Opinion: Mr. President, Nigerians are no longer at ease

by Ayodele Adio

 

Shortly after reading through Audu Maikori’s narration of the tragedy befalling the beautiful people of southern Kaduna, I was left in a state of limbo about why the Nigerian state has consistently failed to protect its most vulnerable; why the life of the average Nigerian isn’t worth as much as that of a cow; and why the agency of government saddled with the prime responsibility for maintaining internal security has become the lead cast in this ridiculous show of shenanigans! One would have thought that the imposition of a 24 hour curfew might give way for the dust to settle, and even if the people of southern Kaduna were not planning a merry Christmas, a peaceful one would surely have sufficed. Sadly, that wasn’t to be as a group of militia herdsmen brazenly decimated a village named Goska, leaving about a dozen people dead and hundreds homeless.

Typical of such attacks was the fact that the militia herdsmen met no resistance from any of our security operatives and as I write this piece not a single arrest has been made. What is more worrisome is that the culprits have been identified as foreigners who have a score to settle with the people of southern Kaduna. How low can we go as a nation? That bandits from neighbouring countries can stroll into our national space, spit on our territorial integrity, massacre our people and then demand monetary compensation, only to be insulted by Femi Adesina that the president doesn’t need to speak on the killings as the governor of Kaduna State is already on top of things, as if when his boss sends condolence messages to France and the United states when attacked by terrorists, their own governments aren’t on top of things.

The Global Terrorism Index has the Fulani herdsmen ranked as the fourth most deadly terror group on earth today, having killed thousands of innocent Nigerians. How this constantly fails to catch the urgent attention of Mr. President is completely beyond me, not even a sigh of empathy or a show of solidarity with the people. This is awfully shameful, insensitive and irresponsible from a country that prides itself in being the big brother of black Africa. We seem to be more worried about a group of people going home to their families to spend the Christmas holidays than we are about an armed militia that is sacking communities, and wrecking havoc in Kaduna, Nassarawa, Adamawa, Benue, Zamfara, and Enugu.

The kind of thinking that places no value on the human life simply because they don’t look like you or share in your beliefs must find no bearing in our socio-political space. People are tired of burying their loved ones because the state has failed them, we have no more tears to shed, neither do we have any more space in our grave yards. Enough of this nonsense!

There are predictions of food shortages in the coming year which could lead to a famine, as reported by several international institutions, yet rather than give farmers incentives to work harder, we are compensating their killers for maiming their families and occupying their lands. When farmers can no longer go to farm for obvious reasons, how then do we produce enough food? Remember that the communities mostly attacked in Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and Nassarawa are the biggest producers of the food we eat in the country.

No group of people have a monopoly of violence, neither dooes any group enjoy burial proceedings. It is only that, as Chinua Achebe said, “in dealing with a man who thinks you are a fool, it is good sometimes to reminds him that you know what he knows but have chosen to appear foolish for the sake of peace”.

We must however not push people past their breaking point, we must be cautious not to trample upon the humanity of others because if the state fails to protect its people, the people will have no choice but to seek alternative means of protecting themselves. Mr. President, we are no longer at ease in Nigeria.

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