The Graveyard Called Nigeria

By Casmir Igbokwe

Trauma is the least word one can use to describe the current state of affairs in Nigeria. This past one week has been particularly more traumatic. It gets worse every passing day. And concerned stakeholders are wondering if Nigeria will survive this trying period.

The scenario is frightening. In Kaduna State, some criminals reportedly abducted no fewer than 65 Adara villagers in Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA) last Tuesday. Nurses have also been kidnapped from their hospital. Last month, 39 students were kidnapped from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Kaduna. Recently, 10 of the students were set free but 29 others are yet to regain their freedom. Tragically, three of the 23 students of Greenfield University, kidnapped last Tuesday night were killed last Friday. The abductors had demanded N800m for their release. Governor Nasir el-Rufai rightly described the action as “sheer wickedness, inhumanity, and an outright desecration of human lives by vile entities.”

The relatives of the students and many Nigerians are still in mourning mood as the fate of the remaining students is uncertain.

In Zamfara State, about 90 people are said to have been buried last week. Many others are unaccounted for following attacks by bandits on some communities in the state. 

In Niger State, bandits have killed hundreds of people in recent mindless attacks. Last week, they attacked a military base at Zazzaga community in Munya LGA, razed the camp, stole a military vehicle and burnt some others. Earlier in the month, the criminals had also attacked a military base at Bassa community in Shiroro LGA, killing about five soldiers and two others.

In the South-East, policemen are the main target of attacks. A number of them have lost their lives and their stations set ablaze. Only last week, the attackers razed the Zone 13 headquarters of the police at Ukpo in Anambra State. Two policemen reportedly died in that incident.

In the graveyard called Nigeria, nobody is safe anymore. If military and police formations could be easily attacked and sacked, I won’t be surprised if bandits begin to attack government houses soon. Last Saturday, gunmen razed the country home of the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, and killed two of the security operatives guarding the place.

Tension has enveloped the land as Nigeria gradually becomes the number one killing field in the world. Little wonder, the United States of America, in a recent travel advisory, warned its citizens against travelling to Nigeria.

I agree completely with the Kaduna State governor, el-Rufai, who said recently that all bandits deserve death not ransom.

“Nobody living in the forest is innocent, and we must kill them all,” el-Rufai stated.

Although it is a sweeping statement to say that nobody living in the forest is innocent, el-Rufai deserves commendation for being forthright in this matter. His is against the submission of people like Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, who has been preaching amnesty for bandits.

President Muhammadu Buhari has also been talking tough. After the killing of the three students in Kaduna, the President directed the deployment of “fiercest show of legitimate force against perpetrators.”

He said banditry, kidnapping and the politics of murders would be fought with all the resources available to our country. Most Nigerians are used to this type of empty threats. They are no more deceived. What they want now is for the President to back up his orders with concrete actions.

The first step is to adequately equip the military and the police. Security operatives will be incapacitated if the weapons at their disposal are inferior to those of terrorists and bandits. Good enough, we have taken delivery of some fighter jets. The Federal Government has assured us that more deliveries of the jets will be made soon. With these new acquisitions, it is expected that our Air Force will intensify the bombing of the hideouts of these criminals.

More importantly, there is urgent need for the government to provide employment and end poverty in Nigeria. These are the major triggers of insecurity in the country. Government functionaries are playing with fire when they continue to live in affluence while the masses suffer in penury. Why can’t this government cut down on the cost of governance? Why should public office-holders continue to live as if we are still in the era of oil windfall? Why can’t there be restructuring that will bring about a modification of the way we live?

The Presidency was quoted the other day to have dismissed the agitations for restructuring. This is unfortunate. People are being killed on a daily basis. Ethnic and religious tensions are high in many parts of the country. And our rulers say we cannot discuss how to cohabit with one another. What manner of democracy is this?      

Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, was also reported to have said that the killings in Nigeria were not new. He recalled that 20 people were kidnapped in November 1966 in the Midwest and that, if something like that happened currently, it would be reported as if there had never been an incident like that in the history of the country. A government that continues to play blame games and undue comparisons with the past is not worth the ballot paper upon which it was elected. A government that cannot provide security, which is its primary responsibility, does not deserve to stay a day longer than necessary.

