The primary responsibility of government in any country is ensuring the security of lives and properties and also guaranteeing basic human right, which is the right to life. It is from the government’s ability to guarantee this inalienable right and discharge its responsibility wholeheartedly that it derives its legitimacy from.
However, Nigeria is a country of inexactitudes and abnormalities where every known convention, social science postulations go to die. It’s the country where the lives of citizens are not worth more than a sheet of paper.
Since independence, the country has grappled with one form of insecurity or the other, including the 30 months of fratricidal war between 1957 and 1960 which threatened the territorial integrity of the country. But then, It must be said here and now that the period of anarchy with the concomitant loss of lives and properties during the civil war now pales in comparison with the wreck of humanity and unending calamities we have witnessed in the past six years.
President Buhari came to power with the promise of ending Insecurity.
It is worthy to note that the state of the country’s insecurity crisis before Buhari came to power was not as troubling as this. The security concerns then were about the growing activities and influence of the fearsome Boko Haram wreaking havoc in the beleaguered northeastern part of the country.
Six years later, the situation has worsened and we are now battling with more insidious and vicious criminal elements who have brought the country to its knees and left it on the brink. We now have the bandits in the northwest, Fulani herdsmen in North Central, unknown gunmen in South East.
It’s not much about the nomenclature and names of these murderous characters but the magnitude of the atrocities they have committed, and the government’s inability to put a stop to their nefarious activities. They kill, loot, kidnap, maim and plunder with reckless abandon.
In the last one week, no fewer than one hundred and eighty people have been killed in Sokoto, in Kaduna, no less than 343 persons have been killed in the past three months due to deepening security crisis occasioned by a surge in bandits activities. Apart from those killed, 830 others were kidnapped while 210 residents also suffered various forms of injury in the third quarter of 2021.
The killings in Sokoto and Kaduna are not one-off cases, they are metaphors for the grim reality of the dangers the country is facing and the challenges we are enmeshed in. These killings have had ripple effects on the country, especially the economy with surging food inflation as farmers have to abandon their farms in the troubled countrysides for relatively peaceful and secured urban centres.
As these vile and unconscionable nonstate actors continue to unleash mayhem and violence on hapless citizens, many look up to the government for help but none has been forthcoming. The feelers we are getting now is that the government is now out of its depth as to what to do to stem this surging tide of Insecurity. However, if the report by wall street journal (WSJ) that the Nigerian Air force (NAF) paid bandits twenty million naira to stop them from shooting down President Buhari jets with the sophisticated weapon stolen from the military, then the problem is bigger and deeper than we think. Expectedly, NAF has dismissed the report as false, but WSJ is not a fringe or obscure media outlet and not one known for flippancy and spurious claims this is a media outlet of global reckoning, hence its report can’t be discredited or dismissed as insignificant, not when patterns of previous events somewhat lend credence to their damning investigation.
The situation becomes even more worrisome when you have people who should speak truth to power playing down the enormity of the situation. It’s not uncommon for you to see staunch supporters of the government, the presidency, and cabinet members claiming the country is more secure today than it was six years ago.
Such incongruity and self-abnegation have contributed immensely to the unsettling state of the nation. The government is helpless and clueless. And the first step to navigating this maze of calamity, uncertainty, and apprehension is by admitting that things are not going the way they should.