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Published On: Mon, May 14th, 2018

Tackling growing insecurity in Nigeria

From every indication, Nigeria’s security situation is getting quite challenging and indeed out of hand. Whereas it was just the problem of Boko Haram and the abduction of Chibok school girls before the coming of this government in 2015, today the issues have become more complex and complicated with herdsmen and kidnapping compounding the challenge of insecurity in the country.

This situation drew the attention of two notable people last week which calls for collective concern.   Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, speaking in Lagos at a programme “The Ripples Dialogue: Rebuilding a Divided Nigeria,” condemned the spate of killings and kidnappings in several parts of the country.

He described the wanton killings of innocent Nigerians by criminals and herdsmen as “homicidal fiesta”, saying the situation was unfortunate. Soyinka said the government’s response to the security challenges was poor, especially those associated with herdsmen.

“The Lake Chad Basin is receding. The water is drying up. But that should not be a reason for herdsmen to attack people in Bayelsa, down in Oyo and Ogun; that should never be an excused,” he said.

A major fallout of the recent visit of President Buhari to the United States of America, something that has been largely ignored by the media, is the reference of his host, President Donald Trump, to the problem and pointedly told him that Nigeria has become notorious for the killing of Christians, which, according to him, is becoming intolerable and unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.

It would be difficult for anybody to mount any credible defence for the present security situation in the country. The simple explanation is that this government has proved abjectly incapable and ineffective in dealing with the challenge and there is an urgent need for a new approach, leadership and thinking.

Even the political claim that Boko Haram, which was a major election policy of Buhari, has been ‘technically defeated’ is still debatable and largely unsubstantiated. Although the insurgents no longer hold a large swath of territories as before, they are still very active and threatening in most part of the north east.

It is traditional and simplistic to assume that driving them out of those territories would effectively end the murderous activities of these people. As a religious and ideological conflict, physical subjugation or defeat of the sect cannot guarantee an end to the struggle. It is a mindset and psychological war that requires clear and holistic thinking and strategy.

The mosque bombing of last week that claimed over 30 lives does mitigate the attack on a church and the murder of two Catholic priests in Benue from the religious nature of the insurgency. Boko Haram is an anti-western and Christian ideology like Al Qaeda and ISIS, which they had openly affiliated with. They kill anybody opposed to their brand of Islam, as the case of missing Citizen Leah of Dapchi illustrates.

President Buhari’s admission at the CHOGM meeting in London last month that displaced Libyan militias are perpetrating the killings without saying what he is doing to stem the scourge can only be seen as irresponsible and a dereliction of duty. No human being does anything without a motive or reason – whether good or bad; there is always a reason for human actions.

So what is the motive or reason for the Libyan militias to be killing Nigerians, particularly non-Moslem farmers? Why would Libyans take a side in a conflict that hardly concerns them? Unless and until the president provides credible answers to these posers his position is clearly untenable and escapist. The country is tottering on the edge and our leaders cannot be seen as complicit in the conflict.

The herdsmen-farmers conflict is assuming more dangerous dimension than Boko Haram, because of the duplicity of the government and the national spread unlike the former which is essentially limited to the northeast. Until the government is manifestly seen to be neutral and committed to stamping out the herdsmen threat, this country will never know peace and pay dearly for it.

With elections less than a year away, it is frightening what the outcome will be with this level high of insecurity. Equally, the position of the military authorities that the laws made by some state governments banning open grazing are behind the escalation of violence and killings is rubbish.

Laws are made for the good of society and those who do not agree with it should seek redress in the court, not through self-help. Nigeria cannot be a jungle where might is right. If it favours one group today there is no guarantee that such group will not be at the receiving end thereafter. No situation in life is permanent and we must deal with others in fairness and justice.

We agree with both Soyinka and Trump that the present insecurity in the country has reached genocidal proportion and those remotely involved and aiding it should be ware. Besides, if the people should heed the different calls for self-defence against the herdsmen, the country will assuredly sink into anarchy.

What is going on is an arrant provocation of people and those instigating this orgy of violence may be waiting to accomplish their ultimate objective, namely the forcible annexation of the country.





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