In recent conversations on the unfortunate fate that has of befallen Nigeria of late, my friend and I bemoaned the low esteem accorded to the sanctity of human life. My friend regretted that human life has been speedily degraded by the civil and military authorities that the rest of the international community are at a loss what to make of it.
He said that in all of his recent foreign tours during in Europe and America, most people he met do not know whether to rate the ordinary citizens or the authorities as primitive people who are far removed from modern civilization. He is of the considered opinion that in other civilised climes, whenever the authorities fail in their constitutional obligations in the area of national security the only option is for those heading those branches of government to quit honourably. But I reminded him that Nigeria is a member of the United Nations and by so doing has signed on to almost the entire modern humanitarian laws that safeguards the sanctity of human lives. But he argued that the fact that for nearly six months that over 200 teenage girls were snatched from their dormitory in Chibok, Borno State the State has failed to rescue them and bring their abductors to justice.
Whilst not distancing myself from his well considered conclusion I also told him that even in Egypt when the then Moslem Brotherhood-led government was suspected of abusing the human rights of most persons outside of their own brand of radical religious beliefs, the people’s power were invoked even and o more than 14 million people thronged the streets of Cairo in protest. In the Nigerian situation both the civil and military authorities have come under considerable accusations of abysmally failing in their duties and so only the people can decide how this mess can be cleared . This is not to say that the leading opposition political party has any working idea of how to resolve these killings because the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has severally been seen in the media defending the actions of Boko Haram, especially in the instance he was quoted as criticising any military action against these terrorists. We had hardly ended our conversations when the most gruesome of all despicable crimes BY Boko Haram was reported in Baga, Borno State. These Islamic jihadists were reportedly implicated in the killings of hundreds of civilians. Virtually all the international news channels took interest in this development just as tongues started wagging as to why the international community is yet to invoke the relevant United Nations Security Council’s resolutions rejecting these genocidal killings in Nigeria.
The apparent silence on the range of atrocities by the armed Islamic terrorists in the North East stems from the fact that a nation is taken serious depending on how the civil and military authorities rate themselves. Why for instance is a small nation such as Cameroon able and ever willing to crush any incursions against their populace by these same Islamic rebels based in North East of Nigeria? That the Nigerian military rated as the third largest in Africa is been unable to defeat Boko Haram speaks volumes. For past three years, the authorities have offered reasons ranging from sabotage within the military for the inability to defeat this terror group,while others blamed the lack of sophisticated weapons.
Reports said that Nigeria spent more than $6 billion last year for defence,yet there is nothing to show for it. In the past, the military has arrested some of these hardened terrorists but the judiciary has been too compromised to deliver decisive justice on them. What makes a nation sovereign is the near infinite capacity of both the civil and military authorities to defend the territorial integrity of that nation. The essence of statehood is the capacity of the constituted authorities to stand up to be counted when it co matters.
Speaking to the issue of the kind of respect and regard the authorities pay to the universal sanctity of human life brings us to the recent media briefing b in Abuja ,whereby the military spokesman attempted to deny that up to 2,000 people were killed in Baga. Rather, he admitted that only 150 lives were lost. What a country? In France, when the Kouchi brothers attacked a media house, the French military never waite to issue press statements. The French government mustered all forces to inflict maximum damage on the terrorists. But in Nigeria, regional war lords and politicians have been allowed the freedom to politicise these killings.