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NEMA: Between Dogara and Fake News, By Yusuf Msheliza

NEMA: Between Dogara and Fake News, By Yusuf Msheliza


Yakubu Dogara
The era of fake news is here again. I recalled I jumped out of my seat when the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness stated that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) abandoned about 6,779metric tons of rice donated by the Chinese government for distribution to Internally Displaced Persons in the North East.


The first thing that came to my mind is that Yakubu Dogara is at work again. Maybe he is still rueing his loss at the scheme of affairs in his home state. Just maybe he has vowed to take his pound of flesh from anything related to the Governor of Bauchi State. But the question is, do we throw decorum in the wind because we want to settle political scores? Do we cast aspersions on the personalities of people just only because of their affiliations? In my opinion, the attitude of the enemy of my friend is my enemy must stop if we are desirous of making progress as a people and as a country.

I say this for the apparent fact that the news and reports emanating from the House of Representatives on the activities of NEMA are nothing but a concoction of half-truths and a smear campaign to rubbish and give the dog a bad name so that it can be hanged.  I dare to say that I am a stakeholder holder in the humanitarian sector in Nigeria and I say without fear or favour that the humanitarian efforts of NEMA under Engr. Mustapha Maihaja in the last two years is unparalleled.  This much other critical stakeholders can attest to.

And so to think or imagine that the House of Representatives has been mentioning and misleading the general public on the activities of NEMA is uncharitable, as well as it is unimaginable. So much so that everything now smacks of a mockery. However, I must add that if care is not taken, the House of Representatives might lose its credibility in the court of public opinion if it continues on the wild goose chase because as it stands, every tom, dick and harry can easily decipher that the House of Representatives is pushing a personal agenda on NEMA.

And the reason as I have always stated merely is that the Speaker of the House of Representatives detests the Director General of NEMA because he is friends with the Governor of Bauchi state who Yakubu Dogara has disagreed with politically. Now, does this not amount to an abuse of office? Is this attitude not unbecoming of the Office of the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives? Sincerely, I am at a loss as to how we can make progress in this country.

The first giveaway of possible partisanship is during the public hearing, the committee refused to admit the testimony of a representative of Maersk Lines, Blessing Ebri, who stated that six months after the arrival of the donation at the Nigerian port, no agency of government came to claim or clear it and that it was not until NEMA’s intervention in January 2018 that the rice began to be cleared and distributed to the victims of insurgency in the North East.

She said: “we had to write to the shipper, which is the Chinese Government, that no one is coming forward. The shipper approached us on January 30, 2018, and linked us with NEMA. NEMA later negotiated based on the fact that the rice was for emergency and it was agreed that N200 million flat fee be paid by NEMA, excluding the standard charge. Also, the representative of APM Terminals, Daniel Odibe, said 271 containers passed through their port facilities and due process was followed by NEMA.
Given these mentioned above, I am at a loss on why the House of Representatives has decided to go the haul on spreading the fake news on NEMA.

On the other accusations, I recall that the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, and the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, absolved the NEMA Director-General, Mustapha Maihaja, of any wrongdoing in the utilization of the N5.8 billion for relief materials in the North East. But the House of Representatives would hear none of that. The Accountant General of the Federation stated that the need to release funds was as a result of the scaling down of funding by international agencies operating in the region, which could jeopardize the lives of the people of the region.

I stand to be corrected, the activities of NEMA since Engr. Mustapha Maihaja assumed leadership had witnessed a progressive leap. Those in the humanitarian industry can attest to this. Only recently, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja bagged the Humanitarian Service Icon award for his sterling performance at NEMA as well as the reforms he brought into the establishment upon appointment. The award organizers also stated that the selection of the NEMA boss took into consideration many issues including the creation of an enabling environment for citizens to recover from natural disasters like flood, and insurgency and communal clashes that have ravaged the country and her citizens in recent times.

