Deadline for Terror

Nigeria’s highest advisory body, the National Council of State (NCS), has ordered President Jonathan to end terror attacks by December without telling him how he should do it. And why December? If a seer had walked into Aso Villa on Thursday to tell the NCS members that one of them would be killed before December, I’m sure they would have asked the president and his government to do something before dusk that day. So, whose children, parent, friend or relation do they want dead between now and December? Are our former and current leaders not concerned that terrorists have killed almost 20, 000 people in the past five years?

There is no reason to believe that things will change because of the NCS’ ultimatum. Nor do I need to listen to new police chief Suleiman Abba swearing that he would deal with terrorists and other violent criminals. Just as the NCS has sat several times since terrorism happened on Nigeria, there have been several IGPs since then.

Yet, the seeds of terrorism in the country could be traced to the direct and indirect activities of members of the NCS. I grew up to learn that security vote is not accounted for in Nigeria. As a result, most of our military leaders and their civilian contractors had/have unrestrained access to money they did/do not need in a lifetime. Soldiers were not equipped and the intelligence agencies did not work because funds were diverted to private pockets. That’s why a colonel or a general, whose total legitimate income in 35 years was less than N3milllion in 1993, could own estates in America, Asia and Europe worth billions of pounds. The richest Nigerians today are those who stole while they were in government or benefitted from overinflated contracts, oil blocks or import waivers. Because of the attractiveness of political office in Nigeria, many are now ready to shoot and kill any obstacle on their way to power. Those are the sponsors of Boko Haram. Injustice, unrestricted corruption and mass poverty created by our leaders have, indirectly, thrown up millions of street kids who are now ready to be used as suicide bombers. Nobody – not even the high and mighty in the NCS – should hope to escape from the repercussions of the misdeeds of the past.

To test the sincerity of the NCS members who gave him a December deadline, President Jonathan should strip all of them of their security and domestic aides. Let all of us go to the same markets and attend meetings unarmed and unaided until December.

Of interest at the NCS meeting was the absence of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari both of whom had questioned the government’s sincerity in the anti-terror war. I will leave my comment for another day.

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