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Opinion

Nigeria—Is There Sanity In This Land?

Nigeria is not safe. Nowhere in the country can be said to be a safe haven. Whether there have been incessant attacks in a part of the country than others does not mean residents in the not-affected parts are safe. For a country that is the third most terrorised in the world, nowhere is safe.

Gruesome killings in the country have become new-normal. Nigerians, though excessively disturbed, no longer find it strange when the new reports reel the total number of the citizens who have been mercilessly killed by insurgents’ attacks. One should add that killings in the country are not only carried out by the Bokoharam members or its sister militants, the leaders also murder the citizens in cold blood when they clamour for their rights—a recent example is the Lekki Toll Gate Massacre. For a country where painful deaths are fast becoming commonplace, can such a country be considered safe? Even the Very Important Citizens with their beefed-up security are not safe, not to talk of the common Nigerians who with inadequate security are left open to different insurgents’ attacks.

The country gradually plunges into disarray. Our dear motherland is becoming a murderland, a cesspool where all anomalies are pardoned, where the strange becomes normal, where harsh realities are forced down our throats. Our country has become hell; there is almost no guarantee of surviving in the country. This is 2020—the story remains stagnant and as 2021 gradually knocks, we still do not have the Nigeria of our dreams; we only have the nation we never wished for.

The North is safe, our leaders said, despite worrisome militants’ attacks. The North is safe with heightened security operations, they said. The militants have been subdued, they boasted. But tears trickled down our cheeks when we read the unfortunate incident in Zambari, Borno state. The North is safe yet more than forty-three farmers were brutally killed. The government was as usual ‘shocked,’ a term it has adopted whenever cases of insurgencies surge. President Buhari described the attacks as ‘insane.’ If there were ‘insane attacks’ when the security was tightened, then what will be the case if there were no ‘tightened security’ at all? The deceased farmers are those, the state governor, Babagana Zulum, said, who could no longer stay in their homes for the fear of hunger, then went to their farms so as to salvage their predicament only to meet their deaths. This unfortunate scenario is not at all novel, because this is not the first time militants will annihilate helpless citizens and also confidently over-run military bases.

What is more worrisome is that there is no change; the Nigerian Military is ostensibly weaker against the insouciant militants. The Service Chiefs after a series of meetings with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces do not have a lasting solution to these crises. Despite their obvious incompetency, it appears as if they have received thump-ups from the President for their ‘patriotism.’ Those who have been displaced as a result of the ravaging attacks of the insurgents are now strangers in the homeland. In the Internally Displaced Camps (IDPs), the residents are still not secured. In fact, there are disturbing reports of how they struggle to live and fend for themselves despite the government’s intervention.

One would expect that the government takes active measures to protect the citizen’s lives and properties but they have not appeared to be doing so. Rather than show fervid concern for the citizens, they have preferred to rehabilitate former insurgents and absorb them as members of the community, despite protests from community members who said the rehabilitated insurgents are among those who terrorise the community. The government denied their allegations, but the truth has begun to unfold. It is saddening that the government ‘prefers’ to ‘waste’ the lives of the ordinary citizens who clamour for their rights, who clamour for justice, among others than address pertinent issues which continue to sink the country. They have preferred to brazenly murder, emasculate citizens who want a better Nigeria, than to address the issues that threaten to tear the nation apart. Our leaders have shown that they cannot drive Nigeria to progress, yet they stubbornly cling to their powers and send those who demonstrate against them to early graves. They have made the citizens helpless and further made them hopeless with their inactions and negative reactions. There is no sanity in this land.

Our leaders have been accused of showing their strengths on irrelevant policies at the expense of the nation’s growth and development. They are concerned with piling their wealth even as the country’s debt rises and as the citizens suffer from severe economic hardships. The nation’s politics have become an avenue when several political godfathers are involved in ‘dirty’ power plays, and it seems the ‘Nigeria Project’ is a dazzling mirage after all. There is hypocrisy in the land, hypocrisy which birthed stagnancy and unproductivity. Political leaders who have been touted as the messiahs are now the succubi that send the citizens to hell; they are now the tormentors who are the reason why there is no longer hope for the common man. The fact that ‘things’ do not seem to work in Nigeria has dwindled the hope of the masses daily. Even the incurable optimists do no longer believe the nation will rise. And to be frank, Nigeria has not risen, it has only disastrously crumbled. Is there a future for our dear fatherland?

It is said that the only passionate youths that can drive the country to its long-awaited progress since the old men in agbadas made the country suffer setbacks. Lamentably, the youths are getting more marginalised. The government has made platforms that will gear the youths towards building the nation of their dreams virtually non-existent. Sadly, the youths can only hold political positions provided they have powerful godfathers who they must serve and show honest loyalty to at the expense of the citizens’ welfare. Those who are adequately educated among the youths must know somebody at the top before they can get employment. Those who manage to run small scale businesses are put off because there are no loans for them. Most youths have now been employed by selfish leaders as hired thugs and perpetrators of nefarious crimes. The nation’s vision is sadly getting blurred.

When we will rise as a nation, is an important question that dances on the lips of many Nigerians. Bad governance, corruption among other vices exhibited by our leaders have continually rendered the citizens incapacitated. The day now breaks with terrifying reports. The citizens live in varying levels of fear. Fear to speak up, fear to survive, fear to sleep comfortably among others. This development is not new since the recent happenings in the country have only terrified the citizens.  Our leaders have made democratic dispensation a failure in Nigeria, and perhaps there is no other form of government that best suits us.

Some citizens, however, believe that breaking apart is the only way to true freedom, a belief I am strongly against because breaking apart would come with bloodshed, and who even says there will be true freedom?. These are cases in some countries like Syria, Libya etc were breaking apart came with continual feuds and the deaths of civilians. Much as the citizens want a better Nigeria, sedition should never be considered as an option. It is only with togetherness can we achieve our common hopes and aspirations. The Nigerian youths are the ones to drive the nation to progress and they must be made to understand this truth. With the incessant calls for good governance and a better nation, our determination and the ability to transform it into effective action will bring sanity to our fatherland.

This opinion story has been published on CAMPUS REPORTER with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author. CAMPUS REPORTER does not bear any responsibility for the contents of this story, all views belong to the author.

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