“I was captured close to Benin City at
about 3pm on August 23, 2013, and,
driven on a rough road for about four
hours into a jungle far removed from
civilisation – blindfolded. From the
moment of my abduction on August
23, and until September 11 when i was
ransomed, myself and 12 other victims
were blindfolded throughout by the
kidnap gang in their camp. In the
course of my abduction I took ill and
was promptly attended to by the
kidnappers’ medical doctor who, after
examining me, gave me injections and
some intravenous fluids as part of a
treatment for malaria and typhoid.
Every 24 hours of the day, we had
death sentence hanging on our head.
When any of the kidnappers wanted to
speak to us, we must face the wall or
the ground. The kidnappers are all
university graduates of various
disciplines, i believe. They understand
philosophy, history, political science
and, as i said, they even have their
medical team. One of them said he
graduated since six years ago without
a job. The kidnappers said only one (1)
per cent of Nigerians have
fraudulently cornered Nigeria’s
wealth. They used this same argument
to justify their kidnap actions. They
vowed that in 2015 they will move
against Nigeria’s politicians for
stealing and creating massive un-
employment.” …….Barrister Mike
Ozhekome (S.A.N), September 12,
2013
Looked at from outside Nigeria seems
like a sprawling anomie, but inside the
country, it feels more like an uprising,
as the people take up arms against
unjust property relations between the
few corruptly rich ones and those
made poor in consequence of the
country’s zero-sum official banditry.
With 600 billion United States dollars
stolen and salted away from the
country, according to latest World
Bank investigations, Nigeria’s uprising
escalates beyond bridling, as 6,000
plus charred corpses have so far been
recovered from the country’s bloody
orgy.
Before now, isolated events of kidnap
and murder were casually seen as
fringe criminal conduct, until Mike
Ozekhome bore witness as a captive,
that what Nigeria actually faces is a
peoples’ uprising.
In his dire testimony, Mike Ozekhome
revealed a well-organized peoples’
revolt, involving university-trained
medical doctors as active members of
the kidnap gang which nabbed him,
and further testified that the gang’s
field operators comprised university
graduates; all armed.
Although before now, a founder of a
Christian sect had said he’d seen
spiritual vision of this uprising. The
67-year-old Primate, Theophilus
Olabayo of the Evangelical Church of
Yahweh, had prophesied on June 30th
this year that Nigeria’s immediate
future will be testy.
“We are sitting on a keg of
gunpowder,” Primate Olabayo warned
at the time. “Something worse than
Boko Haram is about to happen. We
are looking at total darkness in the
Nigerian nation. There’s going to be a
revolution. The poor will overtake the
rich. You’ve not seen anything yet.
Nothing is working; the worst
corruption is in Nigeria. There has
never been corruption as worse as
this. The name of Nigeria is now
corruption,” he’d said.
Back in January 2012, the wife of the
former Lagos State Governor, Mrs.
Oluremi Tinubu, a federal Senator,
was hijacked on the Ibadan highway in
the afternoon; forced out of her car,
dealt some body blows before being
dis-possessed of her belongings –
despite introducing herself to her
abductors as “a “progressive
politician” Her travelling companion,
Senator Femi Ojudu who got similar
rough treatment, would later tell
news-reporters that he’s never seen
anything quite like it. “It was not a
riot, it was not a protest, it was a
revolution!” Femi Ojudu confessed his
scary impressions of the anger he saw
etched on the faces of their
hijackers.
Before Mrs Tinubu’s 2012 hijack, Mrs.
Florence Ita-Giwa, who was at the
time the National Assembly liaison
officer to the then President Olusegun
Obasanjo, was herself blockaded on
the expressway by armed youths
whilst on official assignment in
Nigeria’s northern states. “I just
jumped out of my moving car, fell
down and rolled a few yards, then got
up and started running into a nearby
bush, suffering bruises as I fell and
rose in panic, but i kept running
straight into the bush, without much
consciousness of where I was going or
why,” she’d said in distress, after
escaping the near-death trauma. “It
was the worst experience in my life.”
The imagery of government officials
running into thick bushes to avoid
beatings does not signalize a peaceful
or normal country – anymore than
that the Nigerian Army is now
deployed in combat operations in 28
out of Nigeria’s total of 36 states.
Today, the 2nd highest ranking
Anglican Archbishop in Nigeria, Most
Reverend Ignatius Kattey, is missing
without trace, since 3rd September,
when he was kidnapped a few
kilometres from Port-Harcourt city,
along with his wife – Beatrice, who
was however let off at the crime
scene almost immediately – whilst the
kidnappers made away with the
Archbishop, with no ransom asked till
now.
As yet, the Police have not officially
issued any update nor confirmed the
whereabouts of the kidnapped wife
and daughter of Supreme Court
Justice Rhodes-Vivour, who were
abducted on the Benin expressway
since 10th of May his year.
“Nigeria is today in a war situation,”
said Wole Soyinka, the country’s Nobel
Laureate on May 9th, regarding
sprouting armed gangs in northern
Nigeria operating under the command
of Boko Haram. “And the entire
population of Nigeria must consider
itself as being in a war situation,”
Wole Soyinka further said.
But the bigger picture of the war
Wole Soyinka depicts actually includes
several other armed gangs operating
outside Boko Haram who are more
impelled by personal economics and
national vengeance, and who randomly
maim or kill for the sheer catharsis.
