Two nights ago, precisely on Saturday, 21st November, 2020, a Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Abuja was kidnapped. It was shocking enough that another priest had been kidnapped yet again. But what was more worrisome was the fact that he was picked up from his parish at St Anthony’s Catholic Church, Yangoji, after armed bandits raided the community and shot sporadically for about 30 minutes.
Our security system has always been fraught with flaws, but under Buhari, it is in tatters. Under the incumbent commander in Chief of the Armed forces of Nigeria, criminals have become so emboldened, they can abduct a bus-load of people in broad daylight, without fear of being apprehended.
Just last week in Edo State, the Benin Auchi expressway was declared ‘unsafe’ by commuters, after scores of persons were kidnapped. News even made rounds that a certain Local government chairman was among those abducted by the criminals.
We all have become sitting ducks, each waiting for his/her turn; helplessly looking on as mayhem is unleashed all round.
In my discussion with a colleague, born and bred in Southern Kaduna, he specified two kinds of security challenges plaguing them in Southern Kaduna. One, the fact that anyone who wants quick money could simply kidnap anyone else for ransom; and two, the presence of Fulani militia who continue to raid communities unabated.
The first problem isn’t limited to Southern Kaduna. It has permeated every state of our dear country. With the obvious lawlessness in the land, and the seeming complicity and/or compromise of our security forces, no place is safe. Persons are now being targeted and abducted, with help from informants who might even be family friends or neighbours.
Somewhere in the country, a certain Judge was kidnapped, and it was later discovered that a close neighbour had been the informant all along.
The second security challenge, though not rampart in non Northern States, is also gradually becoming a national issue. How else can we explain the hostile takeover of lands and property from their original owners by suspected Fulani herdsmen? How do we explain the presence of armed Fulani herdsmen in our bushes?
In the community where I currently pastor, several acres of farmland originally belonging to the natives have been taken over by Fulanis. As we speak, my people have resorted to self help, making sure their hunters constantly patrol their immediate environments.
In spite of the rising spate of insecurity in the country, my President is busy threatening local media houses, while seeking policies that will regulate social media. I’m gobsmacked at the gross misplacement of priorities.
WHERE do we go from here?
Nigerians who now have to grapple with another recession, also have to deal with the trauma of constantly living in fear, knowing full well that the government does not care about the life of its citizens.
Should we all resort to self help? Can we afford to be sitting ducks waiting for slaughter?
© Oselumhense Anetor, 2020