The state of insecurity in our land is galling – to say the least. Worse still is that our security agencies have, so far, been explicably hamstrung and clueless. The immediate previous sentence comes across as witty, right? You have the right to feel that way, considering my curious use of pun. It is meant to pique your interest.
Seriously, our security agencies have, since independence and the brutal tyrannical rule of the military, been emasculated, rather than strengthened – over time. We are paying for that genuine oversight – or orchestrated move – today. Our security agencies are so reactive that the word ‘proactive’ has taken on another meaning for them. Gathering intelligence (intel) proactively is done in an archaic a manner as it gets. Worse still, is their worrisome failure to act on intel when received – often with attendant catastrophic consequences.
The seeming unrestrained rise in various schisms, across the country, taking up arms (including bombs), violently against the state – a treasonable offence, one punishable by death under the Laws of the Federal Republic Nigeria – is the result of frustrated, angry, and hungry people expressing their deep-seated disdain for the state and authorities of the state. Their resort to self help is borne out of a worrying failure, on the part of our leaders (past and present), to provide for their basic needs – shelter, food, jobs, and health care services. Their grievances are not misplaced, and attempting to give them an ethno-religious colouration only amounts to disparaging a serious, and potentially incendiary, issue. To my mind, their grievances are justified – totally.
Our leaders have, over time, failed to fulfil the terms (most of them unwritten) of the social contract between them and the led – in an altruistic manner. They have, instead, consistently and mindlessly trampled on such a contract. There is widespread angst in the land and it will take genuine and concerted efforts at reconciliation, healing, revamping (and building of new) social and physical infrastructure, and sustained massive investment in job creation, to stem the ugly drift.
Nigerian leaders are urged to adopt and apply the triumvirate approach set out below towards solving this growing resort to terrorism – through violent schisms. Amnesty is, definitely, not part of the solution set – for reasons which I believe are obvious. They should, as a matter of urgency:
- Set about drastically reforming our security agencies (through training, retraining, and re-equipping them for professional and efficient service delivery), whilst engaging these schisms, not with a view to giving in to their demands (some of which are not based on sound reasoning), but to extend the olive branch – through preaching of peace, reconciliation and healing;
- Implement the Anti-Terrorism Bill, without further ado – and to the letter – by setting up a Counter – or Anti – Terrorism Unit, to tackle the growing menace, of terrorism, to society; and above all;
- Make promises that will be fulfilled, promises that will mean redistribution of the common wealth – from surplus units to deficit units. Promises that will entail the saving of a significant part of our patrimony for posterity to enjoy.
Ndubuisi Victor Ogwuda