Insecurity: turning The Nigeria State Into An Empire Of Jesters.
In the face of worsening insecurity, the Nigeria State have witnessed what could best be describes as a violation and an unprecedented assault on her territorial integrity as a nation from within, the agents of state, both serving and retired recently in revelations painted pictures of a nation that is helpless or one that is bereft of ideas on how to respond to contemporary emerging security threats. The Armed forces of every nation is her strength and pride but that of the Nigeria State presently appears to be overstretches and incapable of delivering on its constitutional mandate in the face of exacerbated cases of kidnapping and an unending bloodletting across the land which has defied all solutions. Crimes is not peculiar to Nigeria, but it is the manner in which the state is handling it that is a source of concern to the citizens. Punishment for crimes serves as a deterrent to others but when the state grants safe passage to criminals or pay ransom, it emboldens them. Operation safe corridor for Boko Haram terrorists in the North Eastern part of the country is nothing but a pseudo amnesty
The Nigeria security operatives and particularly the military are maintained and sustained by tax payer’s money (if not from sales of crude) and appearing helpless or incapable of securing the nation in the face of mounting insecurity amount to dereliction of duty. The state and government on its parts have security of lives and properties as its primary purpose but again, the government of the day appears to be oblivious of that obligation to her citizens, hence, the spilling of blood continue unabated while kidnapping has assumed a new dimension, couple with incessant attacks on schools. Palpable fears pervade the land and the citizens hope of an end is gradually waning. Things are getting so worse that people are beginning to keep money aside for ransom payment because of the inability of the state to continually fulfil her constitutional responsibility to the people,
As the orgy of deaths and uncertainty persists, the discordant tones, wild and irresponsible rhetoric’s from government officials and political leaders are on the increases and thereby portraying the country as a nation in disarray with a dysfunctional government, one that is rudderless or perhaps a nation gasping for breaths. In no nation, even in the time of devastating war has a Defense’s Minister absolved the state of her responsibility to the people which is the protection of lives and properties the way the Nigeria Defense’s Minister did.
Unarguably, all of these started like a tiny sparks of fire but the conspiracy of silence from the Nigeria North over a long period enable it to fester and it has redefined the North as a huge gigantic criminal enterprise. While the Northern-Federally controlled security operatives are always swift and quick to act in the Nigeria South, they have stood by and allowed the children of the Nigeria North to get out of control and grew to the point that they now unleashed a three pronged wars on the Nigeria state and her people. The menace of Boko Haram in the North East which has become a drain on the nation treasury is still here with us and potent, the audacious attacks by bandits in the North West targeting schools and the rampaging Fulani herders across the entire country. Obviously, the Nigeria North is gradually degenerating into an existential threat to the Nigeria nation. No doubt, it is the obsession for power that made the Nigeria North to neglect her children. Those children are now grown up and out of control and without allegiance to no one, not even the Nigeria State, except the cause they believe in. As the Nigeria North continue to consolidate her hold on the power base of the country without a clear reprimand of the recalcitrant once among her children threatening the security of the nation, the rest of the country is beginning to perceive the Nigeria North as culpable in the criminal activities of these children
When nefarious activities of herders were becoming a menace, the people voices out but the government countered saying that the killers among the herdsmen were deserters from Libya and Mali. As the marauders ran amok across the country, kidnapping, killing, maiming, raping, destroying farmlands and all other form of heinous crimes, the Federal government have never come to the rescue of the affected farmers but always quick to pacify and speak in favour of the herders, while the Nigeria North and her political leadership went into a deep slumber and snored away. Instead, they sold a narrative to the gullible Nigeria conventional media and till date, even the media joined in the misclassification of the unabated crisis as FARMERS/ HEARDERS Clash. The media no doubt in an apparent bid to please the Nigeria North as always, successfully made the people to see the headers as victims rather than perpetrators.
What a country that gives no hope and you could not yearn and aspire to what you want to become because the system is highly skewed against the people. You only get what is thrown at you. The best and lucrative jobs are reserved for the children of the political elites and influential figures while the remnant are given to those that can afford to pay for it, whereas, the rest of the teeming unemployed are ask to go to farm, farm that cows will come thereafter to eats up your crops and there is hardly no one to turn to
In the pasts five years, since the assumption of office of Buhari, cows, cattle, ranching and RUGA have dominated our national discourse much more than any other issue. Cattle rearing is more or less a private business but they have succeeded in elevating it to a national issue. This primitive way of cattle rearing has brought us its attendant trouble ranging from kidnapping, raping, maiming, violence’s over right of way and grazing area, cattle rustling, banditry etc.
At some point, Nigerians felt that the worsening insecurity in the land were occasioned by the inability of the recently removed Service Chiefs to tackle the various dimension of it and thereby called for their heads. After much hue and cry, the President reluctantly let them go and equally made a 360 degree turn around to reward them with ambassadorial appointment and they have since been confirmed by the same Senate that passed a vote of no confidence on them twice. The new service chiefs are already appointed, confirmed, promoted and sworn-in while the kidnapping and killings persists. But the supposedly clearing house, which is the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) remain untouched, in spite the fact that he was quoted to have said that armed fund under the immediate pasts service chiefs could not be satisfactorily accounted for, only to recants later.
Not long after the Kankara adduction, the ever single seizure of school children in history, the Kagara adduction in Niger State occurred. The State Governor was busied junketing from one South West state to the other alongside three other Northern Governors in an attempt to douse tension between the locals and the Fulani inhabitants of the various states. All of these started when the people stood to challenge the Fulani expansionists threats. In the usual characteristics of the Nigeria state, after the released or rescued of the abductees, the nation will go to sleep till the next one occur. The Kagara victims were still in captivity when the abduction of school girls at Jangebe, Talata-Nafara of Zamfara State occurred. In fact, the Jangebe school girls abduction was yet another disappointing milestone of the Buhari government in out-performing the Jonathan government in terms of the official numbers of girls adducted from a school.
The citizens thought that after Chibok, that Dapchi was a mistake, not knowing that the Buhari government will open the floodgate for the abductions of school children and other Nigerians. Recall that he promised prior to the 2015 election that he will be leading the fight against terrorists from the front which is yet to be seen. In fact, the General in him has had little or no impact on the nation’s security situations. Perhaps, this may be the reason why Buratai brought a neatly ironed flag of Boko Haram to informed Buhari in the Villa that it was captured in the stronghold of Shekau’s sambisa; and they both posed for photograph with the flag, and thereby desecrated. the nation seat of power. Curiously, of what use was the presentation of the flag to Buhari in the State house and where was it kept thereafter, because Buratai was never seen leaving with the said flag.
Over the intervening years, the Nigeria North, out of its obsession and insatiable quests for power which was necessitated by abundant of fear of domination from the already educationally advance South, devises every means to consolidate its hold on the Nigeria political landscape. No doubt, its succeeded in doing so but her neglects of the home front is largely responsible for the worsening insecurity particularly in the Nigeria North. This North is always basking in the euphoria of being the dominant political bloc, the region with the highest population and huge landmass that its failed to take advantage of. Perhaps, this North should know that it has failed itself, her children and the Nigeria State. It watches as desertification and effects of global warming alarmingly encroaches and eat up her large expanse of land forcing her pastoralists to migrate further south in search of fertile grazing areas, letting her huge landmass turned ungoverned spaces into providing perfect cover for criminality to thrive, intentionally keeping the northern borders porous for years with the intention of providing her Fulani’s kinsmen from across the Sahel safe passage to illegally entered the country, and her failure to harness the huge population for productive means. Evidence abounds that majority of Nigerian students schooling outside the country are children of the Nigeria Northern elites and opinion leaders while those of the less privileged roam the streets as almajiris.
Amid all of these and not until recently, though, a feeble one, that the President showed his fangs by directing that those found with automatic rifle be shot on sights, there were absolutely no concerted efforts by the hegemonies North nor the government to address the problems that were cultivated many years ago. At least, the recent directive is a little consoling than what the President in his response after the Jangebe abduction was reported to have said, by giving an escapee excuse that the Federal Government have the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits but that he was exercising restraints to avoid civilian casualties. That was a very sorrow way to explain the lethargic style of the government. Meanwhile, the President is talking about restraints because his kinsmen are involved but same restraints were not exercised in the handling of the Shitte, the dispersing of ENDSARS protesters, the killing in Oyigbo and the desecration of Orlu town in search of members of the Eastern Security Network. Not until the nepotistic double standard that has characterized the Buhari led government and his emotional attachment to his kinsmen are do away with, his credibility as a President in history shall be replete with sad memories.
