Ever since the incompatible and unholy marriage between the Northern and Southern protectorate in Nigeria in 1914, the country has been bedevilled by countless anomalies; ranging from cultural; social; educational; economic and political upheavals, which has often been blamed on the colonial Clergies and Attorneys’, and which has remained with use even after being granted our freedom. The worst of these anomalies today is ‘insecurity’, which seems to have eating deep into the foundation of our unity (vehemently fought for in the historical Nigerian-Biafra war of 1967-1970), and it is gradually hazardously rocking this foundation.
The spate and menace of insecurity in the country today seems to be projecting alarmingly, and is leaving us in total shamble. We were once regarded and often praised as the giant of Africa; a nation with diverse cultural heritage; a people blessed with unfathomable human and material resources; the salt and light of the black continent and others. These encomiums seems to have turned sour today, and the ‘salt of Africa’ has lost its savour, and like ancient Israel, “the glory has departed”; with nature repenting from her decisions regarding the endowment of the nation, and viewing her from the perspective and with the binoculars of the Hebrew as “Loammi”- as in the days of king Hosea when nature declared ancient Israel Loammi- “Not my people”; because of their insubordination and deviation from the normal state of order.
Insecurity is a feature of the Hobbesian state of nature, when life was said to be short, brutish and nasty, and the weak and common man lived at the mercy of the strong. This is exactly the case in the country today. The poor and middle class also known as the ‘common man’ live and survive at the mercy of the rich, especially the politicians and business men affiliated with the government.
Reflecting on the chronological chronicles of events in the country from the epoch of independence in 1960, to this contemporary epoch of globalisation and democratic dispensation and governance; what baffles me is the direct and indirect brutality meted against the common man, which most often has left him hopeless; - especially the poor and the middle class. This study among other things looks at the rising pace of insecurity in Nigeria, with particular emphasis on how it affects the common man especially the poor and the middle class who often struggle to make a living; and also how the government can help to ameliorate these epidemics.
It is a known fact that the burden of insecurity in Nigeria rest on the common man and innocent citizens who are mostly the poor and middle class in the society. They are often affected because unlike the rich or the ‘haves’ in the society, they cannot afford the necessary paraphernalia’s for protecting themselves, and are therefore left at the mercies of certain clandestine agents who may either fall in the categories of ritual killers, kidnappers, armed robbers, political power seekers and the like. The consequences of insecurity debilitating the development of the nation, and affecting the common man; can be seen in the various ritual killing the country. The rate of ritual killing in the country is so alarming, with the poor and the middle class falling victims of such heinous acts. Though there other reasons for these ritual killing, but it has often been revealed that these killing are usually politically motivated, as individuals and groups apprehended in the act has often confessed to be working for certain high profile politicians and others.
There was the case recently in Kogi state, of an undergraduate female student murdered by a man, who when apprehended confessed that he was sponsored by a high profile politician and a traditional ruler in the state.
Two years ago, a victim who escaped been murdered by ritual killers, shared the story of his ordeal. According to him, he and other passengers boarded a bus (often known as public transport) from karu in the outskirt of Abuja, to the various places they worked in Abuja. In side this bus, a lady brought out her powder to do her ‘make-up’ (a normal tradition among Nigerian ladies). A fellow passenger warned the lady that it was not right to do that inside a public bus, but the lady paid a deaf ear to warning and went ahead to do her thing. He went ahead to say that while the lady clapped her hands in the process, with the powder on it; everybody in the bus disappeared from the bus and re-appeared in an unknown destination where there were many other persons. He described this place as a ritual camp, as people were either traded alive, or sold after certain parts of their bodies have been butchered.
Narrating how he escaped, he said he was sold to a man who needed him alive, and on their way to the man’s house unknown to the man, the effect of the concoction he was forced to drink in the ritual camp had reduced, so he had regained his strength a little, and because the man stopped to put his car in order as there was a little breakdown; he forced himself out of the boot of the car and ran into the bush. Though he was being chased after by the man’s driver who flogged him with the charm tied on a cane that made him weak, he was able to overpower the man and ran for his dear life. According to him, that was how God delivered him from ritual killers.
