To parody the words of Aaron Sorkin, he said: We live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns.
In the porous north, events of the last few days are disheartening. In our lands, we cannot move without a striking wave of fear, of getting kidnapped by bandits. On roads, you drive with double-edged fear: to get home safely or to be hijacked into the kidnappers’ camp. This happened yesterday, it will happen today, and will certainly repeat tomorrow if you do not guard our walls, Mr. President. As it stands now, our walls are porous and people are surviving on the roughest terrains of life.
Here are the victims of insecurity in northern Nigeria paying the huge ransom to regain freedom. The citizens aren’t safe; police too. Is it what you promised us? I don’t think so. People living in abject poverty and scrambling over pangs of hunger, and yet, the government cannot protect our wellbeing? Truly, these days, it is so hard to be a Nigerian. If these bandits have sufficient audacity to have kidnapped security forces on the convoy, what would be the fate of vulnerable citizens? I am afraid to say, we are safe no more.
In the face of dwindling oil revenue, Nigeria faces economic diversification through agriculture and other sources of non-oil revenue. But today, before our eyes, bandits are authoritatively instructing the farmers to pay levies or there will be no harvest. Contradicting Nigeria’s land use decree of 1978, our lands belong to the bandits, rather than the government as it is supposed to be. Accordingly, with no harvest, Nigeria will be forced to the pit of food insecurity which will drastically have a negative impact on our poverty index. What next? The crime rate, out of school children, unemployment… you can add yours to the list.
Going forward, if only our leaders have the country at heart, the fight against insurgency and banditry must be remodelled. The approaches in our security architecture are archaic, and thus, need to be reengineered. We are not asking for too much, just secure and guard our walls Mr. President. Secure us, for we are not safe. Secure us, for fear and terror-filled our streets. Secure us, for it is a responsibility upon you to do that.
It is high time the government should adopt community policing to suppress the uprising banditry and insurgency in the north. The villages where these criminals are hiding are well-known. The indigenes must be engaged and mobilized to intelligently assist our security forces in bringing these criminals to book. By doing so, we will reduce the heightened insecurity bedevilling our lands.
To the citizens, it doesn’t matter if you belong to the ruling party or otherwise. You see, bad governance is like a stray bullet, it doesn’t discriminate. If you are not the victim of banditry today, your brother, friend, or even a family member will become a victim someday.
Harun Inuwa writes from Greater Noida