To escape the Hobbesian state of nature, where life was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short, man had to replace his irrational self with a reasonable self and shed his natural reliance on violence to pursue desires and safety. For order to reign, man agreed to relinquish his freedom to act without restraint to an organised body (the government) mandated to maintain order, ensure protection, and provide welfare.
Thus emerged the state contract, the bedrock of political systems the world over. With this, people gave up a chaotic state of total freedom for an orderly state of collective rights and limited freedom, including the foremost right to protect their lives and property. But, what happens when the government fails to uphold their end of the bargain?
This is the question emerging from the worsening state of insecurity in Nigeria and the attendant loss of lives of thousands who have given their mandate to the government to ensure order and protect lives and property. For over a decade now, Nigeria has been battling insecurity of different dimensions with relative pockets of success – it is either piracy, militancy, insurgency, banditry, kidnapping or others that have continued to deprive Nigerians of happy days and restful nights.
The Abuja train attack was the latest in the annals of these gory episodes and the disturbing failure on the part of the government to secure the lives of the people. When then would the incessant spilling of Nigerians’ blood get a radical intervention from the government? When would an average – even wealthy or prominent – Nigerian be safe to travel their father’s land without fear of being robbed, maimed, kidnapped or killed?
To these questions, the answer is “years ago”. Nigerians have had enough; it is long overdue for the government at all levels to uphold their end of the contract. A radical change of attitude to the plight of the people must take place among those at the helms of affairs. Every Nigerian must be protected at all times everywhere within the country’s border.
Insecurity must be tackled as the battle it is now and the war it is about to become. Politicking must be cast aside now and the lives and property of millions of Nigerians taken as sacrosanct, as it would be useless in anarchy.
Importantly, the shortage of manpower that has resulted in the overwhelming of the security personnel in the country must be attended to with urgency. Equally, corruption must be eradicated and the provision of adequate armaments, intelligence, as well as improved welfare must be addressed. This is particularly important for the Nigerian Police and Army.
Without a doubt, the government at all levels in Nigeria owe the people protection against internal and external aggression at the very least.