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The fear of insecurity

The fear of insecurity

By Theo Adebowale
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When we were growing up, there was the belief that night journeys were safe, cheaper and comfortable. It was believed that road signs were precise to guide motorists at bends and valleys. Narrow bridges were shown by the reflexive signs. Wear and tear was moderate when temperatures are down and the motor, I mean, the engine enjoys the cool breeze. Because the weather is cool, perspiration is absent even in municipal buses.

Trust pub crawlers, they took advantage of the cool weather to enjoy their hobby. Guys traveled on power bikes from Ife to Ibadan. They might even go to Unilag to catch fun. On an occasion, Sobaloju mounted me on his bike from St. Andrew’s College Oyo, SACO, to Ibadan to the Teachers College, Ile-Ife.

The roads then were smooth but articulated vehicles from Moniya, heading towards Ogbomoso to Ilorin this way, and Ibadan to Ile-Ife that way were a terror. Autocrashes sent some drunken, overspeeding bikers to the Orthopedic Departments of UCH, Ibadan, Ife and Igbobi. Some also went to early graves. But fun seekers were not deterred.

Without fail, every weekend there was partying. At our own end, we moved from OdeOolo to Oniyanrin. It could be Oke Bola with the Jeyifouses, we could proceed to Abeokuta knocking down any cold beer ACB. Sometime we came to Akure. There used to be one Fairmount Hotel which tariffs were affordable. On two different occasions, we got to Owo fun seeking. Our limited resources and absence of a local guide must have been responsible for poor outcome.

When we were young, we sought fun like the youth but now that we are of age we limit ourselves to attending weddings, funerals, and community events. We were at Igogo 2017, Ekpedo day 2016. After prayer and fasting we made our journeys and on return offered thanks to God for journey mercies. These services are a common feature these days. A member of my church came from the United States for her mother’s funeral earlier this year. When she had listened to stories about Why People rarely Travel, These Days. She sank into her seat confused, sweting profusely, not knowing what to do. Her friends who would travel down might not longer come. Those who were on ground might not turn up. Coincidentally she witnessed the return from captivity of Federal Medical Centre and Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Staffers who as at then were just regaining freedom. But the elders counseled her. They encouraged her. They encouraged her and her pastor gave her some scripture to strengthen her spirit man. On the appointed day, they left the morgue of the state hospital early enough and moved from Akure to Ikoro Ekiti not disclosing their route to anybody. On return they offered praise to God for journey mercies.

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There was a family from the United States that came for a ceremony at home. A car took them from Lagos to Ondo State. They were returning to Lagos when one of the tyres of the car ruptured. As the driver made to change the tyre, a staccato of bullets was released into the sky, the family including a 9 year-old-girl was captured and marched into the bush. Having used an object to break the head of the girl, they trekked 7 hours in the first instance before they reached their destination of horror where they were welcomed with the sight of burial of a victim. The kidnappers offered the family options to defile the young girl, sodomize her father, or rape the mother. The least horrific of the alternatives was for the mother to offer herself as a sacrifice on the sex platform of Fulani herder bandits. They were later released after parting with some millions of naira.

There was another function at Auchi. After the ceremony, a group of travelers passed through Sabongida Ora to Ikaro to Ifon. They passed through Owo on the way to Akure. After Ogbese, there was a cattle ranch on the highway. And a coaster bus of Federal Polytechnic was forced to a halt. The commuters were screened. Only two of them were considered fit to be captured. They were promptly taken into captivity. Ever since, fear seems to have gripped fun seekers and those who have come of age. Inter city pub crawling has since ceased. Intra city pub crawling has been curbed. Those who must consume alcoholic beverages, now do so within the neighbourhood. Preachy efforts to keep youngsters away from night crawling are becoming unnecessary.

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Vehicular movement has reduced drastically since the kings of the jungle have extended their jurisdiction to the highway, redefining destinations of their victims, imposing ransom on relations, neighbours and employers. This is the worst of times. Healthy men, otherwise courageous can no longer find their voice. Even a sovereign government that rose to the occasion outlawing IPOB, decimating Boko Haram, incapacitating Niger Delta militants now has to appease Fulani herdsmen including their members from Libya and ISWA with different offers including N200million to turn their anger away from the rest of us, cattle ranches to be opened and equipped by the Federal Government, an AM radio license to broadcast to them an undertaking of peace in Fulfude language 24hours, and most recently, RUGA settlements in all states of the federation to enable them do trade with us on their own terms. For the herdsmen, this must be the best of times. As they unleach terror on unsuspecting law abiding citizens, they may continue to roam the forests of the Federal Republic, do business on the highway or even parade the streets of our cities with AK47 guns adorning their necks. It is certainly the worst of times for the peasant farmer they may find on his plot when their cattle have need for grass and water. The other day they found a man of his farm. They scolded him for planting melon on his plot, assuring him that should any of their animals drop dead, they would come for him with death in their pouch.

However, frivolous trips have more or less disappeared. Adulterers and fornicators must have reduced their operation to manageable scopes, that is, there would be no need to travel on frivolous missions. If kidnappers would limit themselves to the pleasure of the flesh, they would not have minded. You know, they may have no appetite for it with just any of their abductees. Even then, upon sexual pleasure, they will definitely request for ransom. There is no way to convert their expedition to fun. Sales executives are not excluded in the cautious move of the moment. If anyone be caught with wares, or any evidence of business transaction he is a gonner. The proceeds on such a fellow would be automatically forfeited and the accounts of the business drawn into jeopardy.

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Full time housewives whose husbands traveled a lot in the past, parents of full blooded youths on the prowl for pleasure on the highways of Nigeria may be experiencing a season of calm. Their children, husbands to some women may have restricted their activities and working hours to acceptable ranges.

On the outskirts of Akure the other day, towards Igoba, came a report that some residents were woken up in the late hours of the night they were herded into the bush and ransom would be demanded for their release some days later. As these reports turn in, so are their authors becoming more innovative, exaggerating and inventing more fables and tales of insecurity. Reports of murderous activities of ritualists have been suspended for now. Such reports do not catch as much interest as do those of herdsmen banditry. The herdsman stuffs have added to them strategies by which the Federal Government intends to curb or humanize their actions.

Many are surprised that the Fulani would bag a huge monetary appeasement, a few are alarmed that they would be compensated with an AM radio band, and yet millions are alarmed that the Federal Government would take water ways and sea beds from state governments, each of the 36 states would be required to release hectares of land to construct RUGA settlements for them where new emirates would emerge in the future that the faith would spread from the desert to the Atlantic.

The only feasible dividend in the immediate is the fear of insecurity which is beginning to bestow wisdom on the people across religions, socio-economic classes, ethnic and regional boundaries. This is the beginning of another season, perhaps another civilization.

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The fear of insecurity

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