There is no denying the fact that Nigeria, as a nation, is facing daunting challenges presently in matters relating to security of lives and properties. To say that it is disturbing is to say the least in the mildest way. Coming particularly at a time many were already in a celebratory mood that the end of year festivities, but for the contrived fuel scarcity, went well without reports of bombings by terrorists, the crisis leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Nigerians are, justifiably, worried that the convivial atmosphere was polluted by clashes between farming communities and herdsmen, which led to killings and destruction of properties. Without doubt, those reports emanating from Rivers, Benue, Nasarawa and Adamawa States dampened the joyous spirit of Nigerians who had hoped that the new year will bring with it events that will give them reasons to be optimistic.
There are still reasons to be optimistic if only the security challenges are confronted as issues that are related to the excesses of some miscreants intent on drawing attention to themselves and not opportunity for inordinately ambitious politicians to throw straws into a raging fire. The situation will be better managed if politicians strip themselves of the tendency to drag their partisan inclinations into it so as to gain some undeserved leverage. It is trite to state that this year will be politically charged but that is no reason to trivialise an issue as serious as the security situation in the polity which is already claiming innocent lives.
The security agencies’ high command, we make haste to note, have assured the nation that they are on top of the situation. The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, for one has made the required deployment of men and other logistics backed up by intelligence from sister agencies all as part of effort to bring the matter under effective control, try and fish out the brains behind the disturbance and possibly bring them to deserved justice. The least the political class can do at this time is to talk to the obviously harassed citizens in a more reassuring way that will not stretch an already taut nerve.
This newspaper is of the opinion that the lives of Nigerians must not be subject of brickbats politicians indulge in so as to win acceptability in an electioneering year as the country is in. As it is, we are compelled to argue that the citizens are already so distraught to the extent that they will consider it insensitive for political players to deliberately make moments of their personal grief occasions for politicking.
It is imperative, in our view, to stress that what is needed now is a concerted effort on the part of everyone to assist the Police to get to the bottom of the matter expeditiously so as to forestall further reoccurrence. Any other thing done by anyone to the contrary, no matter how highly placed the personality is, will be decidedly diversionary and unhelpful. The political class is informed enough to know that at times like this, finger pointing and any such attempt to play to the gallery, will only create more tensions which no one wishes for. In any case, it is a fact that nothing is beyond politicians for whom politics is war that must be fought and won by any means possible. If instigating crisis among communities will help to win votes, they, ordinarily, will not think twice to adopt it as a method.
For the uninitiated, what is going on can be easily and cheaply dismissed as a clash between farmers and herdsmen. But we are looking at the modalities of the crisis and the weapons used in executing them. We are of the considered opinion that those weapons are beyond the means of the fabled Fulani herdsman. Even if he decides to acquire the weapon, how did he learn to use it? These are questions that are bothering the minds of Nigerians and which the Police are interested in unravelling. It is no time for mindless political activism directed at distracting attention from the real issue.
Perhaps, it is pertinent to point out that what is happening in the country and which is disturbing the security of the nation, is not peculiar. We recall the Las Vegas shooting in the United States of America, for instance, which claimed many lives. The emphasis was on trying to find out what happened. There was cooperation from people, mostly ordinary Americans, who volunteered information. The security agencies in Nigeria certainly do need such assistance that is not tainted with emotive pleas.
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