Most Nigerians, in the immediate past days, are beginning to be concerned about the likely implications of the rabid rhetoric of a section of the leadership class as regards the security situation in the country. There is no denying the fact that the country is going through trying times with the pockets of unease occasioned by the activities of criminal elements.
With the Boko haram terrorists still marauding in parts of the North-east, banditry in the North-west, farmers/herders clashes in parts of the Middle Belt and kidnappings and killings by terrorist groups elsewhere, it is understandable that Nigerians are genuinely worried for their lives and property.
Having said this, we are quick to point out that insecurity has become an international phenomenon that requires collaborative and concerted efforts on the part of all, the government and the people pulling energy and resources together to subdue it. It is not a job for the government and its agencies alone as is wrongly assumed. Neither does the solution to it call for finger-pointing. It poses a threat to the life of the people and must not accept words and actions that tend towards grandstanding.
We are also aware that there are incidences of criminality across the country, a fallout from the instability in countries sharing borders with Nigeria and those, though not having close affinity with the country, seem to be taking undue advantage of her big brother role in Africa to infect her with crime.
It is the view of this newspaper that what is going on in and around the country, with their unfavourable security implications, do not warrant the perceived inclination of ethnic jingoists to ignite passion that is capable of threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria. We make this observation based on the utterances of supposed leaders who, in their assessment of what is going on, manage to blow out of proportion security matters that are not peculiar to Nigeria.
Our worry stems from the fact that we have experienced this before and we know what it did to the nation, the impact of which is still felt till today. We recall that in the aftermath of the political crisis of 1966 and the military putsch that might have seemed inevitable at the time, the nation drifted apart to the point of fighting a 30 month civil war that almost dismembered the country. At that time, sectional leaders spoke in terms that are similar to what is being reported in the media presently, most of it calling for Nigerians to return to their ethnic cocoons. The argument then, as at now, was that they were better protected in their ethnic homelands than in places they reside. What followed after, proved that in moments of strife, hardly anyone is safe from its horrendous effects regardless of one’s place of residence.
It is from this historical perspective that we urge restraint on the part of ethnic leaders who may imagine that speaking in divisive terms is evidence that they are true leaders. But it is an inexorable fact that the assessment of good leaders is often drawn from the supposed leaders’ response to issues and their ability to steer the people they claim to lead away from situations that may take a catastrophic turn if not properly managed.
Such attitude, in our view, becomes perceptibly dangerous, when it involves profiling citizens of a particular section of the country and imputing political hues to what is, to all intend and purposes, a criminal disposition.
This newspaper vehemently condemn the killings and kidnap incidences that have become so rampant across the country. So far, no one can claim to be immune to the tendencies of these criminal elements. Their victims include the highly placed, the not- too- highly placed and even the lowly placed Nigerians striving to make a meaning out of the challenges they daily face trying to eke out a living. The criminals are no respecters of political, tribal or ethnic proclivities as the only consideration in their murderous adventures is economic and pecuniary. To that extent, we are compelled to argue that attaching political motives to the security crisis the nation is facing and sounding drums of war to heighten it is, indeed, unpatriotic and beats anyone’s sincere imaginations.
What is going on around the country is that criminals are threatening the security of the country. The security agencies are doing their utmost to fight and defeat that threat. What is required at this time, in our opinion, is the coming together of everyone in this struggle to confront this affront to our collective psyche as a nation and prove that we are capable of overcoming it. Standing on a fake moral high ground and pointing at errors in a posture that suggests we and they is unhelpful at this time. War anywhere is an ill-wind that blows no one any good. And that is why we insist that those beating the drums of war must desist.
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