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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Between the container and the contents

By Bayo Fasunwon


Nigeria, by the activities and inactivity of her leaders has metamorphosed into a nation that spurns out questions on daily basis. When the nationals, at home and in the Diaspora, are about heaving sighs of relief over a pandemonium, the government increases the blood pressure and adrenalin of the people over unthinkable issues. The weeks gone by have witnessed questionable government activities against perceived enemies of the State. While the Federal Government jubilates over the success of the once failed ‘Dikkolisation’ strategy, (in the kidnap, abduction, and successful arraignment of Nnamdi Kanu), many commentators at the local and international environment had condemned the act, (which seems to have made kidnapping a national policy). They had warned the Federal Government to tread on the path of caution because while a battle can be won, a war never ends.
Hardly had Nigerians recovered from this unpopular move when the DSS made headlines that they had successfully raided the dwelling place of the Yoruba nation activist, ‘Sunday Igboho’, and had returned unhurt. They were proud to announce that the operation was so successful that two of their target’s aides were murdered in the fracas that ensued. While the DSS, given their constitutional cover to carry weapons of death had jubilated over their shooting capabilities, they quickly forgot that the constitution also gave them the responsibility to protect the lives and properties of the citizens of Nigeria. Personally, it is not my intention to whip a dead horse, but certain issues need be addressed in the plot to the crucifixion of Igboho, who sought peacefully, the self-determination of the Yorubas. The Federal Government of Nigeria would have lost no pride if a gentleman invitation had been given to the activist for interrogation, and possibly to get an understanding of his grouse against the Nigeria structure in its present state. Many issues could have been reviewed and probably resolved. Given the stance and body languages of the Federal Government hitherto, Sunday Igboho could however not have heeded the call alone, and others who could have joined him would have presented useful information to keep the nation as one. However, alas, the government decided to come as a thief in the night.
The nature of the attack also presents a government, whose stock in trade is kidnapping. Dead in the night presupposes that the intention was to ‘Dikkolise’ the activist. Given the previous attacks on his residence by ‘unknown gunmen’ and the bombardment of Igangan in the dead of the night, was the DSS expecting Nigerians to surrender to gun wielding men without self defense especially in that ungodly hour? The various victims of kidnap from Chibok, to Dapchi, Kaduna, and Zamfara have always described their abductors as ravenous wolves dressed in sheep clothing. In other words, they had appeared like the Nigeria military, carried out their attacks in the dead of the night and demanded for ransom later. So any group of people who appear in that garb in the dead of the night would not be perceived otherwise. Therefore, it is expected that the members of Igboho’s residence would not have believed that a decent and tutored organization could have acted as bandits. Therefore, given the advice to Nigerians to defend themselves, and the President’s insistence that security ought to be localized, the reaction of the Igboho’s security men to perceived banditry could not be faulted. Given the scenario, one doubts if the murder of the two men is justifiable and not repugnant to natural justice.
Going by the insistence that they were murdered based on government’s executive order to shoot at sight anyone caught brandishing AK-47 illegally, the onus would be on government to ascertain the legality or otherwise of the possession before the release of the volleys of life sapping bullets. However, judging from the different pictures and statement of Sheikh Gumi, that the DSS and other government security personnel accompany him on the familiarity excursion to AK-47 brandishing bandits, one wonders why those bandits are still alive and well. On the other hand, the Federal Government could as well be informing Nigerians that those bandits and insurgents were licensed to not only carry those weapons but also use it in the business of abduction.
At this juncture permit me wear the thinking cap of the Presidency. Sunday Igboho, Nnamdi Kanu, Boko Haram, Bandits, and killer herdsmen are not the same category of criminals. While Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu are pro secessionists, the others are mere criminals. Therefore, the latter are enemies of the people while the formers are enemies of the State. As enemies of the State, they are contravening the provisions of the 1999 Constitution that sees Nigeria as an independent, indivisible, and united nation. Hence, whosoever seeks for the amendment of the constitution to seek for her division must be resisted by the President, who swore to protect the constitution, and the security forces?
In other words, therefore, Kanu and Igboho are committing felonies by insisting that their ethnic groups are tired of the Nigeria experiment. On the other hand, the bandits, kidnappers, and insurgents should be placated, begged, and given amnesty in order to stop their nefarious activities of killing, stealing, destructions, abductions, and ransom taking. This group of people is misguided miscreants, while the likes of Kanu and Igboho are internationally sponsored dissidents and secessionists. The latter must be crushed vehemently.
Well, if the Nigeria constitution were healthy, there would have been no need to call for the reform of the constitution. If only parts of the constitution are faulty, there would have been no need for a suggested overhaul of the document. Be that as it may, the bandits who have kidnapped more than six hundred people could have as well continue to do so as the government does not perceive their activities as being industrious to the political economy of the federation. Therefore, it is not strange that more schoolchildren have recently been abducted by the AK-47 wielding ferocious bandits. The boldness to criminality also see them asking the guardians to their victims supply them with foodstuffs to cater for their abductees. Government seemed also to have responded to these mean spillers of blood in the language they understand, that is the paying of ransom and enrichment to carry out more crimes against humanity. Therefore, the continuation of a divided but indivisible nation is much more important than the protection of the lives of those who inhabit it. Thanks to the Federal Government, we now know that the container is more valuable than the contents. This, the Kaduna State Governor seems to have realized hence the withdrawal of his precious son from government schools, thereby restraining us from seeing the resoluteness of the wife against ransom payments.
The candid advice to the government of the federation is to tread cautiously and softly. If the agitation for secession is rife, then the best is to hold a referendum that may even reveal the foolishness in such an idea, in the end. However, pursuing the enemy of the State, while leaving the enemies of the people to run wild depicts a leadership void of critical reasoning and respect for the protection of lives and properties.

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