…it is only commoners and their children who get caught up in this revue of violence; those walking down the streets shot by robbers, Birnin Gwari soldiers whose parents confessed had joined the army out of joblessness, etc. The elites and their kids get tucked up in some safe haven… The earlier we are aware that we have no government, the better for every Nigerian. And let us jointly invite Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma for dinner in all our homes.


Nigerians need to read Yambo Ouologuem’s Bound to Violence if they need some window into their current situation. Originally written in French as Le Devoir de violence in 1968 but translated into English in 1971 by heavyweight translator, Ralph Manheim, the highly controversial book is set in a fictitious African country called Nakem. In recounting Nakem’s history, Ouologuem drew the picture of a country which rose from a grand empire to becoming a French colony and finally, a “truncated modern African Republic” called Nakem-Ziuko. Set in four parts, the first part of the book is a compressed century of Nakem Empire, beginning about year 1200. This is retold in its dripping blood and brutality, mixed with violence, oppression and massive corruption. Slavery and cannibalism were major features of Nakem, as well as the effect of its conquest by the Arabs, which reflects in the people’s deep suffering and abuse as “niggertrash.” In all, Nakem is filled with all manners of horrible violence, curious assassinations and daily shed of blood.

If anyone needs an authentication of the fact that Nigeria has sunk, like Nakem, into brutality and horrible violence and literally has no government, one only needs to read the reports of the gory events that happened in Enugu State upper Saturday and the one in Offa, Kwara State, last Thursday. In Enugu, a number of ladies were said to have been gang-raped at a musical concert that featured an Afro-pop star, Chinedu Okoli, aka Flavour, which held at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu. The governor of the State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and a coterie of law enforcement officers, were said to be in attendance, while the girls were openly raped. Similarly in Offa, a band of armed robbers who stormed the town in convoys of cars were said to have blown some bank doors with dynamites after a prologue of deadly raids on a police station, the killing of scores of policemen and thereafter moving over to shooting innocent bystanders and customers of the banks in tow. Only a few weeks earlier, some eleven soldiers had been brutally murdered by bandits in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Now, get me right, bloodshed is not peculiar to Nigeria. Violence has indeed become a major feature of civilisation in the modern world. Scholars have offered two approaches to understanding the causes of violence in today’s world. The first is what is called the civilisational approach, popularised by Samuel Huntington, which explains violence as a result of a “clash of civilisations.” The other is a political economy approach that points accusing fingers at “poverty and inequality” as the main culprit of rising violence. The political economy approach simply states that the rising global violence today is as a result of poverty and inequality. So how does one place the animals of Offa, Birnin Gwari and the rapists of Enugu in these examples?

In Nigeria, callous murders and violence like the aforesaid are gaining currency. Almost on a daily basis, Nigerians are struck by news of such mindless killings. In truth, mindless killings have a long history that even predates the Nigerian state. They are present in the developed world as well. For instance, shock and disbelief were the reactions of the world to the deadly shooting of 17 students in Parkland, California, the United States of America about two months ago. The massacre was the handiwork of 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. Some years ago, 41-year old British member of parliament, Jo Cox, was stabbed and shot in Bristall, near Leeds in northern England. A budding political star of the Labour Party, Cox’s assassination entered British history as the first on a lawmaker after the Conservative MP Ian Gow’s, whose killing through a car bomb by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in 1990 ripped through the marrows of the world.

The human gaffe here is noticeable. We are unbendable in our beliefs about what God should want. We create such an omnibus and inimitable space for our religious beliefs which, anything that is against them is heresy. In the same vein, we carve a humongous space for our opinion about our God, which is so huge that any infiltration into it earns our judgment of hatred.


Some years ago too, at Kofar Wambai market in Kano State, a 74-year old woman was assassinated by a mob, which saw her opposition to a Moslem man praying at the front of her stall as blasphemy against the God of Islam. A timely intervention saved her husband, who was also said to have been on the verge of being assassinated.

In the city of Orlando, Florida a couple of years ago, a gunman named Omar Marten had sneaked into a club house for homosexuals and succeeded in a massacre of 49 people, making it the centre of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Omar, from investigations, could not put up with the idea of people who subscribed to such ‘alien sexuality’ (of homo-sexualism) and his anger was said to have been kick-started by the idea of two men kissing weeks earlier at the front of the club.

In most of the instances above, the link factor has been the human delimitation of a space which nobody else dared occupy. In the case of Cox, her assailant was said to have shouted ‘Put Britain first’ about two or three times before he rained three shots on her, making it obvious that the beef against her was her belief and opinion about the future of Britain. In the assassinated Kano septuagenarian, the beef was about religion, of an army which believed that God had been ridiculed and that He needed human intervention. By the way, till today, nothing has been heard about her assailants receiving their due recompense from the Nigerian state.

The human gaffe here is noticeable. We are unbendable in our beliefs about what God should want. We create such an omnibus and inimitable space for our religious beliefs which, anything that is against them is heresy. In the same vein, we carve a humongous space for our opinion about our God, which is so huge that any infiltration into it earns our judgment of hatred. However, in virtually all societies, we all hold one variant of intolerance or the other, ranging from the sexual to the religious, and gender; you name it. At the core of intolerance is the carving of a special space for ourselves which we believe is without measure impregnable and immutable.

