Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja A former Military Governor of Plateau State during the regime of former Military President Ibrahim Babangida Maj.-Gen. Aliyu Adu Umar Kama (rtd), has urged those opposing President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election in 2019 to wait till 2023. According to Kama, it would be unwise for anyone, irrespective of their inclinations, to want to…
Our nation is in trouble. This is the truth all those who love this nation must admit. It is also a fact we the citizens must bring to the knowledge of our leaders. We have an altitude and it has to do with downplaying serious matters. We are at our dangerous best when disorder seems to bring our way some advantages, but the way things are we have gotten to a point where the only help we can offer ourselves is to tell ourselves the truth and insist that the right things are done. The economy is very bad and from the look of things it is getting worst. In the cities a lot of our citizens are being displaced, the way things are many are dying from clearly preventable causes.
Many are out of job and many who retired after meritorious services especially in public sector cannot find food for themselves and their families and that is because many governments are unable to pay pensions and wages.
I have friends who retired from the public service and some others who were victims of unjust restructuring efforts and what they share in common is agony. Some will go round begging for as little as N 1,000 naira, which in most cases they never get. I have just returned from the holidays, which I spent in the countryside and what I saw is more calamitous than what we see in urban areas. The people in those places are passing through hell. The infrastructural base is poor, no light, no water, no health facility, and the state of the road is a different story all together. I was told they were farmers but the land is not yielding and even when they produce, they can hardly sell their commodities because the roads are bad so they can reach their appropriate places where they can make good sells. This leaves them with customers with low purchasing power. Their sons in the cities can’t help because they are either out of job or victims of late salary payment.
They are angry and many of them are wondering whether it makes sense to be called a Nigerian. The youths appear to be the hardest hit and they have lost hope, angry and confused. From what I saw, they don’t mind how they react to the people and the environment around them. The country is in a bad shape and like I observed earlier, we must take notice. Events happening in recent times should be enough to draw our attention in case we want to behave as we used to do in the past, neglecting dangerous signals until they metamorphose into monsters.
The barbarians are in town; we have always known this but we missed it by allowing them space to play their dangerous games and our error is proving to be very costly. In Rivers State, Omuko to be precise, over 30 persons were brutally murdered in cold blood on the night of December 31, 2017.
There was no war or conflict preceding this development, yet by the time it ended, over 30 innocent lives were lost for no just reason and all we were told is that some barbarians just woke up and decided to draw blood. Like we do our things, we were not shocked. Instead of expressing deep anger, this nasty development has become a political issue.
In Southern Kaduna, the killings have continued with everybody pretending not to know the cause or what must be done to put a permanent halt to it. The Southern Kaduna issue has been longstanding and it has attracted very uncomplimentary insinuations amongst them the possibility of having on our hands a religious conflict.
Many have believed that by now both the federal and state governments would have worked assiduously to stop the carnage but that does not appear to be the case. Instead we see the governor of Kaduna State issuing misplaced statements and at other instances shedding crocodile tears. Our security agents seem not to know what to do, and that should be worrisome to those who love this nation.
During the week the same barbarians descended again in Benue State and ravaged two communities and by the time they finished over 50 persons were killed, many severely wounded and buildings destroyed. The Benue development, which happened last week, raises critical questions. Do we really love this nation? Do the citizens believe in one Nigeria?
I asked these questions because what you love, you cherish; you may be angry over some issues and may be maltreatments, but they will not amount to enough reason to resort to actions that will cause you grievous harm and dehumanization. I don’t know what the issues are; for instance I hear members of Boko Haram talk but am not certain I know what they want or what they stand for and yet they are killing citizens, destroying properties and struggling for territory.
Before now the herdsmen we used to know were friendly and harmless, they never carried weapons and never contested for territories. It was rare to see them march cows into farms, homes, school premises or offices, they moved mainly along major roads, but all that has changed. In my community there was a time they went and took over a portion of the forest even the villagers feared to venture into. The herdsmen do not go there to tend the cows, they converted the place to their habitation and that was without consultation and not long after, their activities became a source for serious conflict and the question became what they want. The herdsmen menace is growing and becoming a threat to the unity of this nation and the question is why has the government allowed it to continue? How come these barbarians organize themselves in large numbers, travel to long distances with weapons without being discovered? How do they raid a locality and still disappear without trace?