Before September 2001, if you had walked up to someone on the street and told that person that There’ll be a major religious/political/ethnic war that’ll transform Jos from Home of Peace and Tourism to Home of Pieces and Terrorism, and last over 10 years, you would probably have been laughed at, or looked at like an idiot.
Why would anyone ever believe it? Prior to September 2001, Jos was the home to all the Ajeburras. The vacation spots for all the people who lived the hectic lives in Lagos, Port and other areas in the country. Quiet, peaceful, and neat. You meet someone from Jos and you can just tell by how extra refined they were.
But in September 2001, like a dream all that vanished and the thought of Jos transformed from a Peaceful calm place, to where “they are fighting and killing people“. You meet someone today and say I’m from Jos, and they reaction is “Isn’t that where they are killing people?”
The horrors of Jos is not what anyone should use their 2 eyes to see. You hear stories but it’s unimaginable until you see pictures or you hear first hand accounts.
I remember talking to a friend who was inches away from the initial battle area hiding in a shop where all the other innocent people were. It was raining and she saw blood flowing down the road with the water. Once the soldiers were able to get to them and take them home, she remembers the truck driving over dead bodies on the way home, and looking over a bridge to see a heap of bodies laid out by the river.
A close friend of mine describes that another incident where he saw, a lorry filled with dead bodies driving to a mass grave to dump all the bodies. Miles away there is an open field with over 100 bodies roasted and decomposing. You cant even begin to imagine that.
But a lot of people didn’t have to imagine because they saw it and much worse.
As years go by, the carnage continues. In early 2010, Jos made major headlines again, as a group of Fulani herdsmen completely slaughtered a village filled with women and young children. A lot of us saw the pictures of mutilated babies as young as a year old. Little kids with their heads scalped, cut in half, women with their necks slit. Yes… It’s not pretty, but it did happen.
It’s almost becomes a battle of who can inflict the most pain and send the gorier message to the opponent.
Over the last Sallah festival, a group of Muslims were attacked and the things that happened just broke my spirit even more. Reports of people eating the roasted remains of their victims, heads on sticks put on display, limbs, and heads scattered around. On one account someone told me people started selling the body parts as souvenirs.
I’ve seen some of those pictures, and it doesn’t matter what side you’re on or who you support it has to send chills down your spine. But I realize with many of us J-town people, it doesn’t anymore. We see it and just move on. We might cringe for a about 10 seconds, and say “God Dey” and move on. It’s like we’ve just grown accustomed to extreme violence or decide to shut it out of our minds. Imagine all this carnage happening and people are around watching and taking pictures… literally.
At this point, I myself have grown numb towards news from Jos. And why shouldn’t I? 10 years of fighting no longer becomes breaking news, it’s normal thing. A lot of us have given up hope.
I’m not here wanting to say what side is right or not, cos personally I think this all comes down to politics. This has gone past wearing tee-shirts that say “jostified”. This has gone passed updating my BB status or changing my FB picture or ranting on twitter. This is had gone passed any form of human comprehension.
At this point, you can say the horrors of Jos has made my mind numb. It’s like watching a horror movie over and over again. After a while, it doesn’t scare you anymore. Now imagine a child growing up around this. Why would death or killing affect him/her?