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We need violence-free campaigns and elections

THE recent spate of violence across the country calls for serious concern from all genuine stakeholders in the Nigerian project.

From armed Fulani herdsmen attacks in different areas of the country (especially Benue, Taraba and Adamawa) to killings by cult groups and criminal gangs in the South-South to incidents of kidnapping across the country added to the seemingly unending insurgency by Boko Haram in the Northeast, blood is flowing across the land.

The value of human life, it seems, has been greatly diminished within the borders of the country. It is remarkable that this sickening glut of bloodletting is happening in a regime that came to power with the promise of instilling discipline and the rule of law on the polity and protecting the citizenry.

Rather than that, what is being witnessed is a progressive descent into anarchy. Anyone or group able to obtain weapons becomes a law to itself.

Undoubtedly, the government is overwhelmed. Its capacity to manage the violence has also been compromised by its internal frailties and composition of the security architecture of government. The lopsidedness in the appointment of the commanding officers of some of the security agencies does not in any way inspire enough confidence that every section of the country should have in the government to mediate in conflicts without bias.

However, that disappointment should not dampen efforts in the quest for the return of peace. It is in this direction that we call on politicians and the political parties to get more involved in finding solutions to the crisis facing the country. It is pleasing that the political parties, for now, have not succumbed to the temptation of using the violence as an issue to gain political mileage. We laud our political party leaders for that restraint.

However, they can do more. Given that one of the conditions for registration of political parties is that they must have a national outlook with offices in all parts of the country, we call on all political parties to return to the drawing boards and proffer lasting solutions to insecurity in our country during the impending campaigns.

As the election season is about to commence, political leaders should not worsen the terrible security situation by opening new fronts for violence. They should resist negative urges and focus their energies on the broader picture of national stability above selfish political aspirations.

The Muhammadu Buhari regime should not forget its campaign promises to Nigerians with regard to security. The rash of violence and killings does not show that this promise is being fulfilled. The Federal Government must itself re-examine its policies towards inspiring confidence from all sections of the polity that their lives and property will be protected.



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