• Opinion
  • Updated: January 18, 2023

Only In Nigeria Can A President Receive Peace Award When There Is No Peace

Only In Nigeria Can A President Receive Peace Award When The

President Buhari

The presidency under the stewardship of President Muhammadu Buhari is still basking upon the euphoria of the peace award from the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum given to the president for his role in “strengthening peace in Africa”. It is, however, safe to say that the international community is not seeing what we are witnessing or, better put, what Nigerians are going through.

The Oxford dictionary's definition of peace is the best fit here.

It says peace is freedom from disturbance. Then we ask ourselves that as grandiose as the number of national disorders we face daily, some people could still gather under the guise of protecting national interests to give such an award. 

The global peace index for 2021 compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace ranked Nigeria 146th out of 163 countries with a score of 2.712, while among sub-Saharan African countries, the country was ranked 39th out of 44 countries examined in the region.

To put the record straight, Nigeria has six geopolitical zones comprising northeast, northwest, north-central, southeast, southwest and south-south, and none of the regions is at peace. Not at war as well, but no place in Nigeria is safe.

It is baffling that the international community that gave such an award is unaware that Nigeria's insecurity has become a national grimace.

And even if it gave the award to appreciate the president for doing his best with the escalation of security threats in the country, more than Mr President's best is needed to merit such an award.

The northeast security system barely improved

Evidently, the security situation in the region has improved.

But it doesn't take away the fact that Nigerians in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe states cannot sleep with their two eyes closed.

For over a decade, the region has battled threats to peace and stability following the takeover of most areas by the Boko Haram insurgents and members of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP). 

Lives have been lost, properties destroyed, and people displaced.

In Borno state, for instance, the news reported that Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, the governor of the state and his convoy were attacked by criminal elements.

How, then, does President Muhammadu Buhari worthy of an international peace award a few years later?

Any praise on president Buhari regarding the northeast would be half-baked, considering that peace sustenance is not evident in the region as of the time of compiling this piece.

President Buhari's backyard is not safe

From the president's home state, Katsina, where 21 teenagers, most girls, were abducted by gunmen from a farm in November 2022 and held for ransom.

Kaduna, another neighbour is bedevilled with heinous crime and banditry, particularly in the southern part, down to Sokoto, where the murder of Deborah Samuel still hurts.

You will be shocked that the captain of the wrecked ship where all these anomalies are happening received an international award in recognition of peace.

What about Zamfara, where school girls can hardly move freely and the threats of farmer-herder clashes alongside the fear gripping inhabitants of Kebbi and Jigawa states of an imminent attack? 

Banditry in the northwest, among others, has plunged people into fear and displaced millions of people from their homes.

Illegal mining is not even allowing safer places to be habitable. 

The gloom in the north-central

On August 4, 2021, A dispute between the Anaguta and the Hausa communities over a parcel of land in Plateau State flared into a deadly night raid that took 37 people to their early graves.

Just three days ago, Rev. Fr. Isaac Achi, of Minna Catholic Diocese, was gruesomely killed in his home in Niger state.

The developed countries, including the UK, and the USA, warned their citizens against an imminent terror attack in the Federal Capital Territory less than three months ago.

At the same time, Benue state and the governor, Samuel Ortom, are frustrated with the persistence of banditry and herders' attack.

It degenerated to the point that the governor had to make derogatory comments about the Fulani elites, including Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, for which he later apologised. 

Just seven days ago, Gunmen on motorcycles kidnapped two residents of the Oluwalose community in Ilorin, Kwara State, while no fewer than 10 Nigerians were brutally killed in Kadarko, Keana Local Government Area of Nasarawa state, in early October 2022, among other massacres.

Four days before Christmas in Kogi State, The State Police Command lost two officers when unknown shooters attacked a patrol team.

This phrase has found its way into Nigeria's national dictionary. 

And Mr President received a peace award. It may be for him to put in more effort.

The southwest region

The Yoruba nation agitation headlines the threats to national peace in the Yoruba-dominant region.

But in reality, social issues, including cybercrime, armed robbery, kidnapping, domestic crime, extrajudicial killings, herder-farmer conflicts, and ritual killings, are recurrent indices in the region.

Hardly will a day pass in the southwest that the region will not witness one of those listed.

Additionally, the establishment of the southwest security network, codenamed Amotekun, to "fill the loopholes of the security system" has barely helped. 

There are consistent security threats in Oyo, persistent theft in Osun, and real-time ritual killings in Ogun while Ondo and Ekiti are battling Kidnapping and banditry.

The families of Nigerians who lost their lives during the Owo massacre in Ondo state would wonder whether the honourers of this award are joking or do not understand the country's predicament.

Monarchs are being attacked, and some are killed along the line.

The seeming dissatisfaction of the region prompted agitation for self-government, which boomeranged in Ojota Lagos a few days ago. 

The IPOB Monday message

Aside from being the home of established crime and ritual killing, the secessionist agenda has regained momentum under President Buhari, meaning that Nigerians in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo states cannot go about their lawful businesses on the first business day, Monday. 

Instead of the award being presented on Tuesday in Mauritius, it should have been brought to Orlu, Imo state, on a Monday. Monday has become an extension of the weekend in the region.

You would think that was all until you experience novel herder-farmer clashes, attacks by unknown gunmen, and banditry in this region.

The southeast is known for conventional farming and nose for business. But insecurity has propelled the religion into heightened clashes between nomadic pastoralists(herdsmen) and crop farmers.

The south-south 

Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, and Rivers are not safe too.

Kidnapping is a valuable trade in the region alongside environmental agitation occasioned by the dominance of "national cake in the region.

The conspiracy theory

The ripple effect of national insecurity is endless.

The worst is the conspiracy theories that the absence of peace in the state headed by President Buhari is framing. 

Under President Buhari, Nigerians are beginning to give political undertones to the insecurity situation, ultimately leading to more losses of lives and extensive property damage.

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Yusuf Adua
Yusuf Adua

Yusuf Adua is an investigative journalist passionate about politics, solution-based reporting and f...

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