Jos: Slaughter Capital of Nigeria.
The Federal Government of Nigeria owe Nigerians a serious apology for its failure to end the incessant Jos crisis. Re-occurring crisis of this nature is more than enough to bring down governments in the developed countries. Without doubts, the Federal Government, its security agencies and the perpetrators of these crimes should together be held responsible for the Jos massacre. In my opinion, the government should be prosecuted for security failures. The primary responsibility of every government is welfare and security of its citizens. On this occasion (Jos Crises etc) the government has simply failed.
I will advocate serious compensation from the government to those who lost loved ones, even though compensation will not bring back lost relatives. By virtue of the record number of religious crises in Jos and the higher number of deaths resulting from it, Jos has earned for herself, The Slaughter Capital of Nigeria. Just in a space of less than 3 months, over 800 people have lost their lives to religious crises. In January 2010, over 300 people were killed. In this month of March 2010, over 500 were slaughtered. Life is too cheap in Nigeria. I pray that, these killings should be the last. I pray this prayer each time there is a crisis, but I understand that heaven helps those who help themselves. In our own case we have not helped ourselves, therefore heaven might not help us.
To make matters worse, our government has abdicated from their responsibilities (security and welfare). There is no difference between a state sponsored killings and the inaction of our government through their security agencies. Government has no regards for the lives of Nigerians. Government's inaction also runs counter productive to some of their programmes like re-branding etc
I was highly embarrassed when some of my work colleagues (mainly Africans from other countries) confronted me with the news of Jos massacre on March 9th. Earlier in January (2010), I was also confronted with the same Jos crisis. On each case I was short of words. Imagine if these people were foreign investors or have friends who want to invest in Nigeria. These negative stories will never leave their minds whenever Nigeria is mentioned.
The greatest incitement to crime is the hope of escaping punishment. On the other hand, soft sentences can boost crimes, an example is the light sentence given to Olabode George. If the government cannot get tougher with punishing criminals and perpetrators of religious crises etc, then they will only be toying with our future. No one is safe. Even the so called "leaders" Nelson Mandela once said that 'Security for few is insecurity for all'
Removing the National Security Adviser is not enough. Heads of other relevant security agencies should also be sacked. Another reason to sack other security chiefs is the way and manner our President was smuggled inside the country like a thief. I read from online news sources that most of our security chiefs claimed ignorance of smuggling of Yar'Adua. We should remember that ignorance is not an excuse in law and therefore cannot be accepted by Nigerians. There (security services) inaction means they cannot justify their wages/salaries etc and there is no point wasting the taxpayers money on whoever cannot justify his/her pay.
The Jos crises is also a serious blow to the people who protested on the streets of London, Abuja, and New York that Nigerians are not terrorist(s). What more do we call terrorism than events in Jos. My biggest concern is how to prevent similar crisis in future? Do we have any assurances from the government and its security agencies that such incidents will not happen again? What are government plans for those displaced from their homes and businesses? What about the traumatised children and women? There are a lot more questions than answers. May God bless Nigeria.
Chinedu Vincent Akuta.
An activist and leader of "Support Option A4 Group" Leicester-UK