Everyone is busy pretending to be providing answers and solutions but in reality, no one is doing enough, including the government. Is it the Islamic Scholar who is championing the call for amnesty for bandits and sounding like the bandit’s spokesperson that should be taking seriously or the Political Leaders that justified the used of an assault rifle by the marauders, not to mention the police chief that is blaming states for not doing enough while the President is lamenting over the influx of arms across the borders. Recalled that the menace of the Fulani herdsmen in North Central Nigeria and the rest of the South were increasingly becoming unbearable, and in spite of the repeated complaints from the people, the government and the Nigeria North was simply unperturbed but not long after the South-Westerners rose to say enough was enough, four governors from the North embarked on a peace mission to the South west. These are the same Northern elites that watched helplessly at home as insecurity goes out of hands. The governor of Niger State was part of the delegation and at that point in time, his home state was under bandit’s siege.
Only a few days back, the bandits struck again, this this time in Kaduna, where students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka in Igabi Local Government were abducted. This latest attack and abdu ction in a school is obviously an affront to the President who after the Jangebe incident, assured that that would be the last. Moreover, Kaduna is the home state of Mallam Nasir El’Rufai and the home base of the highest number of Nigeria military installations and facilities.
Terrifying by the spate of attacks on schools and abductions, most states government in the Nigeria North are closing down schools while parents are considering whether to still allowed their wards to return to school anymore. States are closing schools in the face of surging number of out of school children in the country with the Nigeria North accounting for a large number. It is increasingly becoming worrisome, considering the fact that the Nigeria state hasn’t learnt anything yet since the Chibok incident of 2014. The Save School project that was launched by Gordon Brown at the wake of the Chibok incident is totally lost on us. The rest of the World that was outraged by the Chibok incident is now keenly observing, having seen how unserious the Nigeria State is. With the ways things are, let us hope that one day, someone will not tell the South to close its schools for fifty years to allow the north to catches up with her.
How thick are the forests in the Nigeria North including the dreaded Sambisa forest because, even The Amazon in South America which is the largest rainforest and The Taiga that stretches through northern Europe, Asia and North America which is the largest forest in the World could be explored from end to end, yet the security forces in Nigeria keep giving excuses about forest serving as cover for criminals, as if these forests inhabited by herdsmen and bandits are impregnable to the security forces. Or perhaps, the security force took after the Buhari led government that is well known for giving excuses for failure
Again it is curious to hear the government spokesperson alluding to the fact that over 80% of those killing Nigerians as herders or bandits are foreigners while concluding that they took advantage of the ECOWAS protocol on free movement to enter the country. The much talked-about ECOWAS protocol does not envisage that a country borders be left unattened for people to jump-in and out freely. Is there any law that forbids someone that even entered a country legally from trial if he/she is found wanting, assuming the minister was right, talk less of criminals?
Furthermore, while it is imperative for government to as a matter of urgency, take decisive action and practical steps to address the worsening insecurity with a view to forestall more bloodletting and restored back to the land some semblance of peace and civility, the Federal government will have to aggressively pursue its National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) which is more or less a revised version of the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) policy that was roundly criticized. In doing this, the various state governments should be made to subscribe to it as a willing participant and not as a mandatory state policy. Not until government step up to fill the existing void already created, some of the ridiculous calls such as Amnesty for bandits and the creation of a commission for herders will certainly not ceased.
As the circle of chaos continue and the political leadership are speaking with discordant tunes on the one hand and strategizing for 2023 election on the other. Elections asides, the country is on the blink and needed to be pull back and that is the more reason why the Nigeria State must put an end to this senseless killings and attacks on her educational system before the country is reduced to negotiating space with bandits and turning into a breeding ground for bandits and terrorists that may in the future becomes the problems of Africa as a whole. Asides all of the failures and misadventures in confronting the insecurity plaguing the nation, bold efforts must be made to stopped rhetoric’s and actions that depicts the nation as an empire of jesters by harnessing the potentials of her relatively young and vibrant population to change the narrative. As a nation, is the Nigeria State and her people not tired and embarrassed to be constantly and consistently seeing as a reference for anything evil and negative indices in human development index?
COM. MSIGEKII NWI-AERA NACY WRITES FROM ABUJA