Why insecurity ravages the north – Dogara’s speech – Newsdiaryonline

..”To dare is to lose one’s
footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself” – Soren

I have known of no honour greater
than to be invited to chair this all important event which aims to stem the
tide of unbridled violence been unleashed on Northern Nigeria. At this moment
of our history, when graves litter the northern landscape promiscuously and the
North has become a killing field, there is no better place to be than at an
event such as this.

2. Permit me to first of all thank
the organizers of this event for their foresight and for their courage in
putting together an event like this at a time that even our best intentions
could easily be misinterpreted. This noble effort calling on us to rise again
after we have failed can only come from patriots: for as Confucius reminds us,
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”.
We pray for Gods blessings upon this endeavor as the survival of our
civilization depends on our capacity to conquer violence and malignant evil;
the twin evils confronting the North today.

3. My assignment here today is not
to delve into the depth of the problems, because others will do that, but just
to highlight the issues and guide proceedings. Permit me to plead for your
understanding in case I breach the rule because of the burden in my heart. I
have seen the report of the different syndicate groups and I must confess that
they are very thorough and exhaustive. Thanks to the geniuses of our brothers
and sisters.

4. 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 Philosopers 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.

5. The North is now in the grip of
what Soren Kierkegaard called “sickness unto death”—the numbing of the soul by
despair that leads to moral and physical debasement. It has become a society
that is driven at its very core by the death instinct. The instinct to
annihilate and destroy rather than nurture and create. Our economic debries have
become too conspicuous to be ignored. As it is, we are now trapped in a prison
of mirrors, where revealed lies are answered with new lies. With all these,
it’s like our slow motion walk to self apocalypse is assured. We have seen this
movie before in Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria to name but just a
few but not in Northern Nigeria.

6. Of the 19 northern states and the
FCT, only Kwara state and the FCT are relatively peaceful or have the lowest
rate of insecurity but all the other 18 states are inflamed by one form of
violence or the other. Now the question that we all must answer is how did we
get here and what must we do to defeat the radical evil of violence before it
swallows us up?

7. I must say that one mistake we
are all guilty of is to fold our arms and wait on governments at all levels to
solve this problem for us. Government has its own fair share of the blame but
what are we doing ourselves? On the flip side, I get angry anytime I hear our
brothers and sisters say that they are worried about what is happening in the
North but they are not prepared to take a stand and be the difference. They
have become like Malcolm in Macbeth who said, “Let us seek out some desolate
shade and there weep our sad bosoms empty”. For those of us who only worry,
thanks but no thanks, because worry is the most useless human endeavor. Worry
produces nothing but pains. 

8. Why are we here? Those mapping
insecurity in Northern Nigeria have concluded that we are where we are because
of illiteracy, unemployment and poverty(Illiteracy+Unemployment + Poverty =

9. Others including the conclusions
of the syndicate groups here have posited that we are where we are because of
breakdown in family values; we are here because of the worsening insecurity caused
by the increasing use of the military. This has weakened the police and
negatively reoriented the military from their traditional military roles. They
say that it is only in Nigeria that security officials are withdrawn from
killing fields to monitor elections while vigilantes are deployed to fight
terrorists and other armed gangs.The example of the notorious kingpin, Wadume
who suborned army officers including a captain who caused police officers to be
killed to free the kidnapper is a case in point and is often cited with

10. That we are here because of the
porous nature of our borders. They asked, how many illegal aliens have been
arrested or turned back by immigration ? Do we have a national data bank of
those either arrested or even interrogated on suspicion of committing offenses?
The absence of data bank means that police prosecutors cannot tell the courts
whether Accused persons are serial offenders or first time offenders. This has
serious security implications; that we are here because of lack of reforms of
our prison system. The National Assembly under our watch amended the law to
rename them correctional services but as at today do they correct any inmates?
The evidence is rather the opposite, that criminals get hardened in our
prisons. Also some criminals are known to plan crimes from behind prison walls.

11. That we are here because there
is an abysmal lack of intelligence gathering by our security agencies,
traditional institutions and Government at all levels; we are here because of
lack of prosecution of persons responsible for violent crimes including
kidnapping, attacks on communities, etc which incentivizes the commission of
violent crimes; we are here because Majority of Nigerians are agreed that we
are having the worst security challenges since the civil war yet no viable
security policies or plans have been put in place to address the mounting
insecurity in the country; we are here because there is an epic battle
involving a disempowered populace infantilized by a world they cannot control
who have vowed to crush the forces embodied in demonized groups such as the
discredited established elite and other individuals which are blamed for their

12. Be that as it may, my own
considered opinion is that those are symptoms of the real problem. The real
problem is that we have failed to provide leadership and organize a society
that works for all. A peaceful and orderly Northern Nigeria then was more
engaged in the pursuit of justice rather  than the pursuit for order. The
problem started when we substituted the pursuit of justice for all for the
pursuit of absolute order- basically whipping people into line no matter the
grievance or level of discontent. In doing so, we failed to heed the timeless
warning that a society that is more devoted to order than to justice will never
be an orderly or peaceful society. It was St. Augustine who said, “ in the
absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery”. 

13. In tackling these problems, we
must realise that guns do not kill and killing the violent does not necessarily
bring peace except the peace of the grave. We kill with our minds and peace
settles first in the mind before it is expressed. So the battle to build a
peaceful North must be a battle for the minds of our people. Violence is taking
roots because our leadership model has been exposed as a lie, an empty ideology
used to satiate greed instead of addressing social inequality and injustice.

14. I am glad the Sultan and some
Clergy are here. They will have to take the lead. Will it be too much to ask
that all royal fathers in Northern Nigeria leverage on their powerful positions
to build centers of excellence dedicated to skills acquisition, technology transfer
and innovation in their domains? Is it too much to demand that all Mosques and
Churches in Northern Nigeria promote charities that cater for our needy and the
destitute? The message should be loud and clear, we have served ourselves
enough, now is the time to serve others.

15. We must urgently begin to
depopulate the pool from which youngsters are recruited into violence. I am
more than persuaded that if we cannot serve the poor, the destitute and those
who are hurting in our midst but claim to be serving God whom we have never
seen, we are nothing but pathetic liars. We can transform our society if we are
ready and willing to make the right sacrifice in serving others instead of
serving ourselves. We must hold Government to account but we must never abandon
our collective destiny to Government alone.

16. Today I am more hopeful that we
will rise above violence in the North. All of you here who are prepared to take
responsibility for our collective fate give me hope. Let us therefore sincerely
put on our thinking caps and take the bold steps which may be outside our
comfort zones in order to end our security challenges in the North.

17. In closing, permit me thank all
those who have volunteered to serve on the Northern Security Monitoring Committee
which will be inaugurated today. I charge you to take no prisoners in executing
your mandate because of the urgency that now stares us all in the face. 

18. We are running out of time. It
is crystal clear that the North cannot withstand the kind of contradictions
that exist now. The North is on fire ignited by us either by our actions or by
what we permit or allow. Those who truly love the North must now come out and
accept responsibility and begin the salvage mission bearing in mind Professor
Andrew Haruna’s warning , “ that the North was handed over to us in one piece,
we must therefore not pass it to our children in pieces”…

Being text of Speech Delivered By
Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara At Northern Security Meeting At Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial
Foundation, Kaduna On 6th February, 2020

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