Nigeria: Insecurity still on the horizon
BY UBAKA OKOFU
When W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) penned one of his most evocative and timeless lines in the early 19th Century, it was as if he had the current state of insecurity in Nigeria in mind. Sincerely, there can be no better illustration of the bizarre, poignant and inauspicious milieu in ‘The Second Coming’ then we have now in Nigeria. A country which has been a leitmotif of everything tragic since President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as President in 2015. It’s tragic that the most populous Black nation of the world is waist deep in self-inflicted anarchy, such that the centre could not hold.
Again, it’s quite worrisome that those who should act have refused to do so. The seeming motive behind why they are not acting is even doubly frightening. One may need to ask certain questions to be able to appreciate the severity of the Nigerian situation. Where herdsmen and cattle rearing new in this part of the world? Of course not! As occupation, cattle rearing is as old as the existence of the people themselves. How come it is under President Buhari that so many premeditated and gruesome killings have, and are still being carried out by militia suspected to be Fulanis? As we write, non-Hausa/Fulanis in Kaduna and Plateau states are currently on the verge of multiple attacks. Benue state on its part is not the only Middle belt state that is seemingly caught in the vortex of wanton destruction of farmland and callous killing of occupants. Niger, Katsina and Borno states are gradually being deserted as a result of killings and cattle rustling. Terrorists and bandits have taken over a quarter of these territories.
The Nigerian state is now the proverbial Hobbesian state ‘where life is nasty, brutish and short.’ The situation is worse in the Northern region where terrorists and bandits are almost now lords of the manor. They collect levies from those they are yet to kill or abduct for ransom. In fact, it was in the news that a part of Borno state which has been under the control of Boko Haram/ ISWAP recently elected a Governor to oversee that area. It’s now a question of two governors and one state!
It’s apropros to say that the insouciance of the Buhari’s administration has reached its climax with the incessant abduction of school children for ransom. Kaduna has been at the centre of this new normal! No matter how hard anyone tries to deodorise this anomaly, it’s a clear sign that the Buhari administration totters on the brink of catastrophe. No doubt that the Nigerian state is under a siege. Denizens are hounded, traumatized, impoverished and murdered by bandits and other criminal elements.
In the south of Nigeria, ritual killings and other crimes have taken a frightening dimension. Not only the rich, the struggling average denizens are kidnapped daily for as small as a hundred thousand naira ransom. In addition, we have lost quite a number of our youths to drugs and other social vices. The dolorous love and violence tale of Chidinma and the deceased Ataga is a marker of the bloody trajectory currently staring us in the face. Needles to mention internet fraud which has soiled the image of the country abroad. Cross border crime is something Nigeria must tackle. Stories have it that markets for fresh human parts are rife in states such as Edo, Benue, Delta, Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Ogun, Osun etc. Our situation is indeed better imagined than experienced.
I do not know if Nigeria as a nation has made the list of the worst country to live in. But, I do know that Nigerians are going through difficult times. From an impoverished and debased economy to a minefield of insecurity, Nigerians have seen hard times!
‘The Second Coming’ is a poem which paints a gory picture of a world fast adrift from everything normal to the Hobbesian state of anarchy. Not minding the religious background of the poem, one may be quick to posit that ‘The Second Coming’ tells of a fast approaching end to the end of the world, hence the unending current of miseries, grieves, bloodletting and carnages which presently reign supreme. If there is anything to remind us of the ‘turning in a widening gyre’ and ‘the blood –dimmed tide’ that has been loosed, it’s the execrable security situation in the country where men of the Nigerian army are ambushed and slaughtered on daily bases.
It’s obvious that the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has lost grip of the state ship. Every of his policy is either belated or poorly formulated. What is expected from such a President is to resign from office and better attend to his health and other private matters. But, we live in a country where public office holders lack the modicum of honour to resign from office even when the odds stare at them. From the northern part of the country where banditry and religion motivated conflicts are holding sway to the southern part of the country where Fulani herders are making lives miserable there are evidence that the country is at its’ lowest ebb.
Although, it is hard to believe that what we see playing out in the country are deliberate orchestrations by the northern elements to remain in power for as long as they would want. Only a sucker would swallow the foregoing allegation line, sink and hook. A small section of Nigerians believe that the situation has deteriorated to the level it is today because President Buhari has been playing an ethnic card. One may not want to agree with this view in totality. Obviously, Buhari is too weak to catch up with the workings of a federation with the largest diversity in Sub Sahara Africa. This may not be the view of all especially those from the eastern part of the country who believe that the President Buhari is in power to wipe out Igbos from the face of the earth for a second time. The first time was during the Nigerian civil war in which the President was among a few Fulani/ Hausa military officers that led the Federal Government assault against Biafra. Late Chukwuemeka Ojukwu’s side was browbeaten, and the war ended with the worse casualties on the side of the Biafrans.
All things considered, this writer, like very many discerning minds strongly believes that President Muhammadu Buhari is far from being alive to his responsibilities as the Commander–in-Chief of the Nigerian army particularly as a retired General in the army, and if he was nepotic, it might just be corollary.
During his campaigns to the 2015 general elections, he boasted that he would end the war of insurgency in the North-east. He was regaled of how he intend to boost the Nigerian economy to world class economy. No sooner he was sworn in as President that his policies began to fall out of tune with the Nigerian reality. His fight against corruption appears to be a smokescreen as it‘s selective.
Under Buhari, records have it that more Nigerians died from insurgency and banditry than any time in the history of the country. Boko Haram/ISWAP are gaining ground. No herdsman has been arrested, tried and convicted in spite of the killings they have carried out in states like Benue, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Ebonyi, e.t.c. Indeed, ‘the boys are not smiling.’