The precarious and tenuous state of our nation’s security has been the news for months now, so troubling that not a few Nigerians believe we can sustain this fragile nationhood in the face of the sickening anomie that the Boko Haram menace and the trauma that the many armed groups and gangs in the land dishes out to the innocent and the hapless, sad!
I have argued profusely for dialogue as the solution to the raging miasma. I am for amnesty from prosecution as the only plausible bargaining chip the Federal Government should weave in dialoguing with the restive groups. As was the case with the Bishop Desmond Tutu’s TRUTH and RECONCILIATION COMMISSION in South Africa we can for peace tell all offenders involved and or connected with terror to go and sin no more.
Such should be the maximum praxis and parameter for peace, anything more than amnesty from prosecution shall count as impish, satanic and devilish. Agreed that dialogue is perceived wrongly in this clime as depicting weakness; agreed that several thousands have been mowed down and properties destroyed; agreed that suicide bombers have made barbecues of fellow humans, truth be said our collective challenge must be to excavate sufficient stones that must halt and de-escalate the carnage.
For the records I must state however that dialogue is the noblest process in God’s universe. I must state that love and forgiveness is the greatest weapon in God’s world. I must state primly that an eye for an eye shall populate our planet with half-sighted people, and a tooth for a tooth shall pervade our earth with toothless and never smiling Homo sapiens. This truism makes the imperativeness of dialogue in the present national cul de sac the summum bonum.
Certain that my position is for dialogue; certain that I am not opposed to amnesty from prosecution for the villains and the armed gangs in the land; certain that if well articulated and properly managed through dialogue we can win the peace; and certain that the preponderant number of our people want the peace and crave progress, I cannot but support and canvass same.
But Countrymen, I cannot cease to profusely and profoundly repudiate the arguments and position credited to the Northern Elders and the various Arewa Groups calling for a cash-backed amnesty regime as was the case with the amnesty charade thrown at the Niger Delta militants by President Jonathan’s predecessor, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua. I lampoon with vehemence all, any and every process that in similitude tends to make brigandage, terror and banditry lucrative.
It troubles the carapace of my mind when I ponder such callousness. Are we telling the world that in Nigeria terror pays, and even more nauseating is the fact that it seems to pays more than legitimate toil? Are we indiscriminate of the memory of the dead? Are we saying to those who lost family members and properties that those who murdered their loved ones and plundered their properties are deserving of profit? Are we conscious of the fact that a cash-backed amnesty regime shall only make terror and brigandage a de facto business? Sad!
Again the converse side is that the Haramists are speaking in muffled and convoluted tongues, the one says they demand a Sharia governed republic as the minimum nexus for peace and the other says they are willing to accept amnesty at the terms agreed upon by the Northern Elders and shall cease hostilities when they so direct.
The tragedy before us as a nation and a people is the plexus and the complexion of the amnesty programmatic presently in the crucible of the Northern Elders and seriously I dare say that both to the Northerner and to the Southerner a cash-backed amnesty regime shall metamorphose into a Frankenstein Monster and shall like a man eating ogre devour all that is left of our nation and debilitate every cord that holds us together.
Justice, equity and fairness is a concomitant factor to peace and sine qua non to growth and progress which actually is the summum bonum of civilized society. Rather benumbing is the fact that instead of seeking that priceless tripod (Justice, equity and fairness) the operators of this nation conjecture that peace can be bought and are thus involved in a Bazaar called amnesty in the Niger Delta and sadly are sporting to do same with the Haramists, painful!
Also benumbing however is the fact that the statute of justice in today’s Nigeria appears to have her eyes open Northwards and South-Southwards the more reason I am worried for Nigeria. It beats every fibre of logic to contemplate amnesty on the one hand for murderous gangs who have levied war on our nation killing thousands and committing monstrous economic sabotage, and on the other insisting on prosecution for treason for Ralph Uwazurike and his MASSOB colleagues.
I have wondered why this regime cannot wield a comprehensive amnesty from prosecution for all the armed and armed-less groups questioning our nationhood and proceed pronto to addressing the issues that have made treason, sedition, crisis and conflicts fashionable. I have wondered why this government has chosen to orchestrate a might is right paradigm in the Nigerian space, because it presently appears that the praxis now is ‘if you want to be heard take up arms’.
I am troubled that the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra MASSOB a group which has peacefully conducted its agitation within the ambit and the purview of approved International Conventions, Resolutions and Regulations would be the subject of treasonable trial whereas those who have levied war and questioned all that the nation stands for are being pleaded with and paid to allow the peace ala the Niger Delta Militants and soon perhaps the Haramists.
I am troubled that this nation lives a lie so much so that MASSOB which has waved the flag of a non-violent struggle since its inception a little over ten years ago, a group whose members have been killed, murdered and harangued by the Police and the Armed Forces for so long would be the beneficiaries of a treasonable trial and the ones who have dealt serious havoc on our nation with sophisticated weaponry the beneficiaries of national pardon and some largesse, what a conundrum of preposterous coloration, sad!
The truth is that justice is fair, dispassionate, without ethnic and or sectional prejudices and equitable. The truth is that the body language and composure of the Jonathanian era supports the devious epistemology that ‘he who levies war creates fear and calls the coward to bow’, but the State must not be the coward. The State must be strong enough to instill discipline and not without first addressing the issues that germinates into defiance and deviance. And the truth is that the State must treat every component part with equal respect and refrain, such and no other is the path to national peace and purposeful dialogue.
We must be weary of what decisions we take in high places lest in killing one ogre we create four. We must weave State power with discretion and wisdom lest some feel unwanted and alienated. We must treat all Nigerians as one great people lest we make violent struggle plausible to a hitherto peaceful revolutionist. And we must compel and convince government to convoke a national dialogue where the ills that torment our peace can be peaceful thrashed.
Compatriots my call is to all who care and love peace, by peace I mean sustainable peace not the peace of the graveyard to rise to the urgency of the now, we must say to the government and to all stakeholders that it is sublime and credible to dialogue with the Haramists and all other groups offended with the structure as it were with the aim of winning the peace, but that credibility shall be frittered away if and when a cash-backed amnesty is agreed upon because our nation must be careful not to make terror profitable.
I shall continue to wish and to pray that together we find for this nation a path away from poverty, disease, deprivation and want. I pray that we shall resolve our festering contradictions in favour of a just and an egalitarian society. And I pray that someday soon justice, equity and fairness shall constitute the tripod on which our nation thrives. God Bless Nigeria.
DR. CHUKWUDUMEBI NKEMCHO NWAOKOBIA SNR.
Formerly known and called (CHRIS NWAOKOBIA JNR)
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