In a recent radio program “Lean on me” on Kapital Fm Abuja, a man who claimed that he was abducted by ritual killers form the western part of the country, also narrated his ordeal in the ritual camp. According to him, he was taken to an unknown destination which he supposed to be close to zuma rock in Suleja Niger state, on the outskirt of Abuja. In summary, he said that in this ritual camp, he saw a lot of pregnant women whose babies were pounded in a mortar immediately after delivery. He also narrated that individuals who were not useful for immediate ritual killing, were feed very well, and meant to sleep with these ladies who bore the children that were pounded in the mortar.
The human parts and the babies pounded were sold to certain prominent men and women in the society, among which are business men and politicians alike.
An analysis of the above testimonies shows that the victims such ‘man’s inhumanity to man’, are mostly the common man - made up of the poor and the middle class in the society; who are always helpless when it comes to the issue of security, and who the government is unaware of their existence. The children of these helpless individuals in the society are mostly the preys of these blood suckers. They are most often lured to the den of these men of the underworld by material things, or are forcefully abducted; especially those who have managed to make their ways into the higher institutions like universities and polytechnics.
Crime and criminal activities appear to be a permanent feature of our modern society, and what is often time bewildering is the extent to which the common man has fallen victim to these daredevils. The truth is that over the years we have had the insurgence and resurgence of armed robbers in the country, whose victims are mostly the poor and the middle class who manage one form of business enterprise or the other. These people (the commoners) are either attacked in their houses, business places, or on their way from certain petty business trip.
There is hardly a day that a national daily or media house would not carry on her reports, the activities of armed robbers in almost every part of the country. The worst of it these days are seen mostly in the Western and South-eastern part of the country, where businesses are very lucrative. Almost no part of the country is spared from the attack of, and by armed robbers, except the government parastatals and the various gigantic edifices owned by the bourgeoisies in the country; who are either government officials, or very influential individuals who are affiliated with the government, and who can afford to secure their properties at the expense of the common man.
The story was told of how robbers attacked worshippers in a church, and catered away with offerings raised in the church. Some years ago, the story was also told of persons robbed on their wedding day in the church, with robbers going away with the jeep the couple rented for their occasion. The banking sectors as at date is seriously endangered by the menace of armed robbers, especially in the western part of the country. There are various facts relating to the rising pace of bank robbery in the country today, with the government showing little or no concern. These robbers as evidences have showed are contract robbers, pre-planned robbers, opportunity robbers, etc. with victims being individuals who toil and work hard from year to year, to make ends meet.
I am always embittered whenever I hear a middle class fellow complain of how he was expropriated of the money he would only use to pay for accumulated debt. Have you ever pondered on what a poor man who cannot afford three square meals a day would go through in the hands of armed robbers, when he cannot meet to their demands? What underprivileged young virgins go through when attacked by robbers – the beating, battering, the rape, and sometimes death! It is pathetic. Insecurity in the county today has also heightened communal, ethnic and religious crises. Communal clashes could be said to be coeval with man, but the rate of its escalation, coupled with other acrimonies in the country today; is very disheartening.
An analysis of the various communal, ethnic and religious crises in the country today may take several months or even years to be put down in black and white. In relation to the communal clashes, my emphasis will be on the recent clash between the Fulani’s and the Berom community in Jos, Plateau state. Jos Plateau state has been globally identified and christened the centre-piece of Nigeria’s crises. There is hardly a day that two to five persons are not killed in this part of the country, and the government remains hushed about the issue; leaving the common man in a helpless condition.
Scores of people have been killed, and properties worth millions of naira destroyed ever since the crisis began years ago. Among other killings, a national daily reported on May 11th 2012, that no fewer than seven person including two children were killed by gun men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen who invaded Tahoss village in the Riyom Local Government Area of the state, between Wednesday and Thursday as at when this article was written. The news also carried the report of how a member of the Plateau State House of Assembly and a team of Journalists narrowly escaped death by whiskers at Kack village when a group of armed Fulani herdsmen invaded the village.
We can recall that some years ago the indigenes of Plateau state petitioned the Federal government regarding the possession of dangerous and sophisticated weapons by the Fulani community, but ever since; the government had remained calm and adamant about it, and therefore leaving the people to protect themselves by taking laws into their hands, with the common man bearing the grunts of these gruesome annihilation.
When we talk about insecurity, we are not only referring to those aspects of man’s inhumanity to man, it cuts across other facets of human endeavour that poses threat and endangers the existence of individuals and groups in the society. Such aspect of insecurity can be in the nature of the highways in the country today, which seems to have claimed more lives compared to other aspects of insecurity in the country.
