Insecurity: Is the North beyond help? - The Nation Nigeria

05/07/2020 2:54:00 PM

THE above quote, which I wrote during the campaigns for the APC Presidential primaries ahead the 2015 Presidential election, should give the reader

Insecurity did not start under Buhari, but the fact that it continues unabated is a clear indication of a failure of govt which brings to the fore, the question as to what has become of the billions of naira appropriated annually for fighting insecurity.

THE above quote, which I wrote during the campaigns for the APC Presidential primaries ahead the 2015 Presidential election, should give the reader

0 By Femi Orebe In ‘Buhari: The Politics Of Age’, the late Professor Tam David-West quoted me as follows: “Nigeria, in its current dire straits needs Buhari more than he needs Nigeria.Telegram Armed bandits Nigeria’s North West has been plagued by years of imperilment ranging from cattle rustling, clashes between herders and farmers; attacks by heavily-armed robbers on high ways, kidnapping, religious, political and communal conflicts.The greatest problem in Nigeria is insecurity and this has also affected various regions and states.[email protected] The Nigerian Army is soliciting for more support from the good people of Katsina state especially in the areas of information gathering and sharing.

” -The Nation on Sunday, September 28, 2014,”.The above quote, which I wrote during the campaigns for the APC Presidential primaries ahead the 2015 Presidential election, should give the reader an inkling of how much I would like President Buhari to succeed and be on the right side of history.Lives are being lost almost on a daily basis and people live in tension with agonizing uncertainty from the onslaught of the terror.Unfortunately, should the present state of insecurity in the Nigeria, but especially in the North, outlast his tenure, my earnest wishes for him will only be a forlorn hope.Regretting the state of insecurity in the country, Mrs Toyo called for urgent attention.Things are that scary in that part of the country that insecurity may end up being the defining issue in the President’s entire 8 years, meaning that it can very well trash his significant achievements in other areas.As it was rightly established that man can’t shoot what he is not seeing, neither can he fight an enemy and succeed without understanding the essence, motives and ideological root of the crime.I present below three testaments to the present state of affairs in the North: ADVERTISEMENT “The North is now the epicenter, and theatre of violence.Over 500 persons mostly Internally Displaced in Faskari Local Government Area have so far benefited from the palliatives meant to assist vulnerable Nigerians.

From Boko Haram/ISWAP led by Albarnawi, Boko Haram, led by Shekau and Ansaru insurgency, to farmers/herders conflict, banditry, kidnappings, ethno-religious conflicts, cattle rustling etc, we are confronted with a crisis that is unparalleled in our history.On May 23, 2020, the representative of Sokoto East Senatorial District in the Senate, Ibrahim Gobir, has claimed some parts of his constituency are under the control of bandits.“To unravel the causes of insecurity in the region, this will also help in providing empirical evidence on the basis of conflicts in the region and understand the factors behind this in a state by state basis”, she said.The death spiral appears unstoppable.Increasingly, it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish us from our enemies.“They have constituted themselves as judges.There was no shortage of early warning signs and as a matter of fact, our philosophers such as the late Sa’adu Zungur, of blessed memory, did warn that this dystopian era was fast approaching, but we ignored them all.“I call on PANDEF to take the bull by its horn, our region is almost dead, cities like Port-Harcourt need re-urbanisation, IDPs are on the rise especially from Cameroon, and we need to look into it as soon as possible.We are now paying for our collective negligence”.The question here is why would bandits sack and appoint judges without political motives? Is this not Jamaat al Ansar al Muslimeen fi Bilad al Sudan, the Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists oganization that was fragmented into different units in order to improve their chances of carrying out attacks without being detected by the security agencies? Ansaru has been inactive for years following a clampdown and dismantling of its members and that of its leader in 2016.

– Yakubu Dogara, former Speaker, House of Representatives(Daily Trust 11 February, 2020.“The North is reputed as having the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in the country (World Bank 2001); has the lowest rate of child enrolment in school, highest number of unemployed young people, and boasts the highest level of poverty compared with the rest of the country”.The situation, if left unchecked, will worsen the already worse security situation in northern Nigeria in its entirety.The report goes on to say that the region is faced with massive security challenges which include inter-ethic and inter­- religious conflicts, insurgency and terrorism.According to Temple (2013), human capital development indices in the North are by far the poorest compared to all the other parts of the country.This is necessary because banditry and violent extremism are quite different; the former has political inclination while the latter can be carried out for financial gain.These range from girl-child education, to the Almajiri system, and from women empowerment to the economic viability of individual Northern states.

Kidnapping has become so rampart hordes of people are daily being kidnapped, robbed, raped or killed outrightly.com) Related Download Daily Trust News App Share this article.Also, banditry has become so commonplace and menacing, the Nigerian airforce has had to be deployed to fight them in states like Niger and Zamfara.(Innocent, 2012)”.And this: “Please pay attention, something is happening in Kaduna, Abuja and Lagos now.People dressed like policemen/military men, stop cars and ask for particulars.

