By Frank Oshanugor
Violent incidents of banditry, killing by Boko Haram elements, kidnappers, herdsmen, cultists, ethnic militias and so on, currently going on in every nook and cranny of Nigeria are dangerous pointers to the fact that the once peaceful country may never be the same again if something drastic is not done urgently.
The killings in Kaduna, Imo, Anambra, Niger, Yobe, Oyo, Benue and elsewhere with satanic audacity by the felons and the weakness of our national leadership to contain the situation are becoming increasingly worrisome by the day.
Besides the pogrom of the Nigeria civil war era (1967 – 1970), Nigeria has never in her history recorded the massive desecration of lives and property as we currently witness. The media, both main stream and social, are awash with heart breaking news of some killing here, kidnapping, there almost on hourly basis.
The situation is fast degenerating into a state of anarchy as evidenced by the incidents in Imo State in recent time. Just on April 5, 2021 the Police Headquarters and Nigerian Correctional Service Center all in Owerri were set ablaze by unknown gunmen who took steps to set free over 1800 inmates from the Correctional Service Center.
Even though, security agencies were pointing accusing fingers at members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the military wing of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPoB), the group has continued to deny any involvement.
Just about two weeks later, the country home of the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma was attacked, with buildings and cars set ablaze. Two security agents were reportedly killed by the invaders. Same day, a joint force of the military, police and Department of State Services (DSS) stormed the Awomama base of ESN and killed some of its leaders.
Elsewhere in Anambra State, killings of innocent persons have been going on with several attacks on security agents particularly the police. This has led the Anambra Police Commissioner Monday Kuryas recently to direct his men to henceforth revenge any attack on them.
In Kaduna State like some other states in the North, bandits are in charge. Everyday comes with massive attack on one school or the other where students are abducted. Many abducted students have been in the custody of vicious kidnappers who are asking for homongos sums as ransom. A few days ago about 20 undergraduate students of Greenfield University, a private institution in Kaduna were abducted from their campus by gunmen. A ransom of N800million was demanded by the kidnappers but the Kaduna State Governor Nasir El Rufai is vehemently opposed to payment of ransom since doing so, will encourage the kidnappers to come for more.
To demonstrate how vile and satanic they could be, the kidnappers have so far killed five out of the 20 with a threat to kill more if the ransom is not paid. What a country?
In Niger State, the story is not different as Boko Haram elements have now made much advance to claim the State by hoisting their flag in some part of the state after displacing thousands of residents and forcefully taking over people’s wives. The State Governor is currently raising alarm that if the terrorists could hoist their flag in Shiroro area, which is about two- hour drive to Abuja, it means the Boko Haram fighters could take over the seat of government in no distant time.
Elsewhere in SouthWest states, pockets of attacks abound here and there involving herdsmen, which have emboldened the region’s Security Network coded Amotekun to insist that criminally minded herdsmen must leave the area at all costs.
In all these, the nation’s leadership with President Muhammadu Buhari at the helm of affairs seems helpless. In spite of changing the Service Chiefs a few months ago in line with the yearnings of Nigerians, the situation is getting worse. Law and order are breaking down by the day and hopelessness seems to be the lot of majority of Nigerians. The question is, how did we get here and how do we get out of it?
In the face of the violence in the land, the government of the federation is poised on chasing imaginery enemies principally those perceived to be apostles of secession even though the positions of those perceived to be potential secessionists are yet to be carefully understood.
For instance, the attack on ESN and killing of its commanders by security forces was seen as curbing the secessionist tendencies of IPoB, whereas ESN according to its spokesman Mr. Emma Powerful, was set up to defend the people of SouthEast in the hands of ravaging Fulani herdsmen who could not be checked by state security agencies. The mindless activities of the herdsmen have remained ignobly legendary across most Southern states, so the weakness of Governors to check mate such, led to the birth of ESN.
As violence of all kinds continues to rage in nooks and cranny of the country, let me make clear like many other concerned citizens have voiced out, that the federating units are becoming more susceptible to anarchy and disintegration.
Nigeria is dangerously sitting on a keg of gunpowder literarily speaking and we must not allow it to explode, otherwise, there would no longer be a place called Nigeria. God forbid! It is therefore incumbent on all Nigerians to put pressure on the Presidency, National Assembly members, governors, State lawmakers and security agencies of state to halt this dangerous drift by doing the right thing which is ensuring that the security and welfare of all citizens is given priority as demanded by Section 2 of our Constitution under the Fundamentals Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy.