By Iheanyi Ezinwo- In other societies, those in government are busy evolving ways and means of fulfilling their electoral promises and the legitimate expectations of the citizens. However, that sense of responsibility and social contract appear to have been neglected in Nigeria where nomadic Fulani herdsmen have been on rampage, slaughtering unarmed natives in their homes and farms.
The killings have been going on in parts of Kaduna, Plateau, Benue and Taraba states, while bold incursions have been made into Enugu and Zamfara states. In all these attacks where hundreds of lives have been lost , people displaced and properties worth billions of naira lost. The herdsmen are given so much room to parade with their assault rifles while moves by the natives to arm and defend themselves are frustrated by security operatives in the name of mop of illegal weapons, and this discriminatory practice has been fueling speculations in some quarters that they are aiding the herdsmen to continue to kill and displace the natives from their ancestral lands.
In the hopeless situation, concerned citizens have called on Nigerians in the affected states to defend themselves against what they described as ethnic cleansing. Retired General Theophilus Danjuma was one of the stakeholders who has urged the citizens to be vigilant and defend Nigeria and their communities before they are all killed by invaders with a hidden agenda.
While the people of Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa and other states state are mourning the loss of scores of their loved ones, another kind of impunity has emerged, this time, the snatching of Maze of the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, 18th April by some hoodlums. It is obvious that the hoodlums who snatched the Maze and the Fulani herdsmen have one thing in common, and that is unusual audacity; an indication that they might have the backing of powerful forces.
Curiously, less than twenty four hours after the Inspector General of Police was challenged by the National Assembly to produce the stolen Maze, the police, in a statement signed by the Deputy Police Public Relations Officer at the National Headquarters, Aremu Adeniran announced they have recovered the Maze where the hoodlums abandoned it. Interestingly, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who was on suspension but was alleged to have led the thugs into the Red Chambers, have denied any involvement when he was invited by the police.
Those suspected to have been involved in snatching of the Maze, according to Daily Independent included Tuoyo Mabiaku from Warri North Local Government Area; Peter Orede, from Warri South, Blessing Edjeke from Abraka In Ethiope East LGA; Lucky Okomu from Oghara in Ethiope West LGA and Prince Enayemo – Ughelli South LGA.
While we commend the police for the timely recovery of the Maze, it is also important security operatives in Abuja explain to Nigerians why they neglected to act in time to stop the hoodlums from gaining access into the premises of the National Assembly, and also into the hallowed Chambers where they successfully snatched away the Maze unchallenged. It is regrettable that, in certain situations, law enforcement agencies in Nigeria look the other way while acts of illegality are perpetrated against individuals, communities, states and institutions, and the aberration has been on the increase in the last three years.
In Rivers State, the Federal Government has neglected to respond to protests by civil society groups and calls from the state government to intervene and help stop the hazardous soot being observed in the state. Security agencies, according to reports are still using crude methods to deal with illegal refinery operators and destruction of seized petroleum products, just as oil companies are doing little to end gas flaring in the area. The result is that, citizens who are exposed to health hazards, go away with the impression that the Federal Government does not care about their health.
Our worry is that, the Federal Government, which controls the police and the Armed Forces, do not seem to share in the sorrows of the people. Those who promised to protect lives and properties of citizens if voted into office do not seem to understand their difficulties and respond to their feelings and aspirations.
Nigeria’s political leaders have failed to live up to their responsibilities of acting for a change that is fair to all. Disregard for the law is now the order of the day as misguided people unleash violence and death on citizens in parts of the country. Nigeria is drifting, the situation is appearing hopeless and the citizens are restless.
The attack on the National Assembly, though unfortunate may have its own blessings. The reason is simple. Whether or not the thugs were sponsored by those against the move by the National Assembly to change the sequence of elections or not, the failure of the police to act in time to prevent the shame should be investigated. Besides, All those who are suspected to have participated in the show of shame should also be arrested and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to other willing tools in the hands of desperate politicians.
The National Assembly represents all Nigerians, and any attack on them is an attack on the people of Nigeria. We demand that the Maze stealing saga be investigated and all those who have hands in it arrested and charged to court. If however, as usual, the relevant authorities choose to look the other way, as we have seen in the case of Fulani herdsmen and the sooth saga in Rivers State, many citizens may interpret the indifference to mean that government at the centre is encouraging the culture of impunity, and the implications of this perception can only be imagined, especially as the country prepare for the all important general elections in 2019.