In the civilized world, protests work. Peaceful protests constitute a veritable and potent tool for expressing grievances, demonstrating strong dissent, disapproval of something or a readiness to resist an unacceptable status quo. Protests give very strong signal of the people’s frame of mind. They capture people’s mood about how disappointed or disgruntled they are with a prevailing or impending issues.
How the government responds to protests sends clear message of its sense of responsibility and leadership. How seriously it takes protests shows how much it values those it governs. If those in government were truly elected through the people’s ballots, protests should serve as a very strong statement that calls them to action and to order. No serious or responsible government would pay deaf ears to any protest that expresses the people’s anger or frustration. In most cases, peaceful protests address legitimate concerns and therefore should move the political authorities to action.
The protests across the country last week by all Catholics capture the mood of Nigerian Christians about the on-going killings. The church feels that the government has failed citizens of this country. It feels that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed Nigerians in terms of security. We feel so because Buhari is the Chief Security Officer of the country. He is in control of all security apparatus.
It is our strong conviction that Nigeria as a country lacks security, while the inaction and pretentious nervelessness of the Federal Government to deal with the terrorists branded as herdsmen is shocking. Now and again, we hear of whole villages and towns being sacked by these terrorists especially in Middle-Belt and North Eastern part of the country including, Taraba and Adamawa States. All these atrocities are taking place under the watch of the Nigerian military, which is supposed to be the largest Military Power in Africa in terms of capacity and sophistication. It is sad that our armed forces pretend they cannot even deal with these marauding herdsmen. Our military/police Intelligence gathering, has become in this matter so poor that they do not have idea of when these terrorists would strike, as they over-run villages unchallenged.
We are waiting to hear of confrontations between these AK-47-carrying herdsmen and Nigerian soldiers. It follows that if we have not heard of this, it is either that our intelligence gathering is faulty or government has decided to look the other way, while its citizen are being slaughtered by these terrorists .
We are not trying to incite the society to confrontation, but we abhor a situation where most of the targets of these herdsmen are Christian minorities while government obviously remains unperturbed.
If government has been challenging them, they would be afraid, but because nobody is confronting them, they operate so freely. Obviously there is lack of determination to fight these bandits in the land. Most people living in the Middle Belt and parts of the North East live in perpetual fear and feel unprotected.
The Catholic Church through its demonstration last week, as the two priests murdered by gun-carrying herdsmen were buried last Tuesday, is making a clarion call to the Federal Government to wake up to its responsibility. The church is not worried just because of the two priests who were murdered in cold blood, but is concerned about every life that is lost. The church is saying, “Enough is enough” of this bloodshed and violence. The church is saying “President Muhammadu Buhari, please wake up.”