Life at the caprice of unaccountable insecurity
Sir: Kaduna State, especially its southern part, continues to be in the news as the blood of its people continues to pollute their rivers and erode their farmlands. In a sobering lesson on how things can quickly deteriorate, the state which used to be the poster for Nigeria`s diversity and religious tolerance has since caught fire, churning out the toxic smoke that is threatening to suffocate the entire country.
In an appalling irony, the state, home to many Nigerian institutions, including some which train members of the country`s armed forces, has become the haunt of the many lawless criminals who now prowl Nigeria`s northern region from which they seek to take over the whole country. In what has been branded a crisis with religious undertones, many interpret the violent attacks targeted at the predominantly Christian southern Kaduna as the earliest evidence of a carefully designed extermination. While that may be far from the truth, the crises such suspicions generate and are generating are enough to leave Nigeria`s delicate social fabric frayed for a very long time. The causes of the crises are as many as they are convoluted. While some feelers point to religious and ethnic differences, others point to the provocation those cattle rustling rouses. Yet, other fingers are pointed in the direction of a religious agenda which is given teeth by complicit politics.
Yet, time has come for the killings to stop and the killers brought to book. For all those who have directly been in the line of fire of the killers, it is a quest for justice. For the rest of Nigerians, the killings in Kaduna raise veritable questions of justice as well as valid questions about Nigeria`s future.
With everyday that comes around, insecurity in the country goes a notch higher. Rampaging armed robbery used to constitute the worst nightmares of many a Nigerian until Boko Haram rallied to unleash a full campaign of terror against the Nigerian state in 2009. Other merchants of death, obviously emboldened by the tepid response offered by the Nigerian state have since joined the killing frenzy, attacking hapless and helpless Nigerians at will and daring anybody to call them to order. The reports that have come out of Kaduna lately have been truly horrifying. Entire villages have been sacked and scores killed. There have also been countless incidents of kidnapping, some most ending in gruesome murders. A lot of Nigerians have wondered aloud about what the Kaduna state government and the Federal Government are doing to curtail the killings and bring the killers to justice. In this wise, there is the nagging feeling that not enough is being done. There is a feeling that the killers are being spared the full force of the law for utterly incomprehensible reasons. There have been disturbing theories of complicity and acquiescence from the highest quarters. In the face of all these, innocent citizens continue to be slaughtered everyday by killers whose cunning ferocity is overwhelming even the agencies of the Nigerian state. The full weight of the law must be brought to bear in Kaduna State and in all other parts of the country where rampaging criminals are enjoying a field day. All those who enable and condone them must also be brought to justice.
The urgency the situation requires is extreme for Nigeria stands on the verge of being overrun by lawless criminals.
• Kene Obiezu wrote from Abuja.