You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2020 12 01Article 398345

Opinions of Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Columnist: Kazeem Olalekan Israel, Contributor

Killing of farmers in Borno: Nigeria sitting on keg of gunpowder

A fact that should not be denied by every responsive and responsible government is that we have been thrown into full-blown, unmitigated crisis throughout the length and breadth of the country most especially in the northern part of the country.

Unfortunately, we have a government that has chosen to dwell in the dangerous delusion that everything is okay with us as a people which is having a dangerous effect on governance.

A typical example of the nonchalant attitude of the government is the unprovoked murder that took place in Borno at the weekend during which over 40 rice farmers were murdered in cold blood on their farmland by members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.

It is almost insulting that the usual response of the government to the killings is commiseration with the families of the deceased. There has been no serious strategic and tactical plan that is rigorously time-bound in overcoming terrorism which has become a bane on development by a government that rode into power on the promise of eradicating Boko Haram.

The security of the citizens is what defines a state. Government exists for the state and not the state for the government and this is well-captured in the provision of Section 14 sub-section 2 (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.

Today, the situation we have found ourselves as a people is one in which none of us is safe and that anything can happen to anybody at any material time as this government has failed to fulfil the most basic essence of its existence.

The state of insecurity in the country questions the essence of the social contract between the citizenry and government which is predicated on the centrality of security to human flourishing and felicity. In the social contract, citizens willingly abdicate their rights of self-protection to government, thereby, authorizing it to enjoy a monopoly of force. Social contract also envisages that the government will evolve veritable mechanisms to prevent, abate, and resolve violent external or internal conflicts perpetuated by state or non-state actors.

To our utter dismay, this government just like its predecessors has failed to fulfil the social contract it willingly signed with the people. As a people, we have been battling with multifarious threats to peace. Unfortunately, many are victims of criminal violence. Incessant violent crimes have dimmed the prospects of attaining national cohesion, socio-economic prosperity, and democratic consolidation in the country. Terrorism and the sprouting up of ethnic militias and kidnappers across the six geopolitical zones have also quashed all hopes that every Nigerian can experience freedom from fear of violent attacks with nothing critical being done by the government to salvage the situation.

Violent attacks which is a product of insecurity as was witnessed in Borno at the weekend has multilayered and multi-generational implications that do not lend themselves to easy computation and the government itself has done nothing to put an end to this not to talk of compensating and reuniting affected families. Not until the government succeeds in its primary purpose as clearly stated in Chapter 2 of the Constitution, it cannot succeed in its secondary purposes.

In other words, the efforts of the government to diversify the economy by reviving the agro-allied sector cannot amount to anything without widespread peace, stability, and security which the country obviously lacks with many families sundered by criminal violence perpetuated by Boko Haram, herdsmen, kidnappers and ethnic militias. Undoubtedly, the killings, the kidnappings, the destruction of farmlands and the clashes will definitely sabotage the quest and effort of the government to attain food security.

It is important that the government take urgent measures to guarantee maximum security and safety for all Nigerians. Our lawmakers must as a matter of necessity and urgency, wake up to check the excesses of the Buhari led-government which has proven to be class-sensitive and prone to ethnoreligious bias. Our lawmakers must not allow political correctness or naive rationalisation to delude them into playing the ostrich.

The country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder!

Join our Newsletter