Behind our descent into anomie – The Nation Newspaper

February 1, 2020
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By Vincent Akanmode

It would seem that after years of our steady decline into animal kingdom, the country’s leadership is beginning to appreciate the clear danger that widespread insecurity poses to our survival as a nation.

In a rare admission of the ugly security situation in the country as he received a delegation of eminent Niger State indigenes led by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello in Abuja on Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed surprise at the current surge in the country’s security challenges.

”I was taken aback by what is happening in the North West and other parts of the country,” he said. “During our campaigns, we knew about Boko Haram. What is coming now is surprising. It is not ethnicity or religion. Rather, it is one evil plan against the country. We have to be harder on them.”

Happily, the President admitted that “one of the responsibilities of government is to provide security. If we don’t secure the country, we will not be able to manage the economy properly.” He also vowed that there would be harder times for bandits whose disruptive activities have brought sorrow to Nigerians, kept many law abiding citizens away from their means of livelihood and heightened insecurity in different parts of the country.

With the nation virtually crippled by Boko Haram insurgency, herders/farmers clashes, banditry, kidnapping, communal clashes, hired assassination and other anti-social activities, the two chambers of the National Assembly, traditional rulers, religious leaders, civil society organisations and even the international community are all of the view that the country’s security architecture needs a review. While this cannot be disputed, there are more fundamental issues that must be addressed failing which whatever security architecture is instituted would be overwhelmed.

Decadent family system, disregard for human dignity and lack of the will on the part of law enforcement agents to ensure strict application of the rule of law are some of the issues at the bottom of the country’s continued transformation into an animal kingdom where survival is reserved only for the fittest. With the way things are going, even if the state of nature espoused by Thomas Hobbes was an imaginary one, the 16th Century philosopher would be grateful in his grave that Nigeria’s condition is turning his imagination into a fulfilled prophecy.

Since the profligate regime of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida during which corruption virtually became the directive principle of state policy, the nation has turned out successive armies of thieving public office holders who think their duty to the nation is to flaunt their ill-gotten wealth and over-indulge their children with luxury. Funds from the public purse which ought to be channeled into building infrastructure and creating jobs are diverted into their private pockets. With their loot, they build mansions on hilltops and pretend to live millions of miles away from the army of frustrated youths and pauperized adults in their surroundings, who also feel an obligation to become rich by fair or foul means.

Wittingly or unwittingly, we are breeding generations of unconscionable predators who think nothing of shedding human blood in their blind pursuit of inanities…The picture becomes more frightening when it is considered that these disoriented, directionless youths will themselves become parents!

That, in the main, is the genesis of the megalomania instinct under whose spell the nation is now groaning via banditry, kidnapping and other social ills. In the end, it is the case of a hen that perches on the rope. Neither the hen nor the rope will know peace.

Unfortunately, the family system has virtually collapsed. Parents who are supposed to monitor their children and rein them in when they derail are too busy fighting for survival. Thus, wittingly or unwittingly, we are breeding generations of unconscionable predators who think nothing of shedding human blood in their blind pursuit of inanities. The situation is such that parents now live in fear of their children while brothers and sisters can no longer sleep under the same roof for fear that one could hide under the cover of the night to kill the other for money rituals. The picture becomes more frightening when it is considered that these disoriented, directionless youths will themselves become parents!

A colleague told me the other day that handshake had become an abominable practice in the part of Lagos where he lives. Why? So called ‘Yahoo Plus’ boys in the area have perfected the art of turning innocent people into victims of ritual killing by merely shaking hands with them.

Two bizarre incidents of ritual killing in a space of one week last month underscore how debased we have become as a people. In the first incident, a 30-year-old housewife identified as Mrs. Abosede Adeyemi Iyanda was killed by her ex-lover and 12 other accomplices for money rituals. The suspects did not only callously kill the woman, who was said to be in search of a charm that would boost her business, by smashing her head with a mortar, they proceeded to cook and eat some of her organs, washing down their weird menu with gin!

In the second incident, a final year Sociology student of Lagos State University (LASU), Favour Daley-Oladele, was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend in connivance with a 42-year-old self-acclaimed pastor of a white garment church. With Favour’s heart, her boyfriend prepared a meal eaten by him and his mother, because the mother was broke and must eat a concoction made with human heart to become rich again.

Sadly, only a few of the perpetrators of these heinous acts are arrested while others plot their ways out of the supposedly long arm of the law. Getting hold of criminals and ensuring that they pay for their sins is crucial to getting rid of the criminal activities that hold the country by the jugular. Nigeria is reputed for having one of the best sets of laws in the world, but unless they are applied without fear or favour, the country will remain at the mercy of criminal elements.

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