One of the most difficult conundrums for the experts dealing with the current state of insecurity affecting Borno and other parts of Northern Nigeria is the inability of the people to understand the nature and complexity of the problem and the process and modus operandi of those assigned to tackle the problem.
Dealing with people who are unable to think clearly and those who have an air of befuddled unworldliness requires much effort and skills to accomplish. But again those tasked with dealing with the problem must have a sense of adroitness and sensitivity in dealing with others particularly if their intention is to succeed in dealing with the problem.
In as much as there is the need to curtail and bring the present escalation of violence carried out by religious insurgents in Maiduguri and other parts of the north to an end it must be reiterated that the method applied by the security operatives in dealing with the issue leaves much to be desired.
Innocent citizens are living in a state of palpable fear and anxiety due to the overbearing influence of security personnel who have taken over positions in all nooks and crannies of the town and carry out patrols in all the roads, riding in high speeds and pointing guns directly on civilians. Quiet often these security personnel drive on the wrong side of the lane and ambush innocent drivers who panic at their sights and end up being punished for obstructing their movements.
Many people have decried the persistent use of force against innocent citizens by the security personnel and pointedly accused an army officer they identified with the pseudo name of ‘Yellow’ as one who has been unleashing a reign of terror on peace loving citizens and making life difficult to everyone within his operational zone
The soldier nick named ‘Yellow’ is seen as a savagely violent person who use his military position to create extreme fear in the minds of the people of Maiduguri Metropolis by intimidating them and subjecting them to severe maltreatment.
The cruel method he deploys in carrying out his duty has attracted the attention of the inhabitants who have resorted to silently offering prayers to see to the end of his reign of terror. Those who cry silently about the atrocities carried out by this officer and his men claimed that ‘Yellow’ is on a vengeance mission to revenge against the people of Maiduguri whom he accused of driving away Igbo traders from the town. Quite often some semblance of truth is noticed from wherever ‘Yellow’ operates.
For example just today many people were made to roll over the tar near Baga motor park and their pockets were searched and all their belongings seized by armed security personnel. Some were dragged and beaten up while many others were being kicked and butted by them. This is happening while the main market in the town has been brought to a stand still by ‘Yellow’ and his men who have blocked all routes leading to the market for the past two weeks.
This has made many people wonder what are the real intentions of some of these security operatives who have made the people live in fear of increasing cruelty against them by those who are supposedly assigned to provide them with protection.
There is no where in the world in which unarmed civilians are subjected to torture, harassment and careless discharge of firearms by security forces as carried out in Maiduguri and this trend must be brought to an end if the desire to win the war against terrorism is the overriding goal of the military and other security operatives. They must not only be seen to be safeguarding lives and properties but to be doing so with minimal casualties and without causing unnecessary molestations against innocent people.
While the actions and atrocities of some of the security personnel is being bemoaned it is equally pertinent to point out the reason why they were deployed which was the result of the activities of some members of the society that carried arms to wage war against constituted authority. The action of these people has resulted in creating hardship and culture of distrust amongst the people of Maiduguri who are made to live in perpetual state of fear.
Many lives were cut short and several nurse various wounds inflicted by the conflict which does no one any good but rather depicts our people and religion in bad light. The elderly, women and children within the Metropolis have become hostages in their homes. Some of these insurgents constantly carry out threats against the inhabitants and often attack security personnel thereby exposing residents to danger of reprisal attacks. Innocent youths and teenagers have become easy prey and are easily injured or taken advantage of by both the insurgents and security personnel. Today growing up as a youngster in Maiduguri has it’s potential dangers of falling between the devil and the deep blue sea.
In the light of the aforementioned it is pertinent to have a change of direction in the effort to overcome the security challenges engulfing our state by ensuring that all stakeholders confront the matter with absolute honesty, without fear or favor. Any illegality perpetrated by anyone must be exposed and punished to serve as a deterrent against others and there must not be cover ups by all sectors especially amongst the security personnel.
Those who use their private army of insurgents to terrorize the population must understand the difficult situation their actions has subjected innocent citizens into and listen to the calls of well meaning citizens and those made by all and sundry who demand that they bring their campaign of violence to an end to save themselves and ordinary people that have suffered myriad of untold hardship as a result of their activities.
The task for making peace is the resolve of all peace loving people and it is achievable where there is the will. Creating chaos, brutalizing citizens, silencing critics and taking aggressive actions against the larger society will not solve the problem. This problem can be solved through concerted effort at recognizing and distinguishing the phenomenon and the conditions under which it thrives so as to overcome it with minimal loss.
A M Bashir Shuwa Holbeck Leeds UK. Shuwa, – Wrote This On 30 August 2012 While On Holiday In Maiduguri