By Pat Amobi Chukwuma
An English adage says, “Until the rotten tooth is pulled out, the mouth must chew with caution.” Even the time will come when chewing cannot be possible at all. Some time ago, I suffered from acute toothache. At night I was not able to lie or sit down. I was just marching around in pains till daybreak. As soon as day broke, I applied local herb which yielded no positive result. Then I resorted to orthodox medicine by rushing to a nearby chemist shop where I bought some pain-relief tablets. Instead of getting better, it got worse. At last I ran to a dentist who examined my dental formula thoroughly. He discovered that two of my premolars have damaged beyond repair. The only option was pulling them out from the root; if not I would experience more hellfire.
During the dental surgery, I was given anesthetic injection through the gums. Then the uprooting commenced. Despite the anesthesia, I experienced some bloody pains. Thank God the two damaged teeth were successfully pulled out from the root. The dentist gave me some pain-relief and healing drugs. In addition I was asked to apply warm water and salt solution for two weeks. After one month, I was healed but with small gully between the remaining premolars and molars. That was the supreme price I had to pay in order to be dentally healthy. It was during my further study in Germany that a German dentist filled the gully with two artificial premolars whose expiry date is on my death day which, in my estimation, is still very far away. Nonetheless, God has the final say.
Where am I going? It has become clear that the insecurity situation in Nigeria is worsening every day. At one time, the Federal Government led by President Buhari since 2015 said that Boko Haram has been decimated. At another time the Presidency stated from his table in Aso Rock Abuja that the terrorists have been defeated. Decimated means that the power of the evil sect has been minimized while defeated means that the terrorists have been subdued. On the contrary, those at the receiving end say that Boko Haram has neither been decimated nor defeated. Instead, the terrorists are waxing stronger and stronger. Many innocent civilians and soldiers have been killed by the terrorists who President Buhari promised during his electioneering campaign prior to the 2015 general election that he would wipe out in six months. Seven years have gone without achieving the defeat. Could it be that he is no longer in control as a retired Army General and Commander-in-chief of Nigerian Armed Forces? Or is there any complacency?
As if enough is not enough, Fulani herdsmen have joined the terrorists by slaughtering farmers, villagers and innocent people from one place to another without any arrests or prosecution. They also rape, burn houses and kidnap for ransom. Often they kill their victims. To add salt to injury, various kidnappers and bandits have joined the band of insurgency menacing the country now. Human life has been drastically devalued by the insurgents.
Before proffering solutions to the worsening insecurity bedeviling the Nation, we must acknowledge that something is drastically wrong. Could it be that the barber is inexperienced or that the clipper is not sharp? In fact, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder that, if it is allowed to explode, the disaster cannot be contained. Impunity is reigning everywhere even at the seat of power. Injustice has become the order of the day. Some of our elected leaders in the Executive and Legislative Arms of Government got into office through electoral fraud. Even the Judiciary, which is the last hope of the common man, has been compromised by the powers that be. Often court judgments are delivered in favour of the highest bidder or the most powerful. Things have gone wrong such that even the Supreme Court can no longer be trusted in matters of justice.
Unemployment is ravaging the country. Thousands of graduates come out of our tertiary institution every year without jobs. An idle mind, they say, is the devil’s workshop. No wonder some of the jobless youths join the Boko Haram terrorists, bloody Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers and other bandits. To help matters, government at the local, state and federal levels should try to create jobs for our teeming unemployed youths.
Restructuring Nigeria in all aspects is overdue. Failure to restructure is a call to anarchy and insecurity. We ought to go back to the 1963 Constitution which operated on regional levels. All powers should not be concentrated at the centre. What is preferable is strong regions and a weak centre. The regions and state should have a greater advantage of the natural resources found in their areas. Community, state and regional policing is needed in order to tackle the insurgency from its roots. The federal government cannot do it alone. The regional and state security outfits will in no small measure aid the police and army to nip the insecurity from the bud. The Governors of the South-west have set up the Operation Amotekun (Leopard) to deal with the insurgents ravaging their region. The South East, Middle Belt and the North should do likewise. We all have a common enemy.
In order to tackle the present insurgency at the federal level, the security apparatus must be reorganized. The Service Chiefs have overstayed their welcome. Therefore they should be changed with new ones who have better strategies to a deal with the dare-devils sucking the blood of Nigerians on daily basis. However, the appointment should respect the Federal Character. Lopsided appointments contribute to the insurgency. The Army and Police should be more equipped and their welfare taken into consideration. Often the insurgents carry more sophisticated weapons than our security agents and are better cared for by their sponsors.
My people say that no matter how you cure a mad man, he must continue murmuring and talking to himself. Some of the terrorists killing civilians and soldiers have been captured at one time or the other. Some of them surrendered themselves. Then they underwent rehabilitation and released unconditionally. It is not doubtful that most of them go back to their nefarious act of terrorism. No matter how you rehabilitate a kite, it must devour small chickens. This recycling is a cause of the worsening insecurity. Recently the Army released about one thousand and four hundred rehabilitated terrorists. There is much grumbling among the security agents and civilians over the release. Also, the widows of the slain soldiers are crying over the release of the terrorists who killed their husbands. Even if they should be released at all, it is not now. The unjust release by the Army is like trapping some lions that went about the town killing and eating their human victims here and there. Then they are caged for some time and released into the town again. Their killing spree will become worse. Why were the captured or surrendered terrorists not prosecuted accordingly? Those found guilty must face the wrath of the Law, which would serve as deterrent to other insurgents.
Finally, I am suspecting the involvement of some members of the Armed Forces in the insecurity bedeviling us today. We must look inwards to the cause of the worsening terrorism in the country. It is not an overstatement to say that the accomplices to this insecurity can be found in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Arms of the present Government. The cabals and some politicians may also be behind the mask. How can a thief accompany you to keep your money? It has become necessary to do a thorough screening of the Army, Police and other Security Agents in order to fish out the bad eggs among them. How and where do the insurgents get their sophisticated ammunitions? Who are their sponsors? Such questions must be answered in order to nip the insecurity at the bud.
Nigeria is indeed at crossroads. We should fall on our knees and pray for God’s intervention. Christians and Muslims nationwide should join hands in prayer because we are all affected by the insecurity that seems to defy all remedies. As we seek for God’s deliverance, we should also repent from our individual and communal sins. Who knows if God is angry with us? Human life is a primary value which must not be toiled with anyhow. Only God has the prerogative over life and death. The shedding of innocent blood is a great offence against God. The Federal and State Governments must bear in mind that the primary duty of any government is the SECURITY OF LIVES AND PROPERTY. Any government that lacks in this essential aspect of governance has failed woefully.