…if indeed governments exist mainly to safeguard the citizens, then one can confidently say that the upswing in violence in Nigeria is an indicator of an absence of government in the country. In the Enugu rape case, the presence of the governor at the Square where the evil act took place could not even deter the culprits. In Offa, there was apparently no government…


I am not sure if this perception has dissolved: If a Hausa man walks into the home of a Yoruba man today, the first imagery he builds up in his mind is that of a man who has strapped round his side a dagger with which he is ready to attack at any provocation. Today, it has changed to a belief that the man has strapped a bomb round himself and could blow everybody up. A Yoruba man who goes to the East, apart from the profiling of pouring gallons of palm oil in his soup, is perceived as dirty and treacherous; the Igbo man, so goes the perception, would kill his father and frame his mother for the murder, so far as the cash is right. And most of the profiling is borne out of ancient myths and inaccurate histories. If it is given a religious colouration, then we begin to back our resentment with copious quotations from the holy writs, which attack those who give selves up to reprobate minds. We thus carve out a section of hell for holders of such ‘strange’ opinions, making a fetish of where we stand and attacking where the other man stands. This is the epistemology of intolerance.

In most instances of religious intolerance, our enemies become the enemies of God and we inflict our brand of reprisal on such holders of opposing view, hoping that we will be compensated by God for defending Him against ‘infidels’ in Aljannah or Heaven.

Having said the above, if indeed governments exist mainly to safeguard the citizens, then one can confidently say that the upswing in violence in Nigeria is an indicator of an absence of government in the country. In the Enugu rape case, the presence of the governor at the Square where the evil act took place could not even deter the culprits. In Offa, there was apparently no government. While in the aforesaid violence in mature democracies, the offenders would surely be caught in no long time, Nigeria is like Ouologuem’s Nakem where disorder has replaced government. The Offa bandits may never be caught. Through the CCTV, hidden cameras, street lights which enable informants to see and brief police about crime scenes, offenders in saner climes know that they can only run but can’t hide. The philosophy of policing in those climes is that crime is a poison which enters into a brook that the whole society drinks and which must be detected and sieved out so as to sanitise the brook. In Nigeria, unapprehended criminals and the rest of society mix freely.

Regretfully, it is only commoners and their children who get caught up in this revue of violence; those walking down the streets shot by robbers, Birnin Gwari soldiers whose parents confessed had joined the army out of joblessness, etc. The elites and their kids get tucked up in some safe haven, insulated from our Yambo Ouologuem’s Bound to Violence. The earlier we are aware that we have no government, the better for every Nigerian. And let us jointly invite Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma for dinner in all our homes.

Innocent In a Jailhouse

Several ordinary Nigerians are in jail today simply because they are ordinary, and not because they are guilty of any crime. Someday, I will tell Nigerians about my encounter with the Nigerian Police SARS and how I was rescued because I had contacts to explore. This is why I congratulate Aje for having gone into and returned from the Nigerian lion’s den.


If you doubt that there are thousands of our fellow countrymen languishing in various jailhouses today on account of offences which they know not, you will need to read the story of Olumayowa Aje, a former student of the Department of Architecture, University of Lagos. Framed for whatever reason in a rape case in 2013, Aje went through the whole gamut of shame, persecution and deprivation on account of this accusation. He had literally been parceled for the gate of the Nigerian prison and was majestically being walked through this painful and thorny road until providence fought for him and he got the Directorate of Public Prosecutions in Lagos to wade into his matter, interrogate all the tissues of allegations and subsequently ruled that he had no hand in the incident.

When American billionaire and philanthropist, Bill Gates, came to Nigeria of recent, he told Nigerians to their faces, with statistical data, that their country is in a mess. His major focus was the collapse of maternal mortality in Nigeria and how successive Nigerian governments have divested from investing in their people. Poor Gates, how I wish he knew that virtually all major indices of existence and development in Nigeria have collapsed. One of these is justice for the Nigerian person in our criminal justice system. Several ordinary Nigerians are in jail today simply because they are ordinary, and not because they are guilty of any crime. Someday, I will tell Nigerians about my encounter with the Nigerian Police SARS and how I was rescued because I had contacts to explore. This is why I congratulate Aje for having gone into and returned from the Nigerian lion’s den.

The $1 billion Conundrum

With successive governments possessing the infamous acclaim of predators and liars, with the current government not having successfully convinced the people that it stands aside of this profiling, it is only natural that Buhari would be situated inside this cocoon.


A lot has been said about the Federal Government’s quest to secure the sum of $1 billion from the federation account for the procurement of armaments to fight the insurgency of Boko Haram. Volunteered almost as a governmental tip and proposal by Mansur Dan Ali, the minister of defence, the $1 billion proposal is fast becoming a done deal, even though it has courted unimaginable dissent of the populace. One of the most poisonous arrows shot at this proposal is the claim that it is another ploy by government to shop for the 2019 elections finance.

Another underground dissent against it is why the Muhammadu Buhari government is bent on milking the Nigerian federation by such huge sum, all in the name of fighting insurgency. Boko Haram, is basically a Northern Nigerian tragedy which has gulped a large chunk of the country’s revenue. This has been done at the exclusion of any governmental vote for combating other problems faced by the South of Nigeria. This has fuelled perceived lopsidedness in the financing of Nigeria’s social problems.

The Buhari government, through its spokesmen, has made the $1 billion a conundrum by claiming, via several confusing epithets, that Boko Haram had been emasculated. It now stands against reason that the same insurgency they claimed to have routed would gulp such a stupendous amount.

With successive governments possessing the infamous acclaim of predators and liars, with the current government not having successfully convinced the people that it stands aside of this profiling, it is only natural that Buhari would be situated inside this cocoon.

Festus Adedayo is an Ibadan-based journalist.