Here we are!
My pen has already scorched, and I am at a loss for words to condemn the heinous activities in Northern Nigeria; the myriads of problems plaguing the region transcend genre, and the daily fictions take various forms.
Specifically, Northern Nigeria has become a boulevard for every absurdity going aimlessly, ranging from kidnapping, armed banditry, Boko Haram, cattle rustling, armed robbery, political thuggery, communal and farmers clashes.
The recent onslaught along the Abuja- Kaduna railway, the killing of 106 people in Kanam LGA, and the Taraba bomb expulsion, among others, are sufficient to substantiate that Northern Nigeria is in a state of emergency to regain its previous peace, unity, and economic strength.
But for now, our populace sleeps with one eye open in fear of killings and kidnappings, among other detrimental events. Thus, hospitals and schools have been turned into criminals’ hideouts, houses into graveyards, and farms into training grounds.
However, to the best of my knowledge, the region (North) is not lagging in every element, but things keep plunging asunder. What exactly is the issue?
Regardless, I asked myself such a modest query: why always in Northern Nigeria? Why does the phenomenon thrive in the North, even though it is the most populous, most clerical, and has the most politicians in the country? This is truly mind-boggling!
Starting with the North-east, Boko Haram has been administering the region since 2009. As a result, thousands of lives have been lost, a million fled their abodes as well as the wreckage of properties worth billions of naira. The catastrophe doesn’t stop there, fairly, putting an interlude between the region’s agriculture and education.
Nonetheless, wards in the region are vulnerable to insecurity, with students no longer thinking of school but instead are busy hawking, begging, and snatching people’s belongings in the street. As such, the situation is deteriorating by the day.
In the North-central, kidnapping, farmers and herdsmen, as well as communal skirmishes are at their peak; the people’s engagement in physical combat aggravated the kidnapping menace.
However, the agriculturalists and herdsmen’s conflicts eroded numerous nomadic schools, thus jeopardisng the lives of the younger generation in the regions.
Regardless, the peaceful province is left in the northern axis, where it is now battling the banditry corollary. Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, and Kaduna states are nowhere to be found; killings and abductions are everywhere. However, except for Kano, the aforementioned states are beleaguered by abject poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, inadequate educational and health infrastructure, and a large number of out-of-school children. Besides, approximately 11,000 schools were shut down in Northern Nigeria because of insecurity.
However, the issue of political thuggery is fit to be conventional in the sense that youths pick weapons of various types to attack their opponents; politics in the North is a do or die affair.
Nonetheless, the North suffered the most in politics. The region’s politicians are advantageously filling up their pockets without executing a single project.
The above situation leaves behind poor roads, health care centres, schools, and inadequate water and power supply, among other infrastructure, in the region (North).
In those days, Northern Nigeria was home of peace and hospitality, the most religious and the only agricultural hub with vast cultural heritage that attracted both local and international tourists. As such, the North fed the nation.
Annoyingly, and despite the aforesaid blessing, we (the victims of circumstance) lacked insight into what exactly was behind these ballyhoos swarming the regions over the years.
But, at a clear glance, politics is said to be the question. As a result, Northern Nigeria encountered a bunch of fiaschis before independence, but the present case is beyond one’s illustration, and as a result, we are lagging in all indices.
The extremely irksome question is, for how long would these fiaschies last in the region? We are bored with the bloodletting!
How to overcome the challenge:
Though it may sound weird to some readers, I have no choice but to voice it out in my quest to unearth a lasting peace for the region and Nigeria as a whole. Here in the North, half of the population has the belief that the region’s politicians are behind the predicaments.
Of course, they might be, but the actual point is that those people we glimpse and refer to as our time-honoured leaders played a vital role in the escalation of the turmoil. The extra sections to be blamed are the magistrate and Shariah courts’ arbiters, as well as other local autocratic bodies.
My point is, those people we usually call and address as kidnappers, bandits, or guardsmen, were victims of circumstances, perhaps one or two times, falling victims of injustice either in a court of law (as aforesaid) or any other traditional dispute arbiter before taking off the arsenals.
At a clear glance, multiple local autocrats, vigilante group members, and local arbiters at the magistrate and Shariah courts are eager to register or fill a case with a herdsman’s name just to fine (cheat) them imprudently.
Provocations like this (cheating) have pushed a lot of Fulani herdsmen to the brink; when they yelled for help, officials ignored them and began taking the law into their own hands.
Undoubtedly, the aforesaid class of people repeatedly tortured these people (the assailants) by way of judgement, judging cases not in their favour even if they are not faulty or found guilty. To make it clear, their cattle, goats, and sheep were seized several times by those people (the local authorities).
Therefore, the north can only be a peaceful region again when the local autocrats end the cruel judgement of seizing herdsmen’s belongings and calling them names. As a result, many of them are unable to choose a weapon for retaliation.
The corollary of farmer/herdsmen should be given solid concern through reasonable resolutions when the vigilante group, local autocrats and arbiters stop seizing their cattle, goats, and sheep deliberately. If not, the menace of kidnapping, arm banditry, robbery and other insecurity challenges would never come to an end.
At this point, let me draw the attention of the federal, state, and local officials to please put more concern into the issue to stop the heinous act immediately for peace, unity, and advancement.
Finally, I call on all hands encompassed in the obliteration of northern Nigeria, this goes to everyone and not just the politicians. Let me directly say the local autocrats and dwellers among others.
Ukasha Rabiu Magama,
Toro LGA, Bauchi state.