Nigerians are special people in every ramification. Patient but not docile, very accommodative but not foolish, very aspiring yet some are greedy because that looks like the norm. Everything is money to the youths and some adults, no wonder every issue facing the country, from the north to the south and from the west to the east, attracts monetary consideration. Very unfortunate.
Today, despite the series of kidnap cases, wantom killings, starvation due to high cost of food items and scarcity of fuel, cooking gas, lack of electricity supply, bad road network, in addition to several months of strike by university lecturers, high rate of unemployment and insecurity, yet the people still raise their shoulders very high in the face of government failure in all areas of constitutional mandate. Many Nigerians usually think more about their country when they step out of the country, instead of the government.
They see government as a total failure in every aspect of life. Insecurity has become a norm. Yet that was part of the campaign promises of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. Paimfully, terrorist groups have continued to unleash what looks like a daily terror on innocent Nigerians without any qualms.
Since 2009, the reign of terror has continued in every part of the country. However, the tide of insecurity has been heightened to the effect that churchgoers are vividly traumatized, as worshippers are either killed or kidnapped for ransom. The fear in the land is not only worrisome but also palpable. Religious leaders, like their followers, live in trepidation. The same fear is gripping security agents either along the streets or those in remote stations across the country. Many have no good protection.
I recall my trip to Haiti that gave me an insight into what a peacekeeping operation was all about. There was no dull moment.
This is true of votaile countries such as Haiti, where youths have not come to terms with political situations in their, much like the situation playing out in Nigeria since the #EndSARS agitation that almost crippled economic and social activities in many states of the country and left scores of police and civilians dead.
Haiti, which is located in the backyard of America, was in a hurry to become a democracy. This is in spite of their donkey years of independence. But it is not only democracy that Haitians are hungry to grab, it is also a country where hunger and deprivation have created frustration, which in turn made the people, especially the youth, to get used to aggression.
Throughout my official visit, our Nigerian police peacekeeping contingent was daily engaged with quelling demonstrations, uprising and insecurity. The demonstrators were opposed to the reign of the incumbent President and surged forward each day looking for an opportunity to kidnap the man from the presidential office. Interestingly, the same Nigerian policemen who are killed like chickens in their own country were exalted in the faraway black Caribbean country. Nigerian policemen were easily drafted to any hotspot in Haiti and they did a good job without any report of accidental discharge. And why not, they had a diet of it. Was it the June 12 demonstrations or the Babangida annulment demonstrations or the several labour-workers demonstrations? The Nigeria Police Force have managed uncountable civil demonstrations. In fact, any police officer in the Nigeria Police who has not participated in quelling demonstrations is not a complete police officer because civil demonstration is one of his/her acid tests.
This may explain why the United Nations is always proud of how Nigeria’s contingent manages demonstrations in Haiti. We are rated excellent each time. According to the UN police commissioner Mr. Mamadou Mountaga Diallo, a Guinean, the Nigerian contingent are lions, and I am very proud of them.
Similar excellent commendation flowed from every lip in Haiti. Interestingly, when you ask the Nigerian contingent what magic they use in quelling every demonstration and insecurity, they would tell you the same thing, “same same,” which simply connotes that Haitians are Africans and Nigerians: “we are the same, notwithstanding that we don’t speak the same language. Haitians are all from Africa like us.”
Yet, back home, Nigeria is beclouded with spate of kidnapping.
While the Nigerian contigent works hard to exalt Nigeria’s image, the home country is not performing it obligations. To outsiders, Nigeria is like a father who sent his daughter abroad to study; it is expected that such a father would not allow his daughter to lack, as the situation could make her bring shame and ignominy to the family. But this father, Nigeria, allows his daughter to lack.
It is necessary to draw the attention of the Federal Government that signed a memorandum of understanding committing to provide certain basic welfare packages to the contingents. Seven contingents have done a tour of duty in Haiti since 2004. Members of the contingent have had very sad stories to tell. Meeting with the UN commissioner of police in Haiti was all it took to hear the ugly truth. While praising the men and women, he did not hide his displeasure over the attitude of the Nigerian government toward the Nigerian peacekeepers who he said are living in a camp that is not benefiting, unlike other natinalities providing peacekeeping troops to Haiti.
I then wondered, if Sri Lanka, a poor country, could so decorate and provide amenities in the camp of its contingent, and India could ship into Haiti over 20 new jeeps and trucks, why can’t Nigeria, if these other countries could afford a high standard of welfare for their contigents, why must we punish and subject our ambassadors to such hardship? Is this a national pastime or is this a message to the police? No wonder, Nigerians are suffering and smiling in the midst of God-showered abundance. What is there to hope on, if our security ambassadors are neglected while on foreign assignment? The UN has said it all looks after our policemen and women on foreign assignment because, in terms of peacekeeping performance, they are not comparable to any other police, they are good, it is necessary to see them in action out side the country. Despite the hard conditions, despite the lack of food , mosquito-infested dormitories that look like that of village secondary schools, despite lack of serviceable operational vehicles, despite lack of good sanitation and communication, these men and women who think of their country first and never complain that the mosquito nets they were given are those of batches five and six and the pots of food is nothing to write to home about, they still walk tall. In their camp, they carry their shoulders high and each time they drive out of their camp. This scenario is what Nigerians are passing through today. No social amenities, no secured enviroment, must I continue to list out the rest?
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From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja Following the dismissal of 2,357 teachers by Governor Nasir el-Rufai’ in Kaduna State…