Just Imagine Badoo Cultists are in Rivers State

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By Simeon Nwakaudu

F or weeks, Lagos State has been in one of the worst  cult crisis ever imagined for a metropolitan city. On a daily  basis, blood of the  innocent and  supposedly  guilty  flow on the streets on the account of  Badoo members going on a ritual killing spree.

Reports had it that a budding comedian, Chinedu Paul alias Think Twice was lynched and burnt to death  by a mob. He was lynched alongside two of his  friends on the suspicion  that they  were members of the Badoo.

Badoo members have been killing people in Ikorodu and it was even reported that residents of the area have armed themselves with cutlasses and other weapons.

The residents have resorted to self-help because  the security agencies have failed them. They have  formed armed vigilance groups, which have bypassed the criminal justice system, dispensing  justice on the street as it pleases them. Without  thinking twice, they sent MC Think Twice  and his friends  to untimely graves. Some many other cases abound.

Before the advent of Badoo boys, deadly kidnappers  had taken firm hold of Lagos. They kidnapped landlords, teachers, students,  traders and other residents at will. They  appear to have overwhelmed  the security agencies.  There was a time when the military bombed their supposed hideouts. But when kidnapping  did not  abate, the military  went into voice mail.

Notorious Evans  was arrested in his posh residence in a highbrow  residential  area in Lagos. Since kidnapping has yet to abate in Lagos, we can safely assume that  other  “Evanses” are holding sway in different parts of Lagos.

As I penned down  this piece, I read  online  the deadly robbery attack  that claimed four lives in Ajah. A movie-like gun battle between the military and the robbers. We cannot begin to discuss the horrible trend of robbery in Lagos.

All this is happening  in Lagos which  plays host to majority  of national print and electronic media. It is happening  in Lagos, an APC state, with a friendly  relationship  with federal security agencies. Yet the crisis has claimed serveral lives.

It is hardly  reported  with front-page banner headlines.  It is hardly included amongst  the main news items of any  major electronic media.

When it is reported at all, it is done to protect the economy and political  framework of Lagos State.  It is reported like the street “two fighting”, to give an impression that all is well.

Before Governor Wike used his internationally  recognised Amnesty programme  to resolve the pockets of security challenges  in Rivers State, these media organisations, especially those with APC connection, embarrassed  journalism  profession by their style of reportage.

Headlines like, “Rivers of Blood,”  “Five Die in Rivers Community “ and “Rivers APC  blame  Governor Wike for Insecurity “ were recycled in the media on a regular basis.  The editors of the pro-APC  deliberately  neglected  their professional responsibilities to the  society and descended  into the murky arena of politics.

Even where no security  infraction  took  place, they relied on Rivers APC  to issue damning statements, which they gave front page attention  or primetime coverage.

Hosts of television programmes feasted on these false reports to create a negative  security impression about Rivers State.  Today, Rivers State is the safest state in the country, while their host state ranks  amongst  the most insecure.

Has anybody seen  a headline: “Lagos of Blood” on the front page of any national  newspaper?  Instead, the reporters localise tne deadly crisis to Ikorodu and Ajegunle.

Has anyone seen Gbenga Aruleba invite  a PDP leader to his programme to rain insults on Ambode? Has anyone read  in The Nation or Punch where an editorial was written placing the blame squarely on the doorstep of Ambode? Where are the  paid columnists whose  intelligence is at the peak when concocted stories  are published on Rivers State?

 Nobody is gloating  over the security misfortune  of Lagos State, but the  truth remains that the media cannot afford to be agents  of destruction as has played out in recent times. Like Governor Wike continues to declare, we cannot afford to politicise security. The media cannot afford to be in the vanguard of APC’s  plot to de-market Rivers State.

This unfortunate  security  crisis in Lagos affords the mainstream  media the opportunity  to reflect on its failures. What is good for Lagos, is good for Rivers State.

Today, CNN is battling for credibility  because of its political inclination  during the last American election. Here in Nigeria, the media controlled by  APC  spinned all manner of lies against  ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.  That lack of objectivity has crippled the nation.

The United States of America has several major cities  thriving and supporting that country’s economy. It is foolhardy  for the APC-controlled media to think that  it will be profitable  to undo Rivers State, so that Lagos State can stand  alone. The consequences  will be  too grave  to imagine.

God strategically  placed Governor Wike  in Rivers State  at this time to serve  as the conscience of the nation. He is  here to serve  as the required stabilising  factor for the  sustenance of true democracy. Therefore, he should be allowed to continue  to provide the alternative  platform through his  outstanding  roll out of projects and programmes.

I cringe when I imagine what the headlines would be if Badoo boys  were killing people with reckless abandon in Rivers.  I am horribly frightened  to think of the  manner  of men like Gbenga Aruleba would be discussing with in his  Focus APC  studio. Even in time of peace, Aruleba invites murder suspects  to lampoon Rivers State. The Lagos deadly  security crisis is  a wake-up call for the media to retrace  her steps. This is  the time to jettison Pro-APC  reportage and embrace the tenets  of objective journalism.

I must state categorically that in the strict sense, once a governor has provided logistics, funded security operations and supported the welfare of security agents  in his state, he has performed  his  obligations.  The reason is simple: In the flawed federalism  practiced today, the police, DSS, Armed Forces, para military and quasi-security agencies are strictly under the control of the  Federal Government.  There is no governor who dishes out orders to the police commissioner  or military commanders in his state.

It is even worse for opposition states like Rivers, where the security agencies are subtly instructed  to undermine the state government for political reasons. Governor Wike  has bent backwards, employed intelligent strategies and tactics to keep Rivers State safe for investments.

Over the last two years, Governor Wike  initiated and signed into law the anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly. The law gave the security agencies the legal instrument  to tackle  kidnappers and cultists .

To strengthen  the security  architecture of the state; Governor Wike  in the course  of the last two years, has distributed over 150 security  vans to all the security  agencies in the state  to fight crime.

The Wike administration has also procured six armoured personnel  carriers, while 50 broken down armoured personnel carriers have been rehabilitated by the Rivers State Government for use of security agencies. Eight gunboats were donated to the Nigerian Navy, while another 13 have been ordered for further  distribution  to security agencies.

It is clear that the APC controlled media are afraid to hold the Federal Government responsible  for the failures of the politically  tainted security agencies. But the truth is known to all.

In Rivers State, Governor Wike remains  focused  to protect lives and property. His overwhelming  success is premised on the  fact that he is not moved by negative propaganda as sponsored by the APC . The Lagos tragedy  is a reminder  of the  inadequacies  of every  conspiracy.