At this point, I do not know what the House of Representatives wants Nigerians to believe. I am also at a loss if indeed those characters there understand that they are representatives of the people. And if as representatives of the people, they cannot join hands with an agency as critical as NEMA in easing the burden of humanitarian disasters in the country, then it is a big shame. And for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, it is a bigger shame on him as the promoter of fake news on NEMA.

Msheliza is Spokesman, Peace and Rehabilitation Initiative, Maiduguri.

Yakubu Dogara
The era of fake news is here again. I recalled I jumped out of my seat when the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness stated that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) abandoned about 6,779metric tons of rice donated by the Chinese government for distribution to Internally Displaced Persons in the North East.


The first thing that came to my mind is that Yakubu Dogara is at work again. Maybe he is still rueing his loss at the scheme of affairs in his home state. Just maybe he has vowed to take his pound of flesh from anything related to the Governor of Bauchi State. But the question is, do we throw decorum in the wind because we want to settle political scores? Do we cast aspersions on the personalities of people just only because of their affiliations? In my opinion, the attitude of the enemy of my friend is my enemy must stop if we are desirous of making progress as a people and as a country.

I say this for the apparent fact that the news and reports emanating from the House of Representatives on the activities of NEMA are nothing but a concoction of half-truths and a smear campaign to rubbish and give the dog a bad name so that it can be hanged.  I dare to say that I am a stakeholder holder in the humanitarian sector in Nigeria and I say without fear or favour that the humanitarian efforts of NEMA under Engr. Mustapha Maihaja in the last two years is unparalleled.  This much other critical stakeholders can attest to.

And so to think or imagine that the House of Representatives has been mentioning and misleading the general public on the activities of NEMA is uncharitable, as well as it is unimaginable. So much so that everything now smacks of a mockery. However, I must add that if care is not taken, the House of Representatives might lose its credibility in the court of public opinion if it continues on the wild goose chase because as it stands, every tom, dick and harry can easily decipher that the House of Representatives is pushing a personal agenda on NEMA.

And the reason as I have always stated merely is that the Speaker of the House of Representatives detests the Director General of NEMA because he is friends with the Governor of Bauchi state who Yakubu Dogara has disagreed with politically. Now, does this not amount to an abuse of office? Is this attitude not unbecoming of the Office of the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives? Sincerely, I am at a loss as to how we can make progress in this country.

The first giveaway of possible partisanship is during the public hearing, the committee refused to admit the testimony of a representative of Maersk Lines, Blessing Ebri, who stated that six months after the arrival of the donation at the Nigerian port, no agency of government came to claim or clear it and that it was not until NEMA’s intervention in January 2018 that the rice began to be cleared and distributed to the victims of insurgency in the North East.

She said: “we had to write to the shipper, which is the Chinese Government, that no one is coming forward. The shipper approached us on January 30, 2018, and linked us with NEMA. NEMA later negotiated based on the fact that the rice was for emergency and it was agreed that N200 million flat fee be paid by NEMA, excluding the standard charge. Also, the representative of APM Terminals, Daniel Odibe, said 271 containers passed through their port facilities and due process was followed by NEMA.
Given these mentioned above, I am at a loss on why the House of Representatives has decided to go the haul on spreading the fake news on NEMA.

On the other accusations, I recall that the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, and the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, absolved the NEMA Director-General, Mustapha Maihaja, of any wrongdoing in the utilization of the N5.8 billion for relief materials in the North East. But the House of Representatives would hear none of that. The Accountant General of the Federation stated that the need to release funds was as a result of the scaling down of funding by international agencies operating in the region, which could jeopardize the lives of the people of the region.

I stand to be corrected, the activities of NEMA since Engr. Mustapha Maihaja assumed leadership had witnessed a progressive leap. Those in the humanitarian industry can attest to this. Only recently, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja bagged the Humanitarian Service Icon award for his sterling performance at NEMA as well as the reforms he brought into the establishment upon appointment. The award organizers also stated that the selection of the NEMA boss took into consideration many issues including the creation of an enabling environment for citizens to recover from natural disasters like flood, and insurgency and communal clashes that have ravaged the country and her citizens in recent times.

