By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana and former Governor of Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa have warned President Muhammadu Buhari to take pragmatic steps in tackling wanton insecurity and ethnicity brewing in the country as the nation is already heading towards anarchy.
A statement issued by the duo on Sunday said amid the cacophony of ethnic and regional voices, it was imperative that pan-Nigerian voices should be heard louder than ever before to save Nigeria from disintegration, saying that the symptoms of the brewing socio-political crisis were manifest.
They said the Nigerian state had failed to tackle the worsening insecurity plaguing every part of the country, stressing that Nigeria was increasingly being defined by insecurity, as killings had become almost a daily affair in Nigeria.
“Terror attacks, banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery are perpetrated by criminals with reckless abandon. In practical terms, no part of Nigeria is immune to violent crimes, although the incidence might be relatively higher in one part than the other at this time. Tragic news of lives wasted issues from the north and south, east and west.
“In response to the flourishing crimes in the face of the worrisome incompetence of the state, ethnic and regional champions have resorted into the dangerous ethnic profiling and demonisation of others. It is the reign of hate speech and marketing of prejudice. Claiming to speak for “our people,” they issue irresponsible ultimatums and orders for which they lack constitutional authority to enforce. Some of those who are supposed to act as statesmen at this critical hour have instead joined the ranks of issuers of prejudicial statements.
“The appropriate response to these sectional voices is not to glibly question the patriotism of any person or group. The effective response is to compel the Nigerian state under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari to perform the constitutional duty of keeping Nigeria secure. Nigeria must not be turned into a killing field. The way to take the wind out of the sails of merchants of hate is for the government to confront the worsening insecurity in Nigeria squarely and honestly,” they said.
According to Falana and Musa, law enforcement and other security agencies should fight crimes competently and strictly according to the law and that in doing so, the ethnic and religious identity of the criminal was not of any importance, as ethnic and religious profiling could distract from the urgent task of stamping out crimes.
“The truth is that every ethnic and religious group has its own share of criminals. We must separate crimes from prejudice so that criminals could be fought with a unity of purpose as a nation. It is also an indisputable fact that the victims of criminal activities belong to the various ethnic grounds and religions. We are convinced that the urgency of the situation should compel the Buhari administration to rethink its internal security strategy by considering some of the patriotic suggestions from conferences and panels set up by government in the last few years.
“In our view, another conference (by whatever name) may not be coming up anything new given that the Nigerian condition is akin to an emergency. The police and other security agencies should be equipped and organised to perform their duty in the light of the new dimensions of insecurity.”
According to them, the justice system, especially in the states should be alert to their responsibility of diligent and swift prosecution of arrested suspected criminals, saying that it was the duty of the respective attorneys-general in the affected states to prosecute suspected killers, kidnappers and armed robbers.
“All the tiers of government have responsibilities for security, working in unison. If the degeneration in the Nigerian condition is not halted, the nation may descend into anarchy. Doubtless, the poor people will bear the brunt of such an avoidable disaster. We, therefore, call on President to rally the country around a national purpose of security everywhere in Nigeria as the constitution demands.
“This leadership duty should be in words and action. The President should address the nation specifically for the purpose of giving assurance of his commitment to the unity of Nigeria amidst adequate security. It is also the duty of genuine lovers of peace, freedom and development of Nigeria to speak up in order to save the nation from descent of anarchy. It is time that pan-Nigerian voices are heard loud and clear,” they added.