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We Can’t Live With This Burden

The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. – Section 14 (2b) of the 1999 Constitution

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan does not realise the burden insecurity imposes on Nigerians. If he did, he would not have been encouraging Nigerians to live with it. The helplessness that his reaction to series of blasts terrorists used in marking the Christmas celebrations is another in the various ways Nigerians have been told their security was their business.

From “government was on top of the situation,” we have moved to utter helplessness, if we are to consider the President’s position. “The issue of bombing is one of the burdens we must live with. It will not last forever; I believe that it will surely be over,” he told Christian leaders who visited him on Christmas day. What a response to such a sensitive issue.

Ordinary Nigerians, without access to the security information government has, warned that the celebrations could be another occasion for bombers, as was the case last year. Text messages circulated about bombs on Christmas day. Government did nothing.

If security were important for government, no day would have been permissive for the type of carnage that has been going on in the country. Christmas day may be special to Christians, but a government that cannot protect its people should not have been expected to make special arrangements because it was Christmas. The point was that following the trend of bombings in churches, the security agencies should have anticipated Christmas was an opportunity for the terrorists to strike.

They did. The President offered no apologies about the repeated failure of government to protect the people. He had no assurance to offer Nigerians that he would end the senseless killings. All he sees is a challenge and he is asking Nigerians to live with it.

Few would be surprised about his response. It is not new. When the United Nations building was bombed last August, killing 19 people, the President said terrorism was a global scourge – the Abuja blast was Nigeria’s turn. We do not know what he intended to achieve with that statement, just as we are at a loss about his latest reaction.

Daily, there are incidents that point out the poor security situation in the country. The bombs are the latest. The frequency of their occurrence is a major concern. Government’s responses are at most  lethargic, the bombers are exploiting it.

Security is too important to be treated in this off-handed manner. What message is the President passing on to Nigerians? How could he have suggested that we live with this situation for a minute longer? When is he planning to stop the terrorists?

Elsewhere, when nations are challenged, their leaders warned the terrorists and act quickly. Nigerians have been the ones taking individual measures to secure themselves. Without a firm response from government, the terrorists have become more daring attacking security agents

“I want to reassure all Nigerians that Government will not relent in its determination to bring to justice all the perpetrators of today’s acts of violence and all others before now,” the President said in a later press statement. The first reaction was a proper reflection of the President’s attitude.

Security summit, as being suggested, is not a solution. Immediate solutions are required. Government has enough suggestions in its files than a summit would produce. The bombers would not wait for a summit to decide their next action. Why should government wait?

Are security and welfare of the people still the primary purpose of government? The President can rate his insensitivity against the Constitution. He has constitutional and moral obligations to protect Nigerians. Is he concerned about his contract with Nigerians?


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