Violence Begets Amnesty

This report (Nigeria's Almajiri children learning a life of poverty and violence)

By CNN Christian Purefoy over a year ago without a doubt explains the sad, shameful and pitiful situation you find across Northern states in Nigeria.

Almajiri are now almost becoming a steady pool for recruiting foot soldiers by a few evil and so called religious leaders and politicians to perpetuate evil at anything or anyone they see as an opposition. It’s amazing that in a place like Nigeria many people from the south hardly understand or even know of the existence of Almajiri. It took me living for one year in Kebbi state to really observe the hellish and idle life these young kids go through. Little wonder why it won’t be so easy to mould them into weapons of religious terror, or as we saw in the post 2011 April presidential election violence, weapons of mass political destruction of life’s, properties and churches.

Looking at the whole scenario there’s a whole lot of twist and turns to it, because after living a childhood life of destitute in the North. Many find their way down to the South when faced with the challenges of making a livelihood as grownups and end up working as shoe makers, okada riders, gate keepers, you name it.

If one must criticize the unhealthy building-up of a culture of violence and intolerance in the North one must also not fail to juxtapose it with the agitations in the South- of Nigeria. Then ask the question if possibly the Governments response to agitations in the oil rich south –south is actually a salient factor encouraging violence in other regions.

In my own thinking the Government is celebrating its victory of curbing the militancy in the region by actually celebrating militants with claims of having them on some form of social security. The 1st ever of such in Nigerian (65,000NGN) $430 a month and broadcasting on national TV reformed Militants embarking on foreign training in South Africa, Ghana, Malaysia, whom eventually will end up working in oil facilities they once attacked.

While one must commend the Government for this feat of actually turning militants into soon to be oil sector workers. They are equally sending a clear message that government only listen to violent groups that it can’t really crush even with its military might.

This comparison leaves anyone with an open mind the easy to draw a direct correlation between present day violence and groups seeking for government attention possibly in the form of a pacifier.

For example in the height of the kidnapping madness experienced in Abia state in 2010, kidnappers where so comfortable to request from the Government of that state some kind of amnesty deal of their own, if kidnapping must stop.

I think this is the real subtle yet alarming trend we have to deal with in our society. The fear that Government is failing to draw the line in the most clear, definite and uncertain terms to what extent Government can seat back and decided whether to give the “stick or the carrot” .

Just so I don’t get misunderstood in this write up, I will say this clearly. Government engaging via amnesty or whatever peaceful methods they chose to engage with groups, especially those using or have used violence to express their grievances, is not too bad a thing. However the rules of such engagement must be well thought out and managed in such a way that it will not encourage other people to be stirred into violence just to draw attention to themselves or their region.

I for one believe that even though the reasons for violent acts in the North are far different from that experienced in the South. The Government at federal level must not just engage with the militants from within the oil producing regions alone, but with groups violent or not on a constant basis and work out real solutions not pacifiers. Yet still even in this process Government must be able to exercise it powers to clearly show to any groups that despite a human face, it still reserves the full power and if necessary, force to deal with senseless or even meaningful violent uprising.


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