Two traits are attributed to Nigeria’s peoples of the North by their Southen brothers and sisters or enemies, as the case may be.
The first is that they are fearless. And that they are also not afraid of death. Both taken to heart by generations of youths in the North has created a Frankenstein of frightening dimension. Unfortunately, they began to believe that it was a good thing to be without fear and and to easily embrace death.
The result is a glorification of violence while de-emphasizing the value of life. Violence was an expedient tool by the elite when it suited them. Only that they and their children don’t take a part.
When Mohammadu Buhari broke down in tears ( real or fake) on losing elections, the lives of the simply innocent will clean those tears.
Enter Boko Haram: For some reason, this monster was created in 2009 or thereabouts as a sect that ” hated Western Education ” as the story went . In crushing the then nascent demon, even Mr Buhari shouted blue murder.
And a more well equipped, financed version would be introduced in the wake of Goodluck Jonathan’s government. Bomb blasts and criticisms became a quotidian in the president’s daily life. Mr Jonathan was in one breath responsible for the barbarity and in another ,also responsible for not defeating it. The rest, as they say , is now a very painful history for Northern Nigeria.
Before we get ahead of ourselves:
In creating the myth that they are without fear and that life was meaningless, the elite was creating tools, like I said earlier. It worked because, with all its faults, Nigeria was walking, how ever unmeasured the steps were. There was ,at least ,food. Now it stand badly still.
Like bactaria that feeds on itself after they have gone through the culture, Northern youths have come to see violence as a means to economic ends. They don’t go too far . Thought that life didn’t matter, the fatalism leads them to block Abuja-Kaduna Freeways, kidnapping, robbing and killing people. Like an ugly Frankenstein, they have turned on their creators. And so, life no longer matters.
An unintended consequence of decades of mal-education is that those to whom violence would be a way of life mostly now target those among them who value life. I mean people who have money. At least food.
Let’s take cattle rustling, as an example: You must know about cows to steal cows ,if only because of sheer size. Even as life didn’t matter, they were not taught to starve to death. And so, they become what the Nigerian Authorities call “bandits “.
Military resourses meant to defend the nation are now deployed to ” curb” violence in the North. Like a malignant tumour, it began to move from the North East, down to Kaduna, up to Zamfara and Sokoto. The creators of the monsters don’t seem to know what’s happening.
Those army of “restive youths ” are simply not different from a starved army with guns. Human nature becomes elemental in such a way that they no longer are able to know and respect their creators as different from the enemies whose lives are meant not to matter.
And because the society told them they are fearless ( and that’s a badge of honor) they take on the army ,the police being weak by comparison. Because they are told that life doesn’t matter, they even ambush soldiers and kill them.
Nigeria’s Vanguard, quoting agency reports published this ,Monday, April 29.
“Hundreds of motorists unaccounted for as bandits block Kaduna-Abuja highway again,
Kidnappers on Monday afternoon blocked the Kaduna-Abuja Express way forcing several motorists to abandon their vehicles and head for nearby bushes to avoid being abducted.
NA Correspondent gathered that the bandits left the scene of the incident and moved into the bush with some of their victims before the arrival of some security men, who later cleared the road for the motorists to continue on their journeys.
Commenting on the incident, owner of the popular Shagalinku Restaurant in Abuja, Alhaji Umar Shagalinku,
“I have been hearing about this robbery and kidnapping along Kaduna – Abuja road but today I witnessed – this is terrible and ungodly.
“I sincerely pray that authorities concerned will do something about these criminals so that motorists will feel safe while plying this important road,” he said.
I doubt if prayers will work.
How and when will this stop? Well, the first thing is an immediate reversal in economic fortunes. People, including those to whom life don’t matter, must,at least be able to afford food. If they can’t, they will continue to use violence being the only strategy they know.
They must also be taken off cheap Mood-Alterations-Drugs (MAD) that helps them keep the illusion that they are without fear. And that takes time.
Finally, violence will be a part of the North for some time to come. It will take the right education, a process re-engineering of a drastic kind to change the cosmology which preaches that life doesn’t matter.
They must now see life as inviolate, a gift from God ,not a burden by Him which makes Heaven appealing. That life can be enjoyed,not endured. That life must not be killed but protected. They must be taught that all humans have fear as an inexorable part of their make up.
The last ,again, will take some time and for that reason, violence in the North won’t go away for now. At some point, the elite might need to run.
In creating anything, monsters, for instance, it pays to pay attention to possible unintended consequences.