This morning in Potiskum, Yobe State, a suicide bomber killed at least 50 secondary school students during their school assembly. There was no word from the Presidency until a few moments ago, when the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, released a statement on his blog, here.
The statement sounds a lot like the well-worn one that the Presidency has released over the years (“condmens”, “dastardly”, “heinous”, “cowardly”, and so on). This seems to have removed almost all sense of feeling from these statements. Perhaps the Presidency is also a little numb? And was this not serious enough for the President to address the nation? A few hours after the incident, this was the post on Dr. Abati’s twitter feed –
President Jonathan, Minister Wali, Burundi Ambassador to Nigeria, Haranungarawe & his spouse at the Villa today. pic.twitter.com/luuhIB6TJC
— Reuben Abati (@abati1990) November 10, 2014
What followed the publication of the statement on Potiskum was that people who had been itching for the President to speak on the matter, got a little irritated. It also did not help that splashed across the top of the statement from Dr. Reuben Abati, was an image from Boko Haram’s propaganda album.
The script needs to change. Here’s my attempt…
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President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan extends heartfelt commiserations to the Government and people of Yobe state on the death of many students in a bomb attack on Potiskum earlier today.
Dear Nigerians, it is with a very heavy heart that the President conveys his deepest sympathies at the horror that that took place in Potiskum this morning.
President Jonathan also conveys his deepest sympathies to all parents who lost their beloved children in the heinous attack on the Government Science Secondary School which appears to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.
President Jonathan, a parent himself, shares in the grief and sorrow of the Government and people of Yobe State, the parents of our children cut down in their prime and, indeed, all well-meaning Nigerians in our joint loss. No parent should ever have to bury their child, and the circumstances of the senseless brutality, an apparent suicide bombing, make the situation even more reprehensible.
The President condemns the dastardly murder of the students on their school’s assembly ground as they prepared to begin another week of study in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their families. He assures the grieving parents and people of Yobe state that no matter how long it takes, the Federal Government will ensure that all those responsible for the senseless murder of so many promising youngsters and the continuing acts of terrorism across the country are brought to justice and made to pay for their atrocious crimes.
The President condemns this barbarity and the ongoing siege laid against the people of Nigeria by those thirsty for war in a land of peace. These children were guilty of nothing, except taking steps to secure their education and a better life for their families. He assures the people of Yobe State and their brothers and sisters in all our other 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory that no matter how long it takes, the Federal Government will ensure that every single perpetrator behind today’s senseless murder will face justice. Already, further to the President’s directions, the Police and the State Security Service are doing…
God help us.