There is fire on the mountain

It can’t be a tall order to fathom why Nigeria is not the best place to live at the moment. With unrelenting kidnapping, banditry and herdsmen killings sweeping across the country, the rising tide of insecurity has without any particle of doubt become ominously tragic.

Nigeria is currently under siege. No day passes without reported and unreported cases of gruesome killings of our compatriots by bandits and terrorists, kidnapping and other crimes that have made the country unlivable for Nigerians have also remained unceasing. With failed assurances by the presidency that these crimes would be brought under control, when the siege would be over remains a riddle.

Nigerians certainly deserve a better deal than the gnashing of teeth and the blood of their loved ones spilled on a daily basis. For the victims of the attacks of the fiends on rampage across Nigeria, agony has become an unwanted companion.

At Awo’s memorial: Rise, defend Yoruba nation from kidnapping, terrorism ― Anglican Bishop, Afenifere tell Gani Adams

Recently, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, released a horrific and tragic figure of crime-related deaths and abductions in the first quarter of 2019 and it is a symptomatic of a bleeding country.

He said 1071 people were killed in crime-related incidences while 685 people were abducted by kidnappers between January and April in 2019 alone. He said 767 people -a figure that represents 71.62 per cent of the people killed in the first quarter of 2019 alone- were killed in northern Nigeria. In President Buhari’s Katsina home state, citizens flee to neighbouring Niger Republic to escape the bestiality of the merchants of death and misery.

If the current spate of insecurity in the country is not brought under control and treated with the urgency it deserves, may a day not come that we would discover we no longer have a country. Some lines from Nigerian musician and songwriter, Bukola Elemide (aka Asa), in her “Fire on the Mountain” track succinctly captures our troubles.

Indeed, there is fire on the mountain. It is one fire that is threatening to consume our nascent democracy and existence. Those who swore to protect us must treat the current deplorable security situation with the needed gravitas so we can all have a safe country. It is true that the security problems we suffer predate the current government. For the avoidance of doubt, the primary duty of government as enshrined in section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) is to protect lives and property. Truth be told, it remains to be seen how the present government has served Nigeria well in this regard. Not with bandits pillaging communities, killing and maiming our compatriots like chickens on a daily basis.

While we are in search of solutions to the hydra-headed monster of insecurity bedeviling the country, we must not lose sight of the fact that Nigeria is currently under-policed and the deployment of available manpower is far from being efficient. With the Police strength of 334,000 and a third of the figure deployed to guard the privileged and organizations in a country of over 180 million people, we don’t need a soothsayer to know that villages, communities and roads in dire need of police presence will become dens of criminals.

Ladesope Ladelokun,

Ogun State