Nigeria is a deeply religious country. In recent times, the faith of many of its more than two hundred million citizens which sometimes border on religiosity has been savagely tested as well as fashioned into a stick with which Africa`s most populous country has been relentlessly whipped for its embarrassing development indices.
However, in spite of the flaks, Nigerians have continued to pray and to believe. Every Friday and every Sunday, adherents of Nigeria`s two major religions, Christianity and Islam, troop into mosques and churches, to pray.
Religion permeates national life. It is central to the identity of many Nigerians and consequently, whatever they do and whenever they do what they do, they turn to God in prayer.
So religious is the Giant of Africa that even those who pollute the country with the ungodly sacrifices they offer to the gods of power in the corridors of power know to call on God.
As Nigeria has continued to disintegrate, religion has come to sit side by side with insecurity not as a competitor for Nigeria`s biggest challenge as insecurity will take the cake, but as a co-enabler, one that quietly acts as a foil for the other.
As Nigerians have watched in horror as lives have been ripped out of family members and livelihoods irreparably decimated, they have learned to turn to an invisible and invincible God for succor. Between God and Nigerians crushed by insecurity, it has been a bond forged in the fires of adversity as even God has not been spared the bile and brimstones of ruthless criminals.
Churches and mosques have crumbled under the fury of mortar shells, even as worshippers and those who lead them have been indiscriminately.
A lot of prayers have been said to arrest Nigeria`s slide into insecurity. The pulpit has been hardly silent in this time even if the noise has not been deafening. There have been prayers offered for God to intervene in the security situation in Nigeria just as religious leaders have admonished those in government to do more to secure the lives and properties of Nigerians.
The Nigerian government has become and bumbling bundle of bristles – one that largely bristles at the admonition to wake up, preferring instead to brief its increasingly hollow megaphones on just how to fashion out new names for those who have had the courage to call it out. Thus, a government elected to bring succor to Nigerians watches on while terrorists play poker with its citizens.
While prayers go on for Nigeria and pulpits from around the country reverberate with messages about what could be done to rescue the country from the callous clutches of insecurity, there is no doubt that among Nigerians are those whose business it is keep Nigeria insecure. For these people, business is only as good as long as insecurity remains. Their biggest interests are vested in Nigeria`s insecurity, and as such, they will do everything to keep the wheels of insecurity grinding down the country.
Suspicions have long been rife that these people who feed the flames of insecurity and are well known to the authorities have so far failed to come to detention, prosecution and subsequent conviction because they work directly for powerful interests in the country or have some dirt on powerful people within the country.
Although credible claims have been made in that wise, nothing has been conclusive yet given the complicated nature of security, diplomacy and politics the world over. Yet, there is hardly ever any smoke without fire and is it not in the interest of a country built with tinder to proactively investigate the source of the plume of smoke lest it is burnt down in no time by a raging inferno?
This necessarily involves measures aimed as confronting as a matter of national urgency all those who may have a hand in the insecurity destabilizing the country. This must also mean asking all those who are in positions to do something about the insecurity but have so far done nothing to account for their dereliction and indecisiveness or resign. The Minister of Defense has asked Nigerians to call on God to end the insecurity in the country. But is he doing his bit? Are his fellow cabinet members doing their bit?
It is humiliating that the Giant of Africa continues to suffer the humiliation of being dictated to by crude criminals such as the ones who now ask that some incarcerated terrorists be released to them in exchange for some of those abducted in the vicious train attack of March 28,2022.
What more humiliation can a people possibly suffer? What more indignity? What more ignominy?