At the start of the week, the music world mourned. At the concert of Ariana Grande in Manchester, UK, a British suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, detonated an IED which claimed 22 lives and injured over double that figure.
And while we sit in Nigeria, and follow the news via social media and international news sources, we need to look back home and understand that it could have happened in Lagos. It can still happen in Lagos.
Nigeria is no stranger to terrorism. Where ISIS has a bone to pick with Europe, at home, we have Boko Haram serving the country with their brand of devastating guerilla attacks in the north. In the South, the Niger Delta militants are a threat, the West has riverine militants, and in the East, there are rumors of secessionists arming themselves.
Nigerian concert organizers and promoters have to take a long hard look in the mirror and understand that the art is vulnerable to gruesome attacks, and acts of terrorism. Today it’s ISIS grabbing world headlines with an attack at a concert. What if Boko Haram decides to do similar and attack a great concert?
“God forbid!” That’s what we will all say. But if we are being realistic with the country that we live in, then we ought to dump blind optimism, and take practical steps to prevent an occurrence of this at Lagos concerts. Concerts are a vulnerable terrorism target. Young, happy, people whose only care in the world is to be a part of some supreme turn up. Without security measures, that’s almost like begging for it.
Nobody should go to a concert with the thought of getting killed. Nobody should have to look over their shoulders while Olamide and Wizkid are uplifting them with their best performance ever. But it’s a cruel world we live in, and a lot of evil run free.
And that’s why we need security.
I have attended numerous concerts at the biggest venues in Lagos, and there were no security checks on people. Huge menacing bouncers stand at the door, staring you down with their mean looks, but all they do is check if you have your ticket, or wristband. No scanners, no body frisks, nothing. Sometimes, I test them with “I have a bomb up my ass,” comment.
And they smile back at me. Very funny. But dangerous.
We need more security in our venues. We need all the measures taken to prevent terrorist acts. We need experts contracted for these venues, body checks, frisks and more. The stories from Manchester are heartbreaking. And we should do our best to avoid it.
“God forbid” never stopped a suicide bomber on a mission.