Before the recently concluded polls, there was a remarkable decline in recurring attacks that resulted in killings of defenceless Nigerians, comprising women and children. An analyst was pleasantly surprised at the decrease in the levels of attacks that he remarked, on a lighter note, that sponsors of killings were too busy preparing for the elections.
Less than two months after the elections, the angels of death are now throwing their wings over our communities as they unleash their dreaded fangs on citizens that had once thought that the resolution of these avoidable killings was on sight. Sadly, the road to ending the premeditated murders is yet to be on sight. The perpetrators have now returned for another bloody and horrifying encounter.
Less than three weeks ago, Benue State was turned into a flood of blood as armed herdsmen raided several villages in Otukpo Local Government Area, leading to the slaughter of no fewer than 100 persons. It was a bloodbath that attracted national and global condemnation. Before the resuscitation of killings in the nation’s ‘Food Basket’ state, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area in Kaduna State was also embroiled in slaughters, as women and children were murdered in cold blood in their homes. These attackers had used the wings of the night to decimate and hacked to death innocent children, women and the aged. After three assaults that destroyed dozens of homes, no fewer than 85 victims were killed, with thousands of others displaced from their ancestral homes. For now, it looks an impossible feat to resolve the age-long Zangon Kataf killings. Despite several peace meetings and resolutions signed by both the Atyap and Hausa communities, the road to peace remains a mirage.
Taraba and Nasarawa, among other states, where killers and brigands roam the streets unchallenged are not about to exit from shedding of blood and other heinous activities that have become daily occurrences. In these states, life is short and brutish. Nothing is uncertain anymore as villages and communities are daily battered and decimated, with no help from the security forces.
About two weeks ago, Zamfara, a state reputed as the epicentre of abductions and incessant killings, was in the news. About 70 students were kidnapped and heavy ransoms placed by their captors to secure the release of the students. In a state where killings and abductions have become normal signatures, these kidnappings bring to memory previous abductions in Northern states where victims are still in the dens of their captors.
Public opinions behind this recent spike in renewed killings remain divided. Many analysts are alleging that the increase in the levels of terror attacks could be aimed at frustrating the inauguration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Nigeria’s next president in less than six weeks. Considering the fact that the nation had momentarily experienced relative peace devoid of these attacks some months ahead of the polls, but suddenly became a killing field after the elections, are signals of an insiders’ conspiracy against the swearing-in of Tinubu on May 29.
The outgoing governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, recently said that the increase in recurring attacks by bandits and terror groups may be clear attempts to truncate democracy. Despite assurances from the military that it is committed to the defence of democracy, the apprehension that there are unpatriotic people plotting to undo democracy is sending fears down the spines of many.
It is logical to conclude that while the beast of insecurity has thrown shroud of despair and doubt, it is apparent that with some weeks to the inauguration of the Tinubu Presidency, those opposed to the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 presidential poll, may also be involved in a subterranean plot to increase tension and cause instability. While citizens have often expressed confidence in the security personnel to take out criminal elements, the incapacity of the security forces to rein in monsters of these repugnant killings has weakened such confidence.
Just yesterday, while writing this article, unknown gunmen were reported to have killed no fewer than five policemen and a couple in Imo, a state associated with dastardly killings and other forms of violence linked to the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). There are fears that some forces opposed to Tinubu are hell-bent in truncating his inauguration as the next president.
As it stands now, we cannot simply dismiss as an infantile imagination some of the conspiracy theories aimed at turning the country into an ungovernable state. Perhaps, those behind the killings are aware that Tinubu won’t be favourably disposed to the continuation of insecurity that is crippling the nation. So, the need to stop him and throw the country into chaos may be the only option.
As a politician who cherishes development, BAT knows that investments are fearful birds that must be shielded from perpetrators of destruction and bloodshed. To stifle any efforts geared towards resolving the dynamics behind security challenges facing the country, those opposed to him are sparing no efforts to stop him at all cost. If that is to happen, then, dealers in violence and killings must come up with a scenario that will make it practically impossible to hand over a nation that is characterised with violence.
Before the polls, the military told a shocked nation that some political forces are mounting pressure on them to truncate democracy. As a nation, citizens must not allow insecurity to bring their country to its knees. If that happens, the only option left is to save the nation by stopping politicians who are determined to throw the country into a state of anomie. Those fanning the embers of dissension and insurrection must be reminded that democracy can only flourish where there is a country.
It is not enough for the military to issue a rebuttal on el-Rufai’s fears. There is no doubt that the present spike in renewed attacks may be targeted at democracy. The continued killings of innocent citizens by terrorists are sufficient threats to not only democracy but our nation at large.
In the closing days of President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight years in power, it is clear that his government has proven not sufficiently competent of rescuing kidnapped citizens from the claws of terror groups. The Nigerian government seems “willingly unable” to end the siege on the lives and property of citizens. Our security forces must ask questions and the answers they get must be quickly deployed to evolve a roadmap in tackling these criminal elements.
The elections have come and gone, but not many opposed to the victory of Tinubu are willing to let go. While legal fireworks on the inviolability of electoral votes must continue to prove the sanctity of the votes, leadership and citizens must necessarily be committed to the greater task of preserving the unity and growth of our nation. Nigerians must remember that there has been no poll that escaped disputations since independence in October 1960. After polls, losers are free to head to courts to present their complaints, and the judiciary should be allowed to settle all electoral complaints. Threatening fire and brimstone over the outcome of polls is not the best way to resolve electoral disputation arising from the conduct of elections.
Nigeria stands on the precipice, with our democracy captured by a power cabal and rented to politicians who are now our new colonial masters. With large resources at their disposal, these politicians have weaponised poverty to control citizens. Extricating voters from the evil control of politicians may take a while. It is only when voters are finally freed from this oppressive grip of politicians, that elected leaders would fear the electorate. For now, voters must fear elected leaders who are now in control of the pseudo-democracy we now operate. Democracy, being a process, requires patience and the right orientation for citizens in deepening civil rule for the common good.