When silence is not golden

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” — Ella Wheeler Wilcox

In a bizarre twist of fate, foreign soldiers (Nigerien forces to be specific) are those crossing into the Nigerian territory to rescue Nigerians let down by their own government and its forces in the face of outright provocation by some vicious marauders. Has Nigeria become so weak and timid that it can’t effectively secure its people and foreign troops have to be relied upon for succor?

Senator Ibrahim Gobir, representing Sokoto east, lamented this shameful anomaly on the floor of the Nigerian senate. He said, “The Nigerien army has been assisting in wading off the bandits, the very reason why not less than 5,000 people in the affected areas have migrated to Niger Republic for safety.” 

The responsibility that the Nigerian government abdicated was sympathetically undertaken by it’s neighbor, this is strange and a sad.

One wonders whether our government has been rendered hors de combat by the incessant destruction of lives and properties by bandits in the North-west. Gone are the glorious old days when some invading Chadian rebels met their match in our gallant  soldiers led by the then GOC 3rd Division, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, so relentless were our soldiers in repelling the rebels that they trespassed deep into the Chadian territory to ensure that the rebels are gone for good.

Sadly, daily kidnappings and banditry have become inveterate menaces in most Northwestern states. Bloodthirsty and murderous bandits rode motorcycles 

pell-mell across villages and towns, wrecking immeasurable havoc to innocent and helpless people. They kill indiscriminately, hold women hostages to be raped serially, loot anything they deem valuable, rustle livestock from the villages raided to their dens, and set ablaze their victims’ abodes.

After every attack comes the customary condemnation by the president, then marching orders to security agencies to crush bandits, however the bandits are emboldened the more to perpetuate their carnage. Instead of the government to empty the quiver of its wrath upon the bandits, some helpless governors overtly cajole the bandits to halt their murderous onslaught! 

Recent killings in parts of Katsina state proved that negotiations with bandits is an exercise in futility, it only emboldens the bandits and gives them an undeserved sense of importance and makes them stakeholders in security matters. Bemused citizens ask why security operatives could not use the zest and skill they often utilize in arresting critics of some governors to crush banditry and kidnappings. Parts of Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states have been turned to killing fields. 

Mass graves are dug in several communities where the bandits attacked. Traumatized survivors are displaced from their villages to wherever they may find refuge. However, in the ensuing turmoil, the silence of northern leaders of thought is deafening, the cacophony of voices that protested the killings under Jonathan’s administration have suddenly drowned amidst renewed killings of citizens before their very eyes.

Religious leaders who preach the sacredness of life are suddenly mute in the wake of its desecration, political leaders have become dispirited. For fear of the Sunusi treatment, perhaps, traditional leaders are hesitating to call out the government to do the needful. Despite the gory pictures and videos that continue to flood the internet in the wake of bandits attack, modern day social media which serves as a veritable platform to amplify grievances is not loud enough.

Silence can never be golden in circumstances like this. Therefore, all well meaning citizens must unite in demanding that the government fulfill its constitutional obligations by saving its people from the scourge of  kidnapping and banditry.

Ibrahim Zangina


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