The Nigeria North With Insecurity And The Nigeria State
No doubt, security is a great concern everywhere in the world and Nigeria being a member of the global community is having her share of the menace. Nations allocate a large chunk of tax payers monies to security which literary is the protection of life and properties and the maintenance of law and order. In some countries, defense budget is usually the highest.
In the early days, mankind were merely wanderers, then comes the period when he starts settling down which led to emergence of hamlets, clans, villages chiefdoms after which, comes kingdoms and empires. In those days, strong men, warriors, warlords or strong tribe usually at any slightest provocation annihilate a race, annexed the territories and take possession of everything that belongs to the defeated or annihilated race or group. That was the state of mankind until he evolves and the formation of state began which brought about government and an organize setting within the framework of a set rules. The establishment of government was to bring about law and order in a giving society and its primary purpose for existence are security and welfare of her citizenry.
Meanwhile, security challenges are equally rampant in the Nigeria South but that of the Nigeria North, is increasingly assuming a worrisome dimension because of the deteriorating insecurity situation in that part of the country. As at today, the activities of bandits and other terrorists operating freely in the Nigeria North could best be describe as situation reminiscence of the pre-state formation era.
The formation of state in a given geographical space makes a people to submit their sovereignty to the authority of the State known as government to exercise on its behalf, Therefore, by so doing, the State is obligated to provide security and take charge of the welfare of the people, and at any given time, should the State fail fulfil its obligations to her citizenry, such a government will have to lost legitimacy. As such, it is rather baffling and inexplicably how fast and steadily the Nigeria State have failed and still failing her citizens.
The Nigeria North is replete with so many insecurity issues, be it the Boko Haram in the North East, Banditry in the North West while the Fulani marauders have made farming unattractive in North-Central. In 2014, over 280 school girls were adopted in Chibok, Borno State, in 2018 over a hundred student were adopted in Dapchi town in Yobe State and recently in 2020, over 334 school boys were adopted from a Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State. This latest adoption like every others was not only embarrassing but its further re-echoed how deeper the problems are. Again, it has also shown how unserious we are as a people and as those who are not capable of learning from history.
It is increasingly becoming worrisome and pathetic to see the Nigeria state appearing to be helpless in the face of daunting insecurity while the people of Nigeria North seem hopeless and despair. Worse of it, is that the Federal Government that ought to provide leadership and offer solution to address the insecurity head-on only resort to lamentation while its officials sing discordant tunes. In fact, never in our national history has a Presidency as it is today appeared to be disconnected from happening in our society and its failure legendary. The Presidency is more than the man occupying the office, he is an institution and a symbol of the country. The President’s every act is a barometer for the glory of the nation and his strength is the people’s strength, unfortunately, all of these are lacking in the current presidency which again brought to light the capacity to discharge the functions of the office by its current occupier.
The Kankara adoption happened right at the President backyard while he was visibly holidaying in Daura but rather than visiting the school or families whose wards were taking away, he sent a delegation from Abuja to visit the state while his handlers told a helpless nation that the President will be visiting his cows. Suffice to ask, at what point did we arrived at a destination where cow is elevated above human lives? The President visiting the students after they were freed was merely a face saving action measure.
Criminality does not thrive if there is no incentive to it. All crimes they said is local and the insecurity bedeviling the Nigeria North today are self-inflicted. All the Northern political elites do is to cleverly make it a national affairs and thereby make the Nigeria state to fight senseless war, not against an invading force from other nations but against her citizens with its attendance cost implication. Over 80% of our defense procurement are expended on internal security.
Amidst all of these, we are yet to see any concerted efforts made by the Nigeria North political leadership to address it, rather, you see them hobnobbing with bandits or granting them amnesty. Take the South of Nigeria for instance, the various states enacted laws criminalizing kidnapping and making it a capital offence and not only that, the house of any one found complicit in kidnapping will be pull down. A feat that not a single state in the Nigeria North is making efforts to attain.
As it is now, the political leadership of the Nigeria North should look inwards and evolves proactive measures aim at addressing these menace rather than apportioning blames. First, the insecurity is blame on the porosity of Nigeria Northern borders with Niger, forgetting that it was the same North that made the borders so to its advantage. Secondly, they blame it on foreigners. This same North over the years saw everyone across the Sahel region as brothers and sisters much more than fellow Nigerians from the South. Thirdly, equally, they have repeatedly alleged that forces outside the North are working to weaken the North. No one needs to work against the North because the same North from time immemorial through its action and inaction already laid the ground work for the self-destruction of the Nigeria North. In summary, insecurity in the Nigeria North are a direct consequences of the total neglect over the years of young children of the North by the political elites. The political elites of Northern origin, having conspired against the Nigeria state in an apparent quest for political domination of the country, inadvertently, neglected her core parental obligations to her children and thereby, self-inflict on itself and by extension the country an orgy of bloodletting that we have repeatedly witnessed for years and unending. All of these carnage and mayhem are unleashed on us by our people with supportive friends from across our borders. Asides the neglect of these children which has made them a readymade asset in the hands of trouble seekers, the other factors that are aiding insecurity in the Nigeria North includes but not limited to the following:
= Availability of many ungoverned spaces,
= Endemic poverty and ignorance,
= The widening gap between the rich and poor,
= Government inaction which embolden criminality,
= Over-reliance on Nigerien and Chadian as a trusted ally,
= Population and Landmass which the North thought was to her advantage has suddenly become its albatross,
= The inability of the Nigerian security forces to address security issues in the Nigeria North with the same swiftness, precision, tactfulness and effectiveness as often done in the South.
