INSECURITY IN NIGERIA: A WAR OF NARRATIVES (1)

-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Austen AKHAGBEME:

One of the most disturbing part of the blighting security challenges we are facing in Nigeria today, is the many tributaries of scary narratives associated with it.

While the war of narratives is raging, the government seems to be tactically unaware of the magnitude of the problem enough to be decisive and definite in her approach to curb the menace.

Just because the government of the day may be holding the proverbial hammer doesn’t make every problem a nail. The problem looks deeper and more complicated ( given the narratives flying around) than the mere disdain for and prohibition of the possession of unlicensed arm and ammunition can solve. It is more knotty than a shoot-at-sight order can exhaustively resolve. This writer will attempt to look at some of the flying narratives here and continue subsequently.

The four most common among the deluge of narratives are: the supremacist narrative, the religious narrative, the poverty narrative and the international connection narrative.

The supremacist theorists are of the opinion that someone somewhere and very influential, woke up an age long belief, among the Fulanis, in the supremacy of the Fulani people, their invincibility and their God given right of occupancy to any land under heaven, as they deem necessary. And that acquiring a modern home land, like Nigeria, becomes absolutely necessary and imperative against the backdrop of an existential threat to their inseparable means of livelihood and life itself.

So the need for such “homecoming” or migration from the Futajalon mountains and the vast, plush and lush vegetation of the entire West Africa to Nigeria in particular by every Fulani herder, becomes a task that must be accomplished. Fortunately or unfortunately, some of the pronouncements of some prominent leaders of the Fulani ethnic stock have helped to give credibility to this narrative.

If the above is true, it means that the government needs to do something about value reorientation, championed by mass mobilisation and education of this group of people to drop their primordial prejudices and embrace modernity while jettisoning exclusivity.

And this is why it will be foolhardy of anyone to think that the mere banning of the public possession of an unlicensed weapon, suffices to checkmate the looming danger.

The above was further expanded and expounded to mean that a religious war of conquest and Fulani expansionism is behind the security troubles that Nigeria is facing. And this is about the most popular as some prominent Nigerians, in the past, have cried hoarse about it. Nigeria is a known secular state and any attempt to subjugate her citizens under one faith forcefully, may be herculean.

If this is true, it therefore means that Government has a lot on their hands to do to assuage the many rising tempers of religious extremists, waiting to explode. Again, mobilisation and sensitisation of the citizenry by the government, about the need for religious tolerance amongst the various religious groups becomes truly imperative and important.

This is why any Jack boot solution will not suffice; but a thorough and intellectual approach to getting a lasting solution to insecurity in Nigeria will do.

  • Austen AKHAGBEME is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online
News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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