In the just held National Summit and 4th International Colloquium event that was part of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s 79th celebrations, the twice former ruler of Nigeria blamed the rise of violence, radicalism and insecurity in Nigeria on the failure of homes, schools, churches and mosques.
It is not surprising that someone who has ruled Nigeria for 11 of its 50-something odd years will attempt to absolve himself and the leadership of blame for Nigeria’s extreme violent uniqueness and point the blame to families and religious institutions.
I had just published an article that coincidentally touches the very subject, “In Nigeria Herdsmen Wipe Out Communities Over Cows.” Permit me to quote a relevant portion of it, “It (Nigeria) is not like the rest of the world where the police rush to prevent crimes and invest time and diligence in arresting all perpetrators to be sentenced or killed. In Nigeria murder is considered a low category offense and sometimes an honorable civic duty. Quite often the very State security services are involved, typically sent by the leadership to perpetrate extrajudicial mass murders and massacres–with impunity–thereby setting examples for the citizenry.”
Can Obasanjo deny this? Do Nigerians have the worst parents, churches and mosques in the world that we have and continue to have the worst cases of insecurity, human right abuses, barbaric terrorism and mass massacres?
From the government-tolerated mass killings that led-up to the Biafra saga, to the government massacres during the war, to the Odi military massacre, Zaki Biam military massacres, 2013 military massacre of Baga, and to the Zaria military massacres 1 and 2, what example was set for the people and who was behind the extremism, radicalism and insecurity? So unless the former president is referring to his parents and his church then he is absolutely wrong.
The Council of Foreign Relations, CFR Nigeria Security Tracker pays close attention to this aspect inducing and aiding terror and insecurity. It is called “State actor.” Of the 44,000 terror related deaths in Nigeria since Jonathan entered power, State actor has been implicated in at least 12,000 deaths. By all means, State actor-related deaths are the worst form of terrorism, because the State is actually paid for the very opposite reason–to provide security for life and property and not take it.
So where the State is a genocidal killer itself and where the State remains perpetually corrupt, embezzling the money for providing security advancements able to keep up with population growth and human advancement, and where the State fails to arrest and deal with cases of mass extremist violence and terror by the citizenry as a crime, then who is more to blame, the State or social structures?
Since the advent of Boko Haram, not a single terrorist has been sentenced to death. Recently a pastor who had perhaps killed just one or two people, had his death sentence upheld by the Supreme court. It is therefore peculiar to notice that Boko Haram terrorists including the likes of Kabiru Sokoto, found guilty in the Christmas day bombing that left dozens dead, are rather given life by the Nigerian authorities and not a single terrorist has yet been sentenced to death. Then one asks again, who is to blame in the spate of insecurity and violence? State actors or their parents and churches or mosques?
Through Nigeria’s decades-long history of deadly riots, not a single Nigerian has been sentenced. The recent pro-Buhari riots after the current president lost his contest in 2011 is fresh in mind. Youths committed murder. At least 800 were killed mostly across the north. Not a single perpetrator was arrested by the Jonathan government (that’s Goodluck Jonathan, Obasanjo’s god-son). These murderers still walk the streets and teach others to kill. So whose fault? The same has been the story for all riots in Nigeria’s history. Hundreds of thousands have been killed by such government-tolerated barbarism. As we speak, and as described in my above-mentioned article, the Fulani herdsmen murderers and by all means, murderers among the Agatu, and/or their cow killers, all still walk free. Murderers and criminals left to roam Nigeria freely. Does this happen anywhere else in the world, where killers are left to walk free and kill again and again and teach their children and larger community to kill?
Nigeria does not have the worst parents and holy temples in the world. What we have had since colonization is the worst leaders in the world.
Nigeria’s former president would be well advised to spend his last-days gracefully, away from public discourse. His continued attempts at evading his major culpability are simply ridiculous and quite unhealthy for the nation’s consumption.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah @EveryNigerian