The state of the nation
SIR: Since we became a sovereign nation in 1960, Nigeria has been experiencing religious and ethnic conflicts. We fought a gratuitous civil war that nearly led to the demise of Nigeria. The North has remained a hotbed of religious violence with attendant loss of lives and property.
In the 1980s, we had the Maitatsine religious uprising. Have we forgotten the Ife/Modakeke war and the Aguleri/Umuleri war? In the Middle-belt, the Jukuns and Tivs are at daggers drawn with each other, and they live like cat and dog. Jos, which used to be peaceful and serene with its beauty, has lost its innocence. The Fulanis have been fighting the Beroms and other tribal groups over ownership of land in Plateau State. When a town is at war, development will be put in abeyance in that area. Owners of industries relocate their industries to safe places.
The Niger Delta region used to be volatile until the federal government under President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua gave the militants amnesty. Many of them were sent abroad to learn trade; others received financial grants while learning trades in such institutions like the Metallurgical Training Institute, Onitsha.
While the Niger-Delta region is enjoying relative peace, the North is now embroiled in a low-intensity war prosecuted by the Boko Haram. No day passes without the group killing people in the North. Since the Boko Haram insurgency started, thousands of people have been needlessly killed by the group.
The South-east is afflicted with abduction epidemic. For a rich and prominent man to go for a walk unguarded in the South-East is to beg for abduction. Kidnapping people for ransom is big business. Aren’t we returning to the hobbesian state when life was brutish, short and nasty? Is anarchy not staring us in the face? It is a fact that diversities in colour, tongue, religion and customs are centrifugal forces that cause nation-states to disintegrate. But, we can borrow the American example of turning diversities believed to be curses into blessings. Our greatness should lie in our diversity.
The issue of lack of security of lives and property should be tackled head-long, if we are to develop as a country. Anarchy is not a force for national development. If anything, owners of industries will relocate their industries to countries with political stability and this will deepen the unemployment crisis in Nigeria. The Boko Haram insurgency has the potentials of destabilising our country.
• Chiedu Uche Okoye
Uruowuhu-Obosi, Anambra State