At this point, I do not know what the House of Representatives wants Nigerians to believe. I am also at a loss if indeed those characters there understand that they are representatives of the people. And if as representatives of the people, they cannot join hands with an agency as critical as NEMA in easing the burden of humanitarian disasters in the country, then it is a big shame. And for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, it is a bigger shame on him as the promoter of fake news on NEMA.

Msheliza is Spokesman, Peace and Rehabilitation Initiative, Maiduguri.

Shehu Sani’s Cracked Mirror, By Philip Agbese

Shehu Sani’s Cracked Mirror, By Philip Agbese


Shehu San
One of the greatest and terrible fallouts from the rise of Trumpism is the penchant for the cloning and replication of copycats across the globe, individuals that are deluded enough to believe they can replicate the wonder of rising from relative obscurity to winning elections. The tragedy is that some of them are succeeding. Trumpism, at the level of those seeking political office, consists chiefly of causing the wildest outrage to garner populist votes. It has worked for a handful of right-wing extremist leaders, some of who gained office only for the electorates to discover that the only substance about their persona and cult is the raucous rhetoric they use to deceive the people.

Nigeria is not short of this class of politicians, who, having nothing to offer, resort to the brashest of behaviours and unguarded utterances to win followers. They are succeeding. They have the corresponding gullible section of the population that believe they have found messiahs that will give them their dream Utopia. Even when that Utopia is a sure path to doom and ruination.

Nigeria’s Trumpists has its current symbolic head in the lawmaker representing Kaduna Central district, Senator Shehu Sani, who has recently, since the conclusion of party primaries taken his penchant for causing outrage to a theatrical level. He is now in the business of marinating his dubious credential in populist juice served up to the unsuspecting and the elixir of reason. It is poison to those that consume it even in its diluted form.

Shehu Sani, possibly buoyed by a false sense of an activist past that now stands largely discredited, has attacked just about anyone that he believes to be against his ambition to re-impose himself on Kaduna Central – has largely abandoned their assignment at the Senate to  focus on packaging himself as Nigeria’s reply to Trump. He has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari, he has attacked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; he has issues with some military top brass for attending the launch of #NextLevel.

Of course, Shehu Sani had running issues with Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, which ultimately led him to renounce the All Progressives Congress (APC), jumped into the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), and intensified his drive to cause the widest outrage possible. Had he but engaged in the least form of introspection, the kind he demands of other people, he would have known that the problem is not with the mirror but with his sullied self. In the whole time he has been fencing with el-Rufai, not once has he been able to show that he had at any point offered a hand of fellowship to the governor. He has instead tried his best to rubbish whatever positive the state scored.

In the short time of joining PRP, the Kaduna Central Senator has succeeded in achieving what four decades has not done to the party, taint its ideals. He has hijacked the PRP for use as a rant platform that will rebrand the legacy party as vehicle for clowns and electoral jesters. He has premised his activities in the fold of the party not on its welfarist ideology but as avenue for hitting back at persons that had rocked his boat. If this so called activist is today dissing the APC that gave him the ticket to the Senate one can only wonder what he will do to the PRP in the vent that he wins re-election on its ticket.

This misguided stance, like the one adopted by the real Donald Trump, is a danger to the country. The danger is not that he will use his bad grammar to corrupt the already perverted syntax of his social media followers, the danger is far more insidious. The many instances that he has reacted to national issues do not come with the warning that his opinions and utterances are conditioned by a desperation to use outrage for garnering followers and sympathizers. They therefore follow him blindly with the consequence that he leaves in his trail a network of the children of anger that wrongly believe they have been wronged. These set may be in the minority but they remain a danger.

