Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho face government crackdown over secession agitation
By Emma Emeasoba
The Federal Government is currently basking in the euphoria of the gains it made during the week in its effort to rein in the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and Mr. Sunday Igboho, the leader of the agitation for Yoruba Nation.
While Kanu was arrested in Kenya (?) and forcefully shipped back to the country, Igboho’s residence was attacked and raided in the dead of the night by security agents leaving death, tears and sorrow in their wake. That the Yoruba Nation rally convened by Igboho still held successfully in Lagos as planned despite the attack on his residence and heavy Police presence on Lagos streets is a testimony to the fact that the strident calls for self-determination by some ethnic nationalities cannot be solved by either brute force or intimidation or both.
The action of Federal Government against the two non-state actors has drawn a lot of flaks from Nigerians, who saw it as high-handed and lopsided because bandits, kidnappers and herdsmen, who have equally held the country by the jugular are being treated with kids’ gloves.
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Their argument, no matter from which prism one looks at it, is very germane. While non-state actors are being hit with sledgehammers, bandits, kidnappers and herdsmen are being ‘deodorized’ or pampered. And this leaves a very sour, bitter taste in the mouth. It makes the government look partisan and sympathetic towards bandits, kidnappers and herdsmen, who are mainly from the northern part of the country.
Or is what is good for criminal elements from Southern Nigeria not equally good for those from the Northern part? Pray, why have the likes of Sheikh Gumi and all other known collaborators of bandits and terrorists not been called to order? We have seen known terrorists being received by state officials, including Governors, while security agents watch with applause. Just recently, a Governor said that Boko Haram terrorists and bandits are different from Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, because they do not have a recognized and centralised leadership.
If Igboho, who has only resisted those that took over their lands, raped their women, maimed and killed unchallenged could be so haunted, and Kanu, tracked down in a Mossad-like operation, it goes to show that government can restrain bandits, kidnappers and killer herdsmen with the right political will.
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Apart from widespread insecurity, unprecedented bloodletting as a result of the loss of an uncountable number of lives including those of our security agents and destruction of property, the nation’s economy has taken an unparalleled beating as a result of the siege laid on it in the past few years by Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers and herdsmen.
Food security is threatened and famine is looming due to unprecedented clashes between farmers and herders. And the Federal Government has not found any plausible solution to these debilitating menaces but has continued to dissipate more energy on stopping agitators of self-determination. Hence the rising shout of foul!
Truth is, Nigeria will not make real progress if the fight against crimes and criminality is not prosecuted dispassionately and sincerely. And many more Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho will spring up from different parts of the country if perceived injustices (real and imaginary) are not addressed.
Agitations came about in the first place due to dissatisfaction occasioned by lopsidedness in the way government treat the citizens. Nigeria remains a diverse, multi-ethic and multicultural country and every government in power must do everything within its power to balance the diversity. No ethnic nationality should feel marginalized or sidelined in the scheme of things. Fairness, equity and justice are key in achieving the much desired balance.
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Undoubtedly, the gagging, silencing of critics and agitators is not the way to go. Dialogue, sincere one at that, is. The Federal Government will do well by addressing the discontents that brought about the state of near-chaos the country is presently in. The demands cannot be wished away. They must be tackled head-on and honestly too. That’s the right and only way to go.
Emma Eneasoba, a public commentator wrote from Lagos. All views and opinions expressed in this article are entirely his and does not reflect the views and opinions of Nigeria Today News