Over the years, I read the worrisome and disheartening reports of how Nigerian security officers, law enforcement agents and government officials sexually exploit/violate, drug, rape and otherwise abuse the girls and women in IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps, a camp set up to care for those displaced by the insurgency of the Boko-Haram terrorist group in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria. These ones are daily abused and would rather not speak regarding the atrocities from a failed system that shames victims of sexual violence, ridicules their plight, demeans their persons rather than obtain justice for them. Worse, they cannot afford the cost of litigation or the rigour of un-feeling system and as the police station (office of the perpetrators) crushes such reports.
Going by the striking and common statement in all the narratives of the Nigerians who have suffered police brutality, this could not be far from the truth. Before committing their evil and dastardly acts, the country’s ‘should-be-protectors’ are quoted to say: ‘I will gun-you-down/shoot/ kill/ waste you and nothing will happen’.
Why do I revisit this heart-wrenching narrative respecting the abuses IDPs suffer in the hands of their ‘supposed protectors’? The gory details of citizens’ experiences in the hands of their ‘should-be-protectors’ are gruelling. Even as evil is evil and should not be condoned, it is handled with smug indifference in Nigeria. It is almost the business of the day in Nigeria for evil to go unpunished. Crimes, victims of crimes and extra-judicial killings, do not receive justice. Would the ‘Lekki Massacre’ go the same way? The popular consensus is in the affirmative because of the public perception of the government of the day as one that is curiously anti-people and heartless.
Most Popular Opinions held about the Nigerian Government
Every country has got her challenges but when it comes to Nigeria, her people seem to feel as well as believe she is under some kind of irrefutable curse that makes her condition worse-off compared with other climes. Would it be said then that the country is not religious enough? Or perhaps she is in dire need of ‘The Greater Power’ and divine intervention plan?
Following the events of the World’s ‘First Digitally Managed Resistance Movement’ and its aftermath, I went sampling opinions and here is what the Nigerian populace across-board had to say about the Nigerian government irrespective of political party affiliations:
“They are Primitive. They are not leaders but egocentric and clueless individuals. Who are selfish, self-centred, self-seeking, having little or no regard for human lives or justice. A government that cannot secure and is insensitive to the plight of her citizens.
Asking the question if Nigerian leaders are statesmen or politicians; ‘Politicians without a heart for humanity’ is the popular response. From the seen and known actions of quite some government officials, the Nigerian populace believes her leaders hold public portfolios just to satisfy their greed, promote selfish and personal interests as well as finance their flamboyant lifestyle. According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW): 37 were coerced into sex through false marriage promises (wanting a form/any form of security in a not-secured country) and material and financial assistance.
‘They are corrupt, oppressive and tyrannical and lack accountability’. You will recall that some time in 2016 British PM David Cameron, described Nigeria as a ‘fantastically corrupt’ country. She has also been classed as the poverty capital of the world. Very much so for a country that has weaponised poverty as a tool for continuous perpetration of her corrupt, oppressive and tyrannical practices. It would therefore appear that the country is plagued by some Nigerian Political and Economic Leaders who thrive from the ‘non-functioning’ and continuos poverty and poor education status of the Nigeria people.
‘A government devoid of and in denial of Justice. The Government, her people say is not doing enough to protect the basic rights of her citizens. Also, not enough or almost nothing is done to sanction defaulters – government officials, the police force and soldiers. A greater percentage of the populace have accepted faith and hence, look up to God for justice. ‘An authoritarian government. A government possessing governmental authority that aids, promotes and protects evil and evil-doers’. One would naturally think that authority repels evil. This may be true in other climes but not in Nigeria. Her people have described authority instead to aid, promote and protect evil and evildoers. Crimes go unpunished as criminals are not made to account for their crimes. A country where government officials act as the King and Lord of the manor rather than servants of those who elected them into office. Political offices rather than being for public service is for crude personal acquisition.
Rather than seek a solution, they seek to threaten, go after, place sanctions and impose restrictions on anyone that audaciously speaks against her ills and failures. Nigeria has got her problems. The social media with all its drawbacks is a potent source of information dissemination or mobilisation. Nigeria’s problems cannot be solved through official is a complicating double-edged-sword but solving the problems cannot be solved through trickery, dubiousness or through oppressive and archaic laws.
Time Will Tell
The Nigerian Government says she is committed to her people and the interest of her people remains a top priority. However, the events of the past weeks have proven otherwise as her citizens no longer trust or hold as truth words or promises made by the country’s government. Hopefully, the Nigeria Government will prove her youths wrong. Fingers crossed.
Haruna, A, (2020, August 10). Special Report: How Boko Haram – displaced women, girls are sexually abused at IDP camps (1). https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/407902-special-report-how-boko-haram-displaced-women-girls-are-sexually-abused-at-idp-camps-1.html
Amnesty USA (2018, May 1). ‘They betrayed us’ https://www.amnestyusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/THEY-BETRAYED-US-WOMEN-WHO-SURVIVED-IN-NIGERIA.pdf
Human Rights Watch (2016, October 31). Nigeria: Officials Abusing Displaced Women, Girls. https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/10/31/nigeria-officials-abusing-displaced-women-girls