Opinion and Analysis
It is still inexplicable why Sundays are becoming bloody days in the life of our country. We know the Sabbath had always been a special moment for sober reflection for at least those Nigerians with conscience on the values that exalt a nation and offer gratitude to God for His abundant mercies in our lives and country as a whole. On the other hand, Fridays symbolises to the Muslim Community another typical holy day, but which of recent is becoming dreadful to most Nigerians, particularly domiciled or plying their trades in areas that have continued to witness a semblance of pogrom.
Nothing could be more like a double tragedy for the nation than the one that occurred last Sunday in Plateau State. The seriousness is not underscored by the fact that Senator Gyang Dantong and the Majority Leader in the state House of Assembly, Honorable Gyang Fulani lost their lives. It is particularly catastrophic because of the circumstances that those behind the savage act chose to unleash terror on the once tranquil Plateau. The fact that they struck at the time the people were burying more than 60 of their kinsmen callously mowed down in a previous attack underscored the bestiality of those behind the terror. And if the latest attack came on the heels of the previous one, when the people were still sulking and arranging to bury the dead, then, something must indeed be wrong with our system in terms of proactive and preemptive measures, as well as intelligence gathering.
The other day, the African Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation zeroed in the ethno-religious conflict in Kenya and situated it against the background of the prevailing orgy of violence in Northern Nigeria. Many have also tried to draw a parallel of the situation with the horrifying spread of terror attacks in the land-lock country, Mali. In some circles, many are comparing the ungovernable status some states in the North to the ugly trend that once pervaded Rwanda, in which more than a million lives were wasted through an undue rivalry between two major ethnic groups in that country. The fratricidal war in Somalia has also remained the focal point of many, as the country has been without legitimate government machinery because of the activities of rival terrorist groups and had defied intervention from the international community.
What all these tend to suggest is that Nigerians are beginning to doubt the efficacy and efficiency of official measures aimed at ending the current running inglorious era of savagery and bestiality in Nigeria. It means in no distant time, those who appear to be at the receiving end of the ongoing murderous acts could completely restore to self-defence, the consequence of which could be anybody’s imagination. We shouldn’t pray for the law of the jungle!
However, the reality today is that Nigerians are increasingly becoming perpetual mourners in their country, with their leaders constantly battling to calm frayed nerves with stereotyped expressions. The people are beginning to doubt promises that the season of blood, tear and sorrow will soon fade away and pave the way for a new dawn of effusive smiles and ending laughter. People are beginning to wonder if the country is in fact already experiencing a system collapse. The public anxiety was compounded by the drama as captured by the media, which transpired among the security chiefs after an emergency meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Monday. None of them was willing to give a snippet about the outcome of the meeting at a time the citizens were on edge over the Plateau massacre. There was no justification for them to have displayed ambivalence on what transpired at the meeting at such a critical time.
Coming from such quarters, such attitude is capable of creating more challenges for the authorities, as the people deserve unfettered concrete explanations about what was happening to the system that once enjoyed relative stability and peace and about the additional pragmatic steps being taken by the government to restore law and order in the land.
It might be premature to accuse anyone possible compromise that led to the latest mayhem in Plateau. But there were insinuations that some of those that carried out the attack had alleged hibernated in parts of the area for some time.
Though this is not the period to start engaging in buck-passing, so as not jeopardise investigations into the calamity, one of the pertinent questions on the circumstances is what we did following such insinuations prior to the two successive horrendous attacks?
The recent shake up in the top hierarchy of the security apparatuses in the country was meant to complement other measures the authorities had stepped lately to restore sanity in the country. One of those measures is the consistent claim by the police of an ongoing operation to mop up all illegal arms in circulation. This issue should form the basis for another poser on the Plateau tragedy.
It was also expected that the nationals of any of our neighnouring countries should find it difficult to infiltrate Nigeria, especially in states, where the government had imposed a state of emergency. Therefore, it should be tantamount to an act of sabotage if such aliens still find their way into Nigeria and even engage in heinous crimes including terrorism.
Again, it is one of the salient questions we need to provide answers, as the latest gruesome killings constitute one murder too many for the country in a dire strait. One or all the security chiefs, including the nation’s number one citizens resolving to relocate to any of the current ‘war’ zones cannot end the carnage. We must address the human factor that is fast becoming the stumbling block to finding a lasting remedy to crises confronting us.
Oderemi, 08023501874 (SMS only)