Power: On The NDA Madness And Niger Banditry

Power: On The NDA Madness And Niger Banditry

Nigeria is still battling banditry despite government’s efforts to address the menace. Nearly everywhere is scathed by lecherous gunmen. Most states are suffering terribly from the repressive twinges of brigands who kidnap an array of hapless Nigerians in carefully camouflaged cellars deployed as hidey-holes to seek ransom.

The circle of anxiety is endless for most Nigerians. While some estimate that bandits now have the nation in their pockets, others have forcefully declared that the fear of gunmen signifies the extent to which subaltern identities are exerting sinister pressure on the nation’s socio-political space.

The recent invasion of the Nigeria Defence Academy, NDA, in Kaduna State on August 24 where two officers lost their lives with one abducted is clearly an act of subaltern resistance to power. The incident to a large extent demonstrates an act of madness, one too many in Nigeria’s precocious history.

Addressing journalists on the day of the assault in Yola, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, described the incident as a madness that must be stopped as soon as possible. He added that “the incident in Kaduna, of course, has been undertaken by bandits, but it is more of an armed robber coming to your house”.

The rhetorical implication of General Irabor’s claims is that bandits have power and are exercising it in cold-blooded ways. In fact, by establishing that the incident is clearly an act of madness, the General is conscious of the intention of the marauding few, which is to subject government and the entire nation to Michel Foucault’s disciplinary power; that is, a kind of power that enables them to consolidate control. Therefore, the NDA episode construes that the medium of power personalisation is not exclusively entrenched with government, rather, the governed are intricately implicated in power relations.

Bandits had on November 11 raided some shops directly opposite the main gate of the Federal University of Technology, FUT, Minna, Niger State. They succeeded in kidnapping two people from the area and escaped with their loot. This is reflective of what remains of Nigeria’s saneness. In a Gramscian logic, banditry is fast becoming a convenient hegemonic tool for control. Government needs to understand that the excesses of the ferocious cram across Niger, Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Borno and other parts of Nigeria are intended to usurp its powers and exercise domination of the entire space.

Sadly, Nigerians are caught in the grip of the subaltern forces of power that they can do little about. The symbolic violence of the hellacious ring signifies the diminishing powers of the state. That the rank and file in the military are senselessly mowed in the war against insecurity depicts government’s lack of military intelligence. Lack of military discipline and the deployment of well researched data and analysis to provide guidance and direction that can assist commanders in their decisions on the battle field have negatively impacted the nation.

What is even striking is that almost every state has criminalised kidnapping yet no high-profile suspect has been tried and convicted. The judiciary, the police and state governments have collectively induced the nation with their opium poppies and nobody is grouching about it. Nigerians are gradually getting used to the maneuvers of the state. While the culprits move about with the effrontery of peafowls, the speculative and deductive reasoning is that government is developing cold feet in doing its job. In some quarters citizens believe that the security architecture has been compromised. Some ask rhetorically: ‘why is the political class not fervent with ending banditry’? Why have they not displayed the same spirit of electioneering frenzy to fight insecurity? Truthfully, with the deep calamity in the country, nearly all politicians do not deserve our votes.

To prevail in the war against insecurity, President Muhammadu Buhari must invest heavily on research, military intelligence and development. The president must not brush off the implications of the subaltern resistance to power taking place in different parts of country. Government at all levels must be vehement and confrontational in exercising its power against human larcenists. Stories like how the police in Kaduna State foiled a kidnap attempt on the Kaduna-Abuja Highway on November 10 are good, however, the police must take the war to the corridors of the coven. To show power, they must not wait for the activities of the marauders to escalate before repelling them.

With the right military intelligence, the death of Brigadier-General Dzarma Zirkusu and many other soldiers who fell in the fight to keep the rest of us alive would have been avoided. With the right military intelligence, the casualties on the part of soldiers would be lessened. We must commend our gallant soldiers for the supreme sacrifice they are paying. They deserve our eulogy.

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Chief of Defence StaffdemyGeneral Lucky Irabor