The country is fortunate that more of its citizens are tired of the theatrics of Nigeria’s edition of right-wing fanatics frothing at the mouth as they peddle all kinds of lies, notably against those they want to edge out of power. Shehu Sani’s tantrums fits the pattern. Would he have been critical of the other government officials if they had granted increased access to the loot? Like the people he attacks, Shehu Sani knows the answer – one does not talk while eating is a cultural code that has endured in the political sphere, so a handful more crumbs from the commonwealth to chew on would have quieten this pseudo activist faster than a pacifier will calm down a bawling infant.

Another thing that has rendered Shehu Sani’s rants uninteresting is the glaring double standard he has adopted. Here is the latter-day crusader of transparency, accountability and good governance that has not deemed it fit to let Nigerians in on what the actual pay of Senator in Nigeria is. If he is truly uncorrupted as he tries to make people believe he would have at least shine a flicker of light on what he gets as a Senator – we will not worry about how he managed to raise the N10 million he tried to buy the APC senatorial ticket with. But like in the case of the Apostle of Common Sense, Omerta is the code.

That he was the only aspirant to attempt bribing the APC election panel speaks volumes about the show of piety he has put on for the benefit of his electorates. It is not surprising since distribution of cattle and camels is among the leading achievements he has to flog in asking the people of Kaduna Central to again come queue in the sun to give him another four years of earning undeclared jumbo allowances.

It is this questionable character that Shehu Sani is projecting unto others because he can only relate with the kind of behaviour he knows himself to have. That is why he sees everything from the perspective of a commercial transaction in which the actors have benefitted money; it is the reason he cannot divorce ethnic jingoism from decisions that are taken on the strength of facts and indices. He only see in others the reflections produced by himself, a cracked mirror that at best distort even perfection to cast eerie shadows.

His thoughts will grow darker as the realization set in that he is in the final months of deriving benefits from the mandate entrusted to him by the electorates while his utterances will become even more inciting. He will punch imaginary enemies and box shadows. This should not surprise the discerning because Shehu Sani can only become more desperate.

Agbese writes from the United Kingdom

Shehu San
One of the greatest and terrible fallouts from the rise of Trumpism is the penchant for the cloning and replication of copycats across the globe, individuals that are deluded enough to believe they can replicate the wonder of rising from relative obscurity to winning elections. The tragedy is that some of them are succeeding. Trumpism, at the level of those seeking political office, consists chiefly of causing the wildest outrage to garner populist votes. It has worked for a handful of right-wing extremist leaders, some of who gained office only for the electorates to discover that the only substance about their persona and cult is the raucous rhetoric they use to deceive the people.

Nigeria is not short of this class of politicians, who, having nothing to offer, resort to the brashest of behaviours and unguarded utterances to win followers. They are succeeding. They have the corresponding gullible section of the population that believe they have found messiahs that will give them their dream Utopia. Even when that Utopia is a sure path to doom and ruination.

Nigeria’s Trumpists has its current symbolic head in the lawmaker representing Kaduna Central district, Senator Shehu Sani, who has recently, since the conclusion of party primaries taken his penchant for causing outrage to a theatrical level. He is now in the business of marinating his dubious credential in populist juice served up to the unsuspecting and the elixir of reason. It is poison to those that consume it even in its diluted form.

Shehu Sani, possibly buoyed by a false sense of an activist past that now stands largely discredited, has attacked just about anyone that he believes to be against his ambition to re-impose himself on Kaduna Central – has largely abandoned their assignment at the Senate to  focus on packaging himself as Nigeria’s reply to Trump. He has condemned President Muhammadu Buhari, he has attacked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; he has issues with some military top brass for attending the launch of #NextLevel.

Of course, Shehu Sani had running issues with Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, which ultimately led him to renounce the All Progressives Congress (APC), jumped into the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), and intensified his drive to cause the widest outrage possible. Had he but engaged in the least form of introspection, the kind he demands of other people, he would have known that the problem is not with the mirror but with his sullied self. In the whole time he has been fencing with el-Rufai, not once has he been able to show that he had at any point offered a hand of fellowship to the governor. He has instead tried his best to rubbish whatever positive the state scored.

