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KILLING IN WHOSE NAME, PLEASE?

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Ordinary people around Northern Nigeria are now living in grave fear of the unknown following incessant targeted killings by suspected armed Islamic religious insurgents. But even the rich also cry in the entire North because most times when the armed attackers throw their bombs, deadly explosives and other weapons of mass destruction in Churches, Police and military formations, no one is discriminated on the basis of their status and just about anybody can easily fall prey to these targeted attacks.

Few days back in Kano State, in a drive by shooting by suspected armed Islamic extremists, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police Mr. Abubakar Sale Ningi was gruesomely killed. This incident happened few days after a suspected suicide bomber attacked worshippers at the harvest field Christian Church and The Living Faith Christian Church in Yelwa Tudun in Bauchi metropolis leading to the death of scores of peaceful and unarmed worshippers and when some of the youth in the Churches protested the weak capability of the armed security operatives to protect law abiding citizens, about eight of these peacefu demonstrators were allegedly mauled down and killed gruesomely by soldiers and armed mobile Policemen who were not in the mood for any civilized protestation. These same armed security forces paid with tax payers' money often fail to deploy effective intelligence-driven measures to stop the armed insurgents in their tracks before they strike terror into the peaceful worshippers.

On Sunday June 10th 2012 when Christian worshippers trooped out to exercise their Constitutionally guaranteed Freedoms of Conscience and movement in Plateau and Borno States, they were viciously attacked by suspected suicide bomber who detonated explosives in two near- by Churches in Jos, Plateau State killing several worshippers while armed attackers invaded a Christia Church in Biu, Borno State and slaughtered several worshippers in broad day light.

In all of these cases of violence, two questions keep echoing in my mind and these are why some persons who claimed to know and worship the Supreme Deity commonly addressed as Almighty God, are at the same time engaged in these atrocious criminal acts of mass murder and genocide and secondly why the original concept of Government seems to have collapsed in much of Nigeria and especially in Northern Nigeria. This is because Governors of those Northern States have no plan on what to do to stop these killings of innocent people in their domain of politicl control or sphere of influence. Annoyingly, these so-called state Governors in the North are busy globe trotting and embarking on meaningless foreign trips while the innocent unarmed civilians are killed in the most gruesome of manners. In Kano state, the Governor has decided to erect formidable fence around the Government House whereby his family will enjoy the best of military prtection but the ordinary people including Christian worshippers are left to die like chickens. At the Federal Government level, we were told that it has the full list of the sponsors of the insurgency in the North that has resulted in the killing of several thousands of people but several months after, no body has either been arrested, prosecuted or punished. We will explore the scholarly works of great minds to try to locate why Government is collapsing in Nigeria.

Bertrand Russel [1872-1970] writing under the title of What is an Agnostic? stated that persons who truly believe in the existence of God the creator of life are absolutely forbidden from eliminating or violently taking away the same life of other human Beings who are similarly created by the Almighty God. Formulating another interesting question in an attempt to differentiate a believer in God and an Agnostic, Mr. Russel, one of the finest Philosophers in contemporary times asked whether an Agnostic do whatever he/she likes since he/she is not too sure if God exists or not and he concluded in the negative. According to him; "In one sense, no; in another sense, everyone does whatever he pleases. Suppose, for example, you hate someone so much that you would like to murder him. Why do you not do so? You may reply: "Because Religion tells me that murder is a sin."

Now, I ask, in Northern Nigeria, why do people go as far as to ram explosives- ladden vehicles into Churches where Children, old men, women and vibrant youths gather to Worship their God? Can we attribute these killings in much of the North to just hate crime, genocide or crimes against humanity or are these mass murderers mistakenly believed that they are killing in the name of some persons or supernatural Force. Certainly, kiling is not in the name of God.

Now the next question is why the original concept of Government seen as that all powerful, larger-than-life and invincible institution that superintends and enforces law and order and regulates the conduct of the ordinary mortals to check such excesses like violence and mass murder, has evaporated in Northern Nigeria? This is true if we take into cognizance the ongoing killings in parts of Northern Nigeria and even the rampant cases of abductions, kidnappings of human being for ransom payments as carried out by armed hoodlums in most parts of the South which reached an all time high with the recent kidnapping in Warri, Delta State of the Italy-based Nigerian national Football player Mr. Christian Obodo. Is Government dead in Nigeria?

