Nigeria: Banditry and Terrorism Become Government
Tell it not on the mountains, say it not in the valleys and don’t dare mention it on the plains that, once upon a time, governance was relegated to the back seat and banditry and terrorism became the face of government in a country called Nigeria.
To generations yet unborn, telling them the story that a nation that set out on the path of greatness was brought to ruins in a trans-modern world would be like tales from the moonlight; a fairy tale that belongs to the very old, forgotten age has been relegated to the backwaters of history.
Those children would find it incredulous and too good to be true that a country of about 200 million people was brought down to its knees and the existence and survival of its people were at the mercy and pleasure of renegades, armed robbers, criminals, kidnappers, rapists and arsonists whose number is a minute fracture of its large population.
But, before our own very eyes, it is a sad reality that a once prosperous country, the hope of the Black Race in the global settings, was returned to the Stone Age; it was taken back to the State of Nature where life and living was solitary, poor, brutish, nasty and short. A land, once globally reputed to be flowing with milk and honey, is now ravaged by hunger, poverty and abject wants. Its green scenery raped and its commonwealth pillaged by some men possessed by evil spirit.
At a time when some smaller countries in the African Continent are looking up to the Western world, in quest to move away from mere surviving to real living, the Giant of Africa, as it was once proudly known, is still groping in the dark and its citizens resigned to fate and destiny, seeking the face of God, given the apparent failure of those either appointed or elected to lead them.
It is a sad reality that the citizens of Nigeria and the residents therein have lost the dream and hope of self-realisation, self-development and good living. This is in an era of modernity where and when the people and residents of more saner climes are looking up to their various governments to launch them into a more secured environment where they are attaining, realising and putting into an optimal use their innate talents and for the benefit of the human race.
Truth needs to be told. Nigeria and Nigerians did not suddenly find themselves in this sorry pass. Rather, it is a gradual descent into the abyss; it is a steady movement away from all the essence of humanity and an eventually embrace of virtually all animalistic tendencies.
But never in the annals of the history of the country has it ever found itself at the brinks with such a great magnitude: wanton destruction, killing, raping, kidnapping and forms of criminality becoming the order of the day; and the rule rather than the exception. Indeed, it is inexplicable how we came to find ourselves in this sorry pass.
Governance, orderliness and the rule of law have taken a sudden flight. Government and its apparatuses have gone into a deep slumber, snoring away while lawlessness and insecurity have become the order of the day. What obtains now is that renegades, bandits, terrorists, kidnappers, rapists and serial killers have taken over the reins of government while those elected to provide leadership and security are looking askance and are glaringly hopeless and helpless (or refused to be helped).
What obtains before our very eyes in the modern-day Nigeria is a situation whereby living is at the dictates of the anti-social elements. They, aided by some few individuals, have become the ruler, rather than be the ruled. They have become the chief negotiators, playing dangerous games with the lives of their fellow humans. In fact, the anti-socials dictate who is fit to live and also choose who to die.
Resultantly, hardly can a day pass by in North, South, East and West without scary reports on the murderous acts and actions of the trigger-happy men of the dark. They are becoming ubiquitous, traversing every parts of the country. The people are becoming inured to the gory sights of decapitated and dismembered bodies of victims of kidnappers, bandits and terrorists.
These devil reincarnates not only kidnap, rape and kill their victims at will, they also dispossess people of their rightful property and lawful means of living, under the watchful eyes of a sleeping government and inefficient and ineffectual law enforcement and security agencies.
The age-long culture of respect for blood and the sanctity of life has gone with the winds. Many homes have been rendered desolate; many businesses are in ruins and several farmlands plundered, as the anti-social elements leave in their trails blood, sorrow and tears, both in the heart and life of their victims.
These heartless men of evil spare no one in their activities: the old, the young, men women, children and even the foetus in the womb of pregnant women meet their deaths in the hands of these devil reincarnates.
Students of both secondary schools and higher institutions of learning have been made articles of trade as they are being kidnapped on daily basis. Many of these hapless students lose their lives in the course of negotiation between their captors and a very docile government that has, by all indices, lost the steam and is bereft of ideas on how to tackle the pervading insecurity across the land.
Gone was the period when the people still have a modicum of hope and faith in government at all levels. Gloom, sadness and darkness have taken over the land. Nigerians are in mourning: no one is secured; no one can sleep again with one eye closed; not even those who once felt safe in their cocoon, heavily barricaded and shielded away from the sad realities of insecurity.
We have now found ourselves in a very dangerous and precarious situation whereby Nigerians are daily inundated with videos, audios and photos of bandits and terrorists openly and blazenly challenging the country’s leadership to superiority contest. These criminal elements are not only daring, they have also put themselves at a vantage position, dictating the terms of peace and heavily-induced financial settlements.
Rubbing salt into the injury and further spitting on the face of the lame duck leadership, some individuals have become so powerful, far above the state, and they have now appointed themselves as the chief negotiators, intercessors and intermediaries between the criminal elements and the state. They are the ones dictating the term of peace, pressurising and prevailing on a supposedly sovereign authority to give out huge and humongous amount of money to fellow humans who have allocated to themselves one of the attributes of the Almighty God, as the ultimate giver and taker of lives.