Please on no condition should you let them enter your car.They are kidnappers.Once they enter, they tell the driver they are going to the police station.They end up taking them elsewhere.Getting there, they ask the people to call relations to come and bail them out, failing which they may never be seen again”.

a trending WhatsApp chat.One can go on and on regarding what has become of the North but may soon become even more aggravated in the south to which some of the perpetrators were recently massively exported, cargo-like.Of course, insecurity did not start under the Buhari administration, but the fact that it continues unabated is a clear indication of a failure of government which brings to the fore, the question as to what has become of the billions of naira appropriated annually for fighting insecurity.It also explains why life in the country has become short and brutish, with daily reports of gun men killing at will in every part of the country though much worse in the North.Nor could anybody have conjectured, only a few years back, that anybody can be demonstrating against President Buhari anywhere in the North where he has a cult following.

That exactly is what intractable insecurity in the North has, unfortunately, birthed.This state of affairs must be credited to successive federal governments of the federation which, rather than ensure the happiness and well being of the greater majority of the citizenry, which is the raison detre of governance, were largely rapacious; attending only to their own greed.Whereas the Nigerian constitution specifically provides that the “security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”, the disdain with which successive Nigerian governments treat the citizenry always guarantee that there will be enough people, on the fringes of society, who are ready to make security unachievable.One consequence of this is that the hoi polloi, the most at need Nigerians who are in the majority since Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world, haven’t the slightest reason to have any loyalty to the country and since it is everybody for himself and God for us all, it matters nothing to most if they have to breach security in order to make ends meet.The result of all these is that insecurity in the country, but particularly in the North, cannot be worse than it presenttly is.

It is at its apogee and urgent steps must now be taken if Nigeria is not to become another Somalia or Syria, even Libya.The first thing to bear in mind is that government cannot be doing the same thing, over and over, and expect to achieve a different result.It is time for our military and other security forces to think out of the box Therefore, to improve on our current current circumstances, it will do the government and country a lot of good if the President will now extend a golden handshake to his service chiefs; men who have given of their very best to the country, many times at great risk.This will give him the opportunity to introduce some fresh blood from amongst the younger generals, into the long running war about which the Nigerian military, the military of the biggest Black country on the face of the earth is, wrongly, being perceived as being on the same footing with the Boko Haram rag tag essemble which it has been fighting for years.With these new generals the Nigerian military is known to be capable of rapidly, and ruthlessly dealing with the irritants and like General Burstai once said, Boko Haram can actually be finished off in weeks.

However, because the causes of insecurity are multi- faceted – economic, ethnic, religious etc, it cannot be won solely on the battlefield, very critical though that aspect of the war is.What we are doing presently is analogous to what some countries in South America and Asia did for so long, in the mid ’80’s, finding themselves, needlessly entangled in crippling asymmetric wars that resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of their people.Of course, we too are already losing thousands of our people who are dying so needlessly that the time has come to seriously consider former President Obasanjo’s suggestion of applying a carrot and stick approach.Given that both Boko Haram and banditry are driven by significant religious considerations – spread of Sharia and the seven virgins – it should go without saying that many of these vermins are ready to fight to the death and we deceive ourselves if we do not believe that they enjoy considerable local support also driven by the same religious considerations.Serious attention must be given to the suggestion by former President Obasanjo suggestion so that a good percentage of the incorrigible fighters can be won over through retraining in non military jobs, for instance.

I am, not, by any means, suggesting the Kaduna and Katsina models of bribing them with money.This done, our soldiers can then rapidly neutralise the remaining diehard elements.The President must now approach the war on insecurity differently as it is daily looking like another Afghanistan war in terms of length of engagement.That is one situation that is capable of s ubstantially tarnishing Nigeria’s image internationally.It is no exaggeration to say that Nigeria’s entire treasury, if devoted solely to resolving insecurity in the North today, would fall gratuitously short because it is the combination of the consequences of a century long feudalism which completely denied education -that instrument of enlightenment -to several generations of young Northerners, especially children of the poor who are today at the vanguard of these breaches of security.

Feudalism it is, that led the North to this cul de sac.Against the backdrop that today in many parts of the North people, for instance, farmers, can no longer go to their farms freely, for fear of being summarily termjnated, it has been suggested that the situation has become so bad that it needs more than the federal government to solve.I would, therefore, like to opine that to restore peace, no stigma can attach to President Buhari if he , uses his humongous reputation, world wide, to seek outside help – funding inclusive.He must seek help wherever he can get it lest this war becomes a never ending war which could, ultimately, rubbish all that he has achieved in his 8 years.God forbid.

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