UNDER the auspices of her pet project, RENEWED HOPE INITIATIVE, the First Lady, Senator Remi Tinubu, last week gifted a whopping N500million to recent victims of resurgence of violence and insurgency in Plateau State. Presenting a cheque to the tune of the said amount to the Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, Senator Tinubu explained that the amount was to be distributed to selected 500 families in six affected Local Government Areas, LGAs, namely: Bassa, Barkin Ladi, Bokkos, Jos South, Mangu and Riyom.
She remarked at the presentation of the cheque that: “In times like these, it is not enough to offer sympathy and condolences, but we must take concrete actions to alleviate the suffering of those affected”. By gifting this generous amount to the victims of the resurgence of violence, Senator Tinubu has joined many other humanitarians and people of goodwill to succour thousands of victims and Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, who are hurting and are suffering destitution and homelessness for no fault of theirs.
Tinubu’s outpouring of compassion and show of fellow-feeling are significant and unsurpassed. In terms of its size, no humanitarian, thus far, has positively touched the lives of these displaced persons, in Plateau State, as Senator Tinubu has done. Her gesture is outstanding because it marks a huge and salutary departure from the granite-hearted and aloof comportment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, which preceded the present one.
For whereas co-ordinated attacks and genocidal killings by terrorists took place in Mangu Local Government Area in early May under his watch, President Buhari did not consider it worth his while to commiserate with the people. Not even a statement was issued by that administration either to condole the victims or to denounce the perpetrators of this heinous crime. For taking the initiative to come in person and to donate such a huge amount, Senator Tinubu deserves our profound gratitude. She deserves to be praised and celebrated for bringing hope at a time of despondency and for her deep sense of compassion.
One prays that similar largesse will be extended to others who are languishing in IDP Camps strewn across the country. While Senator Tinubu’s gracious gesture is laudable, one must hasten to remark that the best way to succour Nigerians who are victims of insurgency, terrorism and genocide is to proactively check these dastardly incidents and to decimate their perpetrators even before they commit their evil deeds. For apart from visiting needless deaths, trauma and suffering on the people, these unwarranted attacks have far reaching and harmful consequences to the country.
As a consequence of these malevolent attacks, farmers across the country have deserted their farms in droves. Their farms remain fallow and uncultivated. The upshot of this forced desertion is that not enough food is available in our markets. Even where it is available, the price has shot through the roof. As a result of the protracted insurgency in the North East, for instance, the States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe are threatened with starvation and acute malnutrition.
As if these developments were not bad enough, millions of Nigerians across the three geo-political zones of the North are huddled in IDP camps. The proliferation of IDP camps implies that able-bodied persons idle their time away. Their children cannot go to school. Teenage girls are susceptible to being taken advantage of. As the well-worn saying goes, the idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Thus, apart from IDPs being liable to to fall prey to wayward tendencies, they become dependent on hand outs from donors and humanitarians. The dignity and the humanity of the IDPs are being systematically eroded and undermined. Ultimately, the donors and humanitarians suffer fatigue.
Though the insurgency, terrorism and other acts of criminality did not begin on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s watch, they keep re-occuring with ferocity and mendacity. They leave on their trails death, trauma, homelessness, suffering and destitution. It is significant and instructive that on the eve of Senator Tinubu’s donation, not less than ten persons were killed in Kombun, a district in Mangu Local Government Area. Last week, residents of at least fifteen communities in Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State were forced to flee their homes on account of attacks by terrorists. The terrorists are said to have been attacking these helpless communities since August last month. And receiving the Bauchi State Council of Emirs last week, Governor Bala Mohammed, raised an alarm that bandits were overwhelming the State.
It is the same tale of woe and sorrow in nearly every state of the Northern region. If whole communities are not being attacked by terrorists in genocidal fashion, high profile persons, commuters, students and National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, members are being abducted at will. This explains why some of us have insisted that the Tinubu administration must put security on the upper reaches of governance. Without security, other crucially important activities such as agriculture, commerce and mining cannot take place. Without security, millions of children cannot go to school and are, therefore, denied a future by some God-forsaken and innocents-shall-perish terrorists. Without security, Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, cannot cascade into the country. No serious investor will put his hard-earned money in an unsafe haven.
Apart from prioritising security, the government must engage muscularly with security agencies and give them a firm deadline as to when these needless and deleterious attacks must cease. The terrorists who kill and maim, with glee and abandon, must be identified and decimated by our gallant security agencies. As at now their (terrorists) modus operandi is well known even to the untrained and amateur:In militia fashion, they are armed with sophisticated weapons. They unleash mayhem in their numbers at night when innocent and unsuspecting villagers are deep asleep. And before they carry out their nefarious activities, they rendezvous at certain locations.
These dastardly attacks and killings cannot continue unabated or unchecked. Otherwise, we will soon end up being a failed state and the subject of contempt and disdain in the comity of decent nations. Certainly, Senator Remi Tinubu has done tremendously well. But there are limits to which she can continue spreading her largesse across IDP Camps without emptying her generous purse. What her husband, President Tinubu, should do fantastically well is to reciprocate her graciousness. His administration should identify the lagaars or enclaves of these terrorists. It should neutralise them, effective, ASAP(As soon as possible). Over to President Tinubu.
Dazang, former Director of Voter Education at INEC, wrote from Abuja