One of the finest thinkers that indeed wrote extensively on the concept of Government was Aristotle[384-322 BC]. This scholar whose writings have become profoundly immortal if I may say so did actually authored a beautiful work he aptly titled "the natural basis of Society". His words; "Every State is a community of some kind, and every communiy is established with a view to some good; for mankind always acts in order to obtain that which they think good. But, if all communities aim at some good, the State or Political Community, which is the highest of all, and which embraces all the rest, aims and in a greater degree than any other, at the highest good".

So as not to delude himself with the mistaken belief that all human beings respect the sacred law by not taking away the life of other people, Aristotle provided a quick response to our interrogation on why some persons who clings unto the belief in the Supreme Being could degenerate to the animalistic level and engage in mass murder as are the cases in Northern Nigeria.

Aritotle stated thus; " all men by nature, and yet he who first founded the State was the greatest of all benefactors. For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all; since armed injustice is the more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with the arms of intelligence and with moral qualities which he may use for the worst ends. Wherefore, if he have not virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and glutony".


Aristotle also recommended to Government officials in broken down societies such as Northern Nigeria and much of Nigeria that if they wish to retain any form of constitutional legitimacy, then those members of the society that take the law into their hands and unleash bloody violence on other members of the civil society must be made to face the full weightof the law and not the heavily compromised paper weight of contemporary time Nigeria's application of the law.

His words; " ButJustice is the bond of men in States, and the adminisration of justice, which is the determination of what is just, is the principle of order in Political society".

The Constitution of Nigeria is very clear on what constitutes the primary duty of Government when the drafters included section 14 [2] that the security and welfare of the people SHALL be the primary purpose of Government". This provision is enshrined as major component of the fundamental objectives of State policy which also constitute a component of the oath of office sworn to by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. After he was elected as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in April 2011, Dr, Goodluck Jonathan on May 29th 2011 took a solemn oath of office and affirmed among others to "...that I will strive to preserve the fundamental objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria...."

President Jonathan must rise to the occasion and look for other innovative, technology compliant, effective ways of containing the spread of hate crime in Nigeria. First, all offenders who are arrested must be properly and dispassionately investigated, prosecutied in an impartial courts of competent jurisdiction by Judges who are not compromised on the basis of religion, ethnicism or money and these mass murderers must be sanctioned if we truly want members of the global community of civilized persons to take us serious. If the local Courts are overwhelmed or too compromised to handle these sensitive cases, then we can try these alleged mass killers in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. The continuous unprofessional handling of grave cases of genocide and targeted killings in Nigeria is responsible for the general state of impunity whereby persons who have illegally armed themselves are going about killing innocent civilians and Government officials are experimenting with the idea of dialogue. I ask, to dialogue with the killers is Government not openly asking the victims and their relations to go to God knows where to obtain justice?

Is President Jonathan aware that he can use his executive power and implement measures to equip ordinary people all across the country for them to be able to withstand the ongoing unwarranted killings, maiming and targeted attacks? In section 220[1] the Federation SHALL establish and maintain adequate facilities for carrying out into effect Any Act of the National Assembly providing for compulsory military training or military services for citizens of Nigeria".

The same section in sub-section two provides that just before the Act of the National Assembly is passed for the purposes of establishing these military training facilities for the compulsory military training and services by Nigerians, the President can order that the military training be commenced in any available primary schools.

I think Nigeria is in a dangerous time whereby we can no longer fold our hands and watch innocent Nigerians wasted by some armed insurgents. Government of President Jonathan should explore this constitutional provision on compulsory military training and infact Government can go as far as liberalizing the aquisition of arms specifically for the protection of the civil populace who are exercising their fundamental freedoms of worship. Other measures such as building formidable elctrified international borders around Nigeria's international borders especially in our porous border areas linking us with Cameroon, Chad and Niger must be commenced and every measure to keep away illegal arms shipment into Nigeria must be activated to save Nigeria from imminent civil war. But what has happened to all those Politicians who promised to make Nigeria ungovernable if the North does not produce the President of Nigeria in 2011 or is the law enforcement officials still pandering to regional loyalty as aginst national loyalty?

+emmanuel Onwubiko, head, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, writes from www.huriwa.blogspot.com.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Emmanuel Onwubiko