The Placebo Of Curfews By Southern Governors


THE PUBLIC SPHERE with Chido Nwakanma

Here is a clarion call to citizens across Southern Nigeria: Get Up, Stand Up to defend your cities. Governors of Southern Nigeria have abdicated responsibility. They are leaving our cities defenceless.
There is anarchy in the land. Browbeaten and shaken, the Police are on recess. Hoodlums have taken over our major cities, inflicting arson and brigandage from Lagos through Aba, Abakaliki, Asaba, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Warri. Every other hour you hear of more cities attacked. They loot businesses and destroy infrastructure, public and private, including our heritage structures.

Many questions trail the coordination and ease with which the arsonists are moving through our cities. Is this our street or are these fellows imported from elsewhere?
Our governors seem to have one coordinated response. They have all declared curfews.
Please tell me, what will these curfews achieve? Does it make sense? Who wrote the script for them? What intelligence has informed the notion of the declaration of a curfew as the pragmatic response to anarchy?

Curfews are only placebos in the unfolding scenario. It cannot treat the ailment.
Let us scrutinize the matter.
Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki kicked off the fad of the declaration of curfews on Tuesday. It followed the release of prisoners or jailbreak from the correctional facility in Benin City, the state capital. The statement happened within two hours of the incident.
As he was making the announcement, the criminals extended their ignominy to other parts of the state, looting and destroying. They attacked and destroyed police stations. They raided other places, frightening citizens already cowered and confused by the ugly incident as well as the clampdown on their movements.

It then happened in Lagos. It multiplied to other cities across Southern Nigeria.
THE POLICE were conspicuously absent in each place. While we are justifiably angry with the Nigerian Police, nothing justifies the attacks on all cops and stations across the land. What is the objective?
The vast scale of the destruction in our prime city of Lagos is horrendous. The enemy went through the city with precision, destroying targeted places and adding others for collateral damage.

In Surulere, the Area Boys of Shitta resisted them! These were ordinarily the prime suspects, but accounts say the Shitta Community of Street Boys disclaimed the persons coming to cause damage and destruction. Even so, they went shop to shop on Bode Thomas Street. In the same Surulere, they sought to kill the mother of the Governor and destroyed his family house.
Governors are declaring these curfews in the proven absence of the Nigerian Police and security forces. They have turned citizens into sitting ducks. Only the bad boys are on the streets, roaming freely and causing as much damage as they wish.

Yet the governors announce the declaration of curfew with relish as if they have found the Great Solution!
It is disturbing and frightening. Lekki has been an epicentre of the madness. Across Lekki’s many estates, citizens have activated internal security systems, including vigilantes.
We must ask, where are the internal defence mechanisms of each state? Lagos State supposedly has a Community Security architecture. Is this not the time for them to stand up for the count? To what are they deploying their fancy vehicles and other infrastructure?

Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu announced a curfew on Wednesday 21 October. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and Willie Obiano of Anambra State announced on Thursday 22 October. Next would probably be Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi following the coordinated attacks on places and infrastructure in Enugu, including the campus of the University of Nigeria built in the 1960s.

When I read the exultant declaration from Anambra State, I sent a note to an official.
“What will fill the void when citizens comply and stay indoors? The Police seem to be on recess everywhere. What are the plans of the Anambra State Government to secure the cities and critical infrastructures such as Onitsha Main Market, LG and State Offices such as the Secretariat?
Please activate state security. Charge the market associations to activate security. No tales of lamentation. Well done.”

Where are the leaders, influencers and middle-class of the South? Are we interrogating these matters at all? Or just reacting emotionally and sharing laughable attempts on social media to get our ethnicities to lock horns?

Who wrote the script for our governors? Who is speaking on behalf of our states and cities? Where are the stakeholders of our towns, from Lagos through Aba to Enugu? Where is Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, a former governor of Lagos State who is in the federal cabinet? Where are the others also in the federal cabinet such as the Minister of Interior former Governor Rauf Aregbesola? Where are the lawmakers such as Aba Boy Senator Orji Kalu, former Governor of Abia State, and Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, a former deputy governor of Abia State with senatorial responsibility for Aba? The iconic Aba Town Hall is in flames! What have they said?

Elite timidity, in this case, could translate to elite idiocy. Speak up all in defence of our cities, towns, our states and heritage. It will no longer suffice for the middle class and the elite to hide in their estates and mansions. The street will reach you.

Typically, the elite and middle-class stay aloof and unconcerned. That way, we handed our politics to scoundrels. Over the years, the political class has delivered growing poverty and immiseration. The street is angry and fifth columnists have stepped into the fray.

So you are not a politician and are not responsible directly for the miasma? Really? The street does not discriminate. You own a fancy car, a house and you drive your children to the expensive school in the neighbourhood. You qualify as an enemy of the urban underclass. It concerns you now.

Wake up Southern Nigeria. Stand Up to defend your lands!