Lagos — Anthony Kila laments the carnage in Kaduna and calls for urgent action to end the killings.
Dear Readers The terrorist attacks of the past week with the resultant loss of lives, injuries, destructions, disruptions and panic have made it a terrible week for Kaduna State and a sad week for us all. Please join us in praying that the souls of the departed rest in peace and for their loved ones, that they may find the strength to bear their terrible loses. Those are prayers offered to God in heaven with hope and in faith. We, mere mortals on earth, can and must however act, we must take some very practical steps by ourselves right away.
The first thing we can do is to ask ourselves what we can do to help the injured and the bereaved. For the injured we can donate blood, maybe even send money and or volunteer to treat or assist if we have the skills. For the bereaved and those whose loved ones are battling for their lives we can call, visit and offer emotional, financial and logistical support. The latter will include offering to take them to hospitals or elsewhere, helping to take care of their wards and or offering to take charge of their meals.
These are simple things but they go a long way in moments like these. Many more things can be done depending on who one is reaching out to.To discover what needs to and can be done, we however need to care and know: conscience and knowledge.
From our private and individual acts to public and collective intervention, there needs to be clear perception and understanding of what we are dealing with. We the people need to understand that terrorists, regardless of where they come from and irrespective of where they act, when they scare or kill, they scare and kill all of us. Our public office holders, those men and women, that took an oath to, charged with and paid for protecting our lives and properties should in conscience and knowledge examine themselves weigh their acts and make amends. Sadly, this is not the first time a terrorist act will happen in the world and we have had too many of it in Nigeria.
Unlike in other countries, we seem to be numb and overwhelmed here. On the 7th of July 2005 a terrorist attacked was launched against London and the country and indeed the whole world stood still for victims and for the city of London. Everybody and everything were focused on the attack.
We need to rethink what value we place on our lives and properties. The reason why the world stands still when evil happens in other countries is simple: people and leaders of these countries care and show they care about their fellow citizens. In all they do it is clear they understand that the lives and properties of their people matter.
Nigerian leaders are known for their alacrity to send sympathy messages to foreign countries when evil happens to them. They mourn with them and show they care. It is time Nigerian start caring and showing care for the lives and properties of Nigerians.The care citizens can show is different from the care expected from government: Citizens are required to show collaboration, compassion and prudence, government is expected to act and show action. It is from actions of government that the world will know that leaders care about the lives and properties of citizens and that they have the ability to defend country. Let us be clear, no government, no matter how bad or disconnected, delights in seeing its average and anonymous citizens killed, their properties destroyed and their lives disrupted.
Seeing such mayhem unleased must also be a pain for our government. Regardless of what we think of government or where we stand in the political divide, it is rational and logical to admit that not being able to stop the mayhem must therefore be considered sheer incompetence: the inability to successfully deal with a situation and get desired result. When it comes to tangible issues, efforts do not matter, attempts do not cut it, improvement does not give you a pass mark.
You have either solved the problem or not. It is either there are active terrorists or there are none. Records show that so far government has dealt with extraordinary situation in ordinary ways. The result is that those after our lives have become bolder and more vicious. What was called clashes, became banditry and now terrorism, all the while the government has been playing catch up. It is time to have a rethink and up the game. Just like the we urged the government, a long time ago on these pages, to classify bandits as terrorist, today we are asking the government to declare that the country is at war.
We need a war council or cabinet that will coordinate the war against terrorism with the aim of crushing terrorists. No need to understand their plight or negotiate with terrorists again, no need to forgive them anymore, that has failed. Since ammunitions used to kill and scare Nigerians are not made in Nigeria, customs and all those charged to defend our borders will have a huge role to play in the war council.
We thank customs for raising revenues, it is now time for them to save lives. Our secret services should stand up to be counted, terrorists don’t fall from the sky or appear from stones, they are people like us and their actions require elaborate and peculiar planning, let the secret services gather more intelligence that will help foil terrorist operations. We need more services and less secret.
Someone should activate the military and police in all its shades, we have seen them do it at election times, let them do the same to save lives. The state needs to show its might, Nigeria needs to show terrorist and the world that Nigeria is still a State. The only way to do so in these circumstances is to demonstrate legitimate and superior force.
Prof. Kila is Centre Director at CIAPS Lagos.