BANDITRY AND LACK OF SOCIAL JUSTICE: THE NORTH MUST LOOK INWARD FOR SOLUTION.
Lest we forget!
One of the greatest achievement of the current government was the decimating of the Boko Haram insurgency. We all hail the government severally for this achievement, but unfortunately this achievement is being reversed with an equally terrible insecurity of BANDITRY and kidnapping in the Northwest. Sadly also even the Boko Haram insurgency is slowly returning in the Northeast, picketing some soft targets of attacks..
A government that is recently insisting on compulsorily observing social distancing in the country because of the notorious ravaging Corona virus (Covid19), is visibly having difficulty in providing the Social Justice that is needed by it’s populace. You will agree with me that in Nigeria now the gap between the haves and haves- not is daily widening at a very alarming rate. In fact the issue of middle class in Nigeria is erased, according to the world poverty index, our country had since overtaken India in terms of poverty and number of poor people, this is both shocking and scary. In the world over, if such thing happened, you naturally expect the rise of crime rate, and this is exactly what is happening in Nigeria.
Like I said at the beginning of my write-up when Boko Haram was decimated new crimes and Criminals evolved, and I think this happened because we did not holistically attack the root cause of the Boko Haram, which the major aspect was Poverty. Yes, Poverty was the major player that nourished Boko Haram insurgency. The so-called sponsors of the Boko Haram insurgents took the advantage of the poverty level of our people to lure most of the insurgents to take part in what we now seem to have to live with. May Almighty Allah subdue all the insecurity in my country, Amin.
What is BANDITRY and how did we got here?
Banditry is a type of organized crime committed by outlaws typically involving the threats or violence. It is normally done in a group but can be done by individuals. It can be a robbery, arson and even murders.
A Bandit is the person that is involved in banditry.
How did we got here?
Yeah, this is the big question, I think so many reasons contributed to what we are witnessing today, things like:
- Failure of our security system
- Failure of the government at the center
- Lack of social justice.
These I will discuss them in details some other time, but as for now I will summarize them in the article.
What is Social Justice?
Social Justice means Justice in distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges within a society. It is a concept of a relationship between the individual and society, as measured by the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges.
Now The Big Question is; How do we connect these two? How are they related?
Before I answer the above question, let me deviate a little to some very recent happenings.
Last 2 days the BH boys went to Gubio in Maiduguri and massacred 86 innocent people of that community. Even the President was shocked!
About 3 or 4 days ago also some bandits almost wiped some villages in Katsina State, more than 36 people were killed, some females were raped and many were kidnapped.
In Zamfara and Kebbi States these Banditry acts are almost daily happenings, it went to such extent that the villagers normally pay to live in peace. And sadly also, most of the Bandits carry these their dastardly acts in broad daylight. It is so unfortunate that these are happening in a government that we worked so hard and believed so much in to solve all these kind of resurgences.
Let me also remind us with a tweet from the current President’s Twitter handle in 2015 before he became the President:
” We cannot be the country that loses the essence of our humanity, the meaning of empathy. Nigerians are dying everyday due incompetence.”
….PMB tweet 2015.
I wonder what we can call what is happening now.
Coming back to the topic for today, if Social Justice is Justice in distribution of wealth, opportunities and social privileges, then it means if these are not carried out, then there will oppression and dissatisfaction within the society which will result to confrontation in some cases and even violence by the oppressed, and other social vices that our society may not contain, just like what is happening now in some parts of the North.
As it is now there is the general feelings that only some few people are being favored and in most cases the masses that this government is always saying to be championing their cause are feeling being neglected and dejected, as such are to every extent feeling disappointed with the government that they lose sleep to installed. The people feel they are totally disconnected from the center because they are left to cater for themselves. For example, the government closed borders for the importation of rice and wheat in order to encourage our local farmers, unfortunately in many local governments of the Northwest, the farmers cannot visit their farms because of BANDITRY and Bandits. In many cases, the farmers have to pay Bandits some certain amount of money in order to allow them to go to their farms in their own localities. It is so sad and unfortunate that these things are happening in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
To be candid I always feel ashamed of myself if I remember all these things that they are truly happening. So sad, so shocking.
Truly, as it is now there is no social justice, especially in the North and there is why Criminals and criminality are on the increase almost on daily basis. The Bandits nowadays no longer hide their identities, they operate at anytime they wish to, they have no fear for anything because the security system seems to have collapsed, or at best is been compromised. The Bandits will write letters in advance to communities that they will visit at so so time and they will visit, operate for hours without interruption and get away with it. They will kill their targets in multiple but no one will be held responsible for that.
This is the sad reality that we are into. The people that were killed and are still being killed due to banditry, kidnappings and Boko Haram are in thousands, but yet there was no time that a national emergency was declared to that aspect, and there is no security personnel that has so far been punished because of negligence of duty or something like that due to these killings of mostly ordinary people. But look at how Covid19 or Corona virus is given national attention. Up to today there was no day that Corona virus killed 20 people in a day but just last 2 days about 86 people were killed in a single attack.. In fact the total number of death due to Covid19 is still less than 300 people, this is the number of death in may be 2 or at most 3 attacks of Bandits or BH boys, yet the country was shutdown for weeks because of Covid19 and more than N500 billion was earmarked to fight a virus that we cannot visibly see, I am not sure that this huge amount of money can be accounted for. Just imagine if this amount is holistically invested in fighting the Bandits?
The North must look inward for solution:
There is really a fundamental issue here. It is so obvious that the center is not holding and may not easily find an immediate solution to these dastardly acts even though it is one of our own that is at the helm of affairs, in view of this, the North must come together, put aside their religious differences and tribal sentiments, to work together and close the gaps that exist between the haves and haves-not, reconnect between the highs and the lows, rebuild confidence and trust between the elites and the masses, and fashion out the way to bring the social justice that is now lacking within our society. Unless these measures are taking before we bid this insecurity goodbye.
Our farmers must feel safe and have self confidence when they are in their farms, most of them do not care with what the people in government are doing, what they are only after is to feel secured in their farmlands, because that is what they know best, and that is the only thing they need from the government. They don’t even know and they seemed to not want to know about the looting and the Looters in government. What they only know as the existence of government is the serene environment of their farmlands, if this can be guaranteed, then they won’t ask for anything else. The Northern elites must find a way of balancing these, we must provide the purposeful leadership that our people need. Our communities and society must get the social justice that they need to function well. We must be mindful of our people’s feelings, and anything short of that, we must know that the time bomb that awaits us has not even started to explode.
May Almighty Allah save Us from Us, Amin ya rabbil alamin.
Kabir Dalha Kabir
Wrote from Kano.