I see the vapid and tepid response of the Buhari administration to the slew of juvenile abductions as the prodrome of elite bias. Yes, the proportion of response a challenge receives is metered by the social estate of those affected. This is how best I can conceptualise the impotence of the government in the face of the criminal harvesting of children for merchandise by bandits.
The situation has never been this parlous, sickening, helpless, and hopeless. Nigeria has organically evolved into a Hobessian society. Everyone has become a potential victim. Every day, news of kidnapping, mass killings, and sacking of villages hit national consciousness. No end in sight. We are all like sitting ducks waiting for our turn at inevitable torment.
Just a few days ago, 27 schoolboys were kidnapped from their dormitory at Government Science College, Kagara, Niger state. The kids have been in the dragon’s lair for about a week now, yet there seems to be no urgency for their rescue. Abubakar Bello, Niger state governor, accused the government of inertia. In fact, he said the Buhari administration abandoned the state to its fate.
The governor’s words: ‘’At the moment we have not seen any federal support here since this incident occurred. Yes, we had a delegation that came to commiserate with us, but we are left to ourselves." Tragic! Tragic! Tragic!
What makes the present situation very depressing is that it appears we learnt nothing from previous incidents. From the Chibok girls’ abduction, Dapchi girls’ kidnapping, Kankara schoolboys snatching, and now to Kagara and Jangebe schoolchildren capture. Nothing learnt. This sanguinary wheel keeps spinning, plucking schoolchildren, but the government seems to have the lost spanner to stop it. Who is the next victim? Where next? Is this what we have to live through? Is this what we have to endure?
Over 300 kids who elect to get an education in a region where there are over 10 million out of school children abducted in the dead of night. Sad! Sad! Sad!
I am pained. Depressed. Confused and listless. Those kids living through ephialtes could be of any of us. The school, which should be a safe haven for children, has become a sanctuary of horror. The abductors of the Kagara schoolboys have threatened to starve them to death. How much traumatic can it get?
Have we not failed as a people if we cannot secure our children? Nigeria has failed the Kagara schoolboys and all other victims of sinister capture.
Perhaps, President Buhari has not received the memo. Perhaps, he is walled off by the fortress and ramparts of Aso Villa. Or maybe, he is fiddling while Nigeria is taken over by bandits. Just maybe. Nowhere is safe.
The country is under siege. From the Federal Capital Territory to Kaduna, Niger state, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Abia, Oyo, Ondo, Osun, Kogi, Katsina and Sokoto bandits reign unchecked.
If the president really takes the present security challenge with gravitas, then he will spare no effort to declare a state of emergency on security; suspend what needs to be suspended and mobilise all resources to take back the country from these freebooters.
We cannot ride on the train, if we get killed. We cannot even drive on the roads being constructed and rehabilitated because bandits are laying siege on them.
Security comes first.
I hope the president acts now.
Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist