There is anger in the land; one engendered by the failure of the federal government to do the needful at the right time. The atmosphere is one of intense worry as the lives of Nigerians have become worthless even inside the country. In the month of January 2020 alone, a record 320 persons lost their lives to bandits operating as Boko Haram, cattle herdsmen, kidnappers or armed robbers. Thirty just died one day in Borno State.
Travelling by road, sea or even by train has become a terror as bandits strike at any point holding commuters to ransom. Even farming is a risk as herdsmen who value their cows above all else, readily trump on farmlands killing and maiming any who dares challenge them. Communities are daily being decimated for daring to challenge their invasion. Kings have been killed in the process, prominent personalities like Chief Olu Falae, former presidential candidate and Yoruba chieftain, daughter of Afenifere leader and more recently, we are witnessing increasing assaults on Christendom.
On the Enugu Expressways, kidnap of pastors, reverend fathers and killings have become regular features, same thing at the Benue axis with government acting as if what is being discussed are mere commodities, not humans and persons representing a significant segment of the entity called Nigeria; like it was a punishment act for recalcitrant children. That non-reaction by the federal government has now snowballed into a wild display of impunity by the bandits. First they kidnapped a Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN president then they slaughtered him even as people were running around to raise money for his bail, the four seminarians were kidnapped, one of them killed. CAN president slaughtered had his horrific videoed killing released for the world to see with the killers proclaiming Islam.
All our Muslim president who swore to defend the lives of all Nigerians in a constitutionally guaranteed secular nation keeps saying that the killers will be severely punished yet the ones so far apprehended for terrorizing the North East, are granted pardon and interestingly, some are absorbed into the Nigerian military. Many army wives have been turned widows by these same Boko Haram insurgents whose acts rather than abate, have surged in recent times.
The Boko Haram made widows are now protesting alongside their husband’s colleagues who, were, lucky enough to survive their onslaughts. While President Buhari has expressed surprise that the Boko Haram his military leader announced technically defeated and driven into obscurity has become a champion again, his aides, Lai Mohammed and Femi Adesina have declared Nigeria the safest place to be in to the outside world rather than accept the obvious and seek solutions.
Northern elders have discredited the claim of safety by government. Even the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar, supreme head of Islam in the country recently stated that “the inundation of insecurity in the country was the consequence of elitist breakdown”, lending more weight to the seriousness of insecurity in the country. He has even alerted that if nothing is done to remedy the situation of the current pool of thousands of orphans thrown up by insecurity and insurgency worse than Boko Haram might come up.
“Our elites have failed us. We are very worried about the level of insecurity in Nigeria, but we are more worried about our home, the north,” he stated at the second annual Plateau State Peace and Reconciliation.
Denying the obvious will get us nowhere, only make things worse and the world we are selling the lies to knows the problem better, being better equipped to dig out the facts themselves. The US recently raised alarm that Christians are being prosecuted in the country, and the European Union has also backed that alarm. They should know better being the major aid workers in the troubled North East. It is even worse to hide under politics to shirk responsibility for failing to perform.
Security is a primary need and its destruction as being witnessed, is shaking the fabrics of our unity as a nation and demanding an urgent sacking of the present service chiefs as recently demanded by the National Assembly who came up with that resolution after serious deliberations.
That the president met with the chiefs after the call without demanding their resignation underscores his disinterest in the welfare of Nigerians. The security chiefs have failed and so should go so a more inclusive leadership representing all the regions can be set up. Nigerians cannot continue to die from preventable causes because our president does not respect opinions of others authorized to help him do so. This is a democracy, about shared responsibility and diverse suggestions for better solutions.
President Buhari must show that he cares for both the five per cent and 95 per cent Nigerians and at the same time, reassure citizens that he is committed to maintaining the status quo of a secular Nigeria, not one where one religion is more favoured than others. Beyond that, he has to recognize that re-negotiating Nigeria is inevitable because with pastors on the streets, widows on the streets, army men on the streets, farmers displaced, also, ethnic and regional security evolving, it is clear that things are falling apart and only a skillful quick act of sincerity and care can calm frayed nerves. That is to say also, that those carelessly coined intended haughty pronouncements of the presidential aides must cease. Nigerians deserve better; it is time to end the siege against the people.