A government that cannot guarantee the safety of life and property has failed
For the past two decades, sporadic killings have become a staple in our country. Most affected is the Northcentral (middle belt) zone where the once thriving economy boosted by temperate climate is now almost crippled. The violence is often traced to issues ranging from fights over indigeneship to clashes between farmers and herders over access to land. Last weekend, Nasarawa deputy governor, Emmanuel Akabe, supervised the mass burial of 38 persons, mostly women and children, who were gruesomely killed by suspected herdsmen in Takalafia and Gwanja rural communities of Karu Council of the state. Pastor in-charge of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Daniel Danbeki was among those killed in what has become an orgy of bloodletting.
Since the beginning of this year, no fewer than a hundred people have been killed in Benue State in various attacks by invading gunmen. On one occasion in Otukpo local government area, suspected herdsmen attacked villagers during a funeral, killing dozens. But the killings are not restricted to Benue State. In neighbouring Nasarawa and Plateau States, dozens of lives have also been lost to these incessant killings with the number of displaced people growing every day. What is particularly worrying is that because of these killings, many communities are self-arming either to protect themselves or for reprisal attacks as bloody battles for supremacy and for the control of land become increasingly alarming. It is one other repercussion of a growing culture of elite indifference to a scourge that has become a vicious cycle. More cofounding is that authorities at all levels are ready to spend more money to investigate what we already know, buy more guns to fight what we caused and yet do nothing scientific to engage the problem.
Meanwhile, this culture of impunity persists because the relevant security agencies have not succeeded in apprehending the entrepreneurs of violence and bring them to justice. There are several questions begging for answers: Why has there been no successful prosecution of anybody involved in this orgy of violence and bloodletting? Authorities in both Abuja and the affected states have, at different times, established judicial commissions and administrative panels of enquiry to investigate these killings. What are their findings and recommendations? What actions have been taken on the reports?
Unfortunately, the fact that official response to these killings had been tame is a major problem. President Muhammadu Buhari who makes some feeble statement after every tragedy usually ask the public to “expose the perpetrators of such incidents, their sponsors and those who encourage such criminals who carry out these dastardly acts of murder, so that the law will take its course.” Yet, the fact that many people die, and Nigerians move on unperturbed is fast depicting us as a people who place little premium on human lives. When such bestiality becomes a way of life, as it is now in many states, those who kill would want to recreate the scenes more often almost like any addict who goes on the high by reliving his addiction. That today is the tragedy of our nation.
To worsen matters, these unrelenting assaults have awakened the consciousness of the people to a primordial sense of group self-preservation. And the situation is getting out of hand. The spate of violence across the country has prompted several critical stakeholders to call for an urgent review of the national security architecture. In the challenging times that we are in, all options should be on the table, especially as the nation quivers under threats of unknown colouration, with sundry mischief makers prancing forward to contribute whatever they can for reasons of their own. A government that cannot guarantee the security of life and property for citizens and residents in a country has failed.