Some days ago while watching the news on TV, the reporter mentioned that some people had been kidnapped and taken to an unknown location. I was surprised she didn’t say unknown gunmen, maybe she felt it had become cliché. Just then, as if in a flash, it struck me that the UNKNOWN LOCATION (and not really the unknown gunmen) has been the issue from world go, even developed nations have a hard time with unknown location than unknown gunmen. There you see people commit crime and go into hiding, after some hours or days through technology and other means their identity is revealed and the search for them (location) commences.
This reminds me of Mary’s response to the angels she met at the empty tomb of Jesus. She said “they have taken my Lord and I do not know where they kept him”. From her response it appears she was not as much troubled that her Lord had been taken as that she didn’t know where to find His body.
There is no doubt that the unknown gunmen phrase has become a phenomenon in our dear country Nigeria. A trend that has softened the harsh reality of violence like a comforting mystery. In the actual sense of it, every gunman should be unknown, except in the case of open rebellion and war, and even in the case of war, opposing soldiers don’t ask for each other’s name or engage in discussions while exchanging fire at the heat of warfare.
A case where gunmen are known and roam about freely shows a crumbling society, remember the cowboy movies like “the good, the bad and the ugly”, oh what a relief that our gunmen are unknown. Some may say Nigeria is doing better than a developed country like the US, where due to the ease of individuals owning licensed guns, there arises the problem of gun attacks from time to time. Those who support easy access to gun though have argued that it reduces crime as everyone knows that his neighbor might have a gun and so will not be threatened by a gun-carrying person.
Recently, and almost in quick succession, Nigeria’s security/intelligence agencies carried out or were involved in the extraordinary arrest of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho in foreign nations. Both men who are frontline “secessionists” have been on the wanted list of the government/state, though the official accusations against them are not totally similar except for the common factor that they want to break away from the country.
A lot of argument has gone forth and still ongoing as to the rightness of their clamors and modus operandi. This is not really the issue here.
The issue is that what the Nigerian intelligence has carried out is nothing short of excellence. It reminds us of George Orwell’s assertion that “big brother is watching you”. If this is so, it means that for the state, there is no “unknown” which will remain so for a long time. It also shows clearly the government’s priority.
Is it easier to catch one certain fish in the sea (world) or to catch a group of certain fishes in the stream (country)? You decide. This is in view of the fact that for years now, Nigeria has continued to battle with every form of insecurity. It is even more worrying as the challenges keep metamorphosing from one form to the other, from one actor to the other. We have had suicide bomb attacks, shootings, farm destruction, security post attack, kidnapping and the likes.
These things happen in the defined territory of Nigeria, not a foreign place.
It is worth noting also that the moves taken to capture Kanu and Igboho are part of what has been championed for some time now by stakeholders. The government has been repeatedly told to seek foreign help if possible in its fight against all forms of insecurity. The government has obeyed, but not as expected in totality.
Maybe it is because the life of the state, matters more than the life of the people.