Anniversary Special: Lessons Nigeria must learn from the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 (Part 3)

Posted by Emeka Umeagbalasi | 19 April 2014 | 4,558 times

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Parts one and two of this international public statement presented graphic details of what happened during the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. The genocide led to the death of between 800,000 and 1 million people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus. There was also post genocide deaths of over 200,000 people caused by diseases and starvation as well as over 100,000 post genocide killings by the parties to the Rwandan bloody conflict. In the areas of refugees and internally displaced persons, the genocide generated over 2.5 million refugees and millions of internally displaced persons. This part concludes the important international public statement on Rwandan Genocide & Its Lessons To Nigerian Political Leaders & Their Armed Opposition Groups.

It is important to remind that this important international public statement of the leadership of Intersociety is in honour of Madam Agathe Uwilingiyamana, the late transitional prime minister of the troubled country, murdered alongside her husband by the presidential guards in the early hours of April 7, 1994. Also honoured are leading human rights activists who were butchered in the genocide. They include Charles Shamukiga, Fidele Kanyabugoyi, Ignace Ruhatana, Patrick Gahizi, Rev. Father Chrysologue Mahame,  Abbe Augustin Ntagara, Mathieu Uwizeye (activist judge) and Charles Mbabaje (secretary of a human rights outfit: LIPREDHOR).

The Rwandan genocide has brought to bear the world’s unending wars and other unsafe conditions caused by human’s socially incoherent actions. The genocide was the height of unending butcheries on the African Continent and the Great Lakes Region in particular. It was a sad remembrance of tragedies of the long past. It reopened the healing wounds inflicted on the world populations in the past 5000 years with 14,500 wars globally and only 300 years of peace. That is to say that, historically, the world lived 5000 years with 14,500 wars and only 300 years of peace. It was a sad reminder that between 1945 and the 2000s, a period of about 65 years, 165 wars were fought around the world with 34 wars waging in Africa as at 1994 including wars in the Great Lakes Region. That between 1945 and 1985, a period of 40 years, 22 million people died in wars around the world (UNDP) and that out of 21million refugees around the world in the 2000s, 14 million were generated by African bloody conflicts and located on the Continent.

Lessons To Nigerian Political Leaders & Armed Opposition Groups: The genocide under reference exposes the dangers inherent in failure to nip group crimes in the bud. It was the irresponsibility and inability of the successive governments in Kigali and Bujumbura to manage and tame group crimes perpetrated against the innocent nationals of the two countries by their armed ethnic zealots that snowballed into the genocidal butchery of 1994. In Nigeria, the failure of the Federal Government of Nigeria to curtail the homicidal excesses of leading ethno-religious murderous brigades like Boko Haram insurgents has risen to an apogee. In biology, once a mother gives birth to a child, she automatically becomes the caterer of the child. But in crime, once crime gives birth to “government”, the reverse becomes the case. In other words, the “government” becomes the controller of crime. This is because it was “crime” that gave birth to “government”, but surrendered its supremacy to the latter. But where the latter is found weak, the former takes charge.

Therefore, when government sneezes, crime catches cold. But where government fails to control crime, then the foundation of such government is threatened. It goes with a popular theory that where there is no government, there is no law and where there is no law, there is no crime. On the other hand, it is the existence of crime that brought about government and its policing agencies. Where crime rules over government, anarchy becomes the societal norms. Life in a lawless society is nasty, brutish, short, beastly and utterly homicidal and cannibalistic. This was the sorry situation in Rwanda in 1994, to the extent that “hunters became the hunted” and those in presidential mansions found themselves in refugees’ tents. In such a situation, the next armed person guarding a public elected or appointed official becomes his or her potential assassin or a broad day murderer.

It is a truism that over 60,000 Nigerians have been killed maliciously since 1999, a period of 15 years. In four months into 2014 alone, up to 3,000 Nigerians have been killed by group criminals. Those killed by Boko Haram insurgents are believed to be over 1,500. Another armed opposition group called “Fulfulde or Fulani Herdsmen” must have been responsible for over 1,000 deaths.

In the plain language of Criminology & Security Studies and Peace & Conflict, “war is any violent conflict with fatalities of over 999”. With this concise definition, it is not in contention as whether Nigeria is in a state of war. As at our last estimates in December 2011, 54,000 Nigerians were killed outside the law since 1999, with police related unlawful killings accounting for 21,000. Today, a number of Nigerians have been killed unlawfully and extra-judicially by the Nigeria Police Force. Others have gone missing in their hands too. Those that perpetrated these killings are still on the prowl, no thanks to culture of impunity and lack of presidential political will.

