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Nigeria: The Season of Sarcastic Scandals and Scoffing of Security

by Isiyaku Ahmed
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Bala Ibrahim

By Bala Ibrahim

When former Ambassador to Nigeria and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, John Campbell, prophesized in his book, dancing on the Brink, many, including yours truly, dismissed the predictions as nothing but the doomsday prophecy. Campbell said and I quote, “Governance, let alone democracy, faces grievous, structural challenges in Nigeria.

“Popular alienation and a fragmented establishment have contributed to Nigeria becoming one of the most religious and, at the same time, one of the most violent countries in the world. Ubiquitous patronage and corrupt behaviour, fueled by oil money, is the root cause of Nigeria’s political and economic sclerosis.

“The federal government has failed to provide basic security for its citizens and has lost its monopoly on violence, two basic attributes of a sovereign state”.

Although things have not unfolded in the exact timeline of Campbell’s prediction, many of the things he prophesized, are manifesting today in Nigeria, particularly where he said, “the federal government has failed to provide basic security for its citizens and has lost its monopoly on violence, two basic attributes of a sovereign state”.

At no time had the government of Nigeria lost its monopoly on violence than now, pursuant to its lackadaisical attitude to the issue of security, as a result of which, the terrorists are becoming increasingly bolder. Nothing can be more embarrassing, than a government saying it cannot rescue its people in the hands of terrorists, because it is afraid of encountering collateral damages, while the same terrorists have the prowess, to rescue their members from one of the most secured prisons in the government. And this happened without any collateral damage, at least on their side.

Indeed Nigeria is faced today with fragmented establishments, because almost on daily basis, frightening, agonizing, and conflicting reports, are emerging from agencies that ought to be working together for the same goal- public safety and security. And the Presidency seems less perturbed.

It is painful to hear from a person of the status of the Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, hierarchically the number 5 citizen of the country, saying security agents have alerted the government 44 times, about an impending attack, and the Presidency was adamant. Equally painful is the submission of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna state, that he was the one that informed the President, that the terrorists have shortlisted the two of them for kidnapping. Haba? Haba? Haba? Why are things happening like in a fiction movie?

Appalled by the deteriorating situation, and after countless motions calling on the President to do the needful on security, the Senate, for now, the senators in the opposition PDP, have issued an impeachment threat to the President. Though the senate President has dismissed the threat, depending on how things unfold in the coming days, particularly if the trajectory of the growing public disenchantment keeps moving upward, the subject could persuade the people to change their support for the President.

As usual, the President has called for another round of security meetings today. But looking at the ease with which these meetings are called, alongside the inconsistencies on action plans, as well as on the stands of the government on deadlines and timelines, no one is willing to expect something dramatically positive. You cannot continue doing the same thing and expect a different result.

In an article published by Kadaria Ahmed, a former colleague at the BBC, titled, The BBC in Nigeria – Between Reporting and Propagating Terror, she went candid, in reprimanding everyone, including the journalists, who are members of her constituency.

Kadaria was right to reprimand the BBC for visibly violating professional ethics, and undoubtedly giving support to terrorism, by providing the desperately needed oxygen, through the promotion of propaganda. As she said, that documentary cannot be played on the BBC, if Britain were the victim of such terror. It’s “IMPOSICANT”, as one of my daughters would say.

But notwithstanding that callous contempt for conscience, which I hope the BBC would take a serious look at, Kadaria’s article hit the nail on the head when she said, “None of this has ‘helped’ our inept government, led by President Muhamadu Buhari, to find and arrest these blood-thirsty criminals.  The ‘pressure’ has also not stopped the administration from playing ostrich and finding an effective way of tackling insecurity. These are some of the public interest arguments put forward by those defending the featuring of predatory criminals on national and now international media platforms”.

How I wish the President would present Kadaria’s article for discussion at today’s meeting so that the government can do a critical self-assessment of its weaknesses. But I doubt if that would be done.

No one knows what the outcome of the security meeting would be, but almost everyone is saying, it’s going to be business as usual, i.e, THE SEASON OF SARCASTIC SCANDALS AND SCOFFING OF SECURITY.

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