In a space of just two days last week, 23 #travellers heading to
#Kaduna were burnt alive in a #commercial bus at Sabon Birni, #Sokoto
#State. No fewer than 15 worshipers killed as they prayed in a
mosque at Ba’are #village, #Mashegu Local #Government Area of Niger
A #Commissioner in the service of Katsina State, Dr Rabe Nasir was
gruesomely murdered in his own house located at Fatima Shema Quarters in Katsina city, while a housewife identified only as Salamatu, was killed as bandits abducted six others during a raid at
Piri community in Kwali Area Council of Abuja.
Welcome to northern Nigeria, circa 2021, where life has seemingly
lost its value, under a President voted en masse five times by the
The commissioner was stabbed several times until he died. A 30-
year-old woman watched as her mother, four children, an uncle, a
nephew, and a niece, all burnt to ashes. She died too a few days
later. Their attackers, of course, watched in delight as they burn.
#Vanguard #journalist, Salem, buried in Benue amidst tears The #North is bleeding but many seem not to care But the horror and barbarism of these killings is only one thing.
The frequency with which these gruesome killings occur and recur is
The Sultan of #Sokoto and #President-#General of the #Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji #Muhammad Sa’ad #Abubakar III, summed up the sorrow and grief-stricken mood
of the region and the nation, when he said, shortly after these
events, that, “if I continue talking about the insecurity in the North,
we will not leave this room…
There is no single day that passes without people being killed in the
North especially in the North West now, but we don’t hear it,” even
as bandits continue to kill and maim in part of Katsina State and
elsewhere in the North.
But beyond the blood-thirstiness of the attackers, the unending recurrence of their gruesome attacks, and the helplessness and haplessness of the victims, it is the seeming unwillingness and disinterest of the highest authority in the land to even show some concern that grates the most.
What more needs to happen before President Buhari would show that he cares? What more needs to happen before the President would genuinely demonstrate that he feels the silent anguish of hundreds of communities and thousands of citizens everywhere across the north and the country at large?
Only a few years ago President Buhari too bemoaned these very
events, even when they occurred at a much lower scale than now,and that his bemoaning them was part of the very reason he was elected to the presidency to solve them. It is the very people who
lined up under the rain and shine to cast their votes for him to
become president—at the fourth time of asking—who are routinely #killed, maimed or taxed by bandits and terrorists of all hue under his
Votes and elections are expressions of hope. When has mass death
become the reward for voting a candidate or party to power? And
yet, President Buhari has scarcely seen it fit to visit the families of
the victims or the leaders of the communities affected, to at least
demonstrate compassion and solidarity with them, if not to lead a
counter-offensive against the terrorists as a Commander-in-Chief.
True, the President dispatched a high-level delegation of military,
police and intelligence chiefs to two of the states affected, but he
himself was, of course, in attendance at a book launch of a party
chieftain in Lagos.
We do not deem the delegation less worthy, but the President’s
own priorities, at such a sad period for many Nigerian families, is not only of the poorest judgment imaginable, but amounts to a clear
indication that he does not care enough about the lives of those killed or maimed. Yet, even the poor judgment itself and the logical conclusion it leaves in the minds of many are themselves merely
part of a set pattern.
Whenever bandits strike with murderous fury at communities in Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara, Niger or Sokoto states, or elsewhere across mostly northern Nigeria, the president’s response is easily predicted.
He would announce, usually on his Facebook page, that he has directed the police and military chiefs to do more, and then wait for the next attack to regurgitate the same comments. This sends only one clear message: the President is not responsive to tragedy of
ordinary Nigerians, especially if those are from the north. And it is
this flippant and dismissive attitude to the sufferings of people
across the north that many find most grating and unacceptable
That much has been said by many ordinary Nigerians, on social media as well any other channels available to them. Perhaps the only thing left to be said is that the president must recognize that this is not a problem that neither he nor his government can wish
away. His reluctance to engage directly with it and with the communities affected in order to find a lasting solution would not make the problem go away.
As it has evolved in the past decade or so, what we call ‘banditry’ in
northern Nigeria today is an amalgam of many complex issues, among them high levels of poverty and unemployment in the region,deeply entrenched feelings of past dispossession and exclusion,climate change, and above all, a near complete break-down of law and moral order in society. We are not oblivious of the difficulties to
Yet, we are aware, and wish to remind President Buhari today, that
no one in Nigeria is better positioned than he is in helping to find a
lasting solution to them; certainly no one has put himself forward
with tears in his eyes in one failed attempt to boot—more frequently
and vigorously than he did.
Therefore, the obligation is just as personal as official, or should be,
to move the president to personally take charge of the counter-offensive against terrorists, in the north or elsewhere in the country.
Force alone will not be enough. But it is a truism that where there is
the will there is a way.
The #President will find all the ways once he #first musters the will to say ‘not under my watch would Nigerian life
lose its value’. Otherwise, history will remember because that is