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The Hypocrisy Of The Nigerian State In The Fight Against Armed ‘Bandits’

It is handy to remember that it’s unwise to quench fire caused by electric spark by the mere pour of water. That is a route to disaster! Currently, Nigeria finds itself in a situation needing to recall this supposedly common emergency guideline. From indications, an implosion is imminent in this great nation called Nigeria. As I have reiterated in most of my writings, the things that make us weaker and paranoid in actuality, if maximised, are the things that are supposed to strengthen us and make us better.


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Nigeria is currently toeing the route of disaster with the spate of geo-political regional militarisation. Who can blame the common man or those who have resorted to self-help? Nobody. Well, except the inept Nigerian government who have constantly criticised and, in a confusing turn of events, advocated for it. This is the makeup of a government that has lost touch with its people, a government that both criticise self-help and support it at the same time.

On the 18th of February, videos circulated on Twitter of the Nigerian Defence Minister, Bashir Salihi Magashi, where he made an irresponsible comment about the state of Nigeria’s insecurity, following the Kagara abduction of school children earlier on 17th February, 2021 by terrorist branded bandits.

‘… is it the responsibility of the military alone? it is the responsibility of everybody to keep alert and find safety when necessary but we shouldn’t be cowards. At times, the ‘banditry’ will come, only come with about three rounds of ammunition, when they fire shots, everybody runs.

He went further to compare his generation and the current generation and also called the surge of insecurity a minor thing. He said.

‘In our younger days, we stand to fight any aggression coming to us. I don’t know why people are running away from minor, minor-minor things like that. They should stand, let these people know that even the villagers have the competence and capabilities to defend themselves…’

This high-ranking official of the Muhammadu Buhari cabinet suggested that the 76 farmers who were killed by Boko Haram in a rice field near the village of Zabarmari in Borno state are cowards; that all who have lost their means of survival due to insecurity in the north are all incompetent and cowards since they choose to run from terror instead of stand to die in the name of self-defence. In totality, he implied that Nigerians are on their own and the government is invariably supporting the widespread militarisation of the various regions in Nigeria.

It is the duty of the government to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians. Chapter IV (from section 33 down to 46) talks about the fundamental human rights of every Nigerian citizen: the Right to Life, Right to dignity of human persons, Right to personal liberty, and Right to freedom of movement are all part of the fundamental human rights as codified in the constitution and it is the job of the government at all levels to ensure these rights are protected.

In reality, what we have witnessed is a Nigerian government that has passively taken the side of bandits, criminals, terrorists, and outlaws as opposed to the side of law-abiding citizens who,  having grown tired of asking the government for handouts, would rather just want to carry on with whatever means source of livelihood that is left of them.


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The government has found it so difficult to proscribe these armed ‘bandits’ as terrorists. Both in thoughts, words, and actions, the government has continually suggested to Nigerians that our current plights are not as serious as we claim them to be. The governor of Zamfara state, Bello Metawalle, stated after a meeting with Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, 18th February, 2021 that,

‘Not all of them are criminals. If you investigate what is happening, and what made them to take the laws into their hands, some of them, sometimes were cheated by so-called the vigilante group.’

He went further to buttress his point,

‘They normally go to their settlements and destroy property and take their animals. They did not have anyone to speak with, so sometimes, they go for revenge. When the vigilante group attacks them, they go for reprisals. That is exactly what happened…’

What sense of justice and reassurance does a statement like this coming from the Chief Security Officer of Zamfara state give to his people? According to Merriam Webster dictionary, bandits are defined as ‘a member of a band of marauders’ and ‘robbers’. Ridiculously, as of this moment, there is a deliberation going on in the Zamfara state House of Assembly to make provision for repentant bandits in the 2021 Zamfara state budget.

However, the reverse is the case for unarmed civilians who have been vigilant and on hand to protect their lands from killer herdsmen and bandits. In Orlu, Imo state there is a heavy presence of the Nigerian military. A presence that suggests a military occupation simply because citizens have done and are doing exactly what the incompetent minister of defence has advised Nigerians to do, self-defence.

Unsurprisingly, Nigeria’s commander-in-chief has been very quiet throughout this scourge of insecurity. Ironically, the president himself campaigned and won on the bark of insecurity but now looks the most incompetent and nepotistic in the history of Nigerian presidency.

Unfortunately, anarchy looms in this great nation! I dare say that if anarchy sets in, it will be next to impossible to stop until it has wrecked irredeemable destruction. The cloth in our eyes should have fallen off by now and we must have seen and felt the effects of electing incompetence and bigotry into power at all levels. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. We have been fooled one too many times, so fool us next and heaven knows what becomes of us.

We all have to take note of the past few years; and across the nation, get involved and take a stand against tyranny, bigotry, incompetence and corruption.

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Chidozie Prince Ahaneku

I am a poet. I am a moderate thinker who abhors radicalism on every front and believes that most things are relative. I am a social and political critic. I love writing, reading and international politics.

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