Killing Of Farmers In Borno: A Sign Of An Exploding Gunpowder

By Kazeem Olalekan Israel

On 15th of August last year, I wrote a piece titled "Boko Haram: A Decade of Terror Explained" to capture the atrocities this deadly sect has committed ever since their birth ranging from the August 2, 2009 murder which cost the country 700 lives in Borno and the response of successive governments to the activities of this dreadful sect which has been listed as one of the most dangerous terrorist group in the cosmos.

A fact that should not be denied by every responsive and responsible government is that we have been thrown into full-blown crisis-ridden chaotic situation marred with hostage taking and unnecessary killings throughout the length and breadth of the country most especially in the northern part of the country by Boko Haram. Unfortunately, we have a government that has chosen to dwell in dangerous delusion that everything is ok with us as a people which is having a dangerous effect on governance.

A typical example of the negative impact the non-challant attitude of the government is having on us as a people is the unprovoked murder that took place in Borno last night where over 40 rice farmers were murdered in cold blood on their farmland by members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.

It is most insulting that the usual response of the government to killings by Boko Haram is simply by commiserating with the families of the deceased while providing amnesty for their killers and also giving them financial aid in the form of swapping those taken as hostages by Boko Haram with cash. Aside this, there has been no serious strategic and tactical plan that are rigorously time-bound in overcoming terrorism which has become a bane on our development by a government that rode into power on the promise of eradicating Boko Haram.

It is no news that the security of the citizens is what defines a State and that government exists for the State and not the State for the government and this is well-captured in the provision of Section 14 sub-section 2 (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which states that "the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.

There is no gainsaying the fact that based on the letters of the quoted Section of the Constitution which is the guiding principle, government is Constitutionally mandated to guarantee the security of the citizenry. This implies that if government fails to perform this constitutional obligation with utmost dedication and commitment, it will inevitably become a fifth wheel and it won't be out of place to demand replacement.

Today, the situation we have found ourselves as a people is one in which none of us is safe and that anything can happen to anybody at any material time as this government has failed to fulfil the most basic essence of its existence.

The state of insecurity in the country questions the essence of social contract between the citizenry and government which is predicated on the centrality of security to human flourishing and felicity. In social contract, citizenries willingly abdicates their rights of self-protection to government, thereby, authorizing it to enjoy monopoly of force. Social contract also envisages that government will evolve veritable mechanisms to prevent, abate, and resolve violent external or internal conflicts perpetuated by state or non-state actors.

To utter dismay, this government just like its predecessors has failed to fulfil the social contract it willingly signed with the people. As a people, we have been battling with multifarious threats to peace. Unfortunately, many are victims of criminal violence. Incessant violent crimes have dimmed the prospects of attaining national cohesion, socio-economic prosperity, and democratic consolidation in the country. Terrorism and the sprouting up of ethnic militias and kidnappers across the six geopolitical zones have also quashed all hopes that every Nigerian can experience freedom from fear of violent attacks with nothing critical being done by the government to salvage the situation.

Violent attacks which is a product of insecurity as was witnessed in Borno yesterday has multilayered and multi-generational implications that do not lend themselves to easy computation and the government itself has done nothing to put an end to this not to talk of compensating and reuniting affected families. Not until government succeeds in its primary purpose as clearly stated in Chapter 2 of the Constitution, it cannot succeed in its secondary purposes. In other words, the efforts of the government to diversify the economy by reviving the agro-allied sector cannot amount to anything without widespread peace, stability, and security which the country obviously lacks with many families sundered by criminal violence perpetuated by Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers and ethnic militias. Undoubtedly, the killings, the kidnappings, the destruction of farmlands and the clashes will definitely sabotage the quest and effort of the government to attain food security.

At this stage, it is important that the government takes urgent measures to guarantee maximum security and safety for all Nigerians because, for Nigeria to become an anthill of economic activities, she would need to strengthen her security architecture and make sure organized crimes are reduced to their bearest minimum.

Conclusively, our lawmakers must as a matter of necessity and urgency wakeup to check the excesses of the Buhari led-government which has proven to be class-sensitive and ethno-religious bias. Our lawmakers must not allow political correctness or naive rationalisation to delude them into playing the ostrich.

The country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder!
Kazeem Olalekan Israel is a political activist. He writes from the ancient metropolitan city of hospitality, Ibadan. He writes via kazeemo[email protected]

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