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The Kaduna 50

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Kaduna

By Alex Enemanna

Stories that filtered from Kaduna earlier in the week had it that no fewer 50 citizens were visited with the fire of death by some blood-thirsty marauders and seeds of Lucifer who opened fire on the defenceless villagers of Kerawa, Zareyawa and Marina all in Igabi local government area of the state on Sunday, the very first day of the month. This was without any provocation or a justifiable reason other than for fun and pure act of wickedness. Their grouse was that some of the villagers acted as informants to the security forces who were constantly on their trail to end their nefarious activities.

Again, this has brought to fore how cheap and worthless life has become in our country where a group of terrorists wake up one day and choose to turn their gun at innocent citizens just to unleash mayhem and inflict pain on them. This is not the first time Kaduna has come under a rain of bullets by a group of bandits in recent times. No fewer than 21 people were killed on February 12 this year at Bakali village in Fatika district of Giwa local government area when bandits stormed the village and killed 16 members of the same family and five others including members of Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF). The 16 family members were said to be locked up, the house torched while they roasted to death in a very gruesome manner while their tormentors watched in sadistic satisfaction.

A day later, the same merchants of death opened fire at Maro market in Kajuru local government area of the state, killing no fewer than seven people on the spot and left many others injured. Also, in the same Igabi, some bandits in October 2019 killed three members of a vigilante group, surrounded 16 villages and farmlands and ordered the residents to leave their homes or face attack. This is just a tip of the catalogue of deaths the people have recorded in recent times in one state alone. This visibly points to one thing; that the government has routinely failed in its responsibility of ensuring the security and welfare of the people in line with its core mandate. The people’s lives, man’s most precious gift now reduced to a wrap of sweet, at the mercy of criminal elements, who rain death, terror and blood, denying our citizens their right to live, unleashing panic and tension in their minds.

For the first time in a long while, the garrulous governor of the state, Mallam Nasir el-Rufa’i was overwhelmed in sober. He put aside his usual penchant for blaming everybody but himself and admitted that the state government under his watch as the chief security officer has abdicated in its responsibility of protecting the people. I consider this an uncommon courage not usually seen among Nigerian politicians who are constantly on a blame game either with past administrations, the opposite political camp and sometimes the people they govern for what could pass as their failure to provide leadership. Only if el-Rufa’i had known how difficult the business of governance is, only if he knew how tedious it is to be on the driver’s seat, his vociferous tone as opposition member against the then Goodluck Jonathan-led federal government over its failure to tackle insecurity would have been with a modicum of civility.

Kaduna is not alone on this. Insecurity across the country has probably dominated public discourse in the past years even while economic issues, foreign policy, health and other matters of governance crave for attention. From Niger to Zamfara, Katsina to Adamawa, our people are massively felled like ants in a way that pricks even the stoniest of hearts. Each day presents a sad experience of corpses counting, when we indeed should be counting our blessings as citizens of a nation so endowed with human and material resources that has made us the envy of others. The prolonged Boko Haram insurgency that has dispatched dozens of thousands of our people, particularly in the North East region to early graves, displaced millions and destroyed their means of livelihood is still a bone in our neck. The streets never cease to play host to protesters of the mindless killings in the country, including religious leaders.

This is in addition to arm robbery, kidnapping, herdsmen invasion and defilement of our women that has become a daily occurrence across the country, with very minimal efforts by the security agencies to protect the people. This has made the formation of Amotekun, the South West response to the escalating security threats very timely and necessary too. The inability of the government at the centre to meet the increasing infrastructural, security and welfare needs of the people at the grassroot has made restructuring unavoidable.

Interesting, the el-Rufa’i restructuring committee had in its report to the national leadership of APC in 2018 made a case for state policing. The bureaucracy in flow of authority from Abuja to Igabi where over 50 of our citizens were cheaply hacked to death would have been a complex and sometimes cumbersome and time-consuming process that will give the bandits a leeway to reign carnage before action could be taken. We can’t be iron-cast in anachronistic policies that lack the potency to solve modern security threats and expect miraculous results. Those who are head bent at ensuring that restructuring will remain a pipe dream are the real enemies of our country.
The dearth of infrastructure across the nation may also have been a great enabler in the execution of this despicable act by the criminal gang.

There were reports that intelligence information alerted to the attacks earlier before it took place but the absence of telecommunication network thwarted the relay of such information to the affected communities. This is a wake-up call to our leaders at all levels. The aggressive pursuit of self-aggrandizement to the detriment of the led is criminal and a sin before the Creator. What happened in Kaduna is an indictment on the counselor in charge of the ward, the local government chairman, the state governor and indeed the president. The difficulty in accessing the area only tells you the level of hardship our people in the rural communities are daily confronted with.

The military is already over-stretched at this point in time. Internal security which is purely a police and NSCDC duty cannot be effectively performed for obvious lack of empowerment. It is on record that these monstrous killers wield superior firepower compared to what is available to our security agencies. While still exploring the option of the military for both aerial and land bombardment of these enemies, there is the need to further equip the police and other security agencies for optimum performance. It is an aberration for us to continue losing our people in such worrisome figures on daily basis as if we are in a society without government.

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