The worse case in respect of policy makers and public office holders including those manning the country’s policing policies is the entrenched culture of immunity of mental emptiness. From President Goodluck Jonathan down to a commissioner of police, they are resistant to innovative ideas and pieces of good advice. At times, they make Nigerians feel that they derive joy watching innocent Nigerians killed in droves. Their only apparent response is the steady increase in defense budgets with little or no concrete actions or impacts. In 2014 budget alone, over N1 trillion was budgeted for securitisation, capital and recurrent inclusive, yet nothing has been done concretely security wise. Many noble ideas and suggestions have been given as ways to manage or tackle the country’s porous security situations, yet none has been heeded. Till date, 95% of the country’s 371,000 police officers are still computer illiterates. Our question is: how is it possible for a typewriter police officer or security agent to fight or confront a computer literate bomb detonator?

We have said it a number of times that Boko Haram insurgency is not insurmountable. The country as a matter of reality does not have basic toolkits to curtail its menace.  Nigeria suffers from security intelligence toxemia and lacks electronic security devices fundamentally needed to match the Boko Haram’s asymmetric warfare. In modern warfare technology, a mobile phone is more sophisticated in achieving final results than an AK-47 assault rifle. In kidnap crime operation, a mobile phone is more useful than an AK-47 assault rifle. When a single bomb detonator goes on rampage and kills scores of people, it does not require containers load of guns to track him or her down. It requires intelligence and electronic security devices to do so. This explains why there are over 4 million hidden security cameras in the United Kingdom. The world’s two most endangered countries: Israel and USA are secured every hour through electronic security devices and super security intelligence networks.

As the Rwandan Genocide of April to July 1994, has shown, when group crimes are not nipped in the bud or are not “de-escalated”, barbarism and cannibalism become the order of the day and in such situation, the presidential ruling class and members of the National Assembly are far from being secured because such is “a war by all against all”. Like in Rwanda, the president of the country’s Supreme Court, its prime minister and president, etc all perished in the butchery. Apart from apparent failure of the Federal Government of Nigeria to tackle the menaces of group crimes in the country, another genocidal provocation will be to launch deadly bomb attacks in the cities of Southwest, Southeast and South-south. This will be seen as a total declaration of war on the innocent peoples of the areas and self help methods including revenge killings will be uncontrollably entrenched. If the Federal Government has failed woefully in taming pockets of group crimes, it will be a near impossibility for it to control such “war by all against all.”

Finally, it may most likely be correct to say that Nigeria is nearing “a Rwandan Genocide” episode. With the butchering of over one hundred innocent Nigerians at the Federal Capital area of Nyanya last Monday (14/4/2014), which is totally condemned, it is correct to say that nobody or area is safe in the country. While the failure of the Government on security of Nigerians and the public and private properties is disheartening, the task now lies on those at the National Conference. They must be reminded that their main job at the Confab is to find solutions to the root causes of social vices in all its ramifications in the country.

These include: What causes unending group criminality in Nigeria? What is responsible for the country’s chronic economic downturns? Why are the country’s 33 solid mineral deposits not mechanised? What is the best ethno-religious legal system for Nigeria as a plural society? What form of federalism or confederacy will best suit Nigeria? Why are over 70% of Nigeria’s annual gross earnings going into the pockets of only 17,500 top public office holders and public/civil servants? Why is Nigeria borrowing serially? What is the cause of high cost of public governance in Nigeria? In what ways will the “public allowance and overheads squandermania” be tackled in Nigeria? Is there any equity and fairness in a section or few sections of the Nigeria permanently laying claims to the country’s presidency? What is the state of civil and criminal legal systems in Nigeria? Is there any lopsidedness in the number of States and LGAs per geopolitical zone in Nigeria? Are the present revenue sharing formulas acceptable to most Nigerians? Have the public office holders in Nigeria done justice to numerous international rights and humanitarian treaties in line with Section 12 of the Constitution? Can the Chapter Two of the Constitution be made justiciable? What are the causes and solutions to chronic ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria?

Being the conclusion of this three-part article. Photo shows aftermath of a Boko Haram attack, yet another evidence of the unending group criminality in Nigeria that evokes sad memories of the Rwandan Genocide. Emeka Umeagbalasi is Intersociety Board Chairman. He cane be reached via +234(0)8180103912, +234(0)8033601078 or by e-mail via; 

Source: News Express

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