Beneath the shades of a giant tree, ferns and shrubs should expect shelter from the scorching heat of the sun and sweltering conditions. In the Hausa country, if the man who owns a goat travels by night, the one who owns a hyena should have no fear of such nightly journeys.
Yet, for Niger and Plateau States, and their beleaguered residents, the Giant of Africa is not doing enough to dissuade the barracudas who voraciously feast almost every week.
A people must now live in fear. In Nigeria
s Home of peace and tourism, terror tours communities day and night while in Nigerias Power State, the omnipresent powerlessness that insecurity sows frames the daily reality of residents. The situation has been dire for a while now and the fact that very little has been done to contain it indicts the entire security architecture of the Nigerian state.
In Niger State, bandits cut loose for the umpteenth time on Wednesday 12th January 2021. In the gruesome attacks which completely shredded the serenity of two communities – Nakuna and Wurukuchi – 34 persons were killed.
In a jarring demonstration of the audacity of atrocity, all the houses in Nakuna which had a population of about 200 were razed. Food barns were also razed as the criminals searched for vigilantes in what was reportedly a reprisal attack. The hands of some of the victims were also tied to their backs before they were killed.
The ballet of bloodletting soon moved to the besieged Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State where the Ncha community felt the fury of the terrorist non-state actors who at the moment seem to have too much for Nigeria`s state actors. By the time the last gunshot was heard, eighteen people lay dead including a three-month-old baby.
The questions persist and grow more pointed by the day: Who are those devasting communities in Plateau and Niger States and why have they continued to defy the otherwise paralyzing security machine of the Giant of Africa? Shall even three-month-old babies be slaughtered under the otherwise devastating gaze of the Giant of Africa?
Living in Nigeria these days is a real piece of work. Many states in the Northeast and Northwest are unsafe for business and travel. While Nigerians remain in their homes contemplating a bleak future, criminals break down doors, kill and abduct as many as they want. They do not also forget to raze houses as they saunter away with their victims. In essence, they scorch the earth and defy the Nigerian state to confront them.
The insecurity in Nigeria is exacerbated by a climate of fear and powerlessness. In the aftermath of the attack in Plateau State, troops of Operation Safe Haven mobilized to the affected community even as the Plateau State Governor Mr. Simon Lalong commiserated with the families of the victims while denouncing the attacks and demanding that the attackers be brought to justice at all costs.
These attacks on communities in Niger, Plateau and other states in Nigeria are not at all random. There is a pattern to them – a method to the madness – and following the pattern, one can safely predict that already petrified communities will soon enough be visited with more terror. And soon. Unless something is done.
In the face of it all, the response from the Nigerian state has been far less forceful than what it can muster. The lines are very fine indeed but with courts of the land having declared as terrorists many of those who terrorize innocent communities, there is the sense that efforts to rein them in have just not been enough.
This is lamentable. If the firepower that Islamic terrorists and bandits possess is now superior to what the Nigerian state can muster, then let Nigerians know so they will be left in no doubt as to the precarity of their existence.
Until this is done, the limbo will remain a lethal one.