April 19, 2024

Akpabio’s Question: Are We At War For People To Kill Soldiers Provokes Debate.

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Akpabio’s Question: Are We At War For People To Kill Soldiers Provokes Debate.

By Biyi Osijo

Senate President, Godswill Akpabio recently asked a question at plenary which is thought provoking that needs an answer from patriotic Nigerians.While setting up a committee to unravel the mystery behind the gruesome killing of 17 soldiers in Okuama community in Delta State, he wondered how Nigerians could kill soldiers when the country is not at war, saying that the attack could possibly have been carried out by terrorists from outside the country, not by Nigerians.Are we really at war in Nigeria or not? This is a national question that every patriotic Nigerian should seek to answer,if we must find solution to problems bedeviling our nation and guarantee lasting peace in our beloved country.It is unimaginable to think that any right-thinking person can kill his or her house security guard, not talk of a soldier,who protects the whole nation from external aggressors, such as terrorists and invaders.Or how can one imagine that nationals of other countries, such as USA,UK, France, Ghana, India,etc.would kill their soldiers under any circumstances.Are we at war in Nigeria for our people to kill their own soldiers?Some will say we are at war based on the mindless killings, kidnappings, abductions and violence experienced in the Northern, Eastern, Middle-Belt and Niger-Delta regions.Others may disagree there is no war in Nigeria because their area of abode is secure without any security breaches that threaten peaceful co existence, such as in Western, Southern and Federal Capital regions.So, one may ask what is war,or under what condition, situation can a country be deemed to be at war? This question should not be left for the Committee set up by the National Assembly to answer alone, but for all Nigerians to ponder on it, with a view to find lasting peace and prosperity in the country.War is described as a situation in which two or more countries,or group of people fight each other over a period of time.From this description of war, it is evident that Nigeria is presently not at war with any other known country of the world but we fit in to the other category where group of people fight each other over a period of time.It means therefore that any fight among our group of people that is not resolved quickly, but allowed to persist over a period of time is war.It goes further to show that living peacefully in some parts of the country, when others are fighting the with themselves does not exonerate the entire country from being at war.With this mindset, every Nigerian must make concerted effort to ensure that any infighting among the various groups that constitute the federating units of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is promptly resolved and settled,if not the whole country would be seen to be at war, not minding the peace and tranquility that pervades in other parts of the country.To this end, the executive, legislative and the judiciary arms of government at the Federal State and Local levels all have a crucial role to play to ensure that conflicts and disputes among groups of people in Nigeria are promptly resolved and discarded with,if the must find the much-desired peace for progress and development to thrive in our country.The executive must not not leave security matters for the State governments alone to handle at inception of any disputes among any group of people, either in hamlets, local governments or State levels,and should not wait for conflicts to degenerate into fighting, which could lead into violence and full-blown war before they act.A State governor that is politically naive,who cannot promptly settle issues among his or her people but allows them to go out of control should be called to order or reprimanded to serve as deterrent to other governors who are inept.The Legislature on its part, should jettison the idea idea of focusing on constituency projects for their local or State government areas alone, and begin to consider the whole of Nigeria as their constituency.By so doing, national law makers would be able to resolve disputes in any part of the country far from where they were elected into the National Assembly.In like manner, State legislators should be able to settle issues of concern in local areas different from where they were elected, The Judiciary, likewise, must be prepared to expedite action on communal cases that are capable of leading to violent clashes between the people,if we must avert wars in Nigeria.Both the government institutions, and the people in general, must be conscious about factors that ignite war in society,and do everything within their powers to ensure that no conflicts or disputes among any group of people in the country is allowed to escalate into violence or degenerate to war situation can be wide spread to other areas.This is the most practical way to avoid the embarrassment caused by the debacle in a small community in Okuama, Delta State, that took the lives of many soldiers, devastated the entire community due to reprisal attacks which turned many aged, innocent women and children into destitutes.How can one explain the reason for this pathetic situation if not for war? It’s only in a war situation that a large number of people can be brutally murdered and people rendered homeless.
It is only in war that the Military can enter into any State of the Federation without the express invite of the State governor who is the Chief Security Officer of that state.Worst still, there are reports that the Delta State governor, Sheriff Oborevwori was prevented from entering into Okuama with his press crew entourage and other dignitaries by soldiers who blocked the road from Bomadi to Okuama.The reports said even after pleas by the governor to the soldiers to be allowed to visit his people in Okuama who voted him to power which took more than one hour,his request was turned down by the soldiers, and he had to return to his office in Asaba without being able to help his people alleviate their plight in desperate time of need, especially the women, children and aged who are innocent.In as much as the Military have the right to be infuriated over the killing of their colleagues,they should not be allowed by the authorities to take over a whole community in any part of the country, and prevent a lawfully elected governor from free movement in his own State.The Military should be seen to be loyal to democratic authority at all times in democracy.Just imagine what could have happened if Governor Sheriff decided to wield his power of authority and ordered his security escorts to dismantle the roadblock mounted by the soldiers to block his way into Okuama,or order his driver to move on.Definitely, there could have been escalated violence unleashed in the area and casualties would have increased.News headlines may have screamed,”coup d’etat in Delta, Governor shot by soldiers,then, it would have dawned on everyone that Nigeria is actually at war.Commendation goes to the governor for showing maturity and also to the Military, that in the face of utmost provocation through needless killing of their men, showed restraint and professionalism in discharge of their duties by avoiding worse case scenario on that fateful day.The Military should cooperate with the governor in fishing out the killers of the soldiers, helping the innocent people not to turn into carcasses by denying them life-saving materials, and restoring peace and security in the community.Anything short of this could depict Nigeria as a country at war where groups of people are fighting each other over a period of time.If Nigeria does not want to be seen or depicted as a country at war, Nigerians must individually and collectively decide to end all the internal squabbles among our people,no matter where they erupt from,or how minute or inconsequential such disputes or conflicts may seem to be.They should be nipped in the bud before festering out of control into widespread violence that engulfs the entire country.By waiting in our comfort zones where peace pervades,and pretend that all is well, and there is no war while a section of the country is burning with violence, can be delusional and of temporary relief because such minor disputes can gradually spread to consume the peace in other areas of the country.There is no gainsaying that the Boko Haram insurgency ravaging the whole country today, could have died down naturally if it’s fire was quenched at the very beginning before it began to spread to other parts of Northern Nigeria.Most people felt then that the problem was not in their area,or that it did not affect their business or peaceful coexistence with their neighbors, but today they have realized too late that an injury to one section of the country is an injury to all Nigerians.It is right time to set up conflict resolution mechanism by the authorities aimed at preventing violence in any part of the country.Just imagine what could have happened,if late President Yar’Adua did not stop the aggression by granting amnesty to Nigeria Delta militants.The earlier citizens realize that it is not only when war engulfs the whole country before we agree that we are at war, the better for all Nigerians.We must all be prepared to see Nigeria as one indivisible entity,and do everything within our powers settle disputes in every part of the country,to avoid chaos and anarchy.

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