By Muhammad Sagir Bauchi
The deteriorated security situation of Nigeria and specifically its Northern region is no longer news. Insecurity and terrorism have become the norm to its daily life. The North is now used to ugly situations. From paying enforced levies to terrorists for permission to farm, paying kidnappers ransom and other related dues is also the new normal, especially in the Northwestern part. Upon all these calamities, the usual response from the government is not beyond “press release” or “rhetorical warnings”, but with no effort to translate these rhetorics into concrete action.
If we count the number of terrorist attacks in Northwestern states, excluding those of the Northeastern states, we’ll surely make a bulk of the report. In all these incidents, President Buhari is nowhere to be found. His presence is only felt in press releases from his out of touch paid spokesmen. One consistent thing the presidency is good at is sending a delegation to represent him in the mourning spots. However, when it comes to attending foreign summits or international conferences (no matter how insignificant they are), a delegation of duty is not an option; self-presence is the order.
As the saying goes, good things should be reciprocated with good, for that is better. One can easily recall those days; when the President was actively everywhere, scouting for acceptance and mandate to lead the country, he had the chance of visiting almost all nook and crannies of the North, crying on cameras purportedly for the nation. That emotional gimmick tricked Northerners into believing that the 2015 presidential election was the last chance to secure a fair deal of social contract.
People did everything to ensure that Buhari was elected to give the country a new lease of life, where lives, properties, and rights are prioritised. Unfortunately, while doing that, lives and properties were lost to that cause. Some were sent to their graves early for standing up to actualise the birth of a promised new dawn. Based on that, these troubled spots deserved a sincere first-hand visit, assessment and action by the president, especially whenever a terror of high magnitude happened in the region. His in-person visit doesn’t mean instant eradication of its problems, but at least it would give them a sense of relief to the victims and rebirth ordinary person’s confidence in the government.
After the recent brutal burning of some innocent passengers in Sokoto State by some bloodthirsty terrorists, the assassination of Katsina State commissioner and 16 faithful in a mosque in Niger State, tension in the atmosphere and unusual critical voices were raised. Some choose to walk for peaceful street protests in their states, and others bombarded social media with protest hashtags. That shows how worried Northerners are about the insecurity bedevilling them and their region. Yet, despite this development, some VIP pens and voices were dead silent, and that makes me wonder whether they still exist or are hidden somewhere else.
If not because wishes are horses, I would’ve said that I wish the mighty pen of the current Minister of Education that pinned down “Tears of Haramain I & II” is still alive to pin the tears of present North. It also took me back to nostalgic moments, where the current Minister of Communications and Digital Economy’s tearful voice was name-calling the previous administration to take action on the lives of Muslims murdered in some Northern States. Not long ago, the most powerful leader of the Tijjaniya Movement (Not the Khalifa) alive, Sheikh Tahir Bauchi, met the President and discussed the unprovoked killing of his followers along Jos-Zaria Road on their way back home after their annual Zikr. But today, all those voices and powerful pens are nowhere to be heard.
Moreover, a heavyweight politician from the North, who is also eyeing the seat of presidency, boarded a plane to a Southern State, where he met the Governor of that state and discussed the situation that led to senseless violence that resulted in killing HIS fellow Northers! Additionally, when an ongoing project of a 21-storey building collapsed in Lagos, Northern States governors went all the way to Lagos to sympathise and show solidarity to the victims of that catastrophe, the Governor and people of Lagos state over that sad occurrence. Yet, despite this humane gesture, no Lagos or any Southern state governor has set his foot in Sokoto to sympathise with the victims and the State government!
Northerners in the diaspora are also left behind as they are only good at calling the poor masses in Nigeria to take over their streets for a protest without any effort from them. But, as we all know, their countries of residence are more comfortable than the whole NIGERIA. As such, they can stage a protest in their Nigerian Embassy. But we only heard the voice of a few among them.
In my opinion, if we want reasonable action from the President, we should apply the approach of the Coalition of Kano Ulama. I mean the method they used earlier this year to curtail the activities of someone they regarded as a reckless and blasphemous scholar in their domain. The coalition used a single voice and stood through a consensus of respected leadership that forced the government to take the desired action. The coalition set aside all ideological differences and faced what it considered a common enemy of all. Therefore, the region’s highest traditional rulers, religious leaders, politicians, and business community should apply the same strategy to face the government over this unprecedented waves of insecurity in the region. This will surely force the president to go beyond press releases or rhetorical warnings to these heartless terrorists.
Lastly, to borrow from the words of the #Nomorebloodshed Movement, here are our simple demands to the President;
- Federal Government should immediately organise a national security summit with all critical security stakeholders within and outside the government, with the sole objective of getting new/other ideas and approaches to end this state of insecurity.
- All the security forces and agencies that are often deployed to ensure successful elections in recent times should be deployed to all the theatres of insecurity across the nation immediately.
- The Federal Government must publish the names and identities of all the financiers of all insecurity as promised by both Mr President and the AGF, and they should be made to face the full wrath of the law.
- If the President cannot guarantee peace, security of the lives and properties of Nigerians, we at this moment advise that he respectfully RESIGN.
- We hereby unequivocally declare and submit that no Nigerian blood is less sacred than that of other compatriots from any part of Nigeria, enough of unwanted politicisation of these killings and insecurity.
- We are no longer at ease with the ongoing “condemnation” of the actions of criminals among us. We call for the State to effectively go after these criminal terrorists, apprehend them and put them before the courts of law.
May peace reign in Nigeria.
Sagir writes from Bauchi State and can be reached via email@example.com.