By Ishola Balogun
The recent killings of two lawmakers, Senator Gyang Dantong and Assembly man, Gyang Fulani by Fulani herdsmen in Jos, Plateau state, have heightened fears that the issue of insecurity in our country is far more complex than it appears. The Boko Haram insurgence is just one out of many violent groups threatening the peace and security of the nation.
There is an international dimension to it. The assailants in the Jos massacre are believed to be aliens from Chad and Niger republic. Boko Haram is in league with Al-Qaeda and Al-Shabab of the world’s first failed state, Somalia. It is a sad irony that the law- makers and scores of others met their gruesome, untimely death during a funeral procession in the once peaceful Plateau city.
Of much concern is the growing confidence of the perpetrators of this violence. There’s a palpable feeling of uncertainties on how to tackle this menace. Across the political spectrum, and even from the international community, escalating violence has continued to attract condemnation, and nothing more. The onus is on us to do something drastic about it. Concerned leaders outside government want more action and assurances from the intelligence community that this security challenge can be dealt with decisively.
Pastor-Politician, Rev Chris Okotie could not contain his rage over the Jos killings. In a reaction posted on his Facebook status, he said: “This brazen assault on innocent citizens is unacceptable and we can no longer tolerate it”. Boko Haram, the arrow head of the present state of mayhem, has frustrated every move at securing peace. But the President knows that something must be done. We are not just there yet. And time is running out; people are dying every day.
In the absence of a clear cut leadership, the group is very difficult to deal with. President Goodluck Jonathan has said in exasperation that his government cannot place a face on Boko Haram. “We don’t know who to deal with”. That’s the major problem.
It may not sound alarmist to say that Nigeria is in a state of emergency. And worse, because of the difficulty in managing the amorphous armed groups around the country, some of which have no clear objectives and command control systems, the security operatives have no choice than to improvise in their strategy of containment of the gangs. Even this hasn’t achieved any good result.
Now, the Jos tragedy must be seen as a wake-up call for government to think outside the box. That responsibility falls on the shoulders of Sambo Dasuki, the retired Colonel who recently replaced Gen. Owoye Azazi as the National Security Adviser. Although, he is not from an intelligence background, his choice may have been informed by his blue blood lineage, being the son of the former Sultan of Sokoto, Ibrahim Dasuki.
Let’s share the thoughts of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. M.D Abubakar: “The problem with Nigeria is that the rich are getting richer, and the poor getting poorer. That kind of relationship is not good for anyone, especially the rich. The poverty level is widening. The implication is that as the poor get poorer the security of the rich is put at risk.”
One may not worry if the rich gets richer; but the issue is by what means are they growing richer? If it is by legitimate means, we have no quarrel with that. However, everyone knows that most of our rich people acquired their wealth through corrupt enrichment. That is why Rev. Chris Okotie’s recent statement that corruption is a security threat should not be taken lightly, especially as the rot in the ranks of the ruling class is being exposed daily in the media.
Because we’re still governed by a generation of leaders that sees politics as a commercial business rather than a rare opportunity to serve, the nation is inundated daily with ugly tales of pervasive corruption in high places. Worse, the anti-graft agencies lack the requisite enabling legislation to successfully prosecute the culprits. The headline news today is the subsidy probe corruption saga, after the odious revelation from the capital market probe among others.
The real danger is that the corruption pandemic is growing like a festering sore in the face of executive incapacity to contain it. It is the same story with insecurity. It is easy to blame Boko Haram or other insurgent activities for the nation’s security challenges. But, the issues are deeper than they seem on the surface.
Such superficial logic can not stand a detailed and dispassionate analysis of the situation. Like Rev Okotie said during the recent tenth year anniversary of FRESH, “The insurgents are not the real cause but the effect of the prevailing general state of insecurity, which in reality, stemmed from the sinful display of ill-gotten wealth by corrupt government officials and public office holders; the long neglect of investments in labour-intensive industries, agriculture and quality education”.
He points correctly that corruption and governmental misallocation of resources and the pillaging of the public treasury by a succession of inept, corruption-ridden governments led to neglect of key sectors that could engage the youths for productive micro-economic activities. “Therefore, we must begin to see corruption and bureaucratic incompetence as security challenges”, the prince argued.
His conclusion is that our people are growing in wisdom and he believes that the electorate should make better choices next time the politicians are seeking new mandates. But meanwhile, the reverend advised that we support his call for a paradigm shift and the need to focus on human capital development as a way to fast track development in our great country.
So far, it appears that the economic alienation that gave birth to violence on our streets will continue for a while because the PDP-led Federal Government is yet to fully come to terms with the fact that its Transformation Agenda is yet to fly and cannot get us anywhere.