencies in our statecraft and body politics to allow for genuine growth and development. This is a drastic measure but at the same time the only way if we are looking for a solution to Nigeria’ mirage problem. Let us take the humble pie and bury our pride for a solution if we are interested in moving Nigeria forward. I am a Nigerian and I regret to admit that this is even a consideration at all, not to talk of it representing my opinion after 53 years of independence. Sadly, to me, it is the bitter TRUTH. We’ve failed ourselves in all ramifications and at all levels of governance and there is no hope in sight that someday, we might be able to reverse the trend on our own.

  • October 2, 2013 at 8:39 am

    there are problems everywhere but that’s y you are here to be a solution. ‘there will be no need for a messiah when the people are happy’ Do your part

  • Zayt October 2, 2013 at 8:40 am

    that’s why naija cant move forward. Instead of pple to profer solutions they are talking about sani abacha hospital. is that what the article is about? hiss

  • poshila October 2, 2013 at 9:59 am


  • ij October 2, 2013 at 10:35 am

    if a whole president of the Federal republic of Nigeria is
    saying it is the work of the devil ,eh well its the work of the
    devil noni , what can one do ? when our number one leader , who
    should have the power to deal with these animals with extreme
    prejudice says its basically a spiritual problem and has
    commissioned yet another committee to plan a “national dialogue” .
    No really what should we the followers do?

  • Tess October 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

    What is happening in Nigeria is a case of “e no concern
    me”. As long as the people who died are not related to us, we just
    don’t care. When Christians were being bombed to bit in Churches,
    it was the same attitude from the Muslims in the North. Now that
    Muslim students are being targeted, Christians and indeed people
    who are not related to them, just turn a blind eye. Until we begin
    to realise that that person who has been killed could so easily be
    our relative, we will never stand up to confront evil. And this is
    not only related to Boko Haram or insecurity, but the entire
    country. If all our politicians children were schooling in Nigerian
    universities, ASUU strike would not linger till now, if all of them
    used our hospitals, the hospitals would not be so bad. I could go
    on and on. It’s left for us to change the status quo. I believe if
    Nigerian youths will actively demand change, instead of being
    concerned about the latest entertainment gist, the government will
    sit up. I really wish we could all ask ourselves “what if that was
    my brother? would I just do nothing?”

    • John Doe October 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Well said. People don’t feel the hurt until it directly affects them. Its unfortunate but we are all guilty of it.

  • Mz Socially Awkward… October 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Oh my God!!! This is happened to children in school?? Oh my
    dear Lord, why?? What did the killers stand to gain???? What kind
    of atrocity is this and heaven help the poor parents… Oh, boko
    haram ohhhhhhhhhhh. How long? What amount of blood does the Nigeran
    government need to see on the streets before real action is taken
    to protect citizens??? And the only actions that is affordable to
    ordinary citizens is the tool of organized protests, anything
    outside of that will give rise to vigilante justice. We have a
    government installed for a reason and this is one of those reasons
    is protection of every Nigerian. How long has boko haram been
    running loose? Why do we still have to live in fear of them? These
    are some of the questions every Nigerian should start asking their
    elected representative. Get every community to start doing that at
    all levels (from school children to market traders/business owners
    to highly respected entertainers) and see whether any obtuse
    government can continue to ignore our clamour.

    • Tess October 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Very true. If all of us, from the market woman to the big shot, start asking questions, the government will wake up. We are far more in number than all these politicians. If we will become bothered enough to realize that the next person might be our family member, then we will do something. Until then…

      It was Christians before, but now its also Muslims, it is currently in the North-East, its only a matter of time before it comes South. Our security agencies do not seem capable of stopping BH if they decide to attack Lagos, they have attacked Abuja before. As much as its good to pray, we should confront issues too before they overwhelm us. God will only help when we have done our best, but we haven’t yet.

  • Lex October 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    That is so annoying how there are so many articles n things saying how safe is nigeria. Honestly no where is safe not one place on this planet. Everytime we leave the house, drive, go to work, go to s ch ool, we take a risk we don’t even know what will happen in the next hour! We are only safe in Christ, give your life to Him, let ur security be in Him no matter what is going on around you! He will keep you in the times of danger *psalm 91*

  • Lex October 2, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Also humans can only do so much, they can’t protect us from danger only the living God can do that. I’m deeply sorry for the students who lost their lives and I pray that God will comfort their families

  • NNENNE October 3, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Are they sure the killers are Nigerians? That part of the country is sitting just at the border.
    My their souls and that of other Nigerians killed senselessly since post independence , rest in perfect peace.

  • Bright August 21, 2014 at 11:15 am

    If Mr. Jona really wants to defeat the BH terrorist gangsters, he should take along with him those Northeastern governors, and a couple of delegates from the north as a regoin to President Obama in the U.S. and explain his situation. I am sure Mr. Obama will aprove the sales of appropriate arms to Nigeria, and KO those terrorist BH gangsters, once and for all. If Mr. Jona keeps toyiing with those BH gangsters, they are going to storm their parths into Aso Rock one of these days, and take out the entire complex. Nigeria military is not equipped to take on those BH gangsters. If Mr. Jona thinks he is going to close out BH by December, he is only risking his own life in Aso Rock.

    The Nigerian military is illequpped to take on BH with those Civil war erea arms. Mr. Jona is goinog to have to get serious otherwise he is goiong to get thrown out, come February 2015.

    Mr. Jona should quit playing cat and mouse with BH. One billion is not going to buy weapons to take out BH. Someone is finanicng them, and Mr. Jona must be willing to outspend them into oblivion, untill he defeats them. Jona is toying with something that could swallow his presidency. Go to America, and buy approriate arms, before it is too late. Go now and do it, and stop preaching. You have done that for too long and more dead bodies have pile up. It only makes you look terrible, as an administration. Go now righ away. What else can we say. Go to the U.S. and buy real arms, and take out these BH boys, now. It could be too late with your preachings.

  • s October 23, 2014 at 9:18 am

    They don’t give youths the chance for anything yet they massacre them for nothing.

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