While people marched and world leaders paid tributes and glorious speeches in honour of the fallen Charlie Hebdo journalists we all have learnt a lesson. And so have our local insurgents Boko Haram.
When 2 gunmen, made the journey into the offices of a satirical media magazine last week to claim the lives of 12 journalists and cartoonists, all to avenge a perceived wrong on the principal icon of the Muslim faith, they didn’t look at the bigger picture.
They were setting a standard and lighting the way for all other terrorist cells to strike at the heart of the most important tool in a State, for mass information, reasoning and expression of freedom.
On a wider picture, journalists aren’t just journalists. They are the bearers of civilisation, the frontrunners of literacy, the torchbearers of the people, and key determinants in the state of affairs. Simply put, they are the voice of reason, God’s right hand in the affairs of man, and a pillar (and sometimes, tools) of the state and people.
To attack a journalist, is to attack our very humanity, and despise all that make us good as specie of reasoning. The attackers, Cherif and Said Kouachi, spat on the face of free thinking and reason, and trust me, the rivers of tears, grief and solidarity have flowed ceaselessly.
But away from all the angst and grieving, let’s look at the lessons learnt on all fronts, most especially, on the part of the insurgents in Nigeria. Boko Haram, have been on a rampage within the last 2 years, pushing the borders of dastardly deeds and evil, even hitting the apex with the kidnap of over 250 Nigerian schoolgirls from Chibok.
But from happenings from last week, and the global reaction to it, they seem to have found something achievable, and capable of putting them back on the global map. While people marched and world leaders paid tributes and glorious speeches in honour of the fallen and solidarity with the affected nation, the mood in the camp of the insurgents will be one of elation. Elation not in the euphoria of success by their sister network, but rather due to the realisation that they can repeat the gruesome exploits of the Kouach brothers.
The powers that be at Boko Haram will right now be planning on attacking a reputable news agency. Nothing tops an attack on the news. It makes the frontpages, generates a good outcry, and gives new life to the image of the terrorist. Heck, it’s too juicy for them not to do it!
A learning for we all in the media business is to take more measures at self-defence and security. Now is the time for a security review of all the offices and installations of the media channels, with sweeping changes to be carried out in the protection of newsmen as we dispense our noble duties.
Nigeria is a State marred by nonchalance and procrastination, and the welfare of the media in the country is deplorable. Now we have been exposed, and adequate cover is needed to make us feel safe again.
Let’s all be on high alert. Charlie Hebdo episode have taught us all a huge lesson.