The nature of the Nigerian roads has been a subject of discus among scholars and the general public alike. It is rear to conduct an interview among groups and individuals in the various societies in the country, without them pointing at, or making emphasis on the bad state of the highways. The condition of our roads seems to pose more danger to the safety of individuals’ lives and properties in the country. There is hardly a day that ten to twenty lives are not lost on our highways. This has often been attributed to reckless driving, over speeding, bad tyres, or even witchcraft; these could be said to be the contributory factors, but almost every Nigerian knows that the main cause of these smash-ups is traceable to the execrable conditions of the roads; except for the few ‘haves’ who often travelled by air. Countless number of lives and properties worth billions of naira has been lost to auto crashes on the highways, due to pothole, single lanes, bumps on the highways, and others.
The World Health Organisation in a 2008 report stated that over 1.3 million people are killed through crashes annually. The rate of crashes in the country according to official statistics shows that Nigeria is one of the countries in the world with a high rate of road accidents. According to official statistics released by the federal government road safety agency, more than 17, 000 people lost their lives in about 31, 000 road accidents across the country between 2007 and 2009, with more than 73,000 other sustaining serious injuries. Between December 20th and December 31st 2011, a total of about 171 persons were said to have died in about 268 road crashes on the various states in the country.
A total of 3,000 persons were reported to have died as a result of accidents on the highways, from January to December 2011, and these fatalities according to Osita Chidoka, the corps marshal of the FRSC, were recorded in 2,235 separate road accidents. The degree of insecurity in the country posed by the road accident is very pathetic. The victims of this melancholy are usually the poor and the middle class in the society who cannot afford the fare of travelling by air. The various roads in the country has often been described as ‘death traps’, and dangerous for travellers. Travellers and motorist who often survived these death traps are most times seen in places of worship, testifying of their victories over death.
If you travel through the Gwagwalada-Giri road, the Abuja-Lokoja-Okene express way, the Benin- Ore road, the Lagos-Ibadan express way, the Okigwe-Umuahia road, the Kaduna-Kanu road, the Kaduna-Abuja road, the Otukpo-Otupka road, to mention a few; without scratching any part of your body, you will surely have a reason to go testify among the brethren in your place of worship, appreciating God for delivering you from the snares of the fowlers’. X-raying the menace of insecurity in the country, it is pertinent to state that the Nigerian Police Force is one among the various clandestine monsters that unleash mayhem on the common man in the society.
We are often made to understand and believe that the Police are our friends, but this I think is a blatant falsehood. I am often exasperated by individuals or persons who spread the falsehood of the police being our friends; because they don’t seem to understand the concept of friendship, in other words they don’t know who a friend is. A friend is that person you have given the access to your life, and he or she has the ability and capacity to influence your decisions and actions- whether positively or negative or even both. A friend is that individual that can stand by you in any circumstance or situation, a person who can protect your absence, and ensure the relevance of your presence.
With this definition of who a friend is, would you corroborate to the proposition that the Police is your friend, or would you concede to my argument that the Nigerian Police is made up of trained and untrained hoodlums, political stooges and brigands who often insinuate themselves among members of the public- to unleash untold mayhem on the common man in the society. I have from childhood had no course to regard the Police as my friend, because even the Police Officers we had in my area then, were gangs of desperadoes and surreptitious opportunists, and they often made friendship with them unfeasible.
The Nigerian Police has been, like other phenomenon’s that pose security threat to individuals and groups in the society; a serious condiment of insecurity to the common man in the society.
Countless number of individuals has been gruesomely murdered in cold blood by these “cannibals in black”, and yet we call them our friends. Do you know how many people that have been indicted by these demons we refer to as our friends? According to a report alleged by a civil liberty group; the Nigerian Police kills with impunity, extorts those it’s charged to protect, and rapes arrested prostitutes as a “fringe benefit” of the job. The execrable character of the Nigerian police Force over the years has risen to an alarming height, with the poor and innocent citizens in the country bearing the grunts of these horrendous acts.
The thought of the common man in the Nigerian society makes my heart heavy; when I see how people suffer to make a living in this land of abundance, tears run down my eyes, I feel pity for them; but the only help I can offer at the moment is to pray that the Almighty God meets them at the point of their needs, because we seem to all be in the same condition- insecure about our existence. Whenever I see a police man embarrassing or harassing an innocent individual for no just course, I wished I was in position of authority, so that I can meet such police man with immediate judgement.