In the short time of joining PRP, the Kaduna Central Senator has succeeded in achieving what four decades has not done to the party, taint its ideals. He has hijacked the PRP for use as a rant platform that will rebrand the legacy party as vehicle for clowns and electoral jesters. He has premised his activities in the fold of the party not on its welfarist ideology but as avenue for hitting back at persons that had rocked his boat. If this so called activist is today dissing the APC that gave him the ticket to the Senate one can only wonder what he will do to the PRP in the vent that he wins re-election on its ticket.

This misguided stance, like the one adopted by the real Donald Trump, is a danger to the country. The danger is not that he will use his bad grammar to corrupt the already perverted syntax of his social media followers, the danger is far more insidious. The many instances that he has reacted to national issues do not come with the warning that his opinions and utterances are conditioned by a desperation to use outrage for garnering followers and sympathizers. They therefore follow him blindly with the consequence that he leaves in his trail a network of the children of anger that wrongly believe they have been wronged. These set may be in the minority but they remain a danger.

The country is fortunate that more of its citizens are tired of the theatrics of Nigeria’s edition of right-wing fanatics frothing at the mouth as they peddle all kinds of lies, notably against those they want to edge out of power. Shehu Sani’s tantrums fits the pattern. Would he have been critical of the other government officials if they had granted increased access to the loot? Like the people he attacks, Shehu Sani knows the answer – one does not talk while eating is a cultural code that has endured in the political sphere, so a handful more crumbs from the commonwealth to chew on would have quieten this pseudo activist faster than a pacifier will calm down a bawling infant.

Another thing that has rendered Shehu Sani’s rants uninteresting is the glaring double standard he has adopted. Here is the latter-day crusader of transparency, accountability and good governance that has not deemed it fit to let Nigerians in on what the actual pay of Senator in Nigeria is. If he is truly uncorrupted as he tries to make people believe he would have at least shine a flicker of light on what he gets as a Senator – we will not worry about how he managed to raise the N10 million he tried to buy the APC senatorial ticket with. But like in the case of the Apostle of Common Sense, Omerta is the code.

That he was the only aspirant to attempt bribing the APC election panel speaks volumes about the show of piety he has put on for the benefit of his electorates. It is not surprising since distribution of cattle and camels is among the leading achievements he has to flog in asking the people of Kaduna Central to again come queue in the sun to give him another four years of earning undeclared jumbo allowances.

It is this questionable character that Shehu Sani is projecting unto others because he can only relate with the kind of behaviour he knows himself to have. That is why he sees everything from the perspective of a commercial transaction in which the actors have benefitted money; it is the reason he cannot divorce ethnic jingoism from decisions that are taken on the strength of facts and indices. He only see in others the reflections produced by himself, a cracked mirror that at best distort even perfection to cast eerie shadows.

His thoughts will grow darker as the realization set in that he is in the final months of deriving benefits from the mandate entrusted to him by the electorates while his utterances will become even more inciting. He will punch imaginary enemies and box shadows. This should not surprise the discerning because Shehu Sani can only become more desperate.

Agbese writes from the United Kingdom

IMN’s Audacity of Lawlessness, By Femi Giwa

IMN’s Audacity of Lawlessness, By Femi Giwa


The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN)

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has succeeded where others failed. It has successfully branded itself as the victim, effectively casting the Nigerian state as the aggressor comparable to an occupation force. Those familiar with IMN ascendancy are possibly asking how a problematic group that unleashed hell on commuters and other road users in Zaria has today become an outlawed group that people are blindly canvassing for to protest, kill and destroy property without being held to account.

The answer can be found in several seemingly unrelated development that are yet connected – the one connection being that they all helped IMN evolve the persona of the victim, which now allows it to commit more crimes without its members fearing repercussions.

