By Bala B. BITRUS
Times are really bad and everyday life in Nigeria is hard hit by different challenges, failures nonchalance and bad governance by those in authority and on position of public trust.
Citizens are today living in the traumas of yesterday’s ignorance and today’s deliberate failures, indecision and vision less ness.
Nigeria is a country of a people who never learn from bad history. We go on with life as if nothing ever natters; nothing counts.
Life does not matter to those reposed with the cardinal responsibility of protecting, defending and advancing the lives and wellbeing of citizens, a crucial aspects of the oath leaders swear to at assumption of public office.
As it was in Kankara so it has been in Kagara. The count might have just began. What was the lesson learnt in Katsina’s Kankara school raid by criminal bandits just few months ago?
Was there anything the government and security agencies picked from the Kankara school episode to guard against future occurrence anywhere?
None; I make bold to say. Is there any lesson to be learnt which should have been imbibed by school authorities, parents and communities where schools and other public institutions are located especially those in the fringes and hinterlands which could be soft targets for men of the underworld?
No; We don’t need to bother ourselves. We are a people who take everything and anything to chance and for granted. Life must go on. Whoever dies today, he/she is buried and forgotten the next minute.
No body cares to know why the person died, nor to seek for ways to avert any further death as such.
What is fresh in almost everybody’s mind today is the Kagara school raid by armed bandits. (same or similar bands of criminals who were in action in Kankara earlier).
Let us ponder a bit. Was there a similar episode, a repeat or replica of a past experience anywhere in our clime where armed bandits took us to the cleaners?
Was there anything all of us should have learnt from the way the Kankara school boys kidnap was handled and how it all ended and everything about it had been hurriedly swept under carpet?
Who were those involved in the kidnap of the Kankara school boys for which ransom was paid to by government?
Of course those who stood in the garb for the rest of the bandits couldn’t have been ghosts. They were their middle men through which negotiations were brokered.
Did our country’s security agencies thought of doing any postmortem of the entire Kankara school saga after the incidence?
May be it was not important to do that. Therefore everything about that incidence had to be hurriedly deleted as if it never happened. In fact, even the hundreds of millions of naira which were used to pay off the bandits was nothing to worry about. The money was a slush funds which must be wasted anyhow whether the money was embezzled by those in authority or it was paid to criminal bandits as pay off.
Today, we are back to episode two of the now emerging reality of schools invasion by armed bandits. It is a lucrative enterprise or adventure. As it was in Kankara, so it is now in Kagara.
When crime as rewarded, the end result would be more crime. This is true! Anybody who pays a monster or pampers it to live, lives to continue to treat it well till the monster dies or the payer dies one day.
We are like a nation cursed to repeat our mistakes even if human lives are to be at stake. The raid in schools unfortunately is going to be a new vicious circle. Kankara boys school was first, now it is Kagara. Where is the next point of raid?
How could bandits who abducted over 400 students from a school be treated with kid gloves. In the whole saga, no one was apprehended. Ransom was paid, yet no one of the criminal bandits was apprehended. Not even those who came and collected the loot.
How could any sensible government negotiate with a criminal band of persons who are killing, maiming and destroying the lives of others, a band of criminals whose leaders are known, their members are known, yet non of them is mopped up.
Banditry attacks and kidnapping for ransom have painfully become our sad referendum because authorities, our criminal justice system are weak and flawed.
Where the administration of criminal justice allows serious state offenders to go scot free or escaped with mild sentence or fines after committing heinous crimes as armed banditry, kidnapping, terrorism or robbery, such a miscarriage of justice put the rest of law abiding citizens not just at risk, but opens some of the citizens to the lure and temptation to also go into such crime.
Should the Kagara school boys and the rest of the affected college community be found unhurt and returned to their patents nay the school, what with the trauma their parents have been subjected to? What with the shock, the stigma and memory the victims would live with?
What would the authorities do to the bandit? Pay them ransom to empower them to buy more weapons for their nefarious trade or execute them for crimes against humanity?
If no decisive, punitive measure is visited on the offender, then an ass is made to ferociously ride on anyone it sees, at will and wherever and or whenever it feels like.
May God almighty save all innocent, defenceless Nigerians!