Nigeria: Bandit games and the rest of us


Nigeria: Bandit games and the rest of us



By Akpo Ometan


Nigerians are caught up at the moment in what can conveniently be described as bandit games. And it would have been a bit more tolerable if these were just games in the innocent sports-like sense of the expression. But it is not so. There is no innocence involved.


What is plainly going on is that armed marauders are on the prowl, literally all over the country. And the grave paradox is that the nation had in 2015 supposedly voted the stern General Muhammadu Buhari to deal with the pre-existing security challenges that the Goodluck Jonathan administration was then being vilified for handling very poorly.


But rather than abate, what we have currently is a tragically predictable sequence where several unsavoury incidents are reported almost on a daily basis. And in a fairly communication challenged geography like Nigeria, some of course do not either get to be reported, or make it beyond the citizen journalism rooms of social media, where the general policy of officialdom is to dub it as fake, almost without a click.


While the earlier security challenges had to do with the Boko Haram insurgency, they have now come to share the dominant news spot with the ravages of murderous herdsmen, kidnappers and now, bandits. From Katsina to Kankara to Kagara, they continue to strike with careless abandon even as there is something close to willful confusion on the part of the authorities as to how to address the challenge.


It is clearly a bad day in Nigeria today. From Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka through Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom to Ondo Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and on to the National Assembly, the voices have been impassioned in requesting the President to rise up to the challenge and lead from the front. However, other than his recent grudging removal of the former service chiefs that had manned the nation’s security infrastructure with such dismal outcomes since 2015, all that we have gotten are periodic spokesperson statements’ on his condemnation of the situation and pledges to fix the problem.  It is indeed quite troubling.



Professor Wole Soyinka




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