First is the ability of IMN members to continue hiding their penchant for lawlessness behind the façade of peaceful protests, which are anything but peaceful anyway. It is not unusual to see the group swell its rank with women and children while the hardened elements with catapults, swords and other cudgels stay embedded within the protests, these are the fighters that are able to launch projectiles at security agents without being identified as the source. The arson brigade of the group is similarly concealed, they spray paint graffiti on public buildings and private businesses while their other members are milling around to create a human screen that shield the destructive acts from public glare.

The other factor is ubiquity of social media. Reports of successive encounters with law enforcement are recorded and reported according to IMN’s version of events. They have slick photography and video productions that are published and promoted to tell the IMN story – footages of militants hurling stones and petrol bombs at security personnel are carefully excluded such that the audience goes away with the impression that IMN could not have struck the first blow. The social media feeds are further promoted by embittered commercial activists, who have other axes to grind with managers of the state so it is logical to have the “an enemy’s enemy is a friend” approach to things. Such emergency activists are thus hooked on defending IMN even when their crimes are glaring.

Thirdly, many may not know or believe it but IMN has a deep pocket, which some analysts had attributed to Iranian sponsorship. Anyone that has ever catered to the material and monetary needs of, say, four people at a time will understand what it takes to finance such; but here is IMN bankrolling the logistics of keeping thousands of mostly unemployed people on the streets for protests. The deep pocket supports not just the transportation and feeding the protesters on the streets but also pays for the propaganda and media manipulation that created for IMN the image of a “harmless group” when in reality it is a dangerous group, outlawed in Kaduna state and teetering on the verge of becoming Boko Haram’s replacement. The Iranian support extends to sustained coverage on the owned Press TV, which creates short video clips that allege persecution against IMN.

Furthermore, IMN is a beneficiary of the tendency of decision and policy makers to be stuck on political correctness. What this implies is that those that should keep IMN in check in Nigeria continually commit and enslave themselves to concepts that are unrelated to the Nigerian situation. It is not unusual to hear people demanding that IMN should be treated like groups that are non-violent because some people want Nigeria to be seen as being compliant with human rights conventions. This error is being reinforced by groups like Amnesty International that practically suggests that security agencies should leave IMN alone to torment other citizens. None of those pushing these kind of ideas have ever come out to condemn IMN for its excesses and crimes. The dictum seems to be “the state is always wrong where IMN is concerned.”

In addition, IMN has been emboldened by the Federal Government’s decision to not designate IMN as a terrorist group even when it has become glaring that this is an unavoidable step to contain the group’s growing resort to terror to make its points.

The outcome of the foregoing is that IMN has been able to embrace more lawlessness with each successive protest. If its members kill a policeman the next thing they will claim is that “we were demanding for the release of our leader”. They echo the same refrain when they set a police patrol car on fire. It has been the standard response they have for their numerous atrocities. One is then compelled to ask if Mr Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, the IMN leader is different from other awaiting trial murder suspects in custody awaiting judicial decisions or trial.

The fact remains that El-Zakzaky is being held for cases of multiple murder, which is no longer news. Rev King is on death row for murder so maybe his followers should take to the streets to demand that he be released while attacking security operatives and crying persecution. Those supporting IMN would definitely support them since their goals are at variance with the Nigeria vision.

Common sense demands that the madness stops now. IMN must be made aware that it cannot continue to act lawlessly even when it does not recognise the rights of the Nigerian state over its own existence. Those indulging El Zakzaky and his men must stop now because the farce has gone on for too long. The cat and mouse chase around IMN’s lawlessness is no longer about El Zakzaky and the state but has spilled over to concern all Nigeria. It is a matter of time before citizens begin to resort to self-help for dealing the IMN menace and that will be really ugly.

Giwa wrote from Lagos street, Abuja.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN)

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has succeeded where others failed. It has successfully branded itself as the victim, effectively casting the Nigerian state as the aggressor comparable to an occupation force. Those familiar with IMN ascendancy are possibly asking how a problematic group that unleashed hell on commuters and other road users in Zaria has today become an outlawed group that people are blindly canvassing for to protest, kill and destroy property without being held to account.

