On the 15th June 2014, an improvised explosive devices were discovered on the premises of the Living Faith Bible Church (Winners Chapel) in Owerri, Imo state which later led to the arrest of 486 suspects along Enugu-Portharcourt expressway. Most of the arrested people were said to be fleeing their states of residence to ‘safer locations’.
There has been an increase in the number of people fleeing locations under the siege of the insurgents to ‘safer locations’. The question is: how did we get to the point of living in total fear and to the point of no longer feeling safe in our fatherland? Due to the negligence of the government over the years, history continues to repeat itself. Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo opinion on the brutalization and dehumanization Africans faced during the colonial regime in his book; The Problems of Africa, stated “heredity is an acquired predisposition which is transmitted by the parents to their offsprings. It can be controlled and sublimated; so can environmental influences. To control and sublimate them, they must be candidly recognized and acknowledged”.
History of unrests in the country just like heredity regarding brutalization and dehumanization of Africans is transmittable from generation to generation and unless candidly recognized and acknowledged may be successfully controlled. Our governments have refused to learn from the 31 months of civil war in Nigeria which left over one million civilians dead. They have refused to learn from ‘Maitatsine’ which Boko Haram is said to be an extension of. They have refused to learn from the Odi massacre of 1999 which escalated to high militancy activities in the South South region of the country. Our governments have refused to pay attention to the warning signs all these years. BEGE Ministries estimated that over 100,000 civilians died between 1976 and 2009 due to religious crises.
The monthly sums of civilians’ killing in Nigeria due to crises according to PITF Atrocities Event database rose above 500 in February 2014. From Nigeria Security Tracker: acharts produced by the Africa Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, the cumulative deaths of people caused by the religious extremist (boko haram)from September 2011 to around March 2014 was about 20,940.
Religious strife continues to be one of the major sources of unrests in Nigeria. At the beginning of the operation of the popular religious extremists’ group (Boko Haram), they disguised as an Islamic religious’ group fighting Christians, they operated successfully on the lacuna created by the government from not taming the excesses of religious intolerance of the public in time past. Newswatch Magazine of November 2, 2009 stated that over 50 religious crises occurred in Nigeria between 1980 and 2009.Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation in which the religious crises in our previous experienced should have been stopped if there have been errors in the Nigerian constitution. Nigeria being the most populous nation in Africa has a gold mine of human resources that has been under utilized over the years by the governments. Terror groups continue to thrive in Nigeria due to lack of good governance and vacuum created by the government from lack of judicious use of the nation’s resources entrusted in their hands. Instead, mismanagement of the fund has been the order of the day.
Most crimes committed in the name of ethnic, religious, political crisis etc. were hardly brought to book and the idea that some people are above the law magnifies the widespread atrocities and chaos in the country.
Until the government address the issue of high level ignorance that the terror group have been capitalizing as well as the socioeconomic challenges of the people; monitor organizations and individuals with suspicious activities and utterances that breed and incite religious extremists against people and put them under check we may not have solution to the present challenges. Also there should be a thorough strategy, steps are put in place in fighting crimes with a secular adopted constitutional, tackling of insecurity challenges in the country will continue to be a mission impossible; a mirage!