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Mace Theft: Can The Nigerian Government Protect Us?

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Scenes of the attack on National Assembly | Credit: Sumner Sambo

Scenes of the attack on National Assembly | Credit: Sumner Sambo

The drama that went down in the National Assembly last Wednesday did not come as a surprise many Nigerians at all, as dramas like that is make Nigerians sure that the National assembly exist. However, the dimension of this national script-less drama is so disturbing that a lot of questfions flood the mind of Nigerians. One germane question would be, how can a group of thug have access to the National Assembly complex, invade the Senate house and make way with the symbol of authority of the Nigeria Senate (The mace) in the full glare of everybody in that complex, including policemen and other security personals? The fact remains that if the Government cannot secure a national edifice like the National Assembly Complex and prevent the national artifact like the Mace from being taken away by harmless thugs, than the Nigerian government cannot guarantee the security of Nigeria.

The event of the theft of the Mace from the Senate house justifies the outburst by Former Minister for Defense, General Theophilus Danjuma calling on Nigerians to protect and defend themselves against attacks from invaders suspected to be Fulani Herdsmen. His admonition might seems out of place, or might be regarded as ‘Hate Speech’, however, the General who has been in government and have also managed security agencies was convinced that the security agencies were either not capable or unwilling to protect Nigerians affected by these senseless “ethnic cleansing” as he referred to these attacks. With the failures of the government to do the needful, statesmen like Danjuma are really are call a spade a spade.

The stand of retired General Danjuma in his statement “You must rise to protect yourselves from these people… These killers have been protected by the Military, they cover them” is substantiated by the recent razing down of a whole community by the Nigerian army when one of their own was mobbed to death by people who suspected him to be an informant to the herdsmen. While one would not support the mob action against the military officer, it is nevertheless unfortunate that the security agency saddled with the responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of the populace and turn on them and razed down about 100 houses, leading to the death of a civilian.

The constant advice by prominent individuals like General Danjuma, including governors of state to people facing alleged ethnic cleaning to protect and defend themselves from those constant ravaging is borne out of the fact that these folks have lost confidence in the willingness and ability of the government to protect their people. when the people lose their confident in the government, they would take laws into their own hands.

The insecurity situation in Nigeria has gone from bad to worst. News of massive attacks and killings are served to the Nigerian people every morning like breakfast. Today’s news might be about Boko Haram attacks, tomorrow will be about Herdsmen attacks in the North Central of the country, other days might be about cult attacks, arm robbery, militant attacks, with huge casualties and property loss.

Just like it is believed that the incompetence and nonchalant disposition of the security in the National Assembly led to the theft of the Senate Mace, the persistence of the security issues in Nigeria can equally be attributed to these factor. It is an aberration that a government that boast of one of the biggest Military Force in Africa and understand its responsibility to her people would continue to allow the senseless killing of it people like animals by faceless attackers.

With the constant rancor and disorderliness in and between the National Assembly and the executive arm of government, it seem that the government cannot govern themselves, how then can they govern the people they are there for. The worst part of the security situation of the country is the fact that, in more cases than one, those culpable for these atrocities are known to security agencies, yet, they walk the streets with their shoulders high. Off course those who are responsible for the theft of mace and their sponsors are known to the police, but the system in the country has made them untouchable.

The lack of sincerity of purpose and will by the government have constantly generated doubt as to if we have a government in the country. It is hard to imagine that those elected by the people who experience this attacks on a daily bases can sit comfortably in Abuja while their people are being wiped out by herdsmen who has gone on rampage. When unfortunate events happens, must time, the government set-up committees to look into the situation, but at the end of the reports of these committees are neglected; leaving the cycle of the problem to continue.

The fact that the Nigerian government lay little or no importance to human live in Nigeria has made the lives of Nigerians outside the country worthless. Nigerians are attacked and killed with impunity in different countries of the world. Reports of xenophobia attacks of Nigerians living in South Africa – also in India and Ghana we have heard similar occurrence. This attacks have become so frequent clearly because the perpetuators and also the government of the affected country knows that the Nigerian government is too week to do a thing about this atrocities; A government that cannot protect it citizen from attacks in it country would not be able to do so outside the country.

The failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to really get involved to solve this problem of alleged Fulani herdsmen attacks is disheartening. The fact that he is a member of the ethnic group accused of perpetuating atrocities like the once we hear in the news should be a matter of huge concern for him. He is expected, not only as the president, by also as a statesman to ensure that he finds a permanent solution to the problems; it’s in his best interest. Sending press statement to the press after an attack has taken place or ordering the Police and the military to curb the activities of these wicked souls is not enough. He ought to get involved, call the people of his tribe to order if indeed they are behind the attacks. This is in addition to him mediating between farmers and the herdsmen. His integrity is at stake at this point, especially with the fact that he promised to end this killings when he was seeking for the votes of the victims of these attacks.

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