UncategorizedWEEKEND ARENA

The gathering storm in Nigeria…


I said it earlier; and I will say it again: EndSARS is like a gathering storm. The clouds would hover to stimulate darkness and whirlwind, after which thunderbolts would usher in the real rains and possibly floods. October 2020 signaled the hovering clouds and the whirlwinds, the thunderbolts are threatening all over the country at the moment as insecurity. But the good thing is that the real rains can be stopped with Nigerians’ collective will, before everywhere is flooded.

Although the EndSARS protests did send some germane messages across to the authorities, I am one of those who believe it did not quite achieve its aim. Coming on the heels of the global movement against police brutality, buoyed by the death of George Floyd in the United States, the Nigerian version got messed with the wanton looting, murders and arson which simply reinforced Nigeria as a society ill-prepared for genuine liberation. That is why we have grown from the looting spree that characterised that episode to the killing field the country has become today. That is why we have moved from the search for a disciplined Police Force to the lawlessness that is greeting the nation, where the security operatives are being confronted by criminal gangs from the north to the south to the east.

Criminals have become so brazen in their activities that they engage security agents in their territories, sometimes killing and sacking them from their bases! Nigerians may not know it, but nothing portrays failure of a nation than a brazen disregard for law and order. The agents of law and order are the security agents-military, police, para-military- and not respecting them is tantamount to a Christian wiping his behind with the Holy Bible. Incidentally, that is abyss we are and dangerously sliding into.

While some Nigerians think this calls for joy, perhaps wearing the garb of the EndSARS mentality, it is something everyone should be worried about instead, because after the destruction of the police stations, the next easy targets would be the citizens, who would have become so vulnerable without any police protection. For the first time, students are being targeted in the South East, as exemplified by the Abia State University incident! That is how it grows.  In spite of the odds which have characterized some of our security agents, the citizens are still better off with them than with criminal gangs who probably would impose monthly levies on them, like they are doing in some parts of Niger State, when they have gained full control of their territories.

It is a pity that our politicians are not learning enough. Or they are simply indifferent and unpatriotic. In spite of the high spate of insecurity in the land, many of them have consigned the misnomer to a PDP-APC affair, with some insinuating that these attacks are staged to humiliate the President.  I listened to a group, IStandWithBuhari, and how one of their leaders, Ifeanyi Ositadinma, at a press briefing, stressed that the insecurity was targeting the President. As lame as his line of though is, the truth remains that for every statement of this nature that comes from the mouth of the political leaders, the criminals get emboldened the more and saunter about with a feeling of invincibility. How else would a hoodlum feel when his atrocities are blamed on the opposition if not the urge to do more?

The whole polity smacks of lack of patriotism that nobody is interested in discussing the solutions to the problems, rather everyone is pointing at his political opponent. In Imo, it is obvious where the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma’s fingers are pointing, just as in Kaduna and in other places.  As we point fingers and stand with the President, it is pertinent that we all are being confronted by a thunderstorm that could usher in heavy rains and floods if not checked. And this should begin by taking the necessary steps to mitigate this forthwith. It is unheard of that criminal gangs in spite of the discreet and illegal nature of their activities would be more equipped than the state authorities. It shows failure of state. Those standing with the President need to stand in support of equipping our security agencies adequately and also plugging our borders, especially in the north, where it seems most of the illegal arms are coming into the country from.  This seeming nonchalance is fuelling the various conspiracy theories, making it difficult to form a common front against these insurrections. And it is to everyone’s disadvantage. The okra plant can always be bended to be plucked by the farmer, who plated it. Once the citizens unite to fight these criminal elements in our midst, all the weapons from Libya and Yemen and wherever will not be enough quell the power of the people. South East dealt with criminality in the early 2000s with the collective will of the people as exemplified by the Bakassi Boys of that era. It could still happen today with that sort of collective will the people deployed then.