President’s visit to troubled spots


On Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari began his long awaited condolence visits to troubled spots across the country. This is coming late in the day as many Nigerians had wondered why the president, elected by the people will be so detached from the reality of issues bothering the same people. Killings in Nigeria, we must concede have become somewhat regular in the last decade or so. Sometimes they happen so frequently that as a leader, it becomes difficult to follow up. But whatever be the case, a leader must lead!
This is so because the talk around town is basically that the president is detached, unfeeling and lacks empathy. In the 21st century, leadership has become more of perception than reality. It then appears that the president’s style is different. He seems to be of the old school where leaders are seen as “strong”. His media adviser, Femi Adesina alluded to that as he has consistently stated that the president responds to these calamities in the country by way of finding solutions than photo opportunities.
His first stop was Taraba state where the president himself admitted has suffered more casualties than Yobe, Zamfara, Adamawa, Rivers and Benue states. In fact the admittance by the president signposts a country in dire need of security reorganisation. Point is, it is a difficult pill to swallow when citizens are told by their president that more deaths have been recorded than the rest of the country might be aware. This means there are things we are doing wrong. As the saying goes, you cannot continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Decisions on what to do with our security architecture lies solely with the president.
But as the president commences this sympathy visits, although late (but it is better late than never), we hope that he will use this opportunity to not just physically assess the carnage but ensure that he meets with real victims of the casualties. His words of hope, succour and encouragement are like balm for the grieving. He must also offer some relief. A lot of the people have suffered serious losses both in their businesses and personal property. The Federal Government must offer help. Also, the president and his team should endeavour to appeal to the conscience of the communities. We are all Nigerians and thus must be able to find a common ground to live in peace.  Of course, peace building should always come and is most sustainable where there’s justice. The president must ensure justice no matter whose ox is gored.
Law enforcement thrives where individuals and communities trust that the police and other agencies will promote truth and ensure justice. To this end, all lawbreakers must be fished out and punished openly. It should not be in doubt as to where the president stands. Speculations out there about any iota of favouritism will be trashed once it is clear to everyone that statements for arrest and prosecution of offenders are carried out without let or hindrance. People should not think that the commander-in-chief is ponderous on matters of life and death.
Also, state governors on the other hand should step up their games. The constitution guarantees them as chief security officers of their respective states. Although the police is centrally set up, it has inbuilt mechanisms to pander to the authority of states governors. States set up independent units within the police force that is funded and controlled by the governors. They call these outfits fanciful names and use them to control armed robbery and such crimes within their states. So why is it difficult to get the police funded by states to help with these recent but old security breaches?
Communities must also be empowered going forward. Community policing should not be words of mouth alone, it must be implemented and seen to be implemented with all stakeholders carried along. Every of these challenges happen at the lowest level of our society. It is disgraceful that our villages hitherto places of refuge have been turned to killing fields. Urban areas which are supposed to harbour more security threats appear to be more at peace and more liveable than our villages. The same way states must realise that a peaceful state will natuarrally attract investments. The fitting investment into our villages are agro based. Who will invest in agriculture where the bushes have turned to killing fields?
This is where ranching or cattle colonies comes in. The president should preach this alternative way of cattle herding in the states with this peculiar problem with vigour. He must not relent. Good thing that the National Council of State has approved an investment of $1 billion (N360 billion) for the agriculture sector specifically to target farmers and herders. This money must be disbursed to rebuild communities, set up ranches and help farmers who have suffered losses as a result of these clashes. Also, herders who have lost cattle to rustlers must be compensated. Let us attempt to heal wounds and chart a new course. Politics, ethnicity and religious jingoists should stay off this attempt at finding lasting solutions.
In Rivers, the president should appeal to residents to shun politicians who use them to cause mayhem and kill innocent neighbours. Election is around the corner, therefore, cultists, militants and kidnappers must be denied the opportunity to eat from the blood of the innocent. The state must not be turned to Warri in Delta state where oil exploration suffered as a result of activities of arnachists. Today, the oil city is a ghost of its old self with no oil activity going on. Rivers state can suffer the same fate if it does not find solution to insecurity. These visits by the president must signal a turning point for the end to shedding of blood by any group, including Boko Haram.

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