Of wolves, whistles and weasels

A University and the Ubiquity of Poverty
Author: Kenechukwu Obiezu

Insecurity has become the daily and chilling reality of many Nigerians.  In the course of the last few years, many Nigerians have come to know true terror that is way beyond anything they had ever experienced.

As terrorists have gone on rampage across many rural communities in Nigeria slaughtering many and razing down entire villages, Nigerians have collectively experienced what it feels like to live in a country where non-state actors have become so emboldened and so powerful that they compete for power and resources with the government.

To trace the history of insecurity in Nigeria is no mean task given how complicated that history is. But it is worth mentioning that even before terrorism became such a burning issue in Nigeria about a decade ago, the country had experienced the everyday crimes that are common in countries.

However, what the handling of those crimes and the criminals who perpetrated them showed about Nigeria for a long time before terrorism tore its way to the front burner was that the country`s crime fighting facilities were whipped out of the stone age.

Nigeria`s inability to tackle simple crimes and criminals was a genuine source of concern before terrorism bulldozed its way to the top of the catalogue of chilling crimes. These days, that failure is being cruelly highlighted in many ways.

 Faith or nonchalance

  It is difficult to decipher how much Nigerians value their own lives even as it has become obvious that life is Nigeria is as cheap as it can get anywhere.

In recent times, terrorist attacks have rocked many parts of the country, yet, for the most part, many Nigerians act as if the threat is not an urgent one.

Residents of the Federal Capital Territory were recently put on high alert following   the warnings issued by some foreign countries to their citizens in Nigeria about planned attacks on the city.

The Nigerian government was quick to dismiss the reports as unverified and misleading and with the days having failed to confirm the worst fears, people  have since  dropped their guards or was it that they had no guard at all?

Yet, security remains everyone`s responsibility. No country can grow in an atmosphere of insecurity.  What makes insecurity especially so ugly is the fact that it affects practically everything and extracts an incalculable cost on people and places.

One of the most costly effects of insecurity is that it brings up an entire army of those who cry wolf and profit from same as their phony but panicked cries of alarm fuel the fear already residual in people attuned to fear by the circumstances and conditions around them.

This atmosphere of uncertainty often leads to costly mistakes. It also often gives governments a convenient cover under which to engage their most deleterious and dictatorial tendencies.

As insecurity continues to sweep the country ahead of crucial elections next year, Nigerans must resolve to hold accountable those who by law are supposed to guarantee their safety.

If the alarms of insecurity tolling in the Federal Capital Territory as well as in other places across the country are to be silenced, Nigerians must see themselves as partners in the water-tight security of their country.

Kene Obiezu,

Twitter: @keneobiezu

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