By Frank Tietie
Why would the security forces of a country that are expected to protect every part of it choose to lock down a highway and abandon innocent travellers to the mercy of merciless terrorists?
Firstly, the right to freedom of movement of the Nigerian citizens was taken away by that easy choice by the security forces to lock down a highway instead of providing security for it.
Also, it is irresponsible for the security forces to fail in their state duty to protect the right to life of innocent Nigerians who were knowingly abandoned in Auno Village by the military being aware that those innocent, hardworking and troubled travellers like many other Nigerians, are open to terrorists’ attacks for being stranded in the village because they could not enter Maiduguri town that night owing to a curfew. That the travellers were late should not have been a basis for punishing them with deprivation of state security.
I know this country Nigeria with the characteristics of its leaders and people. One of the things I know about us is that we have a very poor estimation of the value of human life. That is why we don’t believe in building a society with enduring institutions and structures that are established on the foundation of compliance to law. That is why we lack the spirit of love for the human being, which ultimately drives human progress and the pursuit for improved living conditions that preserve life, generally.
I don’t know how and when we lost it as a country but I can blame Nigeria’s present malaise on set patterns of selfish and divisive politics which have come to define us as a people who are without love for one another. Our leadership, at many levels, lacks the culture of responsibility to give protection to human rights and provision of order with security for its own people. That is why corruption has become prevalent.
These patterns of irresponsibility have increasingly made us so consumed with the exploitation of one another that we have truly lost the sense of common humanity. We appear not to care about building an enduring society that we would call our own for now and in the future. We care less about nation building and this is sad.
We as Nigerians are losing it fast. We don’t seem to know even the essence of living anymore. We live for the moment, for the here and now. We now appear contented to be existing to cater to immediate needs and thankful that we Lucky to be alive.
We have been a predominantly and morbidly selfish people over the years and now it is time for us to reap what we have sown, for there are usually consequences for adopting these unprogressive patterns of national life.
We have debasingly employed ethnicity and religion in scrambling for resources to survive, instead of being committed to a national ethos of honest work, merit and preservation of life in an atmosphere of peace and progress.
When we first began these short cuts to sociopolitical life, little did we know that the negative consequences would become so devastating and spiral out of control.
That explains why we took up positions in public service and are only concerned and consumed with the perks and benefits of the office without commensurate commitment in discharging the responsibilities that are attached to those offices.
Ask many Nigerians, both rich and poor, the high and the low and they will tell you that hope in this country is quite forlorn.
Sincerely, I think it is most irresponsible of the military to have imposed a lock down on a highway and chose to punish the travellers who could not comply by abandoning them to die in gruesome attacks by boko haram terrorists.
We hardly address issues of irresponsibility as a government and people. That is why we should expect more irresponsible acts from state actors in Nigeria.
Again, I commend the Governors of the South West of Nigeria for establishing the Amotekun security outfit. Those Governors are in touch with reality.
We do not yet know what has befallen us since 2009, in the emergence of boko haram and the menacing era of marauding kidnappers and criminal groups that have continued to unleash mayhem on the Nigerian people. We are losing it and may lose it all unless something drastic is done. There should be no pretensions about this. We are in a state of emergency!
Therefore, I now join many other Nigerians in the call for a total overhaul of the leadership of the Nigerian military by not only sacking the service chiefs but to ensure the probe of all those military commanders who have exhibited unprofessional acts of irresponsibility that have led to the avoidable loss of human life.
Indeed, not one more Nigerian life should again be lost to state irresponsibility to protect its own citizens from avoidable terrorists’ attacks.
▪ Tietie, a human rights lawyer and Executive Director, Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER),
writes from Abuja
Auno attack is further reason why Service Chiefs must go!
By Frank Tietie