By Yemi Adebowale
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; 07013940521
It was so depressing watching President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos on Wednesday giggling while commissioning Governor Ambode’s projects. This drama was a charade. For me, Buhari’s only business in Lagos should have been a visit to the notorious Apapa ports and the roads leading to the place. The Lagos farce was happening while thousands of people in communities across the country are in anguish following persistent killings of their loved ones by bandits, kidnappers, herders and Boko Haram. Our dear President has evidently not learnt to connect with Nigerians who are losing loved ones to these catastrophes.
Buhari should be visiting Kajuru in Kaduna State and not Lagos. Do I need to remind our President that scores of people are killed virtually on a weekly basis in this hapless community? I guess I need to remind our President that just ten days ago, a British humanitarian worker, Faye Mooney and her Nigerian companion, Mathew Oguche,were killed in Kajuru by kidnappers. Three other Nigerians were abducted at the scene. As at press time, the killers of Mooney and the Nigerian had not been apprehended, while the three people abducted are yet to regain freedom.
Mooney’s story is thought-provoking. She was employed by a non-governmental organisation called Mercy Corps and posted to Nigeria. Mooney came into the country to help Nigerians, but was murdered by the kidnappers. She had worked with Mercy Corps for almost two years, devoting her time to making a difference in Nigeria. Several people, including her colleagues and those whose lives she had impacted were heartbroken.
I was moved to tears when I read a tribute paid to the 29-year-old British aid worker by her family. It was a tribute to her bravery and beliefs: “Faye was an inspiration to her family, friends, students and work colleagues. Her bravery and her belief in a better society took her to places others feared. We are so proud of who she was and of everything she achieved in her short life. Her memory will always be cherished.”
In Kajuru, apart from kidnapping for ransom, herders and locals are persistently at war, leaving hundreds of people dead and so many families bereaved. Security agents in Kajuru have compromised. This is why the killings have persisted. This is the place to be for Buhari. He must end the Kajuru killings. Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State must also show greater commitment to ending the carnage in Kajuru. He is seen as having compromised. A statement by the Chairman, Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Joseph Hayap, on Wednesday, speaks volumes about the frustration of the community with El-rufai.
Speaking in Kaduna, while receiving building materials donated to the victims by the National Secretariat of CAN, Hayap, urged the governor to secure communities in Kajuru Local Government Area to enable victims of the attacks return to their homes. Hayap also wants the communities in Kajuru to evolve ways of protecting themselves from attacks by bandits.
Back to Buhari, even in his native Katsina State, our President is hardly seen connecting with bereaved families. 19 days ago, bandits attacked Garin Magaji village in Batsari Local Government Area of the state. The council Chairman, Mannir Muazu, confirmed that five people were killed during the attack while 10 others were injured. The bandits also set ablaze many houses and vehicles.
Several communities in Buhari’s beloved Katsina Statehave been taken over by bandits and kidnappers, with scores killed daily. Governor Aminu Masari lamented the debacle when the acting Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu visited him 17 days ago. “These bandits strike at will, maim at will, destroy lives and property at will,” Masari, who spoke through his deputy, Mannir Yakubu, told the police boss.
“In other parts of the state, we also have kidnappers who not only take people on the road but in the comfort of their homes,” he added, citing the incidence of governor Masari’s in-law who was abducted in the comfort of her home. She was freed after an undisclosed amount of money was paid to the kidnappers.
Right now, nine local government areas are under the servitude of bandits and kidnappers in Katsina State. They are Safana, Jibia, Batsari, Dan-Musa, Faskari, Sabuwa, Kankara, Kurfi and Dandume. Governor Masari calls them frontline local governments. These are the places our President should be visiting. He must be seen sharing the pains of bereaved families and taking pragmatic actions to end the killings. Surprisingly, even when floods ravaged many communities in his beloved Katsina State last year, the President did not deem it fit to connect with the victims. The communities ravaged by the floods were Kwata, Dantudu, Sabuwa, Tukare, Tsohuwar Tukare, Ungwar Mai Kwari, Makori, Modoji, Shinkafi, Kukar-Gesa, Katoge, Sako, Ungwarn-sarkin Rafi, Ungwar Tofa, Dakare and Kauran Fawa.
