As the 2019 elections draw nearer, it is important that deliberate efforts are made to promote peace and reduce violence. Without peace, there can be no progress or development.
Reports say a lone suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a mosque in Borno State on Monday, leaving seven people dead, many others injured and the mosque in ruins. Is this any more big news in Nigeria? I doubt it. The nation has somewhat become so bound to violence in recent months that the killing of seven people by terrorists is no longer ear-shattering news.
What indeed, some may ask, is the big news in the killing of seven people, when hundreds of other people are routinely killed by herdsmen at a go in Plateau and Benue States, while scores of others are killed in avoidable road accidents and armed robberies?
It is sad that the rate of killings in the country has reached such an alarming proportion even at a time that the country is not officially at war. The incessant bloodletting by herdsmen, kidnappers, robbers etc has made death almost a bedfellow of Nigerians. Killing is no longer a big deal. That is why boyfriends now murder their girlfriends in money rituals, as happened with the daughter of a former Deputy Governor in one of the South West states about a fortnight ago. It is the reason that wives and girlfriend skill their husbands and boyfriends in fits of anger over allegations of infidelity. It is the reason that cultists in schools and rivals at motor parks think nothing of snuffing life out of their rivals for the most trivial of reasons. It is also the reason scores of people are killed in robbery incidents, as happened in Offa, Kwara State, recently.
There is no more regard or even the littlest modicum of respect for life. No one appears safe, as students of the Sacred Heart Minor Seminary, Jalingo, discovered recently, as herdsmen stormed their school and fired shots at their instructors, for refusing to allow cows to graze on the school field. The scant regard for life in the country is not only a threat to peaceful killing, it is also affecting the thinking of many young Nigerians, as can be gleaned from a recent interview with a young female cultist who owned up to killing at least four persons in exchange for N10,000 cash she was paid for each killing. As the girl put it, she had no qualms about killing anyone as she saw it as just a job she was doing.
It is this rate at which killings are perpetrated with impunity with no one hardly being made to pay for the heinous crime that has made murder almost a pastime in the country. One thing that is clear is that the government at all levels and the security agencies need to start treating the crime of murder with all the seriousness it deserves. The current situation in which killers are allowed to get away with all kinds of murders, be it political or otherwise, with even the security agencies defending the killings, is very bad for Nigeria.
The message has to be sent out strongly that murder is a criminal act that is punishable with the death penalty in the nation’s laws. It is only a strict enforcement of the law against murder in the country that can check the quick resort to killings that the nation is witnessing.
Beyond the general killings in the country are the ones that the relevant security authorities and President Muhammadu Buhari himself, have described as political killings. Herdsmen and some politicians, it has been suggested, are in league to destabilise the governments in some states such as Plateau and Benue, and even the Federal Government.
But, what are the relevant government organs doing about this? Very, very little. What is glaring among our politicians is a lack of seriousness, and shenanigans that ridicule their understanding of the purposes for which they are in office.
Instead of any serious attention to the violence stalking the land, Nigeria is at the mercy of some dancing, “weeping” and “demonstrating” senior political office holders who actually seem to believe they were elected for the comic value they can add to our politics, and not to find solutions to the serious problems plaguing the country. The time has come for our political office holders at all levels to get serious and apply themselves to the tasks for which they were elected.
The country, it must be said, is in a drift. There is so little to cheer. Although the government has rolled out a list of its achievements as it spends its fourth year in office, and some of the achievements, such as the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) are laudable, there are still so many other areas in which the desired change is still being awaited.
One is in the area of ending the Boko Haram insurgency and the sundry insecurity in the country. Nigerians should be able to live in peace and security in the country. The kind of armed robbery that occurred in Offa, Kwara State, in which so many people were killed should not be heard of in a country where security is taken seriously. Yet such things happen and no one is actually seen being seriously punished for them, thereby fueling the growing killings with impunity in the country.
As the 2019 elections draw nearer, it is important that deliberate efforts are made to promote peace and reduce violence. Without peace, there can be no progress or development. The sooner Nigerians embrace this fact and eschew violence the better for national progress and individual peace and wellbeing.
There are so many other areas, too, in which the government’s intervention can help to reduce the tendency to criminality. Among these is in the area of job creation. Getting the youths creatively engaged in formal jobs and even informal ones will go a long way in reducing their involvement in criminal activities. It is necessary to empower the youths to give them a sense of well being and self worth, and a better appreciation of the value of life and peaceful living.
The controversy between APC and PDP over the result of the just concluded election is the norm in Nigeria. But Ekiti State is an enlighten one. So, change in leadership through the ballot box is the practice there. Since the matter is already in court, public commentaries might be seen as prejudicial. Therefore, they should be reduced to the minimum if at all not completely avoided the interesting part of the whole saga is the fact that Fayose ousted Fayemi as Governor of Ekiti State before and the same Fayemi as now ousted is same conqueror thus far unless otherwise disproved by the court.
Lai Ashadele, 08023632992
It is not right to say that if a student stays back after graduation from a foreign university and works in that country that he would be exempted from NYSC in Nigeria when he returns after the age of 30.
So long as he graduates before age 30, he must still take part in the NYSC at whatever age he returns to the country. So Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun needs to serve the nation.