- Title: NIGERIA: Anti-terror song tackles Boko Haram head on, despite fear of reprisal
- Date: 16th March 2012
- Summary: LAGOS, NIGERIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) MALLAM T-BASE, SINGER SAYING: "The song came not like every other song, of course I wasn't really thinking of doing something about Boko Haram, but seeing the news, I am seeing everything, seeing people die everyday being shown in the news, some how it just kept coming into my spirit, the song kept flowing somehow, I think it is the fastest song I have ever written."
- Embargoed: 31st March 2012 13:00
- Location: Nigeria, Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Crime,Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVAC1XXG85EPNZYOQJ9MMK66M417
- Story Text: Shocking scenes of suicide bombing like this one have become all too familiar in many parts of northern Nigeria where members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram have staged an insurgency against government establishments that has mainly targeted security forces.
The insurgency has grown in sophistication in the past six months and has expanded its target range to include both Christians and Muslims.
It is this continuing carnage that has motivated Nigeria's 25 year old artist Lisa Ezekiel Tomitope, better known as Mallam T Bass, to write and produce a song condemning the killing of innocent people by members of Boko Haram.
"The song came not like every other song, of course I wasn't really thinking of doing something about Boko Haram, but seeing the news, I am seeing everything, seeing people die everyday being shown in the news, some how it just kept coming into my spirit, the song kept flowing somehow, I think it is the fastest song I have ever written," said Mallan T Bass.
But little known to Mallam T Bass was the fact that he had embarked on a mission most Nigerian musician would not dare take on.
Discussing or talking openly about Boko Haram in some parts of the country is almost suicidal in itself. Several people in the north including journalists have been summerly executed by the sect for talking bad about it or giving information to security about the movement of its members.
"Most of the media houses were like scared, they don't want to play it and of course, there is a popular saying now in the north that "the fear of Boko Haram is the beginning of wisdom" so, well we don't blame them, because everybody is trying to play safe," said Mallam T Bass.
The well produced video depicts suicide bombers being prepared for a mission alongside relics warning them about the outcome of their actions.
Mallam T Bass explained that he believed the underlying reason for the frequent attacks against government by members of Boko Haram, were not motivated by religion.
"We have heard of mosques being burnt down, and some of the locations that have been bombed they have Muslims involved...you know Muslims also die, so I don't really think it is a religious issue, I think it is just political demands on the part of Boko Haram," he said.
Barnabas Buba, also an artist and a long time friend said he would never touch on the topic of Boko Haram in his music at present but admired and praised the courage shown by Mallam T Bass.
"I respect him because he didn't really look at the aspect of like being scared or stuff, he went ahead, he spoke about what most people would just do...that just take a very brave man in heart and outside," said Buba.
Mallam T Bass said he got the alter ego Mallam (Hausa for Master) while performing on stage with a colleague from the north in northern city of Kano. He added that he had no plans at the moment to stage any shows there because of the prevailing security situation.
Alex Elenyinmi, a video music producer and manager said his team had produced a balanced and high quality video to educate society about the ills of committing such atrocities as witnessed in the country in the past couple of months.
He added that the majority of fans who had watched the video, which is now posted on YouTube were happy with it, however, a few others were fearful of the final outcome.
"You have those who welcome it so much and those who are like 'ah, save your life, don't die, these people are going to come and bomb you, these people are going to come and kill you,' but in general take a lot of people do think it is a good job and we actually think it is a good job," said Elenyinmi.
Mallan T Bass studied sound engineering and is a full time music producer and has worked with various local artists such as Skally, Myme among others.
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