Quite a number of lives and properties have been lost to the Nigerian police, as they often use threat to expropriate innocent citizens in the country. Oh how I feel for the motorists who spends almost half of the profit they make a day, settling highway police robbers who pose as officers. We are not ignorant of the repercussions of not complying with the demands of these highway police officers, which I think is enshrined in their bye-laws, that: “in the event that an individual especially motorist, fails to comply to highway police ‘roja’ (extortion in the real sense), he is liable to be punished by accidental discharge”. I suppose it is constitutional for some members of the Police Force to expropriate individuals and members of the public of their properties, and even kill them when they prove obstinate.
This I said on the grounds that ever since the issue of police extortion has been made known to the Police Commission years ago, no serious measure has been put in place to curb this act or eradicate it completely; and, if such measures has been taken against my knowledge, I can boldly say that they are more of a theoretical phenomenon than practical, as these criminality still persist in almost every part of the country.
The Universal Declaration of Human Right, from which every nation derived her principles of Fundamental Human Right, seems to be unfeasible in the Nigerian system. Fundamental Human Rights from the binoculars of the Nigerian Police Force, seems to be a mere utopian analogy of an individual’s existence; as in reality, the Nigerian police with their barrel powers, appears to be the custodian of the Fundamental Human Rights of the Nigerian citizens. Have you ever been stopped by the highway police officers- and what they demand as your vehicles particulars is any denomination of the Nigerian currency. This is how worse and criminally inclined our so-called friends could be.
The Nigeria Police Force have over the years been indicted for about 95% of Human Right abuses, ranging from extortion, use of torture to extract confessions from suspects, rape, coercion and intimidation of entire communities, brutality, harassment, rampant extra-judicial killings, secret executions and others.
Nigeria seems to have forgotten the brutal murder of six innocent citizens in Abuja- in what was popularly known as “Apo six”. A reporter from the BBC- Andrew Walker described the Apo six incidents as the most infamous case of extra judicial killing in the history of Nigeria. Should it be that Nigerians have forgotten, it is in my intention to remind them, the Nigerian government, and the Nigerian Police Force; that the memories of Ekene Isaac Mgbe, Ifyanyi Ozor, Chinedu Meniru, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony and Augustina Arebu, who were on the 7th and 8th June 2005 murdered in cold blood by some members of the Nigerian Police Force; still lives with us.
The murder of Mrs. Nonye Doris okere on January 31st 2011 at Mpape (a suburb in Abuja) still lives in our memories, and like every other, would remain indelible in our hearts.
By duty, the Nigerian Police is supposed to be a mediator between individuals in the society, a shelter in times of trouble in the society, promoters of peace and security in the community, etc. But the reverse appears to be the case, as she tends to be a traitor to the existence of groups and individuals in the society, maltreating, maiming, intimidating and unleashing untold pains and injuries on innocent citizens. Considering the varying degree of allegations with evidences that has over the years been leveled against the Nigerian Police Force, she can be said to have done more harm than good in the country. The contemporary threat to security affecting the common man in the country today is no longer news. The advent of terrorism seems to be holding grounds in the country today, with the common man paying for the crime she never committed. This is so because she cannot afford to secure herself, and the government whose responsibility it is to protect the lives and properties of her citizens, appears to be lackadaisical and irresponsible.
The study of terrorism has made me understand that it is often politically instigated by certain individuals or groups who could not in clear sense get to certain positions of authority in the political cum governmental affairs of a nation, because they lack certain basic features that makes them acceptable by d who have lost popularity in politics, as exemplified in the Nigerian situation where some disgruntled groups and individuals who has lost popularity in politics and governance, seems to employ terrorism as a strategy to achieve their aims and objectives. The point here is that the terror unleashed by the Boko Haram Islamic organization in Nigeria, affects mainly the common man- made up of mostly the poor and the middle class in the society who happens to be working for the government that cares less about her safety in the offices, at home, recreational centres and in every facet of life.
Countless number of innocent citizens has been sent to their early graves by these terrorist groups-especially those who do not have the financial capacity to employ the services of security personnel. There is definitely nothing I write here that is a new development in the country, because I strongly believe that other writers and Civil Right Organisations have also written and said more about it; but wisdom entails that when particular issues are repeated time and over again, there is the need for groups and individuals involved in such issues to expedite action and take necessary precautions in order to prevent and ward off imminent vulnerabilities.
