Alas, there is fire on the mountain! Bandits have taken over our land. Everybody is in fear. Afraid. There is tension. There is trepidation. Many people are having their hands on their chests, hearts beating endlessly and propping up. Nobody knows where and when they would strike, or who would be the next victim.
We no longer talk about Boko Haram insurgents or about Fulani herdsmen. They have become endemic, part of our system. They have continued to kill in numbers. Forget about what they often tell us that these people have been defeated or degraded. These are all political talks.
We now talk about bandits, ritualists, cultists, armed robbers and kidnappers. They are all over the place, at every corner of the country, flooding on our land with blood.
Day in, day out, we hear that so so and so person had been kidnapped or had been killed, sometimes their vital organs severed or dismembered, or that such and such a place had been invaded or attacked, and that such number of people have been killed.
Such stories are endless. We hear them on daily basis. They are pathetic and bear the tone of a hopeless situation, a system that has failed.
In the first quarter of this year, that is, within a short period of three months, a total of 1,071 Nigerians, including some foreigners, have been violently killed in different parts of the country and 686 other people kidnapped. That was what the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had told us. The story was not palatable, not very sweet to the ear, an ugly story, a worrisome story.
You begin to wonder and to ask whether Nigeria was in war, or in a Hobessian state of nature, a state of no government. Not even during the Nigerian civil war had the country recorded such huge number of deaths within so short a period of time. Again, you ask whether there was any government in the country, and where were those who took an oath to protect the lives and property of the people of Nigeria?
In civilized climes, these people ought to have thrown in the towel, because they have woefully failed, the situation has overwhelmed them. But our leaders are shameless. They see everything as politics, and pretend that nothing was amiss, and like Nero, they would be fiddling while Rome was on fire.
During the just concluded general elections, we saw our politicians recruited some young men and armed them with sophisticated weapons to help them win elections. Now, the elections are over, those young men are still with the guns. As the saying goes, the problem usually is not giving monkey a cup of water, but retrieving the cup from the monkey. So, it is either that the politicians have not settled their boys after the election, or that they have allowed the boys to go with the guns as part of their settlement.
Now, everybody is in trouble. These boys are everywhere with the guns, terrorizing people all over the place. It’s no longer whether you are a ‘big man’, with the means to pay the required ransom, or whether you are poor, unable to make ends meet. Everybody has become a target. You would either be killed or kidnapped for money or for ritual purposes. Nobody is sure of what will happen the next moment or who will be the next victim. The fear is all over the place.
We are in a terrible situation, a hopeless situation, a situation of lawlessness and anarchy. Ironically, those at the helm of affairs are not perturbed. They pretend as if all is well, and they gallivant all over the place.
Perhaps, it may not be out of place to suggest that we should all be on our guards, and begin to make our individual security arrangements. We should no longer wholly depend on government for our protection. From the look of things, the government has failed us and no longer lives up to its responsibility of protecting our lives and property.