Banditry and Kidnapping: of Rising Insecurity and Politicking with Crimes in the Country
By: Etudaye Musa Abdulazeez

Martin Luther King once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Sad to know that, 52 years after his death, the meaning of these words is manifesting in us practically negatively.

Many Nigerians have continued to show real concern for the ever-rising insecurity and ravaging rate of crimes in the country. But to say that we are all surprised at once, will be a huge pretense if not highly hypocritical. This is because we Nigerians become more concerned about the negativity of issues only when they affect us personally or when we are gripped by a very close threat. Other than that, we all either hide in the shell of politicking, religious bigotry, unnecessary cultural or tribal differences, while we leave others to suffer.

In recent weeks, we have seen a huge rise in the rate of insecurity and crimes in the country Particularly in the North. Unlike the previous years where one or two particular crimes or sects, Boko Haram Insurgency and the Farmer-Herder clashes were seen as the two major insecurity issues threatening the country, today, issues of rape, kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and more are extremely claiming many lives, crippling the economy of the country, sinking the whole nation into a state of perpetual anxiety and making headlines like never before.

Many intellectuals, writers, and researchers have done their best to examine and identify some of the various causes of crimes and insecurity in the country. Some of the majorly and continuously identified causes include poverty, injustice, illiteracy, tribal or ethnocultural and religious differences, lack of good governance amongst others.

However, amidst all these, one other big mistake we make is the act of politicking with issues that especially, deserve our togetherness in combating. We are always quick to politick with issues that demand our unanimous protest. We tend to do this by remaining silent, satirical, showing lack of concern, or even expressing our public delightfulness over them as long as we or our region is not affected.

Politics could be all about interest. But its essence according to many studies and many definitions is to serve as a viable platform that enables every nation to thrive and achieve their development goals through a constant expression of interest, ideas, and opinions that transform into such development goals by the citizens. In Nigeria however, the reverse is the case. Our politicians and leaders play with our lives and painfully, we the youths ignorantly join in doing so. They have turned the country into a test lab for their political and selfish reasons. Most especially to dominate and control major resources in the country.

For example, the Boko Haram Insurgency in the Northeast is a national issue that deserves our togetherness to fight it. But hardly, will a politician from the Western part of the country make an effort to help in combating the issue. They know election will always come and the issue will be best for them to use as a counter-campaign against their Northern opponents. Therefore they remain silent about it. Niger-Delta Militant in the South-South is also a national issue that deserves our unanimous voice on how to combat it to leverage our resources that are sabotaged. In this, many of the Northern leaders are silent because it will be a plus for them to have an edge over their Southern opponents during campaigns. And continuously, it happens in this way with other politicians from other regions of the country.

Sadly enough, the majority of youths in the country have joined this tradition and are sustaining the tempo of politicking with everything and even worse than the politicians do. For instance, a Northern youth can be quick to judge a rape case from the Eastern region by the mode of dressing. A Western youth is quick to judge an attack or a massacre in the Northern region by the Almajiri system in the North. And I ask? Are all these not national issues? Do we not experience killings and rape cases in all regions of the country?

Some of these issues could be regional before, but our miscalculation and negligence in prioritizing issues that matter have made them national. We seem not to care much about the rape until we now experience it behind our windows. We were negligent about killings in some parts of the country until it’s becoming an every day something in almost all out streets. Students can no longer go to the universities they want. Graduates are afraid to choose the state they would have loved to serve or even work. Yet, we all seem to have ignorantly lost our sense of prioritizing what will be best for our dear nation. By this, one could presumably say that the country is moving towards a state of utter hopelessness.

No society can be without challenges. That’s why there is leadership. The purpose of leadership is, however, to create a system that will serve as a strong force in making and implementing policies that will mitigate such challenges thereby, empowering the society with a good atmosphere that fosters development.

In the same vein, the citizens especially, the youths of any nation are resourceful energies for a greater future. Youthfulness gives a better chance to think and solve problems bedeviling the society. So, there is an urgent need for our leaders and youths to desist from politicking with every situation and begin to serve in the capacity of problem solvers through one voice. Youths should engage in a peaceful protest against the ills in society no matter what the causes are should be done unanimously to achieve quick responses or changes.

To cap it all, as a dear friend once wrote, “Unless all of us believe, wholeheartedly, that each of us is all of us, peace will remain a mirage.”

Etudaye Musa Abdulazeez is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He writes from Kano and can be reached via [email protected]

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