*THE REAL BREEDERS OF TROUBLE* .
Those who follow the tragic-comic episodes which this country churns out on weekly basis will no doubt be familiar with the name Bridget Agbahime. She was an old Igbo trader who carried on her business at Kofari Wambai market in Kano. Bridget fell into the hands of religious zealots. She was basely accused of voicing profanity against Islam. Mindlessly, she was roughhandled and murdered.
That reprehensible deed, like so many others, scandalized the world. It actuated outrages and spirited protestations. .
With hanging breath, we anticipated the response of a government that swore a solemn oath to support the constitution and shield the rights of Nigerians from encroachments. After its long established tradition, the federal government provokingly had no words for Nigerians.
As protests and searing condemnations overcharged the air, a more crafty Kano state government struck out with a pious fraud. Nigerians were fooled into the unfounded fantasy that that those who ringled the mob action have been fretted out and seized. That they would soon stew in their own juice. Agitated passions mellowed.
Some suspicious-looking young people were paraded and haled before the magistrate. They were arraigned for fracturing the peace, provoking violence and murder. A dramatic and farcical trial trailed.
Well, the Attorney General of Kano state couldn’t sustain the drama for too long. He ran out of patience. Angry that the death of a mere infidel should sustain criminal prosecution, he swept into the court with a dismissal order. The AG of Kano told the magistrate without parse words that there is no “reasonable” case against the fingered youths. The magistrate was left with just an option. He aborted the prosecution. The suspects haughtily shuffled out of detention Perhaps, a man whose father is in heaven has no business with the fires of hell.
. What then shall we say? Did the police pick the wrong men? That is unlikely. What are the why and wherefore for what the AG did? Your guess is as good as mine.
Nigeria is in trouble. The state which has both moral and legal duties to protect the weak and the vulnerable and to uphold the rights of Nigerians is now an unconcealed ally of the hawks in our midst. This is galling, offensive and unacceptable.
This flippant disposition of Nigerian governments to acts with extraordinary gravity is almost becoming customary. When godless Fulani Herders unpeopeld Agatu, we were assuaged with a giant story of how perpetrators were shuffling to the book. We waited more than the Jews did at the foot of the mountain to hear of any prosecution. It is now beyond the merest shadow of doubt that those who perpetrated that carnage are walking free.
The same bloodsplattered barbarians seeing the ease with which they got away with Agatu massacre milled to Uzo Uwani. Hapless and pacific Uwani was repainted with the blood of her sons and daughters. Another improbable yarn was spined. Our ruffled feathers were again smoothened with the familiar tale of how some killers were caught without their pants. They were ( we were told) found with video tapes into which they filmed their macabre and ghoulish deeds. They too have long evaporated into thin air.
.A police commander had a foreknowledge of that bloody onslaught. He took no practical step to forestall it. But the inhumanity of his conduct wasn’t enough to earn him a sack from the force. He was punished with redeployment.
The Enugu state governor is an uncommon man. He is the only Nigerian governor that doubles as a spiritual director. He prayed fervently for his people and reminded them of the imperativeness of fasting in the Christian faith. Because he’s an uncommon man, his people weren’t bemused to see him again jostling for a selfie the next day at Abuja.
Herders are now the new overlords. They now employ their cattle to destroy the sweat and toils of poor farmers with incontestable impunity. They have subdued the land. Nobody is interfering with them as they bask in victory and relish the spoils of war. . These cruel jokes are the underlying reasons why the agitation for a break of this country is climbing the highest fervor. The government fueled this separatist passion. Buhari is a remorseless champion of marginalization. Of indifference. Of nepotism.
But a cursory glance at history will make a few helpful revelations. The most effective way of preserving the togetherness of a multifarious entity is not by by picking and incarcerating any separatist whose head becomes visible. It is not by cracking down on the channels through which separatist messages are aired. The flaunting of military might is more profitless.
Wise rulers crush rebellion and divisive uprisings with the unfailable weapons of equity, justice and humanity. They destroy their enemies by making friends of them. No other method has ever halted man in his unending search for freedom and peace
Peace and security. Look at history. Rest on Bridget.
By Ezugwu Okike