Mazeed Mukhtar Oyeleye writes,
He spoke when I least expected. He said, “I know him. My daddy and mommy said he is not in Nigeria,” with a mundane countenance. I guffawed, though his grasp of ‘Security’ gave my mind an arduous task. The boy, less distant a kin of the ground than the belt around my waist, heard me comment on the news airing on the TV and mention ‘security’, so he put in his canon. Words lost the impetus to escape from my lips until I bid him and the mom farewell. He challenged me; if he could share his funny but true idea of security being nonexistent in Nigeria, without being solicited, I should be able to amplify our whines in the best way I know.
Covid19 bypassed travel protocols and entered into Nigeria. Since he arrived, he has helped us access premium features of our misery as a democratic state, for free. Appraisals of insecurity tarry on our tongues longer than emigrants do in the Sahara while crossing to see the Statue of Liberty. The rampant conclusion before Covid19 was that masses outnumber officers of the law enforcement agencies by scores of folds, resulting in their gross inefficiency. It is unfortunate to read, see and hear of more alarming crimes when the government permits only those who offer essential services (amongst which security is) to move, performing their duties unrestricted.
Our worries have ascended more rungs on the metric ladder, leaving us in constant trepidation. We dread the contagion of Covid19 while seeking shelter from the tentacles of insecurity at the same time. We stay home as if we are sure of safety when dozens of innocent Sabon Birni people in Sokoto state saw the sanguine colour of their insides, and bit the dust with their home walls aloof, bearing witness. Have our security agencies misplaced the bearings of homes in Batsari, Dutsin-Ma, Sabuwa and other Local governments on the map of Katsina state where the brigands’ crosshairs peregrinate?
Does the entire population have to suffer the same fate as folks in the North East, where the lethal visits of insurgents is a painful nor before our leaders realise that insecurity is much more of a menace than Covid19? Insecurity is gaining much more fame in the South by the hour; countless robberies, rape, abductions and ritual killings occur during the day and much more under the cover of dusk whilst policemen are everywhere. It will be hypocritical to ask what they do, when we see them stuck to highways, harassing and extorting road users. The government bombards citizens with dos and don’ts to save our panic-stricken lives from Covid-19 infection, yet can not guaranty safety even from the confines of our homes.
Should one dedicate books to keeping tabs of insecurity in our dear country, he will sit atop the bulk purchasers’ list of stationery stores. The cyclic harvest of unrest we reap sowing no seeds will persist until the government we empowered with our votes, give security a seat amidst their board of Priorities. Security agencies should do what we enlist them for and not demand illegal incentives from us. The police should live up to the inscription in their branches nationwide ‘Police is your friend’ and make our taxes count in our favour. Having secure communities is a rightful demand (within and after the pandemic). We do not stash the country’s coffers to hear of crime prevalence or lose our dear ones and properties.
The government has to respect the symbiosis of the citizens and the state (government), for our words as citizens have been our bond. We are tired of sympathetic speeches or condolence visits from our leaders. The government should dig up the roots of the insecurity tree and clip every noodle it grows. Our leaders need to hearken to the ululations of the earth, muffled by the incessant hooliganism and bloodshed, and pacify her with as much breeze of peace as their constitutional powers can produce. Until then “the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain” is just a prayer that rises as dust but never mingles with the clouds.