by Gbenga Olorunpomi
In one week, the murders we have witnessed can only be compared to the genocide taking place in Syria at this point. And we are not officially at war. And if we are, I didn’t get the memo.
Two days after Valentine’s Day last year, I was so miffed by the folly and ultimate misadventure of one Sergeant Sunday Badang that I penned a piece in annoyance. That episode, for me, was so symptomatic of the sham and brainlessness that characterizes our police and by extension our entire security apparatus. I did that piece, thinking there was no way the situation could sink any lower. How mistaken and utterly naive of me.
Just last week, depending on whose report you choose to believe, between 63 and 102 men comprising of police and state security officers were massacred by a militia group in Nasarawa state. The officers were on a blind mission to dislodge and possibly arrest the leaders of said group but were ambushed in a swift operation that would have made General Petraeus proud. According to reports, the officers, traveling in 13 trucks, were allowed to get into a narrow path, which ensured that they had very limited chance of escape, before bullets rained freely on them. They were pummeled from all corners, cut down. They tried to resist but it was futile. They had walked into a perfect trap and it sprung with deadly precision.
The insult did not stop there. The assailants were so overcome with bloodlust that they went ahead to burn some of bodies. Determined to show they were truly in charge, they took some of the wounded and held them hostage. What a trample on the face of authority! These guys couldn’t have shown more disregard for power if they each took dumps on Mr. President’s dinner table.
Having been in silly situations with them in the past, I have to admit I have very little time for our police officers. Most of them are not the best kind of people to act as ambassadors and many citizens say they would rather not call on them when in danger. That being said, my heart broke when I heard the nature of the murders that took place in Nasarawa. May their souls rest in peace.
At this point, it may be necessary for us to take stock of the many horrors that have befallen this country in very quick succession over the last few weeks. Baga, Bama, Wukari, Nasarawa. What do these places have in common? Blood. Human blood. Free flowing human blood. Shed by fellow humans. The level of widespread violence in Nigeria right now is at its highest since the return of democracy. In one week, the murders we have witnessed can only be compared to the genocide taking place in Syria at this point. And we are not officially at war. And if we are, I didn’t get the memo.
Why the sudden lust for blood? Why has everyone turned vampire overnight? When did killing become so fashionable, accepted and even expected?
I know there are several reasons but I would like to analyse one here: The Government Factor – The breakdown in law and order in Nigeria can be blamed on the fact that we have all lost confidence in this rag-tag contraption of an administration, led by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). We don’t trust them to get the simplest things right. And they are failing in every way possible to regain control. There seems not to be a single person in Aso Villa with an understanding of his role or the will to do the job.
If you disagree, kindly answer these questions: Who ordered the attack on Baga? How come Baga fell so easily to insurgents? Why would fellow officers wilfully lead their colleagues to death in Nasarawa? How come Boko Haram and Ombatse have intelligence amongst our security men while we have no clue about their next moves?
Now, you’d expect that the government would have concrete plans to tackle the issue, but alas, they don’t. Instead, they are defending their actions and inaction. It shows they don’t even know what to do.
Instead of the doing his work and giving the fallen men some dignity, the Information Minister, Labaran Maku, has been claiming innocence of his involvement with the Nasarawa killings. He saw nothing wrong in allowing photos of the dead officers lying on dinghy stretchers in dirty rooms to be published. Also, when asked to respond to the demand by the Action Congress of Nigeria for the president’s resignation if he can’t tackle the problem, the Chairman of the PDP, Bubar Tukur, asked, “Is it the President that killed the policemen? He’s not. If there is any security threat, the security personnel will take care of that.” Wow! Reassuring words, no?
Well, there is hope. Only last Saturday, the two remaining major partners in the proposed merger of the biggest opposition parties held their conventions and the decision to merge were accepted and adopted. This is another sign that the principal members of the proposed All Peoples Congress (APC) are truly serious about taking power from these incompetent people in the PDP.
The exciting thing is they know how to solve the problems of insecurity and have proposed solutions to the ruling party several times. However, I am particularly glad that the way out for fundamental causes of insecurity have been outlined in its manifesto: Solving the problems of corruption and poverty.
The manifesto reads in part: “APC in Government shall muster the political will to wage strident war against corruption; otherwise our post-oil-economy will be disastrous. It is our considered view that none of our cardinal programs will succeed if the current level of corruption and looting going on in the land is allowed to continue. We shall plug all leakages which accelerate monumental corruption, recover looted funds, cap and trim unwarranted allowances to public office holders.”
It also promised to establish “a well-trained, adequately equipped and goals-driven Serious Crime Squad to combat terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, militancy, ethno-religious and communal clashes nationwide.” This is refreshing and fills me with optimism. Although the manifesto is vague in terms of how these goals will be met, I am glad the party knows where the shoe pinches the average man.
Seeing that the ruling party has failed to secure our present and our future, it is imperative that we join hands to boot them out come 2015. We must support the people who know what governance means and how will do what is necessary to make our lands safe and free of bloodshed. Enough is enough!
Gbenga Olorunpomi is a senior digital marketing strategist. He has over 5 years in the marketing communications business and has designed social media strategies for major brands like Coca-Cola and The Economist. He is experienced in the media, having worked for two years at one of the country’s biggest public relations firms as Media Relations and Content Manager. Gbenga is a Principal Consultant with Cyborg Nigeria. He is affiliated to the ACN. He tweets from @gbengagold
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.