Just when Nigerians thought the Nigerian police have hit the lowest ebb in its dereliction of duty, the police have managed to find a way into further depths of ignominy. In the wake of the global outrage and frustration over the government’s insensitivity and incompetence in rescuing the 234 abducted school girls in Chibok, Borno State; the Nigerian Police, with their remarkable genius for travesty, have decided to deepen the pain of distraught parents, embarrassing the country in the process. The police on Wednesday offered a ridiculous N50 million ($ 300,000) for information that would lead to the rescue of the kidnapped girls, urging patriotic citizens with useful information to call police hotlines, and reassuring the public that any information given would be treated “with utmost confidentiality.” The police are just seeking for notice and trying to be relevant, ostensibly to share in the spoils. Three weeks of official inaction after the tragic debauchery; with no answers offered to agonizing and tormented parents, this lame plea from the Nigerian police is indeed sickening and even befuddling. When will Nigerian leaders begin to take responsibility for their actions or inaction?
As if to exacerbate Nigerians’ bruised psyche from lamentation to hysteria, a video released the other day showed Boko Haram helmsman, Abubakar Shekau, threatening to sell the school girls into sexual slavery. Against this backdrop, the exculpatory police reward is ridiculous; it seethes with self-righteous indignation and, even as it pretends to address an urgent national tragedy, is severely diminished in appeal and concern. The empty grandstanding certainly was an error of judgment, further rendered unacceptable by the paltry sum of N50 million ($ 300,000); which makes a mockery of the United States offer of $ 7 million for information leading to the capture of Shekau! It must be put on record that when the US put the price on Shekau’s head, the muted response of Nigerian government officials was thanks, but no thanks. So, how can anyone reasonably think that $ 300,000 would succeed where $ 7 million failed to act as motivation? Shouldn’t the situation have called for sober reflection by a police force that has all but abdicated its constitutional responsibility to the citizens and is now a tool to fan the egos of the high and mighty in society?
The police is no longer a security service to the state, whose primary purpose is to maintain law and order, and ensure security of lives and property of all citizens. It is now a private militia which could be illegally deployed and used wantonly by privileged Nigerians (especially politicians and government contractors) to harass and assault other citizens, or address personal grievances of private individuals. Therefore, their offer is laughable and should attract no further comment. In a country where the former Aviation Minister Stella Oduah could afford to spend $ 225 million on bullet-proof cars to satisfy her personal taste for luxury, $ 300,000 for the 234 missing girls was frivolous and contemptible; at best an insult, and at worst, naked provocation to both the kidnappers and the grieving families. It advertises in dramatic fashion, the lack of seriousness of purpose with which the Nigerian police and the government appear not to grasp the gravity of the current situation.
It is obvious that the belated police offer was compelled by expediency, and intended to redeem public faith in government action, because had the government taken the abduction as seriously as it should have initially, it could have shut down the whole area, including the borders with Cameroon and Chad shortly after the abduction and intensify air patrol, among other military offensives, to close in on the Boko Haram kidnappers. The indubitable truth is that the Boko Haram insurgency has transformed into a hydra-headed monster. Many Nigerians now find no reason to believe that this government has their security and welfare as its primary responsibility. The standing view is that even if someone volunteers such vital intelligence, the Nigerian police; the cesspool of corruption and symbol of national decay will be more inclined to accept a bribe from Boko Haram than rescue the girls.
These are unusual times. This is an unusual war. It requires uncommon patriotism and strategy. A number of questions are pertinent. With the delayed rescue, is the government playing for time for the nation to find something else to occupy citizens’ attention and leave the girls to their fate as another unresolved crime? Is the country (military) serious about the operations in the North-East at all? What is the true capacity of the military to prosecute the war? Are the soldiers well mobilized for the task? Are there forces which do not want the war to end? What is the level of intelligence gathering especially by the police on the ground? And how effective is the coordination and control of the war efforts?
No doubt, the war against insurgents has been waged with a great deal of incompetence especially on the part of the President. Also, there are indications of the spawning of a conflict economy from the ongoing campaign as spurious contracts are being awarded with little or no results. Buccaneers have continued to feed fat from the war. These conflict entrepreneurs obviously want the crisis to continue in order to remain in business. The time has, therefore come, for the Nigerian military to redeem its image by winning this war for the country. The same Nigerian military has an outstanding track record in international peace operations, and it is quite capable of winning this war. The nation is challenging the military to handle this war in the same manner they dealt with other insurgencies with remarkable success. They should bring to bear commitment and dedication and valor because a certain show of valor as well as winning this war is invaluable to the stability of Nigeria.
Nigeria is at war and the state of war is too ferocious to be denied. The crisis may have pre-dated the Jonathan administration; he may be doing his best, but his best is not enough and no mollifying rhetoric can negate the barrage of hostilities currently bludgeoning the country. This is a crisis that demands the President and those in the chain of command to think on their feet. The massacres have become so routine; and amidst the ongoing carnage, a mesmerizing perplexity seems to have enveloped the seat of power. The President, Commander-in-chief must not only lead but be seen to lead the war effort. The offensives against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria are too shameful and belittling to his public image and the country’s international standing. Jonathan certainly needs to execute his office with greater competence and authority than he has done. He should not allow the police to create a distraction with trivializing public grandstanding antics of rewards which tend to belittle the country.
Source: Huhu Online