December 28, 2020

Kankara: A call for national security laws

By Segun Ige

LEARNING is a process of knowledge acquisition. Knowledge, of course, could be acquired in the four walls of the classroom: reading books, literatures, including. Less commonly, it could be acquired through a deliberate, conscious meditation on a particular idea or concept. Knowledge could also be acquired in our everyday experience and interaction with one another.

Attacked and abducted on December 11, Kankara schoolboys would, to be sure, have learnt other things other than the science subjects and topics they might have been taught. To me, in short, that has best shown them that one can unequivocally learn beyond the four walls of the class.

There’s a sharp difference between education and experience. Yes, one could be educated and yet lacking the experience of his or her education. Education could inversely be proportional to the methods and techniques of teaching and learning: the means of imparting a knowledge-driven awareness or consciousness in one subject or another. Experience, on the other hand, is way more practical, sensational, and emotional.

I’m not sure Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, would have quite been teaching humanities-oriented subjects on crime and punishment, governance, leadership and community development; instead, what we have is some science mumbo jumbo of electromagnetic waves, black holes, gravitational waves, with maybe the Einsteinian principle of relativity, and so on.

But then, these ‘experienced learners,’ who have been ‘taught’ what it means to be denied of regular bathing and eating and sleeping, could now come out and tell or teach us what they have learnt from a week’s abduction, particularly its partial differentiation and/or integration with respect to their curricula.

I do subscribe to the Nelson Mandela idea, which says it is in the character of growth to learn from pleasant and unpleasant experiences. Learning from both pleasant and unpleasant experiences, therefore, makes one have a balanced perspective to the nitty-gritty and nuances of life. Having a balanced perspective, furthermore, is a function and fulcrum of 21st Century leadership. Hence, to grow to become a leader requires one has graduated from the school of pleasant-and-unpleasant experience.

And that’s how to live a progressively consistent life. So when I saw the boys rambling and rattling their mind-numbing experience at encampment, I was wondering the extent to which their parents or guardians might have been pathetically distraught, noting the sickening suffering and psychic schizophrenia they would have undeservedly been made to ‘plough through’ in that flesh-pounding period.

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Leaning towards a #BringBackOurBoys campaign because of the #BringBackOurGirls’ experience, social activists and crusaders had already begun booming their impassioned and importunate voices behind the unpleasant narrative of the students’ abduction. It sort of created a despicable flashback where the dreams and hopes of repatriating the young girls became a doubled-down will-o’-the-wisp.

And, once again, hearing the likes of Oby Ezekwesili expressly storming in on the stage and experimenting with the subtleties and technicalities of the seizure, casting aspersions upon the Buhari administration of cause-and-effect calumny, I was caught in the throes and thorns of how truth and untruth could indeed struggle in endless and bloody combat, as Lenrie Peters would say, and so there I lay.

What’s more, I could hear her painting, on the one hand, the horrific and historic abduction of the Chibok girls and, on the other, the otiose effort of the Nigerian government in rescuing them – perhaps one by one. She was provocatively presupposing that since the government could not deliver very vulnerable girls, then the very vocabulary of Kankara abduction, abscondence and manumission might as well be a flimflam or prestidigitation geared towards the desideratum of a deciduous credibility and incredibility.

So is it a fallible tale, or what? A tale of two truths, or a truth of two tales? What are we really learning from Kankara? What negotiations did Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari make with the abductors, which the Federal Government wasn’t apparently unbeknownst of, that we cannot make with the Boko Haram kidnappers, so that we can bring back the oft-neglected off-site Chibok girls as the Kankara boys have been brought back?

Those are typically some of the unspoken heart-rending questions every concerned Nigerian is asking, I suspect. That’s the backdrop of the Kankara schoolboys’ rescue. It’s a motion, #BringBackOurBoys, and not technically a movement. It’s a motion that we have got the momentum to bring back our long-gone girls. It’s a motion, nay a warning, that the Federal Government could deploy self-same tactical intelligence agencies, conscientiously, to redeem and restore the girls from the brazen brigandage of the Boko Haramists.

That’s what Kankara is teaching us. That’s what we should be learning from Kankara. That’s what we should be teaching those in statu pupillari that irrespective of your gender, religion, race, or genealogy, you are not immune to abuse, assault, or clampdown of any kind, especially when you are not from a very strong political background.

As a matter of fact, we need to pay attention to the crucial calls of the existential exigencies in the Northern areas of the country. To a considerable extent, the North in general seems to have been bedeviled with life-threatening terrorists and bandits whose modus operandi characteristically resonates with Boko Haram – a group spawned by the sadomasochism of inflicting pain, hunger, and anger on people ad infinitum.

This armed group of people, as it were, is making life unbearable, unliveable and unworkable for well-meaning individuals. This is not the time to relapse and recline on a complacent benchmark because the schoolboys have returned hardly hurt and unhinged. No, but rather, we should see the other side of the coin by making irrevocable laws on irresistible security personnel that would serve as deterrents to bandits or Boko Haram.

It is only until then that ubuntu (meaning “I am, because you are” in South African parlance) would be a political reality in Nigeria, where in practice humility, empathy and inclusion will be the parameters of our leadership system, structure and institution. In essence that’s how we can devoid other zonal states and local governments of terrorism, subversion and extradition, which I believe would be achieved by implementing constitutionally entrenched national security laws.

Ige, a social commentator, wrote via [email protected]

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