Monday 8 April 2019

Concerns Over Killings, Insecurity in Nigeria

The chaotic Nigerian Elections which saw the reelection of President Buhari and the close results within several Governors races have seen some Nigerians, mainly Christians targeted by various actors in the country.

Various sources have reported that since the middle of February that an estimated 280 people were murdered in the restive Middle Belt part of the country. The breakdown of fatalities broke down to 130 deaths in Kaduna State, 120 in Zamfara State and 30 in Benue State. This carnage is following the dozens of deaths that were reported during the polls themselves.

Also in recent weeks two Catholic Priests one from Enugu State and the other from Kaduna State were kidnapped. A Christian Pastor named Emmanuel Haruna was taken from outside his home during the evening. Their status remains unknown at this time. The brazenness of these events occurring and right after the elections show the divisions currently within Nigeria.

There is one fact that should be a matter of concern to observers. Even though he has been reelected as President of the County President Buhari has not condemned any of these actions that have taken place. Nor has the Government responded to the calls for assistance from the Governor of Nasarawa State to deal with the spike of Kidnappings that have taken place in his State.

Another way to assess the situation is as follows: The inability to rescue the 300 Chibok Schoolgirls and the Boko Haram insurgency were key elements that caused the electorate in Nigeria to vote for change by electing President Buhari in the first place. The inability or unwillingness of the Buhari Administration to address these issues which actually took place before the Country voted for President and continue in some form on a daily basis should raise some alarm bells.

There is a general rule that when a new leader assumes office that they are most effective in generating new legislation and following through on their agenda during the first 100 days of the term. President Buhari did attempt to introduce reforms and re-establish a presence in the presence in the Northeastern Part of the Country but in the long run these efforts did not end up being successful.

The unfolding crisis in the Middle Belt has been allowed to fester for years and it currently has the ability to increase internal strife within Nigeria if it is not addressed not only by the Nigerian Government but also State Governments as well. Having a State Police Force that can answer to local leaders and not have to wait for a response or approval from Abuja to address the crisis is paramount in this situation.

Failure to accomplish this will increase the feeling among the Christian Community in Nigeria that they are considered to be prey to the attackers and that the Government is turning a blind eye to their plight. That will not bode well for those who seek to maintain National Unity. Currently for those who seek to worship Christ there is a sense of dread that they are suffering like those who suffered abuses from the hands of the Roman Empire during the early days of the Church.

It has been said that free and fair elections are often the cure all for many political ills that can plague a country. Sadly when there is an Election Cycle in Nigeria it often turns into a violent period of time where Christians are often targeted. The silence of the Government can and should be taken as a sign of complicity.

 Written by: Scott Morgan

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