17th February, 2011
Nigeria is fast slipping into the Hobbesian state of nature where life is short, brutish, and nasty. Or how else do we explain the endless killings in Jos, the Plateau State capital with the Federal Government, the state government and even the military task force deployed to the area watching helplessly? It is obvious the killings in Jos are assuming genocidal proportions. The number of those killed has become so alarming that observers have lost count of it.
Entire families have been wiped out by demented religious extremists who stop at nothing to spill the blood of their innocent victims. By now, the Federal Government ought to have declared a state of emergency in Plateau State but no one knows why President Goodluck Jonathan is pussy-footing. Does it mean he is out of touch with what is going on in Jos or that he, as Commander-In-Chief of Nigeriaâ€™s Armed Forces, cannot muster enough courage to deal decisively with the situation? Will he allow it snowball into a conflagration that cannot be contained?
Another indication that the life of a Nigerian counts for nothing was when a policeman shot and killed a pregnant woman and a taxi driver recently in Abuja just because the driver tried to make a U-Turn near a bank the policeman was guarding. The womanâ€™s husband is crying for justice which may never come his way because the authorities donâ€™t place any value on human life.
How about last Saturdayâ€™s tragedy involving the death of 19 people at President Jonathanâ€™s rally in Port Harcourt? Now everybody is shedding crocodile tears for those who died during the stampede. Many believe the incident was caused by overzealous security personnel at the venue of the political rally.
While we commiserate with the families of those who died, we condemn the attitude of security personnel who are so obsessed with protecting their bosses that they trample on the rights of ordinary people.
The Port Harcourt tragedy would have been averted if security personnel did not whip party supporters needlessly at the venue and created panic by shooting into the air.
The number of Nigerians who die on the nationâ€™s bad roads daily also speaks volumes about the contempt our leaders have for the lives of ordinary people. Because they fly planes to their various destinations, the roads could remain death traps for as long as they care.
Nobody is held accountable for the billions of naira budgeted for the repair of these roads yearly as long as the money is shared among the few individuals who call the shots in government.
The high level of insecurity which has left many dead in some parts of the country is also worrisome. This could undermine the forthcoming general elections.
Going by governmentâ€™s feeble response to the crisis in Jos and the Boko Haram attacks in parts of the north, we see a bleak security situation in the coming weeks by the time politicians let loose their attack dogs (thugs) on their political opponents. Problem is, ordinary people may be caught in the crossfire when the do or die politicking begins.