The pinnacle of sacrifice
The report by Premium Times (on line, October 29, 2018) that “the Paramount Chief of Adara, Agom Galadima, who had been in the den of his abductors since last Friday (October 26, 2018) has been killed” is the pinnacle of Sacrilege against the traditional leadership in Nigeria. The attack on the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero by gunmen, operating on motorcycle in 2013 would have been a clear indication that the traditional royalty in Nigeria was under a serious siege. Then I expressed my fear concerning the danger ahead in three articles. I recommended a constitutional protection for the royal fathers in the article, “Where is Africa’s royal reverence” (Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua, Dialogue in Context, A Nigerian Experience; Kaduna, Virtual Insignia, 2014, Page 144). I also suggested the means to protect the kings in the article, “The Helmet and Shield for our Kings” (Dialogue in Context, Page 147)
The culture and tradition of the various tribes in Nigeria provide a structure that calls for reverence for the traditional rulers. The Obas, Sultan, Emirs and Kings in Africa are revered because it is believed that the Supreme Being is the king maker. This explains why the subjects are ready and willing to do everything to serve and protect the king. The report, “Unsung Heroes of Kano Emirate” on January 27, 2013 in the Sunday Trust testifies to this. The palace guards of the Emir of Kano were resilient, loyal, trustworthy, lovely and ready to sacrifice their lives for the king. Two of the guards laid down their lives, shielding the monarch from a barrage of bullets that rained on the 83-year-old monarch’s car. Apart from kidnapping and killing traditional rulers, religious leaders, priests and consecrated persons have suffered pains and death in the hands of criminals. It appears as if Nigerians are now getting used to this sacrilege on royal fathers and religious leaders. This is not normal. No one knows the extent this would go given that some serving and retired security agents have also been victims of this criminal war on the society.
Do we need to wait until the criminals penetrate the security walls of political leaders and make them victims? The way things are going, what guarantee do we have that one day a governor or even the president will not be kidnapped and killed? Now is the time to trace the root cause of this sacrilege and nip it in the bud. African traditions and cultures are known for respect of elders, parents and those whom God has chosen to be legitimate leaders in the society. Traditionally, African children do not call their parents and elders by name. These were outward signs of the respect and adoration they gave to God. In the Holy Bible, the Old Testament warns: Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people (Exodus 22, 28). It is forbidden to insult or attack a prophet: “Touch not my anointed and to my prophet, do no harm” (Psalm 105, 15). The Lord said to Moses: “If anyone curses God, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him; whether an alien or native born, when he blasphemes, he must be put to death’’ (Leviticus 24, 13-16).
We must therefore go beyond condemning the various killings in Nigeria to actually knowing the unknown gunmen. Let us stop giving religious labels to criminals. They do not discriminate in their killings. They would love to strategize on how to cause anarchy in Nigeria by instigating a religious war. The Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) being a national body of leaders of Islam and Christianity could be an umbrella body for us to work as a family to stop this menace. The traditional rulers who are members of NIREC must go beyond attending meetings to establishing grassroots activities for Christian and Muslim youths in the various communities.
Given that every Christian and Muslim in Nigeria is a stakeholder in NIREC, all of us in this family should begin to build trust to extinguish the fire of mutual suspicion that could prevent us from coming together to struggle for a secure nation. This is necessary because so many people are merely surviving with wounded hearts and various hurts. Nigerians have gone through many faces of violence, slavery and colonialism to the extent that the value of trust has been replaced with prejudice, preconceptions and mutual suspicions. Today, Nigerians are not colonized by foreigners. The modern colonizers are fellow Nigerians. This is why we must collectively identify means to reconstruct positive attitudes through mental re-engineering and change of negative attitudes. These call for education, debriefing, healing of memory, mental reconstruction, reconciliation and compassion. This is the time to collectively raise questions on how to stop being wolves to one another.
Denys Gauer, outgoing French Ambassador to Nigeria believes that the killings in Nigeria are from within and not from without. He attributes the killings in Nigeria to impunity and the inability to arrest, punish and bring the killers to justice. Gauer says that the killings would stop when there is justice. He urged the government to persecute those responsible for the killings in order to put an end to it. He suggested that since some people are fighting for land, there must be direct policy to develop agriculture and animal husbandry. (https://www.seriezloaded.com.ng/ what-must-be-done-to-stop-killings-in-nigeriafrench-ambassador). If foreigners are not involved in the killings in Nigeria, we must therefore see if the traditional means could be useful. In every community, there are means for checks and balances. Good people and evil people are known in the communities. These criminals should not be covered up by those who suspect them.
Some people suggested restructuring for the military and security agents when an army captain and four policemen were brutally murdered in Ikorodu, a Lagos suburb, on April 9, while rescuing some kidnapped victims. This was because of the rate of killings of security agents like when some Niger Delta militants bombarded the Ishawo community in the Ikorodu area of the state, killing a Nigerian Army officer, four policemen and other civilians. The suggested restructuring would include a second look at the security architecture in a way and manner that security is not controlled by the Federal Government that is too far away from the grass roots. This means that policing should be devolved to the constituent units, as is the practice in other federations of the world. (http://www.blacknaija.com/new-update/ dangerous-trend-of-killing-security-agents-inlagos). Again, the leadership of Nigeria must revisit the challenge of unemployment. Many believe that if the young graduates are gainfully employed, the rate of criminality would stop. There is need for cooperation among all the arms of government to put a stop to this sacrilege. I pray that God will provide security to this country in distress.