The answer can be found in several seemingly unrelated development that are yet connected – the one connection being that they all helped IMN evolve the persona of the victim, which now allows it to commit more crimes without its members fearing repercussions.

First is the ability of IMN members to continue hiding their penchant for lawlessness behind the façade of peaceful protests, which are anything but peaceful anyway. It is not unusual to see the group swell its rank with women and children while the hardened elements with catapults, swords and other cudgels stay embedded within the protests, these are the fighters that are able to launch projectiles at security agents without being identified as the source. The arson brigade of the group is similarly concealed, they spray paint graffiti on public buildings and private businesses while their other members are milling around to create a human screen that shield the destructive acts from public glare.

The other factor is ubiquity of social media. Reports of successive encounters with law enforcement are recorded and reported according to IMN’s version of events. They have slick photography and video productions that are published and promoted to tell the IMN story – footages of militants hurling stones and petrol bombs at security personnel are carefully excluded such that the audience goes away with the impression that IMN could not have struck the first blow. The social media feeds are further promoted by embittered commercial activists, who have other axes to grind with managers of the state so it is logical to have the “an enemy’s enemy is a friend” approach to things. Such emergency activists are thus hooked on defending IMN even when their crimes are glaring.

Thirdly, many may not know or believe it but IMN has a deep pocket, which some analysts had attributed to Iranian sponsorship. Anyone that has ever catered to the material and monetary needs of, say, four people at a time will understand what it takes to finance such; but here is IMN bankrolling the logistics of keeping thousands of mostly unemployed people on the streets for protests. The deep pocket supports not just the transportation and feeding the protesters on the streets but also pays for the propaganda and media manipulation that created for IMN the image of a “harmless group” when in reality it is a dangerous group, outlawed in Kaduna state and teetering on the verge of becoming Boko Haram’s replacement. The Iranian support extends to sustained coverage on the owned Press TV, which creates short video clips that allege persecution against IMN.

Furthermore, IMN is a beneficiary of the tendency of decision and policy makers to be stuck on political correctness. What this implies is that those that should keep IMN in check in Nigeria continually commit and enslave themselves to concepts that are unrelated to the Nigerian situation. It is not unusual to hear people demanding that IMN should be treated like groups that are non-violent because some people want Nigeria to be seen as being compliant with human rights conventions. This error is being reinforced by groups like Amnesty International that practically suggests that security agencies should leave IMN alone to torment other citizens. None of those pushing these kind of ideas have ever come out to condemn IMN for its excesses and crimes. The dictum seems to be “the state is always wrong where IMN is concerned.”

In addition, IMN has been emboldened by the Federal Government’s decision to not designate IMN as a terrorist group even when it has become glaring that this is an unavoidable step to contain the group’s growing resort to terror to make its points.

The outcome of the foregoing is that IMN has been able to embrace more lawlessness with each successive protest. If its members kill a policeman the next thing they will claim is that “we were demanding for the release of our leader”. They echo the same refrain when they set a police patrol car on fire. It has been the standard response they have for their numerous atrocities. One is then compelled to ask if Mr Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, the IMN leader is different from other awaiting trial murder suspects in custody awaiting judicial decisions or trial.

The fact remains that El-Zakzaky is being held for cases of multiple murder, which is no longer news. Rev King is on death row for murder so maybe his followers should take to the streets to demand that he be released while attacking security operatives and crying persecution. Those supporting IMN would definitely support them since their goals are at variance with the Nigeria vision.

Common sense demands that the madness stops now. IMN must be made aware that it cannot continue to act lawlessly even when it does not recognise the rights of the Nigerian state over its own existence. Those indulging El Zakzaky and his men must stop now because the farce has gone on for too long. The cat and mouse chase around IMN’s lawlessness is no longer about El Zakzaky and the state but has spilled over to concern all Nigeria. It is a matter of time before citizens begin to resort to self-help for dealing the IMN menace and that will be really ugly.

Giwa wrote from Lagos street, Abuja.

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