There is Terror Dioxide (To2) in Nigeria. Terror Dioxide is in our land. It is in our waters, our food, and our air.
Terror Dioxide is in our blood, in our body tissues, our membranes, our bones, and in our psyche. When we talk, we transmit Terror Dioxide. When we breathe, we exhale Terror Dioxide. When we go to the toilets, we excrete Terror Dioxide. Terror dioxide has seeped into our discourse. It is shaping our attitude and our character. It has tainted our thinking process. Terror Dioxide has become fundamental in the shaping of our world view. It is the philosophy by which we live in Nigeria. In everything we do, Terror Dioxide is the common denominator.
Terror Dioxide is a social and psycho-chemical condition that elicits concentrated obliviousness to gruesome murders, mindless maiming, rampaging raping as well as ataxic and atavistic arsons. It is a condition that makes one incorrigibly apathetic, loathsomely unsympathetic and repellently unresponsive to utter heartlessness, obnoxious wickedness, revolting mindlessness and unspeakable cruelty. It is a condition that would require a further psychoanalysis of the mental conditions of Nigerians.
Terror Dioxide (To2) is a term I coined from my rudimentary comprehension of the definition of Carbon Dioxide (Co2). Carbon Dioxide is an end product “in organisms that obtain energy from breaking down sugars, fats and amino acids with oxygen as part of their metabolism, in a process known as cellular respiration. This includes all plants, animals, many fungi and some bacteria. In higher animals, the carbon dioxide travels in the blood from the body's tissues to the lungs where it is exhaled. In plants using photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere.”
The difference between Carbon Dioxide and Terror Dioxide is that, while the former is a chemical compound, scientifically and universally accepted and acknowledged for its negative and commercial values, the latter is a social and psycho-chemical condition isolated as a behavioral challenge in human beings via psychoanalysis. While Carbon Dioxide is absorbed from atmosphere, Terror Dioxide is essentially impacted by a social condition of repeated violence over a period of time.
Terror Dioxide is comprehensively negative but not necessarily unique to Nigeria and Nigerians. At different levels, it could be found in countries where violence has eaten up the humaneness of the populace. Terror Dioxide makes death, tragedy, misery, desolation, agony and gloom naturalized essentials of the psyche of the people of a country. Terror Dioxide is much more the same in its evolutionary process with Carbon Dioxide. What we are witnessing today in Nigeria and among Nigerians is the impact of this social and psycho-chemical generated condition called Terror Dioxide and its destructive results. It has affected and still affecting Nigerian life in all facets and in all ramifications.
From interpersonal relationships to dealings between brothers and sisters, sisters and brothers and all sorts of siblings, it is Terror Dioxide being exhaled as a matter of course. In the relationships between many parents and their children and in many communities across the nation, Terror Dioxide has odorized the space, seeping out endlessly, contaminating without let or hindrance. From the street level to the Ward level, to Local government levels as well as the State levels, Terror Dioxide has infested the relationships. The contamination gets more concentrated as it complicates the lives of Nigerians more when they have to deal with their detached and aloof Federal Government.
Terror Dioxide is so ingrained in the mentality and the attitudinal disposition of Nigerians that it has become natural to them. It has become part and parcel of their lives. Nigerians have accepted it as being normal. They are not perturbed by it. They are not worried by it. Terror Dioxide shrouds Nigerians and their rulers from anxiety where violence is concerned. Nigerians don’t fret over violence because of excessive inhalation of Terror Dioxide. It shields them from sleepless nights. With so much Terror Dioxide, Nigerians are immune from bombs, massacres, rapes, kidnappings, human rituals and every genre of violence.
This is why when there was Zakibiam massacres, Nigerians ineptly complained and moved on. This is why when there was Odi massacre, Nigerians clumsily lamented and moved on. The Tiv massacre in 1964 was the first major one after Nigeria’s independence, Nigerians shrugged it off and moved on. It was followed by the Ahmadu Bello vendetta in collaboration with S. L. Akintola, against the Yoruba of the Western Region, to many it was politics as usual as they pretended it was no big deal. The soldiers who tried to respond did so with more mindless violence which also elicited more violence as the vicious circle continued only to give birth to the Civil War. The aftermath of the Civil War saw more violence as people became able to tolerate public executions. There have been several mass killings of Nigerians in the North of Nigeria with the government not being able to hold any person or group of persons responsible for such.
