By: Charles Ikedikwa Soeze, fhnr, fcida, fcai, cpae, son, emba
In beginning this article, it is most appropriate to commend the efforts of the security agents towards the manhunt and subsequent re-arrest of Kabiru Sokoto Umar who allegedly mastermind the December 2011 Christmas Day bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church inMadalla,Niger State. Now that he has been re-arrested, he should undergo serious interrogation in connection with the incident as this will help the presidency to identify their sponsors and all those who have participated in the dastardly acts, that is, bombings in various places.
It is a truism to say that the continuous killings of innocent citizens through bombings and setting buildings and other properties ablaze by the Boko Haram has left many Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora including international communities in a stupor of surprise and pangs of anger and righteous indignation. Based on the sect’s inimical activities, it had been shock, grief and lamentation.
Boko Haram, meaning “Western education is sin/evil” preaches hatred for everything western, but its leaders indulge in western luxuries. The extensive nature of the sect’s operations in some northern states was flabbergasting and shocking from reports in the media, print and broadcast inclusive. It took a joint military/police operations to confront its members in Sokoto, Kano, Yobe, Borno, Jigawa, and Bauchi States, arresting several hundred protesters in 2009. The ‘big’ question is what happened? Were they made to face the law of our land or were they handled with kid glove? While in 2011 and 2012 Boko Haram is about taking over the security operations of some Northern States thereby making the citizenry to move with fear of not being molested, maimed or killed.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika at a press briefing in commemoration of the 2011 edition of Army week, hinted that the Army was firming up to wage a war against the sect, which now constitutes the greatest source of insecurity in the country. According to the COAS, the deadly sect has transformed from a local fringe sect to its current ascendancy as an affiliate of the international terror network, Al Qaeda as “not invisible” assured that the Nigerian Army has studied the method of operation (in collaboration with other security agents), very soon the country will notice improvement and new security arrangements”. With the re-arrest of Kabiru Sokoto Umar, one can boldly and happily say Allau kaba, that is, God is great. Furthermore, a very ‘big’ congratulations to our security agents. I wish them elbow grease. To this end therefore, I have to quote the statement of the Vice President, Arc. Namadi Sambo, when he represented the President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan popularly known as “GEJ” at the graduation ceremony of the Senior Course 33 of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State “No country would fold its arms and watch some few people destroy innocent lives and properties with relish. This is not the time to put sentiments in our thinking. We must see the imminent reality of the evil before us and address it with the action it deserves”. The Vice President went further to say “In view of this, the federal government will use all available resources; all legitimate means to put a stop to this spate of insecurity in the land”.
In line with the above therefore, the federal government needs to investigate all the latest bombings by the sect and reprimand appropriately so as to make Nigeriasafe and the cause of the crises be decided per incuriam on their own merits that is by resisting and kicking against falsehood. In the words of Desmond Mpilo Tutu, “Justice must be done to the poor and oppressed and if the present system does not serve the purpose, the public conscience must be roused to demand another”. In other words, the government needs to investigate if there was crassa negligentia that is, gross negligence by any person no matter or highly or lowly placed in the society.
It appears that some of those engaged in the dastardly acts must be under sponsorship by God or Allah knows whom or group. Like Pope Benedict XVI, while appealing for peace in a message to commemorate 2007 World Peace Day (WPD) said and I quote “Those with greater political, technical or economic power must not use the power to violate the rights of others who are less fortunate”. In other words, it seems to me that some of these crises were based on religion, marginalization, tribal sentiments, bad utterances, among others.
Importantly, the rioters or those being used and their sponsors for criminal activities need to always remember the advice of an elder statesman, grassroots professional teacher, respectable politician and first executive president of Nigeria, Alhaji Aliyu Shehu Shagari when he said and I quote “This moment of our history demands of all of us the spirit of tolerance and cooperation rather than retribution and intrigue. If we succeed in highlighting the things that unite us rather than the things that divide us, we will have succeeded in bequeathing a fitting legacy to the coming generation”.
The nation has not been able to address the problems confronting the country because of lack of credible leadership as well as bad followers and fixing of political office holders in wrong positions and corruption, greed, ignorance among some of the political class and some top civil/public servants. It is crystal clear that the vision of the founding fathers was frustrated and scuttled by leadership challenge that manifested itself in sincerity and greed. For the nation to grow well and wipe out all sects, we need to purge ourselves of insincerity, greed and perverted notion of service. In this connection therefore, let our leaders including top civil/public servants handle issues with sincerity, honesty, passion, determination, and avoid favouritism, nepotism, tribalism, because this will go a long way to eschew issues, conflicts and crises.
Charles Ikedikwa Soeze, fhnr, fcida, fcai, cpae, son, emba, is a mass communications Scholar and Head, Academic and Physical Plsnning (A&PP), of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, Delta State, Nigeria.