Years back, I was watching Schindlers’ List, with my friend; the movie is the 1993 epic historical by Steven Spielberg it retold the story of how over 6million Jews died during the holocaust. As we watched with sinking hearts as hundreds of Jews meekly lined up to enter into the fiery fire that would incinerate them, my friend asked, “Why didn’t they just rush these Germans? Why didn’t they position themselves to go for the German guards holding weapons, kill a few of them, why didn’t they make it difficult for the Germans to kill so many of their people?”
Since the Schindler’s List, I have watched several holocaust themed movies and that same questions always jumped to my mind; every time I watched; the Jews were more in number; they were going to die anyway as the Nazi’s were determined to eliminate as many as they could but why make it easy for their murderers? Why didn’t they try to seize arms, kill a few of the gestapos; cause major casualties for the Germans as well. Instead, they endured the hunger, the humiliation, the agonising deaths they knew was coming; maybe if they had fought back, 6 million Jew won’t be dead, maybe only a 100, or 200 or…
Now, let’s come home, days back our Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd), said maybe we should all take up arms against bandits, arm ourselves, maybe if the bandits knew we were armed, they won’t be using us to shine…well, not his exact words but the meaning is same. Now, I don’t know what exactly prompted the Minister of Defense, maybe he has always watched Schindlers’ List and asked the same questions, why didn’t the Jews fight back?
First off, Magashi is a military man; he is a man who I think understands conflict, war, kidnapping, violence, instability, insecurity, defence…he is versed in the art of war and conflict resolution and having lived and practiced his craft in Nigeria, where there is so much inequality, one thing must have stood out clearly for him; bandits, robbers, terrorists…are cowards masquerading as lords!
Robbers and terrorists know that if the people they were about to attack, pillage, rape and destroy have same fire power as them, they won’t attack with impunity; they won’t operate without any challenge for more than 2 hours as we read in reports of the bandits that kidnapped the teachers and students in Kagara Government Science Collège; they won’t come and cart away hundreds of girls at Chibok or Dapchi or raid whole villages for hours without a single shot fired against them nor would bandits continuously without fear kidnap travelers on the Abuja- Kaduna express way for hours. Here’s one more thing they know; they know our security forces are stretched thin and completely ill-equipped!
Secondly, without intending to stoke any fires, have you observed that the perennial ‘religious’ riots stopped in Kano especially after the Igbos, fought back? This came after years Igbos we’re massacred simply because they represent Christianity; they stood up to almajiri attacks to protect their lives and properties in Nomans land; since then, there has been no killings over any ‘religious’ matter in that area. Of course we know most of these killings were politically motivated and had no religious backing; hasn’t Boko haram ensured that all citizens are fodder.
Again, have you observed that once robbers know they would be apprehended by a stronger security force in any neighbourhood, they give it a wide berth and prey on more vulnerable neighbourhood?
Nobody wants to die; not the bandit, not the robber, not the kidnapper, not the terrorists; they all want to live to enjoy the spoils of their terror!
The moment the attacker knows he can also be game in any attack, he would be less brazen, more introspective and less likely to attack with so much disregard for other human beings.
Why are we kicking? Humour me just one more time; so we have been asked to go arm ourselves, in a country where the police are buying their own uniforms and boots? In a country where soldiers mutiny because they say some bigwigs are profiting from terrorism and leaking intelligence reports? In a county where we provide our own security; gated streets, vigilantes, people rotating shifts in neighbourhoods to ensure their homes and families are safe; we provide our own power supply; generators, inverters and solar; water, thanks to boreholes; we create job opportunities for millions of Nigerians while government is tired of it’s own empty promises. Do you know, in fact that there are areas where the citizens are fixing their own roads when government failed to respond? There’s virtually nothing the government is doing for its people, so telling us to go arm ourselves is what?
Biko leave matter!
So back to our Minister of Defence; we are all vilifying him; “His statement is irresponsible, he should apologize to Nigerians, he was insensitive…”
Has he since then retracted his statement?
Has he since then offered apologies for making that statement?
Has his principal fired him for his “unguarded statement?”
Here’s what’s more; the Governor of Bauchi, Bala Mohammed kind of supported him when he said the Fulani herder should be given the right to carry Ak-4 to defend their cows and their lives if they feel threatened?
If the everyday Nigerian feels threatened, he should be made to carry arms; if the Fulani herder can be given right to carry arms, why shouldn’t the Benue farmer, the Ijaw fisherman, the Edo herbalist, the…God knows this country is so unsafe. You can’t even step out of your home to buy bread without the fear of being kidnapped…let’s all carry arms.