Ki-Moon, Help Nigeria

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The reported massacre of over 200 people overnight at Baga in Borno State, last weekend, must have forced United Nations secretary-general Mr Ban Ki-moon to make a statement in anger: he dismissed Nigeria as a violent country, citing frequent killings fuelled by sectarian motives.

Nobody would fail to marvel at the cheapness of life in Nigeria, especially in recent times. However, the top diplomat should not have lost his temper to the extent that he could not differentiate between the minority murderers and the majority decent people living in this same country. Nigeria cannot be classified as a violent country yet.

Out of the 36 states and a capital city in the country, fewer than nine states are beset by the problems Ki-moon observed. The truth is that those saddled with providing security of life and property for Nigerians have failed in their duty.

Besides, these cases of violence – terrorist attacks, kidnapping, armed robbery, communal clashes and the like – are not peculiar to the country. The whole world today is almost on tenterhooks as a result of crisis situations that are threatening peaceful co-existence. The Korean Peninsula, the home region of the UN scribe, is not spared this unfortunate development. As a matter of fact, the world is holding its breath as the two Koreas square up in a deadly arms race.

Could Ki-moon approach the Korean debacle with less elegant diplomatese? At the moment, the United States is battling with internal security similar to what Nigeria is experiencing. For example, an unprovoked gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, last year, and mowed down 26 people, including 20 children, in cold blood. That incident has led to the ongoing review of gun laws in the United States. Only last week, a terrorist attack on Boston, Massachusetts, during a marathon competition left three dead and scores wounded.

This is not an attempt to rationalise insurgency in parts of Nigeria, nor can anyone doubt the incompetence with which it has been managed by the Nigerian authorities. But it would be fair to regard the Nigerian conundrum as part of a simmering world crisis.

Rather than “Nigeria bashing”, the rest of the world would do well to find ways of helping the beleaguered nation out. No crime is typical of Nigeria or Nigerians. It is known, for instance, that the current violent attacks in the country are fuelled by massive corruption and widespread poverty. The United Nations or the international community could help Nigeria by discouraging theft of the country’s oil by local gangs and their foreign collaborators.

Government corruption has flourished in Nigeria because treasury looters always find safe havens in European, American and now some Asian banks. That Nigerian thieves still buy property easily in other countries is evidence that international laws against money laundering have not been totally effective.

Can’t the UN help? The crises that have tended to make life uncomfortable for Nigerians will reduce when foreigners start showing discriminatory taste for Nigerian loot.

In : Nigeria