Seasoned maritime industry expert, a Prince and revered grass-root operator, the Immediate past President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA, Olayiwola Shittu took a hard look at the State of the Nation at the weekend, and prayed that the authorities wake up, before the masses decide on the option of self protection! “We are in troubled time! And this can eventually lead to war!
“I think we are in a very troubled time, and I know that there are people who are likely sponsoring this dangerous trend which might just be a prelude to war. War, in the sense that, people cannot just lay down and get killed; and by the time people start doing what they call self defense in the process, it will be counter- productive; because when you hit back, and this one hits back, that one hit back…
“It is a general situation that calls for concern. We are even limiting it around Osun State, do you know the one that is happening in Oyo State?
“I was even hearing of the one in Niger, that about one hundred and something people being slaughtered. And what we are hearing is that these people are not Nigerians. I have always believed that security cannot be left in the hands of security agencies alone. We are not like in abroad, and we cannot match their security level. There’s nothing there, other than the fact that people give relevant information to security agencies, and the agencies are alive to the responsibilities, with quick response and nips it in the bud.
“But for Nigeria now, this is the first time we are experiencing such volatile development that defies solution. It started with the Boko Haram; then kidnapping! And they make it seem, as if maybe it’s your fault that you are kidnapped! Maybe, you displayed too much wealth and which some people don’t like you to do. So, they will kidnap you to get money. But, now it is beyond kidnapping and getting money. It has come to the level that you are not even safe wherever you are. So, at the end of the day, people will result to self defense.
“Like I tell you, some of my friends are also saying that they wish they are able to arm themselves for self defense. Now, people are afraid to travel by road. And Nigeria is not ripe enough for everybody to carry arms; you know what is happening in America over the issues of guns’ laws; and arms cannot be controlled because innocent people will die. But something has to be replaced, it’s not the best for this country.
“Some of us have been warning about this!
“Nigeria before, is a place where we can walk out and walk in. But, arms and ammunitions are now all over the place. And there will still be more, because people will say: ‘Well, if I fight you, I will die; if I don’t fight you, I will die’; so, if you will kill me, let me kill somebody!
“And, it has gone beyond prayers, because prayers don’t work anymore! Some people will say it’s prayer that is keeping Nigeria One, or that is keeping us alive; but prayers without actions? We will just see people being slaughtered!
“Most of these traditional references you have made had ended with tradition. A man with traditional powers may not work in this era, because he will need to get close to the hoodlum, to be able to touch him and impact on him. But the hoodlum will shoot at a distance! That is why all these things are not working now.
“You will see the ‘Agbekoyas’ all the Vigilantes, like in the Oyo North, we have the Vigilantes, but the Vigilantes have to be armed to be able to fight against the bandits. That is the challenge!
“Besides, you know we have left several things undone because we believe that God Almighty that can decide our fates. We go to mosques, churches. We leave everything in the hand of God, as if we are the only ‘nation of God’; as if we are the only nation God created. But we are not! Even country that brought these religions to us suffers some of these problems. They rely on local defense and which must eventually happen!
“That is why if we don’t take time, it will eventually lead to war, because the spreading is no longer limited to the North East, where we use to have it. Now, you don’t look at it as something happening in far away. It is happening already, in your backyard. So, don’t rely on all these ‘trado’ arrangements; for me, it’s not effective!
“We have clamored for State Police, Local Government Police, like it is for those who are operating abroad. But, they know the reason why they are resisting it, because the local police will be able to know those children that might end up being criminally minded, even while they are just born. They know their areas well and so, they have their own advantages.
“But for whatever reasons, some are saying no!
“It is the poor man that will suffer it, because the rich man will always get security. All our leaders are going about with armed (security) persons. Eventually, when these unarmed people in Nigeria have been fully attacked, they will be attacking them!
“May be, that is when they will now be saying ‘what do we do now?’ And this is a serious matter which should not be taken lightly at all!”
…To be continued!