Akowe John-Duke ‘Selime
The right to security is one of the fundamental human rights of the citizens of every sovereign state. This is to say that all autonomously administrated nations like Nigeria should first and foremost have the right to security etched in her nationwide laws, practices and guiding principles. For this reason; Section 14 (2) (b) of the Nigerian 1999 constitution as amended states without a doubt, that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government”. Yet there is almost not a day going by without a testimony of one security challenge or the other in its multifaceted manifestations like bombing of civic and confidential spaces, a round clock kidnapping and hostage taking of people, obliteration of private and public properties, creation of trepidation, panic, fear and unrest in the minds of Nigerians, to mention but a few. People are no longer free of harm on our high ways, even in their homes. Insecurity has become a monster in our midst. The government needs to bring this evil ogre in our surroundings to a standstill.
There is an astronomical and dramatic increase of crime as a result to insecurity in Nigeria. As a result, many Nigerians are in perpetual fear every day. Even our brothers and sisters in Diaspora can’t even come to their country home without fear of been kidnapped by these men carrying weapons. Imagine a scenario where during daylight hours; kidnappers operating very close to a police station without any interventions from these security operatives. How can they even confront these men when their weapons are not anything compared to the kidnappers’? Did the government provide the security agents with weapons? No! It is extraordinarily untoward that we have government executives who come into power and can’t protect the populace. Nigerians are already tired of a government that can’t even provide these security operatives with urbane, classy, sophisticated and up to date weapons to combat hostage takers.
Let us put the abduction of the school children in Niger State into perspective. I don’t even want to talk about the absorbent, leaky and porous scenery of the alleged Government Science College in Kagara, Niger State. That’s a discussion for another day. Now, the attack on that school is nonetheless another heartbreaking souvenir and memento of the security challenges that persevere and how schools and school children remain a target for arm fortified groups. I strappingly fault the political elites for that bedlam. As a replacement for hauling all the safety agents just about themselves and leaving the poor masses at peril, government should provide at least two security agents at the gateways of all government managed schools in the country, I am sure insecurity will die down as a challenge in Nigerian schools and our children will be safe and sound and out of harm’s way. The Nigerian authorities need to live up to their commitments and dual their efforts to make available a safe learning atmosphere for children and to ensure justice for victims.
A lot of lives have gone as a result of insecurity in Nigeria. Myriads of our young boys and girls have even taken the unfortunate opportunity to obtain under duress properties of their fellow citizens. Local natives have been held hostage for indiscernible, unthinkable and inconceivable payoffs by gunmen on our toll and side road networks every day in this country; sometimes on the occasion that the victims don’t meet up with the demands of the bandits, they are been unsympathetically murdered. Every day we hear stories of our friends, families and colleagues been kidnapped; some sexually and psychologically molested or left killed by these men of the underworld. We have gangs of bandits looting, extorting, and kidnapping still for money in our rural and urban areas. Homes are been broken into and homes appliances and valuables stolen away. Who shall we run to for help?
What about the ever-increasing violence and brutality stuck between herders and farming communities thinning out from the central belt southward? This is another serious scare. It still baffles me that a group of people are allowed to move around with firearms and other weapons of war without the caution of the supreme leader of the nation. We are not all oblivious of the fact that these herders move around with their herds damaging and wiping out the items for consumption of farmers in communities. And once a disagreement ensues, it becomes warfare. I know that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has a provision in the law about free movement of all citizens. But if their presence in particular communities are dangerous and treacherous to the original inhabitants, what then happens? The government should do something quickly before it gets out of hand.
Near the beginning of the month of February 2021, I took out time to watch the interview on Channels Television of one of our governors emotionally defending and expressively justifying or mitigating the Fulani herdsmen for bearing arms and causing unrest in the nation; stating that they have no option than to carry AK-47 for the reason that the society and government are not protecting them. I actually find this commentary of a principal government officer unsatisfactory, not up to scratch, not good enough for a governor and exceptionally scandalous that a state superintendent who took the oath of office to save from harm and preserve the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria taking the lead in contravening provisions of the same structure by calling for lawlessness and anarchy. It’s really unfortunate that those who are trusted with the people’s mandate to uphold truth and justice have chosen to mislead the country.
It seriously bits my mind’s eye that our leaders are handling this matter of insecurity in the country with insouciance and unresponsiveness. They come into view as extraordinarily feebleand frail facing terrorists and brigands, but awfully physically powerful before peaceful protesters who are exercising their right of expression. Let’s consider the blood-spattered and gory scenery of October 20, 2020 at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos. I saw on video and photography gallant, courageous and bloodcurdling looking force men at the Lekki Toll Gate chasing away, taking into custody, and shooting at these not guilty men and women unsympathetically. Why not channel that energy and vigor to the bandits who are terrorizing the citizens of Nigeria or show more of that bravery and audacity in getting them arrested? As I even write this piece, nothing has been done to ascertain whether or not people died or has the government even arrested culprits of that wicked act. It’s really obvious our leaders are dining with the evil ones.
One of my favorites and a darling thinker Karl Marx, a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary once upon a time avowed that “insecurities in a particular nation is destabilizing”. When a nation is not secure it can destabilize and subvert the financial system, crop growing, governance and amplify crime in the society. So if our government truly wants to save the nation and her nationals, then they must act very swiftly to avoid further damage and destruction of life and properties in the nation. Because what the existing trend of insecurity is impressing on the consciousness of Nigerians is that the government safety machinery is not sufficiently expert enough and incapable of guaranteeing the safety and security of its people. The government needs to come to our aid in curbing this monster with the head of a hyena and hindquarter of a wolf from our society. If the government can’t provide safety for the people, then who will?
Fr. John-Duke Akowe is a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria.