INSECURITY AND AMNESTY: A JOLLY RIDE TO LAWLESSNESS

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ABDUL FATTAH ADEBAJO ADEKUNLE, LAW, 100 LEVEL

Winner of the 1434AH superior pen writing competition

[Published on pages 38 and 39 of Adh-Dhikr Magazine, February, 2014]

Written: several months back…

At times, I wonder how it is that we find ourselves in the current predicament. What have we done or failed to do as a nation that causes us to deserve this ‘punishment’? Are Nigerians that distinct from those in other lands, that we are bedevilled with insecurity?

It is quite demoralising that, today, the word ‘Nigeria’ is coterminous and equated with fear, insecurity and loss of lives. Nigeria is, today, a no man’s land. No tourist wishes to see our mouth-watering cultural artefacts. No company holder dares attempt to extend his investment to Nigeria. In fact, the ones already here are, so to say, running for their dear lives. That is not all; presidents and government officials now publicly announce their apprehension in paying Nigeria a visit. A quintessential instance is the recent case whereby President Obama of the United States visited African nations such as Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and deliberately put Nigeria aside.

The pivotal genesis of their lugubrious status-quo is not far-fetched. It all started with militant activities in the Niger-Delta region, which perhaps was made possible during the civil war of 1967-1970 that left myriad arms in the hands of individuals. As an offshoot, we also have innumerable cases of high-profile kidnappings; those being most rampant in the South East and South West on the other hand are infamous for harbouring petty thieves and notorious armed robbers. With the intervention of late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s regime, the militants in the Niger-Delta, and activities of MEND were considerably checked. This was mainly due to the introduction of amnesty, which is a process in which violent individuals are disarmed in exchange for education, employment or wealth. This recession brought untold joy unto the hearts of Nigerians, but little did we know that we are yet to get to the end of the beginnings of the burdensome quest.

In 2009, a group popularly referred to as Boko-Haram came into the limelight. Jama’atul Ahlis-Sunna lidda’awati wal-jihad (Boko-Haram) is believed to have originated from the activities of Maitatsine in the 1970s and 80s. its fame also rose when Mallam Alli was heading it around 1995. Thereafter, he passed the leadership to Muhammad Yusuf, a radical whose extra-judicial death in 2009 gave rise to the blood thirsty side of Boko-Haram and the death of more than 10,000 Nigerians – most of the innocent.

The federal government has for too long a time turned a blind eye to the activities of the sect, allegedly because some of the members have rich backgrounds with links to top government officials. However when the situation appears to be getting out control, albeit it never was in control; the government deemed it fit to offer a friendly arm to the sect; taking as precedent the Niger-Delta militants saga. This offer was, sadly and unexpectedly, harshly turned down, with the remarks that it is the government that actually needs amnesty.

Relentless, President Goodluck Jonathan shows that he is still ‘on top of the situation’ by putting to use another trick up his sleeve, a declaration of the state of emergency. This he did on May 14, 2013 in four states of the federation including Adamawa, Bornu and Yobe states. He imposed a 24-hour curfew in these states and sent thousands of military personnel, with the aim of fishing out and crushing the sect members. In addition, telecommunication and GSM were disabled to disorganise the sect. despite the strict measures, we still hear incidents of bombing (of religious institutions and market places); a very fresh case is the killing of juveniles in Yobe by setting a school ablaze. Up to 20 people were reportedly killed. Those who fled from the inferno were shotdown in cold blood. This is to point out that, truly, no real progress have been made.

All said and done, what can we say is the panacea to this precarious situation? The answer to this is very simple, but the implementation, not quite so. Indubitably, the root cause of Boko-Haram and other shapes insecurity is taking in Nigeria is simple and straightforward: poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. In the case of Nigeria, these are most obtainable in the North.

At this juncture, it would be apt to cite one of the remarks of a famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle – he said: ‘poverty is the parent of revolution and violence’. A hungry man does not think of anything but his hunger; and an idle hand, they say, is the devil’s workshop. The only rational explanation for a case in which a teenager in Lagos killed another individual with a knife for 10,000 naira is poverty.

I hereby submit that no level of military expedition or amnesty can salvage us from our predicament; Muhammad Yusuf was able to gain supporters and disciples because people were ignorant and because he strongly preached against corruption and police brutality. Thus, if we must restore sanity, safety and self-dignity in this nation we must set out to tackle corruption, fight illiteracy, and combat poverty with all available means, lest the aftermath becomes ineluctable: a jolly ride to lawlessness.

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THE MANIFEST EVIDENCE

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THE MANIFEST EVIDENCE!

‘Quod non apparet non est’; that is the philosophy of some people. If they hear about it, they will say ‘seeing is believing’. If they are privileged to see it, they will say ‘this is not sufficient to convince us, we need to see more’. THIS is the trait of no other than hypocrites. It is akin to the story of a man who lives in a dilapidated house, and then after a tireless demand for succour the state decides to demolish it and build a new strong state-of-the-art home for him. But rather than relocating to his new home, the man still clings to the old rubble.

On a Tuesday, the 26th day of February to be exact, something peculiar transpired in Queen Elizabeth II hall, University of Ibadan. A 200 level student of Bio-chemistry who goes by the name, Ola Kareem Khayrah, was visited by her mom and given some chunks of raw meat. Later on, as she was boiling the meats, the intriguing incident took place: the name of God, as it is universally used by Arabs and Muslims, appears on one of the chunks.

Relating it, in my presence, some hours later, at the Dawah Enlightenment programme organised by the Muslim students’ society of the university, Khayrah had this to say; ‘’my mommy brought raw beef for me in Queen’s hall. I took the meat to the meat to the kitchenette to boil. As the meat started to simmer, an inscription of Allah’s name in Arabic language {الله} began to appear on a piece of the meat. The more the meat boiled, the clearer the inscription became. I then decided to fry that slice of meat, perhaps, the name will disappear. Lo! It became more engraved on the meat after frying. The experience really shocked me.’’

It is worthy of note that this is not the first time something like this would happen, neither is it the second, fifth nor tenth I have personally seen. We have seen and heard of related cases in other parts of the globe, but none ever this nigh. There is the case of the tree bowing towards the Ka’aba, the child born with Arabic inscriptions, the cactus plant forming ‘Allah’, the mosque that withstood a great seismic activity amongst many others.

One au fait with the Glorious Qur’an ought not to be flummoxed by the happening as it is indelibly stated in the divine scripture that ‘we will show them Our signs in the universe and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this [Qur’an, Islam] is the truth…’ {Q41, V53}

Verily, Islam is the only true religion endorsed by the Almighty. It is the only solution to all worldly snags. It is the only source of salvation. If only we did but know, those of us yet to accept Islam as the only genuine guidance for mankind would do so, and those who have, would hold it dearly in order to secure an eternity of peace and rest of mind.

Ad summum, as is the catch phrase of legal minds, ‘res ipsa loquitur’: ‘the thing speaks for itself’. There is absolutely no need for unnecessary elucidation and lengthy literature, in order to underscore what is already evident. And like I always say, ‘a word is enough for the wise, and a million chapters will never suffice a fool.’

‘Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his own self. And whoever goes astray, then, he goes astray to his own loss…’ {Q17, V15}