It was so depressing watching President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos on Wednesday giggling while commissioning Governor Ambode’s projects. This drama was a charade. For me, Buhari’s only business in Lagos should have been a visit to the notorious Apapa ports and the roads leading to the place. The Lagos farce was happening while thousands of people in communities across the country are in anguish following persistent killings of their loved ones by bandits, kidnappers, herders and Boko Haram. Our dear President has evidently not learnt to connect with Nigerians who are losing loved ones to these catastrophes.
Buhari should be visiting Kajuru in Kaduna State and not Lagos. Do I need to remind our President that scores of people are killed virtually on a weekly basis in this hapless community? I guess I need to remind our President that just ten days ago, a British humanitarian worker, Faye Mooney and her Nigerian companion, Mathew Oguche,were killed in Kajuru by kidnappers. Three other Nigerians were abducted at the scene. As at press time, the killers of Mooney and the Nigerian had not been apprehended, while the three people abducted are yet to regain freedom.
Mooney’s story is thought-provoking. She was employed by a non-governmental organisation called Mercy Corps and posted to Nigeria. Mooney came into the country to help Nigerians, but was murdered by the kidnappers. She had worked with Mercy Corps for almost two years, devoting her time to making a difference in Nigeria. Several people, including her colleagues and those whose lives she had impacted were heartbroken.
I was moved to tears when I read a tribute paid to the 29-year-old British aid worker by her family. It was a tribute to her bravery and beliefs: “Faye was an inspiration to her family, friends, students and work colleagues. Her bravery and her belief in a better society took her to places others feared. We are so proud of who she was and of everything she achieved in her short life. Her memory will always be cherished.”
In Kajuru, apart from kidnapping for ransom, herders and locals are persistently at war, leaving hundreds of people dead and so many families bereaved. Security agents in Kajuru have compromised. This is why the killings have persisted. This is the place to be for Buhari. He must end the Kajuru killings.Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State must also show greater commitment to ending the carnage in Kajuru. He is seen as having compromised. A statement by the Chairman, Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Joseph Hayap, on Wednesday, speaks volumes about the frustration of the community with El-rufai.
Speaking in Kaduna, while receiving building materials donated to the victims by the National Secretariat of CAN, Hayap, urged the governor to secure communities in Kajuru Local Government Area to enable victims of the attacks return to their homes. Hayap also wants the communities in Kajuru to evolve ways of protecting themselves from attacks by bandits.
Back to Buhari, even in his native Katsina State, our President is hardly seen connecting with bereaved families. 19 days ago, bandits attacked Garin Magaji village in Batsari Local Government Area of the state. The council Chairman, Mannir Muazu, confirmed that five people were killed during the attack while 10 others were injured. The bandits also set ablaze many houses and vehicles.
Several communities in Buhari’s beloved Katsina Statehave been taken over by bandits and kidnappers, with scores killed daily. Governor Aminu Masari lamented the debacle when the acting Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu visited him 17 days ago.“These bandits strike at will, maim at will, destroy lives and property at will,” Masari, who spoke through his deputy, Mannir Yakubu, told the police boss.
“In other parts of the state, we also have kidnappers who not only take people on the road but in the comfort of their homes,” he added, citing the incidence of governor Masari’s in-law who was abducted in the comfort of her home. She was freed after an undisclosed amount of money was paid to the kidnappers.
Right now, nine local government areas are under the servitude of bandits and kidnappers in Katsina State. They are Safana, Jibia, Batsari, Dan-Musa, Faskari, Sabuwa, Kankara, Kurfi and Dandume. Governor Masari calls them frontline local governments. These are the places our President should be visiting. He must be seen sharing the pains of bereaved families and taking pragmatic actions to end the killings. Surprisingly, even when floods ravaged many communities in his beloved Katsina State last year, the President did not deem it fit to connect with the victims. The communities ravaged by the floods wereKwata, Dantudu, Sabuwa, Tukare, Tsohuwar Tukare, Ungwar Mai Kwari, Makori, Modoji, Shinkafi, Kukar-Gesa, Katoge, Sako, Ungwarn-sarkin Rafi, Ungwar Tofa, Dakare and Kauran Fawa.
Talking about the police, IG Adamu and his boys have failed woefully to stem kidnapping and banditry across the country. The IG is always ordering “the Police Special Forces and other Tactical Units to deal decisively with bandits and other violent criminals.” Just the usual rhetoric. Intelligence, technology, quality equipment and quality manpower are essential, if the police are interested in curbing these evils. Unfortunately, the Nigerian police of today lack all these. This is why banditry, kidnapping and other troubles persist.
When lawbreakers are not arrested and chastised according to the law, they are emboldened to commit even worse crimes. This is precisely what is happing in mother Nigeria of today. There are numerous examples ofthe ineptitude of the police in this regard. My heart bleeds whenever I rememberthe killing of two NYSC members in Bayelsa State and the police’s failure to apprehend the killers. Precisely 31 days ago, gunmen stormed the residence of a private school proprietor in Swali, a suburb of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, and shot three members of the National Youth Service Corps, staying in a lodge provided by the school’s proprietor. While two of them died in the attack, the third one was critically injured. Popoola Olamide, a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University/indigene of Oyo state and George Onokpoma from Delta State were murdered by these bastards. The walls of the room were riddled with bullets while blood soaked the floor; the blood of innocent young Nigerians, whose only crime was heeding the call to serve motherland.