INSECURITY AND THE FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT

In the days of yore, according to some political theorists, Thomas Hobbes in particular, men lived like animals, in the jungles. Hobbes posited that during that time, everybody was free to behave the way they liked, without restraint. But then, life was “nasty, short and brutish”, full of wars, the war of all against all, the survival of the fittest.

It was in order to put an end to that internecine war, that bestiality, the animal way of living, that men agreed to surrender their individual freedom and come together to form a society, to set up a government, and to subject themselves to a governmental authority, on condition that their lives and property would be secured. Or rather, that the weak would be protected from the savagery of the strong.

Aristotle says that the primary aim of government is to protect lives and property. He thus insists that any government that fails to protect the life and property of its people, that its citizens were justified in overthrowing it.

Perhaps, that was where those who are currently fanning the embers of revolution in Nigeria have drawn their inspiration, the justification of their action.

Today, in Nigeria, our government seems to have failed to protect the lives and property its citizenry. There is blood flowing everywhere like river. From north to south, and from east to west, people are dying through violent deaths, almost on a daily basis, being killed by their fellow countrymen, being slaughtered like animals.

The lucky ones are kidnapped and later released after some heavy ransoms have been paid. Those who could not afford to pay the ransom are killed. In other words, the Nigerian society is fast degenerating to a state of lawlessness, to a jungle, the animal kingdom, with the weak always at the mercy of the strong.

Unfortunately, our government does not seem to understand the enormity of the problem on hand. They do not seem to be on top of the situation. They have failed to protect lives and property of its citizens. Sometimes, they keep deaf ears and close their eyes to what is happening. At best, they pay lip service, claiming to be fighting the criminals or the insurgents.

Some people however suggest that the whole issue has overwhelmed the present administration, that those in government have become helpless, or are incapable of doing anything, that they have reached their limit, their zenith.

At the same time, those entrusted with the responsibility of securing or protecting lives and property, the law enforcement agencies, do not seem to be doing anything serious. They only harass, intimidate, and extort money from motorists and other road users, while giving free reign to criminal elements and people with questionable characters to freely operate, and continue to cause mayhem in society.

In the meantime, the ordinary Nigerian citizens have become helpless. They have become vulnerable, left at the mercy of the insurgents, the non-state actors. They are being killed like chicken, without protection from the government into whose hands they had entrusted their lives and property.

In that circumstance, both the state and local government administrations all over the country, and even the individual citizen himself, should rise up to the challenge and set up their own defence mechanisms. They should no longer continue to wait on the federal government and its agencies to protect or give them protection, because they have all failed woefully in that direction.

That is why the recent move by the Enugu State Government to establish Forest Guards and forward an anti-kidnapping bill to the State House of Assembly for legislation should be commended. These will in no small way help to curb the problem of insecurity in the state.

Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the open grazing of cattle has continued to pose big security challenges not only in Enugu State, but in the country at large, as some criminal elements, either overtly or covertly, always capitalise on this to cause mayhem in society.

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