The Laxity of a State
The recent I don’t care attitude of governments at all levels in Nigeria drew my attention to an incident that occurred when growing up.
News had it then that a cabinet member of a state had lost his family members to a car crash due to bad condition of roads within the state.
That was about 20 years ago.
The unfortunate incident that year however spurred the state government to fix damaged roads which pose danger to them and by extension the masses during that year.
This was done apparently because the incident affected a member of the state’s cabinet. Had it been the crash involved ordinary citizens, the story would have been different as the authorities wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. But when it affected them, they quickly swung into action.
The scenario painted above is the situation we have found ourselves in this country named Nigeria by Flora Shaw. Do you remember her? My dear reader, more scenarios will be painted for you as we go along in this discourse.
Now, do you remember the “Apo” and “Aluu 4” killings? How about the “Ejigbo” incident where some women were stripped naked having been accused of theft in the market and thereafter pepper were inserted into their private parts by those who purportedly seek justice against them? These are few incidents relating to jungle justice in Nigeria but the state won’t do anything about it.
Having said that, let’s now focus attention on the atrocities committed by security forces in Nigeria. A vivid example that comes to mind is the unnecessary killings by some members of the police force over 20 naira or 50 naira “tax” or which name do you think we can give to what these officers are collecting from commuters? Many breadwinners in homes have had their lives terminated abruptly due to “wetin you carry”, “roger us”, and “anything for the boys?” syndrome.
Mass killings in Zaki Biem, Odi and recently Zaria have further highlighted some of the atrocities against the civilians by security forces in Nigeria. Nothing were done to bring the perpetrators of these heinous acts to book, hence the rights of these people were trampled upon. It is however hoped that the inquiry into the recent Zaria killings will bring about justice.
Extra-judicial killings have also been attributed to the Nigerian security forces in the past, while some of these heinous acts are still ongoing, even after the hue and cry by notable bodies such as Amnesty International, Civil Society Organisations and members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm.
More worrisome is the activities of armed groups, whether it is Boko Haram, Herdsmen, Cattle Rustlers, Militants, Kidnappers, Political Thugs and Pipeline Vandals, the laxity of the state has been responsible for these lingering shenanigans.
In fact, many things are wrong with our institutions. The questions that come to mind again at this point are, How did we get to this stage? Why can’t we get things done the right way? Are the leaders not learning from their trips to developed countries? Why is there no equity and justice for the oppressed? Why are we playing with human lives that can contribute to our development in the future? Why are we mortgaging the lives of our youths? When are we going to give birth to the beautiful ones among us? Or are they within us already but could they be passive due to the repercussions they will get from being just?
Well, it was reported in the media last month that over 300 persons died in the Agatu killings by herdsmen, it witnessed little condemnation and no order to brought the perpetrators to book by the federal government and other stakeholders of the state, but over 40 persons died in the Enugu herdsmen attack and we now have a presidential order to crush the perpetrators and a senate committee to address the incident. It only tells us something about the state, they cared less about their subjects and they are only political reactionists and opportunists.
Why I am not saying here that the lives of over 40 persons killed in Enugu which is apparently the state of the deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu does not matter, it further exposes the state to an existing belief by the hoi polloi that they cared less about them.
For me, it is good that the state is awake and thinking of ways of resolving these herdsmen menace, and other activities that is affecting the functions of the state, more should however be done to wage a total clampdown on armed groups and individuals that are bent on destroying the state.
The laissez-faire attitude of governments at all levels in the state to the development of their abodes have already boomerang with its attending effect on everyone of us, the state must thus be alive to protecting peoples lives.
When we talk about insecurity and people raised eyebrow on the type of weapons being used by these evil doers, what readily comes to mind is their ability to get those weapons. Where are they getting them? Some have said our borders’ porosity have been responsible for this, but again the question is what has been the responsibilities of the security agencies saddled with the protection of these borders?
The recent comment however by the Inspector General of police, Solomon Arase on the need to checkmate arms proliferations by individuals and groups is a welcome development. Our borders must be under surveillance by security forces both day and night.
A special task force to withdraw all arms stocked in the hands of individuals or groups should be engaged, while the state may reward these set of people with cash or relevant jobs if it so deemed it fit.
Those whose rights have been trampled upon and extra-judiciously killed by security personnel should be also rewarded accordingly, while those who are involved in jungle justice either individual or state representatives should face the wrath of law.
I have read in the news recently that the federal government has commenced the preparation of the 2017 budget. If it is something to go by with, then it is a sharing news even as we await the signing of our “padded” but now “unpadded” 2016 budget.
In sane climes, this is how state works. No time to waste time. If this single act of planning ahead is imbibed by everyone of us be it the state or the hoi polloi, soon we will get to the tabula rasa.
The masses here have lots of assistant to render the state in reaching the clean slate as it is part of our duty to speak out from time-to-time. Now speaking out here does not mean raining curses and playing the blame game, it should be constructive and solution oriented.
We must not always wait for the unfortunate to happen before we take actions. Parents should also do their part by teaching their wards morals and the need to be responsible citizens as they are the future of tomorrow. Charity begins at home as the saying goes.
Religious institutions have to up their ante by going back to the pristine forms of preaching. Enough of prosperity in the face of unrealistic potentials. More people are being misled due to this trend and they have resorted to cutting corners in order to gain wealth.
When these two aforementioned institutions (the home and religious institution) have failed, the state no doubt will also fail in her responsibilities.