Last week saw a lot of controversy around the invitation of the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai to be a speaker at the 2021 edition of The Platform, an annual conference organised by the Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos.
People are free to have whatever opinions they want on the topic of the suitability of the governor for such events but what was particularly baffling about the situation was that at the time, the Kaduna State itself was dealing (and is still dealing) with a hostage situation arising from the kidnappings of young students of the Greenfield University, Kaduna.
The terrorists had killed three of the hostages and dumped their bodies near the school to show their seriousness. Was the Kaduna State Governor going to leave that type of hostage situation unresolved and come to the Platform to lecture Nigerians on governance? When an executive leader is faced with that type of emergency, it is not wise to even consider going around to give talks. El’Rufai was very eloquent in his criticism of Goodluck Jonathan before 2015 but the rise in the levels of insecurity that have hit his state, the president’s state (Katsina), and the country as a whole ever since they got into power has made them appear like curses instead of the blessings they claimed they would be to Nigerians.
The parents and families of the kidnapped victims raised N55 million and sent it to the kidnappers. These kidnappers have come to say they have spent the N55m on feeding their victims; the Greenfield students and some other logistics. They are now demanding N100m and 10 brand new Honda motorcycles. The state and federal governments have said nothing.
The presidential spokesperson Bashir Ahmad decided that the news of the Gates Divorce was a more relevant topic for his official Twitter handle to make comments on.
The callousness is appalling. The incompetence is mind-boggling. The people who expected the worst from the Buhari Administration hoped that they would be proved wrong but they have been made to look like mathematicians with how precise their predictions were.
The leader of the terrorist group involved identified himself as Sani Idris Jalingo in an interview with the Hausa Service of Voice of America, and said the surviving students were made up of 15 females and two males who would all be killed if his demands were not met.
At some point, we’re going to have to ask Northern Nigeria what cultural quirk made it possible for the region to produce this huge number of cold-blooded mass-murderers but for now, we have to accept that the government is going to stop paying the ransoms to discourage the mass-kidnappings from happening.
This is probably going to lead to the deaths of literally hundreds of innocent people as the terrorists will try to test the resolve of the government but it’s really the only way to stem the tide of kidnappings pending improvements in the actions of the security agencies.
Nasir El-Rufai, Buhari, and other Northern leaders are going to have to admit that Nigeria has to be united and restructured to face this problem. The president’s penchant for disastrous economic policies that do nothing but increase poverty is not helping with the insecurity either because poverty keeps breaking hitherto peaceful people and making them more open to the idea of participating in crime to make ends meet even if that means that some of their fellow citizens would have to meet their own end as a result of their actions.
The North must offer the South a hand of friendship and show seriousness by immediately offering restructuring and devolution timetables and embarking on the necessary constitutional amendments after due consultation.
A restructured Nigeria that nullifies the secessionist energy and helps Nigeria focus on the terrorists is what would provide the Nigerian Army with an environment that makes it easier for them to do their job of winning this battle.
The Nigerian Army cannot succeed if it keeps trying to forcefully check Nigerians who want devolution or secession and mix that with the job of fighting terrorists.
We also have had the likes of Sheikh Gumi instigating Northern terrorists against Christian members of the Nigerian Army. It’s interesting to see how Gumi openly sits with terrorists and argues on their behalf without any form of sanction while some people in Ebonyi get shot down just for holding a Biafra flag.
It just doesn’t add up.