Talking about the police, IG Adamu and his boys have failed woefully to stem kidnapping and banditry across the country. The IG is always ordering “the Police Special Forces and other Tactical Units to deal decisively with bandits and other violent criminals.” Just the usual rhetoric. Intelligence, technology, quality equipment and quality manpower are essential, if the police are interested in curbing these evils. Unfortunately, the Nigerian police of today lack all these. This is why banditry, kidnapping and other troubles persist.
When lawbreakers are not arrested and chastised according to the law, they are emboldened to commit even worse crimes. This is precisely what is happing in mother Nigeria of today. There are numerous examples ofthe ineptitude of the police in this regard. My heart bleeds whenever I remember the killing of two NYSC members in Bayelsa State and the police’s failure to apprehend the killers. Precisely 31 days ago, gunmen stormed the residence of a private school proprietor in Swali, a suburb of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, and shot three members of the National Youth Service Corps, staying in a lodge provided by the school’s proprietor. While two of them died in the attack, the third one was critically injured. Popoola Olamide, a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University/indigene of Oyo state and George Onokpoma from Delta State were murdered by these bastards. The walls of the room were riddled with bullets while blood soaked the floor; the blood of innocent young Nigerians, whose only crime was heeding the call to serve motherland.
The Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, Olusola David and his boys are not behaving as if a grievous crime had been committed. I checked yesterday to know if any progress had been made but there was no positive story from the police. The so-called manhunt for the gunmen who killed the NYSC members was just a pretense. The gunmen are still at large. I am again challenging IG Adamu to smoke out the killers of Olamide and Onokpoma. The culprits must be arrested and brought to justice.
Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar was apropos when he said: “Impunity must end and must end today. These crimes continue to reoccur because previous killings have not been met with justice. These killings must end or Nigeria will lose desperately needed friends, partners and investors. Not only do I condemn this recent killing, but I make an urgent call for the federal and state authorities to track down the culprits and make them pay for their crimes. The time for empty rhetoric is long gone. Now is the time for urgent national action to stem insecurity. Nigeria must once again become synonymous with peace, progress and prosperity. This can only happen when crime and punishment are a natural cause and effect.”
On the flip side, IG Adamu must investigate his men in the Ogun State Command over their role in the abduction of aCanadian, Kyliuk Morris. The allegation by 52-year-old Canadian that policemen in Ogun State assisted him to deliver N2.5 million ransom paid to his kidnappers to regain his freedom, is frightening. Morris was abducted by the hoodlums in the Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of the state.
The Canadian said, “A policeman, who collected the ransom, paid the kidnappers to get me released from my abductors. Aside from the ransom, they (police) asked my wife to give them N20,000 as transportation fare. They said they risked their lives to get me out.
“I want the government to be aware of what happened to me…I want people to be aware of what is happening. I just went through personal experience. If they (the police) have a job to do, they should do it. I think government at all levels should hold the police responsible for what they are hired for. If someone is kidnapped, the police should do their job. My wife went to see them, but they made no effort. My wife told them the exact place where I was; nothing was done. They dragged their feet.”
Policemen delivering ransom to kidnappers? Wonders shall never end in Nigeria. IG Adamu must send a special team to Ogun State to investigate this.
Fumbling Lagos State Water Corporation
Lagos State is a bundle of contradictions. A state with a trillion Naira budget is often struggling to provide the most basic amenities to its populace. The Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) is a good example of these contradictions. Conservatively, I will say that less than two per cent of homes, offices and factories in Lagos State have access to public water supply. Yet, LWC is persistently struggling to supply these few consumers.
For several weeks now, water scarcity has persisted in several parts of the state. The lethargic LWC tells Lagosians that its engineers are working hard to restore supply. There are always technical faults in major water works of the corporation. LWC wants us to know that the Independent Power Project (IPP) powering its major water works had broken down. Even though LWC has connected to the national grid, consumers need to know that the light coming from there is not steady and disrupts water production processes. There is scarcity of gas supply too. Consumers should exercise a little more patience. Stories, stories, stories and unending stories.
No doubt, LWC is one of the most inefficient corporations in Lagos State. The result is the persistent water scarcity in many parts of the state. Communities in Costain, Ojota, Ketu, Anthony, Obanikoro, Mile 12, Ogudu, Lagos Island, Apapa Road and Surulere are gasping for breath. Consumers in these areas spend huge sums buying water. The leadership of the LWC is due for an overhaul. New hands must be allowed to take charge. I sincerely hope that the incoming government will do the needful.