By Emmanuel Onwubiko
By way of explanation, there was this governor in Enugu State back then, under whose administration, gun violence and violent cult wars became a commonplace just as many youths were killed and kidnappings became a daily routine.
That governor, had this mantra of ‘to God be the glory’. But due to the heightened apprehension amongst the Enugu public due to the state of violent crimes, that mantra was changed to ‘to gun be the glory.’
The reason being that since the governor who swore an oath of office to keep lives of his citizens safe and sacrosanct had abandoned this sacred and constitutional mandate and had allowed armed freelance shooters to take over the public space and unleash blood cuddling attacks, the people who are some of the most religious people on earth now decided to give honour to guns since the unruly gunmen controlled substantial terrains of Enugu geopolitical space.
In the light of what we have witnessed between 2015 to now, we can draw a corollary with the old scenario of Enugu. The only exception is that violence is now heavily liberalised and has assume a common phenomenon all across Nigeria. It is as if Nigeria is an ungoverned space because the President, Muhammadu Buhari is grossly incompetent.
In a matter of few days from today, the retired major General of the Nigeria Army, Muhammadu Buhari, elected into office of President of Nigeria in 2015, will exit.
He would have served cumulatively two terms of four years each.
However, one of the Cardinal point of his Campaign for which some Nigerians voted for him, which is restoration of national security, has failed to materialise.
Perhaps his military background confused and deceived those few voters (12 million out of a population of 200 million) to bring him into that prestigious office. Majority of those 12 million unintelligent voters are today regretting wasting their votes on a man like Muhammadu Buhari who has allowed gunmen to take over Nigeria. Those who voted for him, had hoped for better security but now the opposite is now the case.
President Buhari has now elevated terrorism, violence, gun crimes, to unprecedented levels with lots of bloodshed.
As he bows out disgracefully on May 29th 2023, most Nigerians will remember the president as a man who couldn’t stop gunmen from overrunning most geographical spaces of Nigeria and killing in their wake, over fifty thousand Nigerians.
Under the watch of Muhammadu Buhari, the usually fortified Federal Capital Territory has become a play field for boko haram terrorists, Fulani bandits and kidnappers and sundry armed non state actors.
Kuje prison was attacked only few months back and over 1,000 terrorists were freed and about 900 of those escaped hardened terrorists are still not seen.
This is even as the government claimed falsely to have invested over £2 billion Pounds into the Security sector.
At a point President Muhammadu Buhari took 1 billion dollars from the Federation account without budgetary approval and told us he was buying weapons with the cash.
But the government officials pilfered the humongous cash and purchased substandard weapons.
Therefore the attacks by terrorists increased.
As I write, Nigerians typified what Jean Jacques Rousseau said once that ‘Man is free but he is everywhere in chains.’
This means that nowhere in Nigeria is safe.
People get killed, kidnapped, burnt to ashes and slaughtered by Fulani herdsmen or killed by Nigeria Police.
However, as rational beings, Nigerians should learn a lesson from one recent analysis done in The Guardian newspaper of England, in which the columnist stated that Rousseau shows us that there is a way to break the chains – from within.
Nigerians therefore should use the opportunity of President Muhammadu Buhari’s disgraceful exit to demand accountability from the next government and action plan for crushing all genres of terrorists.
Jean Jacques Rousseau said; “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.” The opening sentence of Rousseau’s The Social Contract not only summarises his entire philosophical system, it also proves how important he still is today.
Written in 1762, The Social Contract picks up where his Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men left off, defining natural man as being free and happy and living in the forest. Rousseau explains how man went from this state of autonomy to the modern condition, dominated by inequality, dependency, violence and unhappiness.
There were positive aspects to this process too, he admits, including the creation of families, the discovery of tools and technology, and the building of cities and social organisations. Unfortunately, this also gives way to what Rousseau called the “right of the strongest”, where a reign of inequality destroys man’s original state of happiness and freedom. Humanity becomes alienated, and the Discourse on Inequality ends unhappily in general war.
The Social Contract is an attempt to find a solution to this problem. For Rousseau, because of man’s “perfectibility”, the passage from a natural state to a social one is both an accident and necessary. Unlike animals, men are programmed to create and progress from one condition to the next. Rousseau discovers a way men can associate themselves with each other while maintaining their own individual freedom inside a social and political organisation. He calls that concept the “general will”.
Simply put, it is a form of association in which an individual alienates himself completely to the general will, and therefore regains his freedom in a political form. This of course has been criticised: some say it leads directly to dictatorship. Others, like Louis Althusser, say it is based on the premise that the people enter into a contract with nobody else but themselves – a logical impossibility.
However, Rousseau believed that in the form of the general will, the alienation of man would transform itself into freedom – this makes him nothing less than the inventor of modern dialectics, uniting the opposing concepts of nature (or freedom) and society (or contract), in their own opposition.
