*By Nchanji Nadesh
Residents of the war prone regions of the Northwest and Southwest are rather becoming used to gunfire that there recent jokes are being cracked even as hails of bullets fell people. The average toddler now knows and would advise a first timer to duck, to hit the floor or even get under the bed when guns begin to “cough.”
Young men and women refer to the rattling sound of gunfire as popcorn or better still as corn being parched. It is a derivative of the popping sound of corn in a frying pan. But inasmuch as the young can, and easily joke about this deadly game of firing at human targets, the elderly are left in the lurch each time the guns belch, especially loudly. Those with a history of high blood pressure or cardiac issues say their last prayers more or less.
Some of them have been complaining aloud of the eardrum bursting effects of Kalashnikovs and AK47s, revealing the various ways in which gunshots have enormously contributed in putting them in the precarious conditions in which they are find themselves today.
One of them, Pa Kinge Joseph, 83, an ex-politician of the CPDM party revealed that he is a cardiac patient who is always jolted out of himself, frightened by the cracking sounds of semi-automatic weapons. He said gun firing causes him lots of trauma, thereby inducing him into unconsciousness. He said it often takes him a pretty long time to come back to himself.
In apparent reference to splinter Amba groups, he referred to the what is going on as a two edged situation in which protagonists have been quarreling and in extreme cases shooting themselves. He mentioned certain respected persons like Dr Ni John Fru Ndi, the founding chairman of the Social Democratic Front, SDF, and the clergyman like the bishop who tried to open the eyes of the citizens to see the need of peace but he, alongside his priests were kidnapped and tortured.
According to him, secession was never an option due to a plebiscite which was conducted in 1961 and a referendum was held in which they decided on their fate. “So, separation will be difficult and so we should not compare with countries like Eritrea and South Sudan.”
He concluded by saying that “a father is a father. When you ask for something, don’t press him to the wall; let us all spread the message of peace.”
Another victim of gunfire from Muyuka who refused to reveal her identity noted: “I am addicted to my late husband’s house and due to this I have been badly affected due to the numerous gunshots. I am now a high blood patient and was hospitalized for over two weeks with very little income to sustain my family.”
Yet another elderly person who lives in Muea testified on behalf of her grandfather who is 89 years old. “He has since started behaving abnormally due to the constant loud and frightful sounds of gunshots. He has been mentally affected and besides the fact that this excessive gun firing has rendered him deaf.
He would want for there to be a quick return to peace so that many more deaf, cardiac and generally traumatized cases are not unnecessarily registered.
UB JOURNALISM STUDENT ON INTERNSHIP