By Dr. Prince Charles Dickson
I remember decades ago reading Adaora Lily Ulasi’s work, Many Thing You No Understand, when I read the work, who would have thought about the strange happenings in my nation Nigeria, Adaora who passed on in 2016 also wrote Many Thing Begin for Change, and The Man from Sagamu.
Let me say that as we keep mute or play mute, as we pay lip service things are changing, and the resultant effect is one that we may not be able to cope with. And I would draw inference from The Man from Sagamu, first published in 1977.
It is festival-time in the Nigerian town of Sagamu, but no one is feeling festive. Olu Agege, the town’s most prominent, if not responsible citizen, has vanished -literally into thin air.
The baffled police force suspect kidnapping. The Oba suspects he will be suspected. The Resident Officer, Mr Whitticai, is only sorry it hadn’t happened long before…
But to some people, Olu’s disappearance is no surprise. After all, didn’t everyone know that a cock crew on his mother’s thatch-roof home on the day of his birth? And if that wasn’t an omen – what was?
So, within the week, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign for failure to combat increasing insecurity in the country. Lai Mohammed the Minister for Information expressly replied that it won’t happen, same week, I tried to make meaning once more again of the phrase, “Senate slams government hard over killings” is the senate not an arm of government?
I watched as the House of Representatives averted a near breakdown of session as they fought themselves on “summoning” the President to explain insecurity, even as they largely agreed that the FG had breached Section 14 of the Constitution.
Same week, a Senator from Katsina boldly stated that Mr. Buhari had not produced any result. Even as other Senators argued that the continued retention of the military top brass by Buhari implied the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the country had failed in his most primary assignment of securing the nation.
It was an established fact that, “life had lost its value under the present administration due to the absence of political will to fight the Boko Haram insurgency and other threats such as banditry, rustling and kidnapping…Elsewhere in many parts of the North, many farming communities have not been allowed by bandits and kidnappers to plant crops and this will likely result to imminent famine in the face of limited production of food in the region.
Let me explain in the next few lines, The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Otukpo, in Benue State, Yahaya Pawa, was shot by yet-to-be-identified gunmen suspected to be looters. He was shot when he led a team of policemen to Otukpo-Icho to arrest suspected looters. The suspects were alleged to be selling goods reportedly looted during the recent fire outbreak in Otukpo.
While in Edo state, gunmen kidnapped a man, Paul Aluola, and his wife in Ewatto, Esan South East Local Government Area. Paul is a teacher in Iriwa Primary School, Ohordua while his wife is a petty trader.
The couple were kidnapped while travelling along Ewatto-Ubiaja road near Ena River Bridge. It was gathered that the gunmen upon sighting their car, immediately opened fire forcing the teacher to stop. They were forced out of the car at gunpoint and whisked into a forest near Okhuessan village.
However, it was later gathered from a family source that the gunmen have contacted them with a demand of N15 million as ransom before they could be released.
This is coming a day after gunmen kidnapped a pregnant woman in Benin City. The pregnant woman, Mrs Uju Okwudili, who is almost due for delivery, was kidnapped along Airport Road while taking her children to school.
Mrs Okwudili, in company of her husband, was taking her two children to school when the gunmen swooped on them at Ulemo community after Irriri in Oredo Local Government Area of the state and took her away leaving the husband and children behind.
In the same Edo state, the ever-busy Benin-Auchi highway yesterday came under attack as gunmen suspected to be kidnappers laid siege to the road and kidnapped a sizable number of persons travelling on the route.
Two persons were killed while over 20 others were abducted at gunpoint by the gunmen at Obagie community on the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi road in Uhunmwonde Local Government Area of the state.
In Ekiti state gunmen suspected to be kidnappers shot dead a policeman and abducted a Chinese expatriate. Another expatriate is also said to have sustained gunshot wounds. The Chinese nationals are employees of a construction firm working on a road project in Ado-Ekiti. It is alleged that a N100M ransom was paid to later secure their release.
In Calabar, Cross River State, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Egbe Eko Edum, was assassinated. The deceased was until his assassination, the Commanding Officer of the 73 Squadron of the Police Mobile Force, Magumeri, Borno State. He was said to be on a visit to his family in his home state, Cross River, when he was attacked and killed.
In Ogun state, five policemen were kidnapped, DPO shot as villagers allegedly attack security operatives in Aba Tuntun, a suburb of Ijebu-Igbo. While, four of the five abducted officers and three civilians have been rescued. But, one Constable, Emmanuel Gene is still being held captive by the people, it was learnt.
Nigeria is insecure, the government at all levels that was elected to secure the life of every citizen, according to the Constitution, had failed to do so. Is the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces able to end killings across the nation? Where is Mr. Buhari awol in most of these scenes of insecurity?
Are we not tired of reactive statements and condemnations, rather than proactive measures? Why is a nation of seemingly sound persons watching as the ship of state sinks, while politicians’ biker about 2023? Don’t we know that like the man from Sagamu that a cock crew on his mother’s thatch-roof home on the day of his birth? And if that wasn’t an omen – what was?
The clouds are gathering, it is possible that we may hit that 12:00 time belt having escaped it for 60 years, as leadership has refused to listen, the nation is hungry, and afraid, the air is foul, people are loosing hope. There is a recession, there might be a famine, we do not need the man from Katsina to resign, we do not need the men from the various states that wear the crowns of leadership in government and security to resign, we need them to own up, man up and redeem the time.
This is not the Nigeria of our dreams, this Nigeria cannot birth much good, there is need to sit down and talk to ourselves, the despair is despicable, and is all hope lost, NO! however we cannot keep taking that opium of empty talk, because all is not well, how much time do we have, if any—Only time will tell.
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