Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime, Aristotle said.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau is famed to have said that one day the poor will have nothing left to eat and they will devour the rich. It may be that that time has finally come in Nigeria.
It is simplistic to blame kidnapping on ethnic factors as the unemployed Fulani-linked herders take a full time career as terrorists and kidnappers. Analyzing the interacting factors responsible for the degrade of Nigeria to a prehistoric barbarian society necessitates deeper dimensions.
The reality of the kidnapping business in Nigeria is that it has become just that, a business and a new lucrative opportunity for the hopeless and worthless poor of Nigeria. The socially excluded desolate majority. What do you expect when you have our northern Almajiri child abandonment plague and the most out of school children in the entire world? Peace?
With the wealthy bragging about their offices, driving the most modern cars, taking up foreign wives, riding fancy bikes, buying homes abroad and sending all their kids to school in the world’s top universities, the poor – which Nigeria has the most in the world of – have decided to take up arms and get from anyone more privileged than them.
It is noticed that where the kidnappers operate is in the full vicinity of many of Nigeria’s local farmers and traders. Kidnappers are well known in their societies and interact with the local communities. They do not rob the local communities but only go for vulnerable travelers seen to be more buoyant. In a sense there is a natural order of cooperation. As Nigeria churns out millions more poor every year so also do those beasts of men who camp in the bushes increase in numbers.
The role of the abundance of arms and ammunition in Nigerian society, supplied by our violent politicians who stock these up in their government houses and of the Nigeria’s security or rather insecurity services who are the worst in the world and have now been looted by the cabal as their personal bodyguards are vital factors that must be underscored.
What is a shame is that the kidnapping and terror primarily affects the lower and middle class. There are too few victims among the causative cabal. And these politicians and their cronies steal more money to build more fortified fortresses and amass bomb resistant vehicles and steal more police to protect themselves making the rest of us more vulnerable.
Nigeria is a failed state. It is time we declare that our current democratic dispensation has totally failed us and there must be a total reconstitution of who we are, who is in charge and how we are led. There is no comprehensive plan to guarantee the fundamental human right to security of life and property and none in the pipelines. When I protested against the Nigerian police at their headquarters in Abuja capital territory last year (https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1724487714311534) I asked them “when” things will change. A year later nothing has changed. Crime has however, taking advantage of modern technology tools. But our policing remains at a level or actually degenerates.
Rather than strengthen our police force, Nigeria keeps 80% of the police as bodyguards for the wealthy cabal and deploys untrained military unconstitutionally in their stead. We are the only country in the word – well perhaps except North Korea – that operates under martial law-military policing. How can things improve when barbarism is dealt with by barbarism? We only churn out more hopelessness, more anger, more desperation and more terror. The Nigerian government actually has positive relationships with terrorists and seems to adore and protect them.
A revolution is underway. A dirty one, and no one is safe anymore.
Written by Dr. Issa Perry Brimah