It is high time the government realised that sovereignty lies with the people and not the politicians or their stooges in the society. The government is a white elephant without the people whom she is has the sole responsibility to ensure that their unassailable fundamental human rights and privileges are upheld. In other words, there can be no government without the governed; and since everybody cannot govern themselves we have therefore like in the Hobbesian analysis of the “state of nature” given up our rights to govern ourselves to certain individuals whom we deemed fit to do so on our behalf in a “social contract”.
It is pertinent to state that in a contract, when the parties involved do not keep to their terms, i.e. when there is a breach of contract there is, or are always alternatives, which may not mean well for one or both parties. The government should as a matter of urgency be responsible and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the citizens-especially in the protection of their lives and properties. The contemporary growth and escalation of the menace of insecurity in the country should be tackled with the speed of light, to prevent the families of those who have fallen victims to the carelessness and irresponsibility of the government from taken the laws into their hands and causing further calamity to the country and her citizens.
The fight against insecurity in the country is not just a government thing, though the government has the larger responsibility; the citizens also have vital roles to play. It is often said that an idle mind is the devils workshop; it is high time that we stopped looking at the government for white collar jobs, and get ourselves involved in legal ventures that are worth it. There are lots of opportunities for an average youth in the country, and only those who seize these opportunities usually make it in life. It is time we the citizens of this country realise that there are no easy ways of getting to the top if we don’t start from the bottom. Life they say have stages, and we should endeavour to pass through these stages without jumping the gun.
Insecurity can become history when we decide to check what we do on daily basis, what you watch- especially movies that portray ritual killings and armed robbery, influences strongly the next step you take in the journey of your destiny. It is important the note that what you continually behold, you eventually become. Think of good business and you become a good business man. The government should pay keen attention to the affairs of the Nigerian Police Force. As I have said earlier, they seem to have done more harm than good in the country, especially in the affairs of the common man. There should be adequate criteria for recruiting members of the public into the Nigerian Police Force, as this would help to prevent the recruitment of criminally minded individuals into the force.
Recruitment criteria should be based on such things as:
• A degree in any of the social sciences or art discipline (e.g. political science, sociology, law, philosophy and others).
• Ability to respond to and answer intelligent questions, especially those relating to matters of security, peace and conflict resolution and social relations and values among groups and individuals in the society.
• Passion is another criterion that should be used as a yardstick for recruiting individuals into the Police Force. Police Force should not be seen as an option for unemployment; rather, it should be seen as a necessity for the unity and development of the country. A person, who does not have for what he/she is doing, rarely succeeds.
• Ardent smokers and alcoholics should not be recruited into the Police Force, as they pose serious danger to the lives and properties of the citizens whom they are paid to protect. There was the story in the eastern part of the country where a policeman got drunk in a wake keeping (burial ceremony) and shot about two people to death. This is pathetic.
The government should also look into the affairs of the Police Commission, if possible, putting in place watchdogs to monitor their recruitment procedures- as they often contribute a lot in the recruitment of individuals who constitute nuisance to the common man and the country as a whole. Am always pissed up whenever I see a Policeman man who does not understand English, but only his native language, it is ridiculous. Periodic assessment of the credentials of the members of the Nigerian Police Force will also help to expel those who have entered through the back doors, and are causing harm to the Force, the citizens, and the nation as a whole.
In every decisions and actions taken by the government and the civil society organizations, the plight of the common man should also be considered, as he has for long been left at the mercy of the various phenomenon’s that pose threat to his existence. The government should also have it at the back of their minds that; when groups and individuals are kept under certain condition for a long period of time-especially conditions that are not favourable, they tend to revolt.
To be forewarned is to be fore harmed; a word they say is enough for the wise.
NGEX welcomes and encourages reader comments. Permission to post reader comments is assumed, and we reserve the right to excerpt or edit for clarity any comments that are posted. We won't be able to publish all comments. And we can't vouch for the accuracy of posts from readers. Nickname or Name will be used to identify your post.
temitope Lagos, Nigeria August 14, 2012
Well done Mmere; It's so unfortunate where we find ourselves today,our leaders have really failed us. There was a time in this county (Nigeria) that we had middle class, but so unfortunate there is no longer middle class what we have now is the rich and the poor. There. Is need for government to rise up to its responsibilities so that the country can rise again.
Results » 1-1 of 1 Result Page » < 1 >
"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."