Written by All

The coming conflagration and presidency’s nonchalance

Nigeria sits on the precipice of a major crisis. The disturbing reality of descending into chaos is palpable. Series of events within the country point to a tipping point, disappearing hopes and a gradual relapse into uncertainty. Like a thin crust over a blistering volcano, the country's peace hangs precariously over simmering ethnic, religious and regional tensions.

Since its emergence from a brutal civil war which claimed over a million lives between 1967 and 1970, the country has not reached this crescendo of socio political and ethnic disconnect, and  wild propagation of divisiveness where regional powers hold sway and openly beat the drums of war, bandits wantonly display their arsenal without batting an eye, kidnappers breach perimeters of the Federal Capital Territory and abduct residents from the comfort of their homes without consequences; and  robbers man highways unchallenged by those whose mandate is to fend them off.

Divisive rhetoric, hate speeches, misinformation, social dishonesty and group thinking fuelled by regional bias and ethno religious sentiments have stoked and are continuing to stoke widespread angst, so much it has become a maxim that "Nigeria is now more divided than it ever has."

One of such manifestations of discord was the ultimatum issued by some southern states against Fulani herdsmen to vacate their places of residence, which was received with threats of war by their northern counterparts against non-indigenes residing in the north, contrary to the provision of the constitution which states that "Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof..."

Groups such as Eastern Security Network, ESN, and Amotekun in the South West, as well as the self-styled Yoruba ethnic agitator, Sunday Igboho, have crossed the legal line to take laws into their hands and punish marauding Fulani herdsmen, who have obviously crossed the threshold of tolerance over their activities. However, sacking of law-abiding citizens from any part of the country must be condemned in its entirety. We must also state that these illegal quit notices stem from the failure of government to secure the lives and property of its citizens.

As ethnic alignments continue to gain traction, one of the socially-disconnecting factors is the failure of the country's leadership to show by example that it exists for every Nigerian. So far, no categorical statement has been issued by the presidency denouncing the threats to the nation with the intention of de-escalating the tensions and mandating security agencies to take decisive steps to forestall further breakdown of law and order; at least, not to public knowledge. This administration cannot afford to be blinking in the dark with tales of "backdoor channels" to resolve daring national security challenges while citizens continue to suffer the ruthless onslaught of criminal elements against them.

It is common knowledge that herder/farmers crisis in Nigeria is time worn, but the dimension the crisis has assumed suggests that killer herdsmen became more emboldened and unhinged under the current administration, which has failed to comprehensively provide an unbiased and just solution to the problem.

Besides, the failure of the country's security network to decisively confront the evils of terrorism, kidnaping, banditry armed robbery, killer herdsmen and the growing list of violent crimes spread across the country, leaves many Nigerians with no choice than to resort to self-help. When groups are viciously attacked without any intervention from security agencies, it is a recipe for reprisals or retaliatory actions, which could brew a circle of violence. For anyone residing along the corridors of these happenings, peace has slowly evaporated like dews caught in the heat of the sweltering sun.

We therefore enjoin the Federal Government to implement the varying recommendations of the 2014 national conference, which include the establishment of state police and the devolution of powers to ensure effective administration of the country. While awaiting government’s action, citizens must remain calm, law-abiding and joint in efforts with the government to rid the nation of criminal elements.

 

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