The insecurity in the country is breaking apart the pillars that hold Nigeria together, causing the ship of State to meander in a rudderless manner, as if it is without a captain. This menacing and hazardous situation has thrown up ill-informed self-titled regional agitators, self-appointed freedom fighters, and bloodthirsty criminals who advocate crude self-help strategies that clearly set the nation on a sail to anarchy and mayhem. To salvage the situation, multiple voices have called on President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to awake from its slumber and pull all the necessary strings to halt the nation from drifting into destruction.
- What bandits commanders told me in Zamfara forests Sheikh Gumi
- Top bandits commander, Buharin Daji, to lay down arms soon Matawalle
An elder statesman, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, echoed the call last week in a courageous statement entitled ‘Statement of Serious Concern.’ The former presidential candidate’s appeal read in part, “The mayhem we see, almost every day now, of killings and maiming of people of Northern extraction, including especially, the Fulani, in some other parts of the country, is totally unacceptable. There is clearly a nefarious plan by the enemies of this potentially great country to initiate a violent crisis that may lead to its destruction. Tension is beginning to brew, and if revenge attacks on Southerners begin here in the North, it will be difficult to control…There is no part of this country that is at peace…”
No doubt, the situation is disturbing, but government’s response is too lukewarm to boost citizens’ confidence in the ability of security agencies to tame the ominous dark clouds gathering over Nigeria. To avert mayhem, President Buhari must summon the political will, take political steps and come up with a clear strategy on how to tame the hydra-headed demon of banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, wanton destruction of lives and property, and acts of terrorism that have poisoned the minds of Nigerians against each other. Taking a cue from the initiative of South-West governors who, a fortnight ago, held an all-stakeholders meeting in Akure, Ondo State, to devise a local solution to the problem, we call on President Buhari to come up with a national initiative that could rein in all stakeholders and unite Nigerians to douse the tension and frustrate those stoking the flames of revenge and killings.
We urge the president to give the new service chiefs a deadline to arrest this confusion, especially the incursion of criminal bandits from other parts of West Africa into Nigeria. From North to South, it has been discovered that the so-called herders who inflict bloodshed on the nation are mainly foreigners. This is totally unacceptable. Our security agencies must protect Nigerians by taking charge of our borders, no matter how porous, to prevent or flush out criminals from violating them. We cannot win this war until we effectively police our borders.
There is apparent unanimity in the call for a ban on open grazing as a step forward in dealing with this besetting problem. Government must translate its talks about the national livestock development policy into reality; it must do so quickly. The hope-rising initiative has become part of election rhetoric, which is abandoned after electoral victory. Buhari must work with state governments who have genuinely committed land and resources to the actualization of the livestock development initiatives. Such baby-steps could produce results that would encourage other double-minded governors to buy into the strategy, as a way of halting the movement of herds of cow from North to South, destruction of farmlands and other criminals acts that have pitched farmers against herders, and South against North.
Mr President must realize that the bucks stop at his desk. He must act fast to avert anarchy.