TERRORISM: LET'S SAVE NIGERIA NOW
President Goodluck Jonathan recently inaugurated a seven -member panel to be the liaison to initiate dialogue between federal government and the dreaded Boko Haram group, but I still insist, while not faulting the panel, that what we need as a country is an increased sense of patriotism by citizens, which can only come when government lives up to its soio-economic responsibilities and citizens are proud of their country.
One must admit that in recent times there has been a rise in violent crimes, and deterioration in security situation in Nigeria, worsened with the incessant bombing of select targets by the radical Islamic sect, which has created a general sense of insecurity across the nation.
I also agree with others that if left unchecked, the activities of this group and their financiers, in the long run, will not only bring Nigeria in bad light in the international community, but will also affect the nation's fragile democracy, with an end effect on the economy of the nation.
I concede the fact that every human being within an entity or every group within a political set up as Nigeria, is entitled to the right of freedom of expression as enshrined in the prevailing 1999 Constitution, but also make bold to say that such right does not include the taking of human lives, which is considered sacrosanct by both god and man.
Nigeria has not presented itself as a just and egalitarian society to both itself and citizens, but we find it most awkward, the resort to violence and bloodletting in pressing home some demands of an aggrieved group. Much as the Boko Haram Sect might have their reasons, genuine or not for the frequency of its insurgency, it should be put on record that many other sections of the country equally have certain levels of dissatisfaction with the goings on in the country.
As such, it is trite to say that there is no need for whatever reasons to reduce Nigeria, to unsafe territory, which will bar foreign direct investment into the country, with its attendant impact on spiral unemployment we are currently grappling with. Being a democratic country since 1999, we believe that there is enough room to seek appropriate redress within the polity.
We do not in any way subscribe to the violence that has pervaded the nation's political space; neither do we advocate the use of maximum force to quell the violence. In the light of the foregoing, it is important for the Federal Government and all security agencies to adopt the carrot and stick approach in dealing with the latest onslaught of violence in the country.
It demands the adoption of a unique approach, through partnership with traditional institutions, patriotic groups, relevant NGO etc to deal with the genuine reasons the Boko Haram advocates could have, while at the same time dealing decisively with the criminal elements within the sect, whose intentions might be along the lines of subversiveness and upturning the gains made by the country in its march to being a genuine democratic nation. Appropriate use of intelligence by security agencies, will bring to the fore the reality or otherwise of the Boko Haram quagmire.
Indeed, many have called on the government not to enter into dialogue with the sect. Could it be that the sect grievances for instance against western education, stems from the alleged action or inaction of the political elites in the Northern region who are believed to have deliberately perpetuated poverty and ignorance amongst the populace, especially the youths in order to put them under perpetual servitude, while they [elites] continue to hold lever of governance
•Fakehinde is National Coordinator LITE the Target, a Lagos-based pressure group.