After so much violence over a long period of time, Nigerians became nudged into trance by Terror Dioxide. Thus when Boko Haram began its murderous agenda, Nigerians did not take it serious as usual. It was regarded as one of those things that would soon recede into the past. So, on June 26, 2010, when 25 persons were killed in Borno it was nothing to be anxious about. When 32 persons were murdered on Christmas Day in 2010, it was nothing to fret about. Seven days later, the Mogadishr Military Barracks, Abuja was attacked and 11 lost their lives. There was the INEC office, Suleja bombing, 16 people murdered; Maiduguri bombings, June 26, 2011, 25 people murdered; Year 2011 Christmas day in Jos, 43 persons murdered; January 20, 2012, in Kano, 162 murdered, all of these never bothered Nigerians. Nigerians never got agitated or agonized enough to organize protests. Such tragedies have become comedies. They have become regular in the parlance of jokes. That is what Terror Dioxide does to people.
Terror Dioxide makes people socially drowsy and inept. It causes intuitive suffocation and moral paralysis. It emasculates social oxygen. It incubates political inertia. It castrates economic initiatives and activities. It manifests as thought dizziness, logic laceration, contused reasoning, visual and hearing dysfunction (where citizens would have eyes but cannot or will refuse to see and would have ears but cannot or will refuse to hear). Within the Nigerian space Terror Dioxide make these effects searing, permanent and never-ending. It takes the form of an odorless, colorless, soundless, visionless, careless, apathetic, uncaring, unsympathetic, cold, mean disposition. All this, as abhorrent as it seems is normal for Nigerians.
Thus, it is easier to understand the attitude of Nigerian when Nyanya was ripped apart with bombs, and it only elicited a terse response “and life goes on.” Even a repeat bombing did nothing to catch the attention of anyone. When Boko Haram bombed the United Nations space in Abuja, the reaction was “what’s the big deal!” When the Islamic fundamentalists moved closer to Aso Rock to release jailed members and engaged law enforcement officers in about four hour gunfire exchange, it was only “one of those things.” When they tried to eliminate the Sultan of Sokoto, the response was “And so what?” When they bombed churches and burnt them, shot worshippers at will, nobody cared, no one agonized. It was normal. It was not out of the ordinary. It did not raise any eyebrows. It was business as usual, because for a people who breathe, eat, drink and survive on Terror Dioxide, all these are normal, matters of course.
So, when on the night of 14–15 April 2014, approximately 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria, the initial attitude of Nigerians were as usual tepid complaints followed by cold, indifferent, apathetic and well, “life goes on” stance. Not until the social media adherents stepped in and began to twit, comment on facebook, post articles all over that everyone realized how wrong this is. It was not until them that people awoke from their slumber. It is not until then that a groundswell of the campaign to bring back our girls metastasized.
It is a good thing that everyone has finally woken up. The lives of almost three hundred girls are very important. They are part of the future of their communities and their country. They are the hopes of many parents who grind through poverty to educate these girls. They have dreams of their own, dreams that the Boko Haram fundamentalists are trying to take away. The response of the World finally added another spinal bone to the back of Nigerians and finally, something positive was being done about something tragic.
Nevertheless, the impact of Terror Dioxide is still very palpable in the attitude of Nigerians. It ensured that we waited until now. It ensured that several countless lives that have been lost before now never mattered. Otherwise, the sordid experience of the Chibok girls could have been prevented. If Nigerian have not been under the influence of Terror Dioxide and be immune to violence, it would not have come to this. Nigeria would not have been the focus of negative publicity if we have not all been apathetic and unsympathetic to the point that no amount of loss of lives moved our spirits.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters