BY SIMON REEF MUSA
This week, an amorphous body of northern extraction called the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) announced the formation of a security outfit known as Shege-Ka-Fasa. The launching of the outfit is coming on the trail of a similar outfit called Operation Amotekun by the South-west governors to complement efforts by the nation’s security agencies in combating criminal activities.
There’s every justification that Shege-Ka-Fasa outfit is a fallout of the deepening gulf of insecurity created by the helplessness of government to guarantee security of lives and property. Considering the support for regional security outfits, both Amotekun and Shege-Ka-Fasa may turn out an effective strategies in battling desperate security situations that have led to massive killings. The resort by the Federal Government to engage South-west governors in a bid to evolve proper legal frameworks for the legalization of Amotekun contains the seeds of hope for various states that are under siege from criminal elements.
Apart from the adoption of a snarling lion as a symbol by the CNG-led security outfit, the apprehensions caused by the outfit raises the issue of whether the CNG can represent the interest of Arewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello’s failing House. The activities of the Abdul-Azeez Suleiman-led group has been famed for its notoriety in playing to the gallery for political relevance. Many, including yours sincerely, are still at a loss on whether the CNG should be taken seriously, taking into consideration the ultimatum the group issued on Igbos to vacate the North two years ago. That this so-called security outfit was launched without a single governor from the North being present reveals the chicanery of a group that is more committed to some unformulated interests that is acting on some hidden political interests based on self-aggradisement. It is obvious that the Northern security outfit is more of a poster affair aimed at winning cheap publicity than contending with criminal forces in the North.
The fright over Shege-Ka-Fasa was on Thursday expressed by no other person than His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, who cautioned the youths against launching such an outfit. Maintaining that such a security outfit must be guided, the Sultan at a Northern Security Meeting in Kaduna maintained that without engaging governors and elders on the matters, such efforts could be counter-productive.
“I saw the security outfit on the media. Now, the elders allowed these youths to go forward. The elites are our problems, the youth will do whatever they like if the elders don’t take the lead and think they are right. They have to caution these youths by giving them good leadership. The youths launched their own security outfit they call it Shege-Ka-Fasa’, meaning what? I’m calling on northern elders to caution them,” the Sultan advised
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, captured the tragedy of insecurity ripping across the North, with its impact resonating in other parts of the country. Also speaking at the Kaduna Meeting that took place at the Arewa House, Dogara noted, “The North is now the epicenter and theatre of violence. From Boko Haram ISWAP led by Albarnawi, Boko Haram led by Shekau and Ansaru insurgency, to farmers/herders conflict, banditry, kidnappings, ethno-religious conflicts, cattle rustling, etc, we are confronted with a crisis that is unparalleled in our history. The death spiral appears unstoppable. Increasingly, it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish us from our enemies. There was no shortage of early warning signs and as a matter of fact our Philosophers such as the late Sa’adu Zungur of blessed memory had warned that this dystopian era was fast approaching, but we ignored all. We are now paying for our collective negligence.”
According to both the Sultan and Dogara, the early warnings for the present apocalypse have long been shown, but Northern leaders preferred to neglect and dare the consequences. Now that bloodshed and massive violence have become Northern traits, the amnesia of leaders and elders is setting the North and the country on edge. There has never been a time the North became so divisive and disunited than now.
Of course, when leaders abandon their primary role in providing direction to youths, the penalties most times turn out a grim and bleak future. The present insecurity desolating the North is hinged on failure of leadership. It is based on this that both the elite and leaders have abandoned their responsibilities of guiding younger generations and are now engaged in seeking to build personal kingdoms and enthroning systems to perpetuate their domination. However, the incapacity of the region to enthrone a just system for both personal and national development has endangered the survival of a transparent leadership required for growth.
The response of the Suleiman-led group and other groups in the North reveals the extent of mutual distrust the youths have for both the elite and elders. Having seen how the country is being administered, youth groups are now resorting to regional sentiments to get a piece of the national cake through engaging some politicians who may deploy them as an army of cheerleaders for the attainment of certain political motives.
Nigerians saw that in the past when the CNG issued an eviction notice on the Igbos to vacate the North. It took several youth groups in other states of the North, including the Nigeria Police, to debunk the threat. Apart from absence of structure to regulate Shege-Ka-Fasa, what legal frameworks has the Northern Security outfit evolved to assist governors to work for the formation of the outfit?
Despite moves by the Northern Governors’ Forum to adopt community policing to tackle the current insecurity wrecking the states, not many are persuaded that the recruitment of constables from various communities could prove enough to stave off further violence and bloodshed. The march to resolving the many troubles that ail our country is gradually finding a prologue in the quest by troubled states and regions for the formation of such security outfits in order to beat back the floods of bloodshed and other forms of criminal activities. When groups and communities begin to cast doubt on the impartial disposition of the State to guarantee the safety of lives and property, the ship of restructuring is about to find an anchor.
Apart from The South-west that has declared its resolve to push ahead with Operation Amotekun, the South-east governors have also written President Muhammadu Buhari to express their intention of creating their own outfit. With the CNG’s intention of coming up with its own version of security outfit, the House Sardauna built that is presently disunited could turn out a Tower of Babel in search for measures aimed at taming the angels of destruction plaguing the North.
For the defunct Northern Region that is now 19 states in the Nigerian Federation, the challenge of poverty made worse by unproductive population has become a great affliction and crippling encumbrance. The search for peace cannot be realised by more boots on the ground. The capacity by the leadership to chart an effective road-map to development and opportunities for all remains our best bet. The North may have led other regions to fight for the unity of the country in the past, but in the present wave of insecurity shredding the North, the foundations for a united Nigeria may prove a hard path to follow if leaders and elders refuse to rise and battle demons of destruction that are determined to inflict collateral damage on a region that was once a haven for peace and unity for Africa’s most populous nation.