All of Rousseau’s philosophy is an attempt to find a solution to the problem of alienation. For Rousseau, the only thing that made humans different from animals is his free will, something constantly placed in danger whenever man enters into society, (The Guardian of England, July 15th, 2012).
Away from the French Scholar Jean Jacques Rousseau, a report done by punch Newspaper of Nigeria recently said no fewer than 53,418 Nigerians lost their lives to non-state actors between May 29, 2015 and October 15, 2022.
The deaths occurred mostly from attacks of farmers by armed Fulani herdsmen, clashes by religious groups, and attacks by terrorists and bandits.
The data of Nigerians killed since the inception of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), were obtained from the Nigerian Security Tracker, a project of the Council on Foreign Relations of the United States of America.
Specifically, insecurity has worsened under the regime with some state governors instructing their citizens to bear arms to defend themselves despite the current embargo on the issuance of firearm licences. Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State and Aminu Massari of Katsina State have made several calls in that regard.
It was also on the same matter of insecurity that frustrated federal lawmakers threatened to impeach the President.
Besides, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom accused the Federal Government of complicity in herdsmen attacks on citizens of the state, saying the wanton killings has been his pain since 2015.
He made the accusation when he paid a visit to victims of recent herdsmen attacks at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp at Abagena.
Some of the hospitalised victims are receiving treatment at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH), Makurdi.
Recall that suspected herdsmen had unleashed an attack on the camp on a certain Friday recently killing and injuring some of the victims.
Among those who the governor consoled were an aged woman, Esther Num who suffered injury as a result of gun shot on her waist; a 14 year old Emberga Ukpoor had her hand chopped off and Terna Ikyaan, also sustained gunshot injury in the abdomen.
Others included a 14 year old Kwaghve Terkimbi, who had his ear chopped-off while Agber Ikyume, Regina Gbashaor and Eunice Iyua were inflicted with various degree of injuries.
Lamenting the situation, Ortom said, “This has been my pain, since 2015, I have cried out loud, insisting that the Federal Government is complicit on the issues of terrorism, raising Fulanis in Niger from Futa Jalon (Senegal), Cameroon, Mauritania and Libya and other parts of the world, to come to Nigeria and take it and make it their country.
“My greatest pain is that these people have not hidden their intentions and they are known. The Federal Government is protecting them.
“I have called for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore several times. I have written to the Presidency. I have written to DSS, I have written to the Police, yet they are adamant. It is not that these people are not known, they are known”.
According to the Governor, once the Federal Government decides that these acts of terrorism against our people be put to an end, that will be it. But at the moment they are complicit. They are working with them to push for the take-over of this country and make this country a Fulani nation. Few days back in Plateau and Nasarawa states, over 100 citizens were slaughtered by armed Fulani terrorists.
A foreign publication stated that a new report published April 10 says that 2023 is not looking any better, with 1,041 slaughtered in the first 100 days
The report stated that at least 52,250 people have been killed over the last 14 years in Nigeria just for being Christian, a new report published April 10 revealed.
The report, titled “Martyred Christians in Nigeria” and published by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), which is headquartered in Eastern Nigeria, says 30,250 of those have been killed since 2015, when President Muhhamadu Buhari came to power. The report blames what it calls Buhari’s radical Islamism for those killings. Approximately 34,000 moderate Muslims were also butchered or hacked to death within the same period.
At this point, 2023 is not looking any better, with the report revealing that 1,041 “defenseless Christians” were slaughtered in the first 100 days — that is from Jan. 1 to April 10. Within the same period, at least 707 Christians were kidnapped.
The report further indicates that under President Buhari, 18,000 Christian Churches and 2,200 Christian schools were incinerated.
The attacks on Christians have also led to significant problems with regard to people being forced to flee from their homes. While more than 50 million Christians, mostly in Northern Nigeria, face “serious jihadist threats for being professed Christians,” no fewer than “14 million have been uprooted and 8 million forced to flee their homes to avoid being hacked to death,” the report says.
About “5 million have been displaced and forced into Internally Displaced Peoples’ (IDP) camps within Nigeria and refugee camps at regional and sub-regional borders.”
The sheer number of Christians and moderate Muslims killed or displaced has sent chills down the spines of many, including Andrew Boyd, spokesman for Release International, which serves the persecuted church in some 30 countries. He described the report’s finding as “a staggering death toll.”
“It is absolutely appalling that so many Christians are being targeted for their faith and killed in Nigeria, while the Nigerian government seems to stand by and let it happen. It is no less appalling that the international community appears content to stay on the sidelines and watch,” he told OSV News.
Meanwhile, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), in its own report, has given voice to the thousands of Christians persecuted for their faith in Nigeria.
Maryamu Joseph was just 7 years old when Boko Haram, a violent jihadi extremist organization, attacked her Bazza community and forcefully took her and 21 others to the Sambisa Forest, where she spent nine years. She only escaped in July 2022, and she told her story to ACN.
For the next government therefore, their job is cut out for them. They must make hay whilst the Sun shines.
*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.