Gov. Masari, Sen. Kashim
Shettima had governed Borno for eight years – each and every day of which were frighteningly bloodletting, relentless street and gun fights and non stop limb-flying tenures. He was in the tick of it all, as no day passed without an incident of mass murder through suicide bombings
By Yakubu Ahmed-BK
The helplessness and hopelessness of the North Western part of Nigeria was driven home by no less a person than the Governor of Katsina state Alhaji Aminu Masari. He was quoted by almost every credibly medium to have asked citizens to buy arms to protect themselves from the relentless blood spilling by bandits.
It has thus, by this call, become evident that the government has not only failed in its primary duty of protecting the lives and property of the people, but it has come to light that the country is set to become one of the world’s most lawless and unruly countries where life will not only be short but brutish.
If Masari’s panacea takes roots, it suggest, by implication that every North Westerner is free to bear what ever caliber of arms in the name of self help and as a deterrent to the marauding bandits that have made life very unbearable to the people.
But, looking at it from other perspectives, especially if we draw conclusions with similar situations of late in other parts of Nigeria, we can made deductions to arrive at a far more potent and result-oriented policy which will be safer, enduring and deterrent enough. Why is it difficult for governors in the affected North Western states to learn a lesson or two from a similar situation in the North East – Borno especially, in order to just “copy and paste” and in the process save us all from the prospects of further endangering lives and complicating matters?
Immediate past Governor of Borno state and now Senator Kashim Shettima had governed Borno for eight years – each and every day of which were frighteningly bloodletting, relentless street and gun fights and non stop limb-flying tenures. He was in the tick of it all, as no day passed without an incident of mass murder through suicide bombings, street fights between security personnel and insurgents, up to the time the insurgents were driven into the bushes from where they launched very deadly attacks on security formations, abductions, mindless killings, unprecedented destruction of public property and outright senseless brutality against anything and anywhere.
At the height of it all, when Maiduguri bore the full brunt and become the epicenter of the pogrom where law had literally taken flight, when even the Governor was a target, when those who could had taken to their heels and had relocated, Kashim Shettima refused to move to safer grounds, but stayed put, rushed to any scene of violence, was in the forefront to bury the dead and provide succor and was generally in charge, the Governor, despite the odds rallied his people around a common objective and the Civilian Joint Task Force C-JTF sprouted out of sheer necessity.
It was the emergence of the C-JTF that drove the insurgents out of Maiduguri and into the bushes because the capital city was made very hot for them. Even in the bushes, including the dreaded Sambisa Forest, the C-JTF working under the close supervision and partnership of all the security organs, played critical and game-changing roles in taking the fight to the dungeons of the bad boys.
The state government under Kashim Shettima took the C-JTF idea in, mobilized the group, kitted them with vital tools, provided uniforms, arranged to pay them monthly stipends and made them to have a command structure that was answerable to the security theatre to ensure decorum, discipline and order.
One important aspect here is that at the onset the volunteers were not allowed to carry weapons other than the sticks and clubs they were armed with. Their knowledge of the area, their capacity to pinpoint individual outlaws in their communities, their intelligence gathering ability and their raw bravery became handy and very useful to the overall objective to be effective in the fight against insurgents. As their roles become more critical and crucial, they were allowed to carry dane guns, later they graduated to carrying pump action rifles and in very peculiar and rare circumstances, one could see the bravest of all them all who were embedded in the tick of the battle carrying bigger weapons in cases where insurgents had to be outnumbered and outgunned.
It was out of this very close working relationship where some of the young men and women who went through the required drills and discipline that some of them were formally recruited into the military and were deployed to formations around the theatre of battle to fight.
Why then, can’t the governors in the North West learn from this simple strategy and adopt same to save their people? I am sure Kashim Shettima will be willing to offer free consultancy services to the North West and even arrange the egg heads of the original C-JTF of Borno to work in tandem with the people of the affected communities to work on a plan to establish something similar.
Is this not better than asking every one to buy arms to protect themselves? Are we not not inviting anarchy by working on this clear desperation of the Masaris of this world? If arms find their ways into the hands of every Tom, Dick and Harry the North West will, in no time, become ungovernable in the real sense of it. I bet you, what is happening today will be a child’s play.
We undertand, that perhaps, the governors in the North West may be encumbered by the need to expend resources to make this idea work. But what is the big deal here? Can any amount be so expensive in the search for solution to this pandemic of a problem?
So, let us put on our thinking caps to proffer the right solutions to a problem that is set to devour us all.
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