While government at all levels, especially the one at the centre, claims that it does not know how and where to find these invisible bandits and terrorists, one human, a mere mortal who goes by the name, Sheikh Gumi, has become so spiritually powerful that only he knows the locations and places of abode of these undesirable elements. Apart from knowing where these anti-social elements live, Gumi is also at a vantage position, dictating how much the government should pay them, in exchange for human lives. Sadly, not only once or twice has the government fallen to the cheap blackmail, even as negotiations are ongoing for more of such huge financial releases.
It was Senator Dino Melaye from Kogi West Senatorial District who raised the alarm and challenged the Nigerian leadership, especially President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate, to wake up from its slumber and save the country from going into the hands of the criminals, bandits and terrorists. While he was in the Senate, the outspoken former federal lawmaker was a thorn in the flesh of the Senate leadership and his colleagues, lamenting the state of insecurity across the country.
In a video that went viral, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi from Ekiti State had also taken a swipe at the Senate leadership over its lackadaisical attitude on insecurity. Adetunmbi, from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), did not mince words in his criticism of the failure of his party to stem the growing tide of insecurity, even as he challenged the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, to take the battle to the doorstep of President Buhari, a taciturn leader who has turned a blind eye to the activities of murderous herdsmen, bandits and terrorists.
Senator Smart Adeyemi, the successor of Senator Melaye in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, was an emotional wreck in another recent video, lamenting the state of the nation. Adeyemi, a former president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), restated the fear of Melaye as he expressed worries over the pervading helplessness and hopelessness cutting across all sectors the land. Adeyemi reinforced the fear of his predecessor as he declared that not even the elite and the political class would escape from the foreboding loom, should insecurity continue unchecked.
Ironically sad, while Senator Smart Adeyemi was busy lamenting on the floor of the Senate, one of his colleagues and wife of the National Leader of the APC, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, was caught on tape challenging the authenticity and genuineness of the loyalty of Adeyemi to the APC. She was heard asking if Smart Adeyemi is a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a member of the APC or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). What a demonstration of crass high-level insensitivity, coming from the wife of Senator Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State who is speculated to be eyeing the Number One political office in the land, come 2023?
Senator Tinubu’s unguarded statement and the apparent silent acquiescence of the ruling political class thereof has further reinforced the palpable fear of the generality of the masses namely, that the Nigerian people are like sheep without a shepherd. It is now everybody unto himself and all for God.
However, the chicken is coming home to roost and the seemingly impenetrable walls of security built by the political class and leaders around themselves, their families, acolytes and cronies are beginning to crumble before their very eyes. The prediction of Melaye, reinforced by Adetunmbi and Adeyemi, is fast becoming a reality. The criminal elements are no longer discriminating in their war against a lawful, just and sane society and its people.
The bandits and terrorists are becoming more emboldened, apparently by the tacit support they are enjoying from their backers, to leash terror on both the low and the high and the mighty. Within a space of one week, there were reports of attacks on a serving senator (twice within 24 hours) and killing of a serving commissioner in Kogi State by gunmen whose identities are yet to be known. Both the rich and the poor are now lamenting their fate.
As sad and unfortunate as the attacks on the senator and the killing of the Kogi commissioner are, the two incidents are a clear pointer to the fact that no life of any human is greater than the life of others. More so, the two incidents should jolt the elite and ruling class back to the reality that no one is, indeed, safe anywhere, anymore in this country.
Needless to say that the government needs to wake up from its deep slumber and reassert itself and its power (if it has any at all). There is a popular Yoruba adage that goes thus: “orun n yaa bo, ki se oro enikan” (literally meaning “the firmament threatening to fall would not fall on an individual”). We are all involved, though not out of the will of all us. Things will surely get to head one day and the people, tired of a cluelessly sleeping government, will want to take their fate and destiny into their own hands.
It may be a long walk to freedom, but surely freedom will eventually come and the people will be relieved of the heavy burden of some bandits and terrorists who, aided by some powerful few individuals, have appointed themselves as lords and givers and takers of life.
At such a period when things finally get to a point of no return, the submissions of the silent but vocal living voice, Dr Akinyemi Farounmbi, will certainly come to the fore. A man who is not giving to frivolities and ostentatious living, he always ruminates over the precarious state of the nation.
In a recent interview with the Newscoven.ng, Farounmbi had said, inter alia: “But when some people don’t know that a temporary advantage of today can become your albatross tomorrow and they think that a temporary advantage will remain permanent, then they behave from a point of arrogance that leads ultimately to a fall.”
The philosophical former Nigerian Ambassador to the Philippines also averred that, in spite of all, there is hope for Nigerians and that there is light after the dark tunnels. He was emphatic in his conviction as he declared: “There is always hope for the citizens. I like quoting a French author, Soltaire; he said “even the man in chains can be free, even if it means his death”. And the Bible puts it differently when Isaac spoke to Esau. He said there will come a time, you will become strong enough and you will remove the bondage.
“When justice does not prevail; when equity is thrown overboard; when preservation of life is considered a partisan issue, then those who are at the brunt of the oppression would seek, no matter how long, to free themselves from the bondage, just like the Blacks did in South Africa. It took a long time, but they became free…”