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Prior to the current torrent of lachrymose lamentations in the House of Representatives, many Nigerians had expressed the view that until politics and political correctness is divorced from issues surrounding the insurgency and insecurity is various parts of Northern Nigeria, the truth would not be established or any seriousness attached to the search for solution.
Despite the declining public confidence in the security situation in the country, it was obvious that based on the manner of their attachment to presidential power, most of the lawmakers, especially those elected on the platform of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), decided to legislate in denial.
However, nearly four years after they employed guile, propaganda and social manipulation to displace the former ruling party, it has become a matter of national consensus that insecurity has become a daily pastime in the entire country.
And with the 2019 general election being ‘won’ and ‘lost’ lawmakers who were tongue tired over the disturbing phenomena seem to have found their voices in condemning the deplorable state of security in the nation.
Intriguingly, those who have risen to add their voice to criticize the collapse in the country’s security architecture happen to be those who either fell by the way side or were denied return tickets to elective offices. Having therefore shaken off the partisan inhibition, it is therefore time to play the patriotic card.
Could it be that knowledge of their impending return to their natural habitats without the paraphernalia of public office rouses them to the sudden realization that banditry, abduction and blood-letting going on in the country affect all?
The message seems to have hit home because few months ago, when Hon. Sani Zoro narrated his tales of woe from the northeast, it did not seem to have resonated with the federal lawmakers, obviously because that would have amounted to tacit approval of the fact that the government has failed in its core responsibility of securing the nation.
From Insurgency To ‘Hunters Of Men’
SOME eminent northern leaders have in spite of their caution not to offend President Muhammadu Buhari, tried to rationalize the rising climate of insecurity amid institutionalized corruption and injustice everywhere in the region.
For instance, a former commissioner of Police, Abubakar Tsav, claimed that northern leaders should share in the blame for the rampant cases of banditry and kidnap for ransom, stressing “instead of our leaders to join forces with President Buhari to fight this menace, they are all against him.”
The former top cop stated that unless there is a change in the approach to the security situation, the region might be sitting on a keg of gunpowder, which will explode and consume everybody.
While insisting that the situation is a direct reflection of the social imbalance in the north, adding that gap between the haves and have-nots have become inscrutable, Tsav declared: “Imagine the UBEC (Universal Basic Education Commission) man was kidnapped and within less than 24 hours a ransom of N60m was raised, not from the bank, but at home. This is clumsy and unfortunate.
“Our leaders refused to send these Almajiri children to schools. Today the illiterate Almajiris are tormenting the educated and the elite of the north. Not only that; some of our northern leaders are living on blood money meant for orphans and old retirees.
“Some northern leaders are irresponsible, inconsiderate and wicked. They send their children to acquire modern education in Europe and leave the children of Talakawas to roam the streets as Almajiris. Today the illiterate Almajiris are tormenting the whole region. It’s a shame and a disaster.”
However, while it is safe to resort to general apportionment of blame, it is obvious that the Federal Government’s approach to securing the country was faulty. The ruling party in government decided to mask the reality with claims that run contrary to reality.
Following from that point of view, it is clear that the federal lawmakers held back their observations, ostensibly so as not to make the government, particularly President Buhari look bad in the eyes of Nigerians.
For instance, it was at a time when the government in concert with the military was creating the impression that all was well in northeast for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to return to their respective homes, that Zoro came out to fault the claim.
He said: “There is no security to return them back to, no shelter and protection of their human rights. It is really a pity that over the last four to five years, we have been competing with Syria and Iraq as per the percentage of IDPs concerned. The IDPs we have in this country are not just from the northeast. It is all over. You have IDPs stationed in Makurdi for more than five years.”
Yet, while the intricate mesh between managing the victims of insurgency, containing the insurgents and corruption continued to dominate public discussions, the menace of criminal bandits spiraled.
From bloody massacre of farmers by armed herdsmen, which the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, once dismissed as intra-communal squabble for land, Nigerians began to hear tales of abduction of travelers for ransom.
A New ‘Haram’
IT is possible that while the politicians were busy shifting blames and denying the realities on the ground, the criminal elements that hid under the disputations over the farmers versus herders’ clashes, devised new methods.
Gradually, the Abuja-Kaduna highway turned out as the defining arena for the Zaranchi haram, (accumulation of wealth is forbidden), which was predicted to succeed Boko Haram.
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