I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“And Allaah puts forward the example of a township, that dwelt secure and well content; its provision coming to it in abundance from every place, but it (its people) denied the Favors of Allaah (with ungratefulness). So Allaah made it taste the extreme of hunger (famine) and fear, because of that (evil) which they used to do.” Qur’an 16:112
For many decades, the Northern part of Nigeria was a specimen for security, peace and tranquility. The elderly ones will often recount numerous stories, of how people could leave their luggage and materials in strange places, without the fear of theft. In recent past, people could travel at night from one end of the North to the other without any apprehension. Alas! today none can during broad day light. The sound of gunshots and bomb blasts were far-fetched in the serenity created by the atmosphere of the North. Kidnapping was a fairy-tale to an average Northerner. The North was a safe-heaven.
How could a region once defined by security stability, a once upon a time economic nerve centre of West Africa be dominated by insecurity and carnage while its citizens watch helplessly? What went wrong? Going by the predominant religion of the inhabitants of the region, it is safe to say that, the problem and the solution to this anathema need to be analyzed first from a religious perspective before anything.
The verse of the Qur’an referenced above (Qur’an 16:112) is an apt illustration of how the North lost its glory days and how it now struggles to bask in the scorching sun of insecurity and carnage. It is a known fact that agriculture, peace and security were the landmarks of the North, but this also could not be dissociated from the naked truth that the region attained such heights because of its moral strength, justice and religious uprightness.
In addition, when people become overtly ungrateful to the blessings of Allaah, their state of security becomes overshadowed by insecurity, their economic buoyancy becomes a thing of the past, and they will have to contend with unjust and insincere people at the helms of their affairs until they return back to their rightful ways. Islamically, the greatest oppression is Shirk (to associate partners with Allaah), as He the exalted states: “Verily! Joining others in worship with Allaah is a great Dhulm (Wrong).” Qur’an 31:13. Has Shirk not become a common thing in the North that once pride itself with strong adherence to Islamic Monotheism?
Consequently, people are requited for what their hands earned of evil. Allaah the exalted says: “Evil (sins and disobedience to Allaah) has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned (by oppression and evil deeds), that He (Allaah) may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return (by repenting to Allaah, and begging His Pardon).” Qur’an 30:41.
An equally significant aspect of this insecurity is the injustice perpetrated by those charged with the responsibility of ensuring the security of lives and properties. In an article titled “injustice breeding insecurity” by Asha-Kin F. Duale on Hiiraan online
Sunday, December 31, 2017, she wrote: “Injustice in all its forms endangers countries’ development and compromises people’s security. The absence of fair administration of justice effectively forces communities to provide for their own security and justice.”
Agreeably so, the Nigerian system only favors the privileged few and it operates as though it was designed to serve them. A system that has not put in place an effective reward mechanism where competence, honesty and integrity propels an individual to success (in the true sense of the word) is bound to breed criminals and kidnappers. The government at all tiers, should intensify intelligence gathering more than checkpoints. After all, few kilometers away from checkpoints people get kidnapped on daily basis.
By the same token, a detailed investigation and analysis needs to be carried out as to how a formally peaceful people could become hardened criminals overnight? At what point did kidnapping become the norm in the North and what led to it? These are some of the questions whose answers will provide an insight on how to solve the problem. What are the grievances of these circumstantial criminals? Where did the government fail them as citizens? Have they ever felt government presence in their communities?
None today can travel along Abuja – Kaduna Highway and almost all the Highways along Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto axis without being apprehensive. What type of insecurity is this that has damaged the psyche of the citizens? What is being done to genuinely show the citizens that their lives and properties are a priority? Remember, human life is sacred and nothing of this world worth more than it. Hence, it must be protected by all means.
Accordingly, Zamfara has become the new bloodbath capital of Nigeria. On an almost daily basis, the soil of Zamfara drinks from the blood of the innocent souls being killed by bandits. The stories to be told by those that survive this daily onslaught will be written in blood ink, never to be forgotten as the dark age in the life of this once peaceful region. No life is more equal than other in Nigeria. Hence, a sincere demand is that each life should be given equal attention and none should be allowed to be demoralized thinking that his life is not as important as others’.
In conclusion, the Muslim faithful, believes that the source of peace and security is from Allaah. However, those charged with the responsibility of ensuring peace and security are always reminded of the daunting task shouldered upon them. One life lost as result of the negligence of the leader will be a source of irreversible regret for him on the Day of Judgement. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There is no slave to whom Allaah has entrusted the care of people, and he dies neglecting his flock, but Allaah will forbid Paradise to him.” Bukhari (7151) and Muslim (142).
Oh our dear leaders, do not neglect the people of Zamfara, do not leave them to opt for shirk (amulets against gunshots) in a desperate bid to provide security for themselves. May Allaah set right the affairs of the oppressed and grant our leaders the strength and the wisdom to do the needful beyond the material eye, beyond the political eye.
Mr Abdul (Penabdul), an architect, is the Chairman/CEO of Sustainable Project Works (SPW) Ltd & a Lecturer at Baze University, Abuja. Twitter: @Penabdull Instagram: @Penabdul