An average Northerner is an amiable person, very accommodating, tolerance and could go out of his/her way to help you if he/she chooses to, but collectively as a people, they are blinded by the insatiable quests for power and the inherent dislike towards Southerners, though, we may disagree or deny but it exists as against the kind of love and acceptance they shower on our Nigerien and Chadian neighbours. Recall that in 2015, during the Presidential inauguration banquet at Aso Rock, cultural troupes from Niger and Chad were on ground to entertain invited guests, but not even the Nigeria National troupe was invited. This alone is a clear indication of the strong connection between the Nigeria North and our northern neighbours.
Furthermore, the inability of government to address the plethora of socio-economic issues affecting the people is at the heart of the collapse of security in the Nigeria North. Absent of equal opportunities and lack of social security for the people is also a factor. Even those that they claimed to engaged are either underpaid or kept as casual staff for years, not to talk of misalignment or misclassification of grade, all in an attempt to further subjugate the people. In fact, the Nigeria State has not only failed her people in all ramification and facet of endeavours but gradually becoming a burden to the same citizens and a disappointment to the continent of Africa. The Nigeria State remains a nation where public funds do not work for the people. Those with access to the treasury corruptly enrich themselves and family members while the majority of the citizenry are left to wallow in abject poverty. The period we are in now appears to be a payback time because the neglected children of yesterday are here to unleashed terror on us.
The Nigeria media also did a great disservice to the Nigeria North through it skewed and bias reporting. The Nigeria North before Abuja got rejuvenated with various activities following the influx of people into the city was more or less a Closed-Knitted society. News meant for the people were filtered to fit the narratives of the political elites. It was not just the bias reporting that was disturbing but major news stories that do not fit in with the political elites or promote Northern views were frequently ignored. It became so troubling because the filtering of news for the consumption of the Nigeria North readily makes the apparent bias of most news academic and entertaining. All of these were happening when the media was already going full blast in the Nigeria South through unbiased reporting which afforded them the historic knowledge to place news into context. Just go to the archive and pick any Nigeria newspaper publication of the 80’s and 90’s and you will be shock to find that there were different headlines for that which was published in Lagos and that which was meant for Kaduna and the larger Nigeria North. The bias and filtered news reporting in the Nigeria North ably spearheaded by the conventional media in no small measures helped in keeping children of the less privilege in the dark and thereafter, they grew into a readymade fighter for boko haram and bandits. The Nigeria conventional media is heavily complicit in the state of affair in the Nigeria North currently because its bias and filtered news helped in shaping the Nigeria North into what it is today.
Unarguably, the Nigeria North indeed is in dire need of help and the North must be helped even if it has chosen the part of self-destruct. When it started in Benue in the early days of this administration and generated outpouring outcry from far and near, the government rather than playing a fatherly role and provide solution, its became defensive and took side but the trends at which the problem is taking now across states in the Nigeria North has made the Benue tragedy a dress rehearsal.
Historically, there is no point in our national life when the North, that has benefited so much from Nigeria given the country and her people any reason to rejoice, rather, it has spilt the much blood on the land and created the much trouble for the country to resolve, and we must stop the Nigeria North from degenerating into a huge gigantic criminal enterprise that is beckoning on its door.
In the middle of it all is a President that is yet to demonstrated the capacity to govern the country. He is pre-occupied with plans to prevent Lake Chad from drying-up and to open up Niger Republic for economy prosperity. Like his constituent, the President love for his kith and kin from the Sahel belt have afforded them the ease of movement into the country. The party of the President, the APC is simply existing but without any value to governance. The party and government is rather prioritizing clamping down on ENDSARS protesters and its sponsors that they are now bereft of how to tackle banditry whom the Minister of Defense said were already degraded, three weeks ago. Yet, this degraded group were able to carried out two successive mass adoption in Katsina State within two weeks, except, perhaps, there were more to the kidnapping that met the eyes.
We only do hope that with the freeing of the Kankara boys, the nation will not go back to sleep until the next one take place again. The Buni Yadi School boys were slaughtered in their sleep and till date, there is no memorial anywhere in the country in honour of them or is it the recently 43 beheaded rice farmers in Borno state, countless security personnel lost in the senseless war, the lone Dapchi girl and remaining Chibok girls still in captivity, the million displaced and many more. It is time to join hand with the Nigeria North to solve this problem of insecurity.
In helping the Nigeria North out of it present quagmire, the military must commit to defeating boko haram and banditry through exceptional gallantry in order to earn back the waning public confidence and the fast eroding trust in them.
Com. Msigekii Nwi-Aera Nacy Writes from Abuja