But this government appears unperturbed. Its greatest headache is the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). It kicked against the so-called asylum granted to some members of IPOB by the United Kingdom. But it is making excuses for the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, who had made some statements in the past indicating support for terrorists. In a recent statement, the Presidency said Pantami had apologized for what he said in the early 2000s.

“In the 2000s, the minister was a man in his 20s; next year he will be 50. Time has passed, and people and their opinions – often rightly – change,” the statement signed by Garba Shehu noted. It added that, in putting people first, the minister and this administration had made enemies; and “there are those in the opposition who see success and want it halted by any means.”

While we continue to trudge on as a failing nation, it has become imperative that every concerned Nigerian should begin to demand good governance at all levels of government. We should begin to ask non-performing public office-holders to resign. We should continue to question profligacy in governance. The civil society organisations have enormous tasks in their hands. It is their duty to sensitize the citizenry. We must salvage this country together or forever say goodbye to peace and civil order.

 

Re: Between Ebube Agu and Eastern Security Network

Dear Casy, permit me to pray that the birth of Ebube Agu does not amount to playing to the gallery. While the South-West governors were united in spirit for the delivery of Amotekun, hence, her seamless birth and growth, that of Ebube Agu may differ. Reason? While the South-East Governors were physically in Owerri shouting, “Push!…push!…push!” for Ebube Agu’s delivery, I want to bet you that the spirits of some of them were on their way up North to their principal(s) for further directives at our own expense. Therefore, the sincerity behind Ebube Agu’s birth and growth lies in the womb of time. As for ESN and Ebube Agu fusing together, if a husband fetches wood and the wife fetches water, all to get food ready, is it not for oneness of purpose? Forget all the brouhaha from certain quarters.

– Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731       

Ebubeagu and Eastern Security Network should work together to eradicate insecurity in the South-East. We must support them to perform well, because insecurity cannot bring development in the region.

– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

Dear Casy, in the land of Israel, there was the war between David and Goliath and after the fight, David won and God blessed David. In Igboland today, there’s what I call Dave and Ozodimgba group & Co. Ltd. These owners of the Co. sold their kith and kin who voted for them in an election to Fulani. The Fulani terrorists in our farms and forests were given maximum protection in order to kill the Igbo in their land. Under the Dave Ozodimgba Company’s watch, some governors in the North gave their terror group money to pacify them while Dave Ozodimgba Co. labelled their unarmed youths as terrorists and invited Fulani army to kill their own.   

– Eze Chima C., Lagos, +2347036225495    

Dear beloved, the establishment of Ebube Agu security network by the South-East governors is unfortunate, a sheer failure of our governors. Tell me why they should delay floating it up until now. Mazi Kanu floated ESN, which is performing very well. Let me tell you, Ebube Agu network is like a dog without teeth, a big name that kills a puppy. It has political undertones and will fizzle out soon. I advise the South-East governors to rethink their political motives and borrow a leaf from the Yoruba security called Amotekun.

– Bishop Prof. Uzoma Emmanuel, Owerri, Imo State, 08037748145

Casmir, it is common knowledge that no reasonable development can ever be in the midst of insecurity. The South-East governors have been with this situation without any effort to stop. Even when the South-West introduced Amotekun security outfit, they looked the other way because the security of their subjects didn’t matter to them. This is a mark of insincerity and portends a great danger to the development of the South-East. The South-East governors seem to be working for the Buhari government and Fulani interests rather than the South-East. They neglected the security situation in the zone until now that the Federal Government’s security personnel and properties are at risk so that they will be in the good books of the Federal Government.

– Pharm Okwuchukwu Njike, +234 803 885 4922

Dear Casmir, your conclusion on the need for mutuality between the Ebube Agu and the ESN is discerning and instructive. The South-East governors and indeed all stakeholders should jettison political sentiments in matters of security and strike a synergistic ground or total marriage of the two security outfits, backed up with legislation, if they so mean to wrestle their land and region from the rampaging herdsmen, as the ESN has been seen to be more promising and seems to enjoy the acceptability of the people.       

– Idong Inyang, Uyo, +2348084318845.     

Dear Casmir, today’s government doesn’t heed problems until the situation goes out of hand. This should stop. My advice is that the two groups either divide labour or divide jurisdiction.

– Cletus Frenchman Enugu, +2349095385215

  • Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, April 26, 2021

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