By Dr. Bello Salihu
Our north is an interesting place. Any where over 400 chickens, not teenage boys, can be stolen all at the same time and in broad daylight would, ordinarily, pause and renegotiate their relationship with the abductors or those that are elected to protect those chickens from their abductors. In the last few years human children and adults were abducted in their hundreds, massacred in their dozens and all we can do is shrug and move on – until it happens somewhere again, then we lament on social media, shrug and move on again.
By normalising this abnormal it is like we have become numb to the ugly pattern.
The boys of GSS Kankara were not abducted by the elites but their abduction can only happen with elite consensus. Here, I mean northern political elites.
I attended a state owned secondary school in Sokoto in the 80s, and if my class were similarly abducted when I was the age of Kankara boys, the victims would have included the children of a commissioner, a perm sec, directors in the state and federal service, army & police officers, a prince, and a few wealthy merchants. Today everyone in that social strata, like rats abandoning a sinking ship, have turned their backs to the same educational system that worked to produce them.
I wager that almost all the children in GSS Kankara are children of those that, in today’s unfortunate permutation, don’t matter in the scheme of things. Or they matter only every 4 years when the political elite visits them to seek their votes.
Same applies to the children of Chibok, Buni Yadi and countless other small northern towns before Kankara.
Our elites of all discipline have abandoned the northern masses, and by so doing, have created a space for banditry and rural criminality to flourish.
It is doubtful if our current crop of regional ~leaders~ rulers can do anything about it.
For one, they are too far removed from the problem to even understand what needs to be done or for them to even care beyond the superficial.
Because from private and foreign schools for their kids to exclusive and private healthcare for their families, they have used the commonwealth of the masses to isolate themselves from the ills they helped create.
And because this time around the enemies are neither southerners nor foreigners, their normal well-worn divisive script does not fit the current ugly situation.
For once, a solution is required that tasks them to be empathetic and effective problem solvers. But unfortunately, such ability is beyond them.
To find a lasting solution to this menace, northerners, collectively, need immediately renegotiate whatever deal they have with their rulers.
We must do everything we can, big and small, to drive home the point that this is beyond politics, religion, tribe or state boundaries. To issue mandates to these political jobbers and their cohorts to sort it out or declare a state of emergency in the region, specifically the N/East and N/West.
We must insist that things must change.
This is about our survival and if the situation is left unchecked it will consume us and all we care for.
The next Kankara may be closer to us than 2023.