WITH poverty headquartered in Nigeria and Nigerians ranked among the most miserable people under the sun,Nigeria no doubt cut the picture of a beautiful bride clad in filthy rags given her enormous endowments
But the gift of life is an assurance of hope. After all, it is said that when there is life, there is hope. Hope that these sad narratives would some day become testimonies. That Nigeria will some day take her pride of place among the comity of nations. However, only the living can dream and hope.
When the lethal weapons bandits or terrorists condemn innocent Nigerians to early graves,dreams and destinies are buried. Hope evaporates. This aptly captures the situation in Zamfara and other states where our compatriots are killed like chickens on a daily basis. The ugly spectre of violence is on the rise across Nigeria.In fairness to the current government, Nigeria had suffered deplorable security situation before the Buhari government.
We can’t forget in a hurry how Boko Haram elements conquered some Local Governments in Borno and hoisted their flags. How the current President escaped death by the whiskers when the sons of dog attacked him in Kaduna.Not even mosques and churches were spared by the notorious merchants of death. Who will forget the abduction Chibok girls?
But, riding on the crest of the CHANGE mantra and integrity to power, Buhari and his party had promised to wipe the tears of Nigerians, but tears still flow like a brook. He specifically mentioned on national television that our children will be safe in their schools prior to the 2015 presidential election,but like Chibok, Dapchi happened.From Zamfara to Borno, Taraba to Benue, Kaduna to Katsina,the killing fields are getting larger. The tales of sorrow,tears and blood remain unceasing. With his military background, Buhari was expected to have a better grasp of security issues than his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, but like the Jonathan era, the worth of human life remains constant at a kobo a dozen.
Truth be told, whatever the success the present government has recorded in its fight against Boko Haram insurgents has been reversed by wanton loss of lives and property occasioned by the activities of marauding herdsmen and bandits in Zamfara and other troubled states in northern Nigeria.
Forget the apologists of the President who are quick and ever-willing to do the blame game.In their limited thinking, you have to be a lover of corruption and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party to scream and call out the President for not doing enough to protect Nigerians from the fiends on rampage across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
In a tweet by the former spokesman of the Buhari presidential campaign, Festus Keyamo, he mocked Nigerians who failed to vote Buhari, suggesting that despite the killings in Zamfara, the citizens were still comfortable with the Daura-born Nigerian leader. Keyamo wrote: “Those deriding the people of Zamfara for voting PMB, despite security challenges, are not really shaming them; they are rather shaming their own presidential candidate who, in spite of these challenges, was never considered a trustworthy alternative to PMB by the Zamfara peopl.” And I ask, is this the kind of vibe Nigerians should get from friends of the President when our compatriots are slaughtered like chickens? Should the deplorable security situation in Nigeria be reduced to my-candidate-is-better-than-yours contest?
While Keyamo and other APC chieftains may be right to accuse the PDP of trying to gain political capital from the killings across Nigeria, they must be reminded that they did same with Boko Haram eruptions and the abduction of Chibok girls when the PDP controlled the centre. It is not enough for Buhari to tell the world that he is unhappy about the killings in Zamfara and other troubled states in Nigeria, he must be seen to be concerned.A great number of Nigerians are still shocked that Buhari has failed to rejig the country’s security architecture despite the crying need for such.
Only last month, Mali’s army chief lost his job over killings of villagers by rival ethnic group. Also, in neighboring Chad, the murder of 23 of its soldiers was enough to axe the Chief of Army Staff. Why some security chiefs in Nigeria still have their jobs remains a riddle. How many Nigerians will stream to early graves before a security chief is fired? How many communities will have to be levelled before we roll out workable strategies to change the status quo?
No doubt, it is hard to fault Buhari’s claim that bandits have informants within some communities and certain communities have signed protection deals with bandits at the expense of other communities, it must be said that it is time the country’s security agencies step up measures to get intelligence to foil attacks before they happen. Of course, it must be with the full cooperation of affected communities across Nigeria.
To bring the current orgy of killings under control, there can’t be a better time than now to decentralise the Nigeria Police, mop up the illicit arms in wrong hands and allow communities design their security capacity to curb banditry, kidnapping, herdsmen killings and other crimes. The time to have an integrated security master plan is now.
Ladelokun writes from Ogun State. Follow me @ladescopladelo1