State at war with itself

The primary responsibilities of a state include security of life and properties of its citizens, protection of their rights and reconciliation of differences that naturally exist between groups. The task of the state is made relatively easy because of its monopoly of coercive use of force. But the Nigerian state has in the last 14 years been hijacked by PDP war lords, and their militias including the Niger Delta militants, Boko Haram, state sponsored assassins and ‘kidnappers for rituals and kidnappers for ransom’. The state which is today at war with itself because PDP and its gangs thrive more under anarchy, has lost its invincibility.

We spent about a billion dollars a day on security. But it is with grief and deep sense of shame we watch 12 ill-equipped police officers allegedly deployed by the state to provide security for a repentant militant gang leader burying his mother in the creeks of the Niger Delta, brutally murdered, bodies burnt and remains buried in shallow grave by a rival gang. Several days later, no arrest has been made.

In Bama, Borno State, Boko Haram militants freely moved around setting police stations on fire, and liberating jailed criminals from prisons. From there they moved unchallenged into a military barracks where they were finally repelled but not without a harvest of 55 deaths.

Barely 24 hours later, the scene shifted to Elakyo, near Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital. An ill-conceived mission to “arrest members of Ombatse, cult including their priest, Baba Alakyo, reputed to have “ mysterious powers which could make him vanish into thin air within seconds” left over 60 ill-trained and ill-equipped police officers packed like sardines in nine vehicles murdered. We have not been told anyone has been arrested.

Before these latest national embarrassments, Boko Haram had bombed the Abuja United Nations building, the Abuja police headquarters, churches, mosques, markets, motor parks, police stations and military college in Zaria killing scores of highly trained military officers. The president himself had relocated all his official public activities from the Abuja national stadium to the presidential palace. The harvest of deaths arising from Boko Haram’s mindless indiscriminate killings is put at about 3,000.

The truth is that Nigeria is at war with itself. It is now an open secret that the ex- Niger Delta governors gave political, economic and intellectual backing to the Niger Delta militants. It is also on record that the Obasanjo administration funded and armed a faction of the Niger Delta militant groups. His successor, the late president Yar’Adua granted amnesty and gave huge state resources in form of bribe to known enemies of the state

We now also know, courtesy the Financial Times of London how President Jonathan has been empowering PDP sponsored enemies of the state with state money. Leading members of the groups were awarded multi-billion dollar contracts to secure of our water ways and protect oil pipelines while the navy remained under-funded and ill-equipped. And as for Boko Haram insurgency, we also have it on the authority of late General Owoye Azazi, former National Security Adviser to President Jonathan that Boko Haram was a product of PDP’s gang war.

By sponsoring and sustaining lawless armed gangs, PDP undermines the role of the state as a neutral arbiter that guarantees ordered society through laws and rules. This is perhaps because PDP buccaneers thrive more under anarchy. The president himself became a PDP candidate by subverting his party’s zoning policy as enshrined in their constitution. He overcame resistance from political rivals from his geo-political zone such as Timipre Sylva, the former governor of Bayelsa and Rotimi Amaechi, the embattled governor of Rivers by abusing the spirit of the laws.

We have seen manifestation of an abuse of the spirit of the law by the persecution of Justice Isa Salami for ruling against PDP’s serial election riggers, government’s handling with kid gloves, the children of PDP big-wigs who should be in jail for allegedly stealing billions from the state, the non-prosecution of criminals indicted by various probes but who instead of returning the loot they took from the state, are now scrambling to buy private jets and armoured cars. We can add the indicted PDP chieftains who have gone ahead to become senators or have been granted state pardons to give them an opportunity to contest for election into the senate in 2015. These are all manifestations of a state of anarchy.

Other manifestations of PDP conspiracy against the state finds expression even in the policy thrust of successive PDP governments. The minister of finance for instance is an influential member of a government that awarded multi-billion dollar contract to sworn enemies of the state-repentant militants, to secure our water ways and guard our oil pipe lines.

But two weeks back, the minister told the international community in far away New York that Nigeria was losing about 400,000 barrels of fuel to bunkerers in the Delta creeks resulting in the loss of about N1trillion, a quarter of our annual budget.

Lamido Sanusi the CBN governor and chief executor of government monetary policies that have contributed to loss of job in the banking sector was lamenting about loss of jobs in spite of noticeable growth in the economy. The president on whose table the buck ends echoed the same sentiments a few days later.

Granted the problem of unemployment which economists predicted when we swallowed the IMF pill under Babangida was not Jonathan’s making, but his reluctance to bring to book those indicted for the derailment of the privatization and commercialization IMF inspired policy that failed to generate the projected seven million jobs make him culpable.

While some of those involved in this assault on Nigerians are either part of government as advisers, ministers, contractors or lawmakers, government has maintained a criminal silence on the recommendations that some of the companies be returned to the state.

The President and PDP decide who the enemies of the state are. By actions of the party and the body language of the president, they don’t seem to include those who allegedly stole privately raised funds in aid of a better equipped police, those who derailed the multi-billion naira ID card project twice and are now awarding another set of contracts; and those who colluded with a Chinese firm to rip Nigerians of billions from ill-executed Abuja and Lagos CCTV multi-billion naira project.

On the other hand, people like Nuhu Ribadu who put Tafa Balogun, the former IG in chains, forced him to regurgitate the billions of police equipment and welfare funds he stole; made him account for his sins against his people after rejecting his $15million bribe is enemy of the state. Consequently, the late President Yar’Adua, Jonathan and Okiro, the then IG demoted Ribadu, retired him and chased him out of the country. But Okiro has been compensated for being a friend of the state by being recycled back as the new chairman of the Police Service Commission. The president and PDP action is a bizarre demonstration of a state against itself.

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