Nigerians: A People Trapped Between A “Government” And The Bandits

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Apparently, these bandits have no regards for Nigerian government. They neither respect Tinubu nor are they afraid of him. It seems they do not believe he even exists. They behave as if government does not exist in Nigeria. If government exists, in their thinking, it is in hibernation mode. It is functionless, if not useless. The pain Nigerians are going through on daily basis is harrowingly undescribable. Many have died, not because they were attacked by bandits but because they were victims of Tinubu’s iron fist policies that are completely bereft of human feelings.
The primary purpose of government is to protect lives and property and make things easy for the governed. Our government has glaringly failed us on this. So, to many Nigerians, governance seems to have been suspended in Nigeria. That, therefore, creates a vacuum. And because nature abhors vacuum, bandits now play the role of government. But also because they (bandits) think the Nigerian government they replaced was/is merciless, their mercilessness towards their victims knows no bounds.

To cite some recent cases from among scores of unreported cases. Just few days ago, a professor from Usman Danfodiyo University was killed by bandits. A lecturer at the Federal University Dutsinma in Katsina State was killed right inside his house while his two children were abducted. A female judge was kidnapped in Kaduna State including her four children. The eldest of the children was reportedly killed even as they make demand of N300 million ransom. This is the sad fate of Nigerians. If government policies did not kill you, bandits are there waiting to do the killing.

The mother of a famous musician in the North, Rarara, is also presently in bandits’ custody. The ransom demanded for her release is N900 million. Many see it as a comeuppance for the musician who is a chronic praise singer of the government because it lines his pocket while it (the government) threw millions of Nigerians into simmering poverty. If Rarara deserves no pity because he is unprincipled—as many think—and because his songs are insensitive to the pains of the masses, his mother deserves our pity and prayers.

That is why some Nigerians who still believe government exists could hardly tell the difference between government and bandits. They both inflict unmeasurable harm on the human specie called Nigerians.

But observing Nigerian government and bandits critically, one can see some differences in their manners of inflicting harm. While bandits kidnap Nigerians physically, take them to the bush, inflict bodily pain on them, and kill those who could not pay ransom, our government—which we elected—kidnap our present and our future, our conscience and our hope, our humanity and our essence.

If the controversial Samoa Agreement—signed by Tinubu government—truly compels Nigerian government to support the agitations by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT), it means this government has also kidnapped (or about to kidnap) our morality and our religion. I hope our clerics will wake up. Some have started kicking. We must all kick against it.

Again, while bandits selectively prey on their victims, the government makes no exceptions. Some still believe banditry is a northern thing, though that is not always true. What is undoubtedly true is that every Nigerian knows that the soul-snatching-proverty engineered by Tinubu’s policies is a Nigerian thing. It is all over. As Tinubu is dealing with the Hausa and the Fulani in the North, he does not spare the Yuraba and the Ibo in the South.

While victims of bandits can pay ransom and be set free if they are lucky, ours is a government that cannot be paid ransom (or so I think) to get relief—even if temporarily. Cost of living keeps deepening as the government insists on paying killing wage to workers who politely ask for minimum living wage. Government is not willing to abate our pains nor is it willing to protect lives.

Despite the fact that bandits are generally known for kidnapping humans (Nigerians) like savages in the primitive age, they at times grant protection to whom they wish and to whom they choose to protect. Is it not funny that bandit leaders, not Nigerian government, are looked up to for protection in some parts of the country?
The notorious bandit leader, Dogo Gide, recently promised to grant protection to farmers who would like to farm in some parts of Zamfara. Farmers cannot express their happiness. If it were President Tinubu or Zamfara State Governor that offers them protection, they would have expressed skepticism. They would be enveloped in fear. They would have asked: “can Nigerian government really protect us?” But here is Gide—a bandit—proposing to protect them. They trust him that he can protect them. This is unfortunate. He urged villagers and farmers to return to their farms without any fear of abduction. This proposal has reportedly brought temporary relief to farmers in the areas under Gide’s control (or if you like call it Gide’s territory or dominion).

For those of us under Tinubu’s territory, when shall we have a relief? We are trapped between a government that only exists to inflict pain and merciless bandits, where do we run to? We should, of course, run to God. But each time I am confronted with statement like “God will not come down to change things for us, we must be the change agents even as we run to God,” I become speechless.
As we always supplicate in times of fear like this, let’s do it again. May The Almighty rescue all those in kidnappers’ den, forgive the deceased, and console the bereaved. May He liberate the rest of us from the captivity and jackboots of our rulers who are determined to punish us just because we elected them to govern us. Ameen.

Abdulkadir Salaudeen
salahuddeenabdulkadir@gmail.com

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