All told, war is war, regardless of its
motivation, since belligerents exist on
all of Nigeria’s multi-sided conflicts.
This much was conceded by Yinka
Odumakin, the Secretary-General of
the Yoruba Afenifere ethnic socio-
cultural group, who lately asked the
people of Nigeria to shun the elites’
invitation to a religious or ethnic war,
those being digressions from the
overarching economic issues concretely
dividing Nigerians today.
“Should the elites push Nigeria into a
war, all oppressed people across
Nigeria must cleverly use the
opportunity to take off the heads of
their (local) thieves first,” Yinka
Odumakin said on April 15th.
“Thereafter, Nigerians can come to
the table clutching the skulls of their
thievish elites to re-negotiate the
terms of the country and decide if
every ethnic group is better off on its
own.”
More or less the United States
government also sees theft-ridden
economics as the real issue causing
deepening poverty of honest workers
in Nigeria, for so long as official
theft asphyxiates the country’s people
into striving at anything, just to
breathe and survive, since official
theft drains away Nigeria’s resources
and causes a struggle for the scant
means of livelihood left for 160 million
other Nigerians without access to
roguish government officials.
“Corrupt Nigerian officials; elected or
appointed, who have stolen
government funds or who demand
bribes to award government contracts
cannot be allowed to enjoy the
proceeds of their corruption,” the now
outgone United States Ambassador to
Nigeria, Terence McCulley, warned on
December 4, 2012, to make clear the
United States government agrees that
stealing is the problem with Nigeria.
With such foreign compassion for their
plight, the dis-possessed and angered
people of Nigeria face no overseas
reprisals for exacting revenge in any
which way. And with these foreign
tail-winds, they’ve lately rapidly
coalesced into organized cells as
crypto liberation movements.
They have converted and occupied
several hectares of lands in the
interior of Nigeria as militia camps,
and fitted the camps with medical,
catering, transport, and
reconnaissance units. “My kidnappers
camp was about four hours’ drive
from Benin city. It was on an expanse
of land completely removed from all
human civilization, but it had its
medical team,” Mike Ozekhome
revealed.
As these revolting armed groups set
up a state within a state, the Nigerian
state withers away.
“The whole Nigerian society has
failed,” said President Goodluck
Jonathan on June 15, this year. “That
is one reason we have incidents of
cultism, armed robbery, murder, ritual
killing, drugs, sale of babies,
kidnapping and sexual immorality.
When you look at Nigeria today, we
are deceiving ourselves; pastors are
deceiving members, members are
deceiving their pastors, husbands
deceiving their wives, and the wives
deceiving their husbands. Parents are
deceiving their children and the
children in turn deceive their parents.
Soon, we would have a whole nation of
people deceiving each other,”
President Jonathan further said.
Though quite obviously exasperated,
Jonathan’s government has not quite
given up by throwing up its hands, but
endeavours to reverse the country’s
anomie, by wholly political means.
The National Assembly, for example, is
finalizing an amended national
constitution for Nigeria, although that
measure does not resonate with a vast
majority of ordinary folks whose un-
employed numbers are put at 75
million today, according to the
country’s former Vice President,
Abubakar Atiku. To be sure, there’s
nothing in the draft amendments
under discussion speaking directly to
jobs.
Nevertheless, the Jonathan
government presses on yet another
track to dam Nigeria’s anomie from
overflowing into full-blown anarchy,
as the national currency – the Naira
-, weakens daily by a half percentage
point, currently exchanging for ₦163
to one United States dollar, on the
back of slackened oil exports from the
6 billion dollars in lost revenues as a
result of crude oil thefts by a clutch
of illegal bunkerers operating without
let in the Niger Delta region.
The Nigerian government has in the
meantime set up a new 7th division of
the Nigerian Army and provisioned it
with logistics; including artillery units,
based in the north-eastern city of
Maiduguri, to contain direct military
threats from rampaging Islamic
militias in that region.
Foreign reports say the Nigerian Navy
is also making fresh orders for patrol
gun-ships to stem kidnappers and
some mushrooming oil bunkerers in the
south-south region, where the
Jonathan government had last year
set up a new army command centre in
Bayelsa state.
Yet, these ostensibly proactive steps
are perceived as falling short of
winning local or international
confidence. “We are not impressed
with Nigeria’s war against terror,”
the United States Ambassador to
Nigeria, Terrence McCulley, said
dead-pan last month.
And for so long as the Nigerian
government adopts a political party
approach towards the country’s
heightening emergency, the Anglican
Archbishop of Ibadan, Most Reverend
Joseph Akinfenwa had himself since
January 2011 scoffed at such plan as
a no-brainer.
“We’ve had different parties. PDP,
ACN, ANPP, and so on, but has the lot
of the average Nigerian become
better since 1999? Of course not! So,
no matter what any politician from
any political party says now, we must
reject it as false. The long and the
short of it, brethren, is that Nigeria
needs a revolution. We are ripe for a
revolution. The people should arise and
retake their country,” Arch-Bishop
Joseph Akinfenwa exhorted two years
ago.
Since then, there’s been no clear path
for Nigeria’s exit from its cul-de-sac,
or, a terminal date when official
thefts will stop in Nigeria for national
reconstruction to begin. As things
stand, Nigerians desperately clutch at
straws and whistle in the dark on a
daily basis – almost wistfully hoping to
be led out of their national quagmire
by a heavenly pillar of fire.