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Nigeria
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

How can one sleep?

Sleep is nature’s power-saving mode for humans to rest, get replenishment, and be ready for the next assignment or day. Where one skips sleep, that person will be courting trouble from nature. Either by omission or commission, we have killed sleep in this part of the continent. So, where art thou, oh ye sleep in my beloved country? Those who murdered our sleep have made it very expensive and they must work hard to bring back our sleep.

It is easy for past administrations to accuse the present administration of inertia, inefficiency, and poor performance and vice versa. But the truth is any system built on quicksand, according to the holy scriptures, shall not stand the storms of life. The state of sleeplessness started long ago in Nigeria, but it has gradually reached a crescendo of no mean proportion. Oh, ye sleep, when shall thou return to help calm the nerves of our people? Those who are in areas where they can still have a restful night and dream dreams all year round should thank God. I say to you, congratulations.

Though not a pessimist, I wonder how those people living in the villages around Kuje can go to sleep restfully after the terror attack. How can one sleep in our socio-political spaces when the government and governance, which should provide the citizens with the enabling environment to have a good night’s rest, have all gone to sleep because of a Muslim-Muslim, Christian-Muslim, or Muslim-Christian ticket? 

How can one sleep when the United Nations Education Funds (UNICEF) alleged that over 1,000 students had been abducted in Nigeria from December 2020 to August 2021? How can one sleep reading a report by the SBM Intelligence, a research consultancy organization, that 13 persons are being kidnapped in Nigeria daily and that between June 2011 and the end of March 2020, at least $18.34 million was paid as ransom to the kidnappers in Nigeria?

How can one sleep when the public education sector is comatose, and parents now face high costs of private sector-driven education for their children? How can one sleep when our children now leave universities in their late twenties and early thirties instead of early twenties because of the dysfunctional school system? How can one sleep with children who were supposed to be in school idling away and picking up vices that further endanger our societal values and virtues? How can one sleep with the National Assembly reconvening to beg airlines not to go on strike but could watch the university system and the oil and gas industry collapse without qualms?

How can one sleep with the chaotic power sector that guarantees more darkness than illumination all year round? How can one sleep with the hiccups in the oil and gas industry’s downstream and upstream sectors within the attendant dysfunctions of our economic systems? How can one sleep knowing that the money we would have made in this time of boom has been burnt like the cigarette through the car exhaust pipes of Nigerian elites? How can one sleep knowing that Nigeria cannot meet its production quota due to organized pipeline vandalism, crude theft, and kidnappings by state and non-state actors? In 2013, only 4% of our crude was stolen by oil thieves. By this year, crude theft and petroleum pipeline vandalism has escalated to more than 80% from the 2013 level.

How can one sleep when religion and tribe come atop merit in appointing people into the public service? How can one sleep when offers of public service jobs depend on the big man or woman one knows?

How can one sleep when the Kaduna-Abuja train terror attackers have Nigerians in custody for more than 105 days since their kidnapping and those released paying a hundred million Naira each? How can one sleep with the Kaduna-Abuja train terror attackers raking in more than a billion Naira to date, which would have been used to purchase more sophisticated military hardware and create more terror cells across Nigeria? How can one sleep when terrorists stormed the Federal Capital Territory and freed terrorist commanders that would make life more difficult for our security agencies and Nigerians?

How can one sleep when one knows that our pre-election years are usually plagued by so many conspiracy theories that scare voters from the polling booths to pave the way for the minority to choose leaders for the majority?

The Federal Government still has time to restore sleep to the sleepless. The first is to continue to reach out to countries that can help us with more sophisticated equipment in aerial surveillance equipment. I keep saying if America can plan and secure the release of one American on African soil without negotiation, why can’t we acquire the equipment and train our people on it?

Secondly, secure the release of more than 100 Chibok girls, over 60 other students, and the more than 100 Kaduna-Abuja train abducted Nigerians still in captivity. It is sad to read in the media that some of their parents have died of hypertension because we failed them.

Thirdly, in conjunction with the state Governors, the Federal Government should work out modalities of flushing out all the terror cells inhabiting the Nigerian Forests with a combination of the carrot and stick approach.

Fourthly, making our roads accessible by ridding the forests of criminal elements will restore road travel from which the nation loses billions of Naira daily. If done, it will also help to improve the nation’s food security.

Fifthly, citizens should know that how we lay our beds is how we shall lie on them. Therefore, we must take our security seriously. Parents, where are your children and who are their friends? Landlords must begin to do background checks on would-be tenants before giving out their houses for rent. Kings and chiefs must be meticulous in who they are permitting to farm in their forests.

Passing on this dire strait of insecurity, the dysfunctional educational, health, and downstream sectors of the oil and gas to the next president the way it is would be staging the person to fail from the onset.

Grace and peace!!!

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