It has been a season of naira rain. In some cases, dollar rain. In the past one month alone, billions of naira, some converted to the always enticing greenback, the dollar, have been gifted to delegates, statesmen, traditional rulers, clerics and anybody that is somebody in the polity. During the period, naira lost so much weight, exchanging at N610 to a dollar at the parallel market. But, hey, it’s got nothing to do with the apex bank. It has so much to do with Nigerian politicians who have mopped up all available dollar in the forex space.
And while politicians are on the hustings spraying cash, terrorists, bandits and sundry criminals are busy slaying the people. They abduct, they kill, they rob. No one is spared. Nigeria in unsafe, everywhere and every time. But who cares? Politicians must finish their business of buying delegates, of spraying money, ill-gotten money. It’s been over 60 days since some Nigerians were abducted after an Abuja-Kaduna train they were travelling in was blown off its track by terrorists. The crooks killed a few and made away with others. Some were lucky to escape the horror.
Their abductors are demanding ransom. They have collected on behalf of some and subsequently let them go. Others are still with their captors who are threatening to start killing them if ransom is not paid. Not everybody in captivity can afford the huge sums demanded as ransom. Under such circumstance, the Nigerian government is duty bound to come to their rescue. That’s what any responsible government would do. In Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas, we have seen governments place premium on their citizens, including those captured in far away climes. They rescue their citizens and smoke out the criminals who abducted them. It’s called humanity. Citizen diplomacy. Give it any name. It simply means placing value and premium on your citizens. Their lives matter. What ails them ails the government.
In Nigeria, it’s not so. Every citizen is on his or her own. Government does not owe you a living, a life, not even a breath. Scores of Nigerians are abducted while transiting in a government train. No insurance cover for them. Their captors are beasts cloned in hell. They show no mercy. They bathe in blood. Your pain is their joy. They are vampires with zero regard for human life. Government knows this. It knows that the criminals who flourish in the darkest heart of darkness, from the eerie Sambisa forest in Borno State to the more alluring forests of Kaduna (by their own testimony) are mean and menacing. Government knows that these terrorists are armed and can kill. They are so armed that they can dare any military power, breach any security and carry out the most brazen act of savagery and butchery. They did it in Chibok and Dapchi. They stormed Nigerian Defence Academy. They are capable of anything. Yet, the same government is playing the possum, burying its head in the sand and leaving the captives and their relatives at the mercy of the killer gangs.
Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, who supervises the Nigeria Railway Corporation, is carrying on as though nothing untoward ever happened. Not even the threat by the abductors that they would start killing off their captives if government does not accede to their demands means anything to him. Amaechi has moved on. Whatever happened on March 28, 2022, the day the terror group hatched their plot, was behind him. To him, the past is gone. Tomorrow beckons. He must be president of Nigeria, under any party. No surprises, though. He’s a political harlot. PDP, new PDP (nPDP) and now APC. Who knows the next stop? Amaechi is on the move, tossed from end to end by any political storm, just like the made-in-China trains he brought into the country under very questionable fiscal circumstances.
It’s very easy to dismiss the trauma. But for one moment, imagine that your wife, husband, child, uncle or cousin is held in the bush for 60 days under the custody of demons in human form armed with the most dangerous weapons. Imagine that the captors would once in a while kill any of their captives and make an open show of their barbarity. And imagine that it could be the turn of your relative to be slaughtered by the murderous mob.
Or this: the gruesome killing of Harira Jibril, a 32-year-old mother and her four kids aged between two and nine years in Anambra State. Add to that the slaying of 72 Nigerians in 72 hours in Borno and Katsina alone; all happening at a time politicians are busy sharing dollars and naira and shamelessly demanding a refund from their ‘traitor’ delegates.
President Muhammadu Buhari, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has had statements issued on his behalf, condemning all the killings, including the abduction and detention, in an evil forest, of Nigerians whose only crime was commuting in a government-owned and operated train. That’s all the president can do. Commiserate with grieving families and condemn the attacks and killings. No more!
He, too, is busy and should not be disturbed by the cries of citizens abducted by terrorists. And nobody should blame our hardworking president because he may not even be aware of the abduction and killings. Nigeria has a president for whom ignorance is bliss. Truth is, Buhari may not be aware of the frequent killings across the nation. He may not even be aware that the train he borrowed money to bring to Nigeria are now trains of death. But the president is aware of the undercurrents of politics happening nationwide. And why not? Today in Nigeria, governance is sedated. Only politics is awake.
And for all the failings of this government, for all the failings of the nation’s security apparatchik, nobody is punished. Nobody takes responsibility. You cannot run a country with such disdain and contempt. Politicians have shown no respect for Nigerians. The leadership has no regard for human life here. You cannot ignore your citizens who had been in captivity for 60 days. That’s wickedness. It questions your humanity as a leader. You cannot be up and about sharing money and buying up delegates who, themselves, have no conscience, while ignoring the cries of your citizens who are either killed in the most gruesome manner or held in captivity by those who have proven they are sub-human both in character and in conduct.
The insecurity in Nigeria at this moment is beguiling. If Nigerians are not safe in their country, why should we expect foreign investors and visitors to come. An Anioma proverb says: “You cannot use what is used to clean the ear to clean the eye.” Nigeria has swept away governance with the broom of politics and the auguries are dark, grim and dour.