By Simeon Nwakaudu, Nigeria
For weeks, Lagos State has been in one of the worst cult crisis ever imagined for a metropolitan city. On a daily basis, blood of the innocent and supposedly guilty flow on the streets on the account of the Badoo Cult war.
Whatever the Badoo Cult War or Clashes represent, it has claimed the lives of several persons. This is regrettable.
Reports had it that a budding comedian, Chinedu Paul alias Think Twice was lynched and burnt to death by a mob. He was lynched alongside two of his friends on the suspicion that they were members of the badoo cult.
Badoo cult group has been killing with reckless abandon in Ikorodu and other suburbs of Lagos. It was even reported that residents of Ikorodu, owning machetes and whistles have become necessities.
The residents have resorted to self help because the security agencies have failed them. They have formed armed vigilance groups, which have bypassed the criminal justice system, dispensing justice on the street as it pleases them. Without thinking twice, they sent MC Think Twice and his friends to untimely graves. Some many other cases abound.
Before the advent of Badoo Cult boys, deadly kidnappers had taken firm hold of Lagos. They kidnapped landlords, teachers, students, traders and other residents at will. They appear to have overwhelmed the security agencies. There was a time when the military bombed their supposed hideouts. But when kidnapping did not abate, the military went into voice mail.
Notorious Evans was arrested in his posh residence in a highbrow residential area in Lagos. Since kidnapping is yet to abate in Lagos, we can safely assume that other “Evanses” are holding sway in different parts of Lagos.
As I penned down this piece, I read online the deadly robbery attack that claimed four lives in Ajah. A movie like gun battle between the Military and the robbers. We cannot begin to discuss the horrible trend of robbery in Lagos. If we do, we will lose track of the essence of this intervention.
Now the essence of this piece. It is to draw the attention of Nigerians to the nature of reportage of one of the worst security crisis in modern times. This is happening in Lagos which plays host to majority of national print and electronic media. It is happening in Lagos, an APC State, with a friendly relationship with the Federal Security agencies. Yet the crisis has claimed serveral lives.
It is hardly reported with front page banner headlines. It is hardly included amongst the main news items of any major electronic media.
When it is reported at all, it is done to protect the economy and political framework of Lagos State. It is reported like the street “two fighting”, to give an impression that all is well.
Before Governor Wike used his internationally recognised Amnesty programme to resolve the pockets of security challenges in Rivers State, these media organisations, especially those with APC connection, embarrassed journalism profession by their style of reportage.
Headlines like “Rivers of Blood” , “Five Die in Rivers Community ” and “Rivers APC blame Governor Wike for Insecurity ” were recycled on a regular basis. The editors of the pro-APC deliberately neglected their professional responsibilities to the society and descended into the murky arena of politics.
Even where no security infraction took place, they relied on Rivers APC to issue damning statements, which they gave front page attention or primetime coverage.
Hosts of television programmes feasted on these false reports to create a negative security impression about Rivers State. Today, Rivers State is the safest state in the country, while their host state ranks amongst the most insecure.
Has anybody seen a headline: “Lagos of Blood” on the front page of any national newspaper? Instead, the reporters localise tne deadly crisis to Ikorodu and Ajegunle.
Has anyone seen Gbenga Aruleba invite a PDP leader to his programme to rain insults on Ambode? Has anyone read in The Nation or Punch where an editorial was written placing the blame squarely on the doorstep of Ambode? Where are the paid columnists whose intelligence is at the peak when concocted stories are published on Rivers State?
Nobody is gloating over the security misfortune of Lagos State, but the truth remains that the media cannot afford to be agents of destruction as has played out in recent times. Like Governor Wike continues to declare, we cannot afford to politicise security. The media cannot afford to be in the vanguard of APC’S plot to de-market Rivers State.
This unfortunate security crisis in Lagos State affords the mainstream media the opportunity to reflect on her professional failures. What is good for Lagos, is good for Rivers State.
Today, CNN is battling for her credibility because of its political inclination during the last American election. Here in Nigeria, the media as controlled by the APC spinned all manner of lies against immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan. That lack of objectivity has crippled the nation.
The United States of America has several major cities thriving and supporting that country’s economy. It is foolhardy for the APC controlled media to think that it will be profitable to undo Rivers State, so that Lagos State can stand alone. The consequences will be too grave to imagine.
God strategically placed Governor Wike in Rivers State at this time to serve as the conscience of the nation. He is here to serve as the required stabilising factor for the sustenance of true democracy. Therefore, he should be allowed to continue to provide the alternative platform through his outstanding roll out of projects and programmes.
I cringe when I imagine what the headlines would be if Badoo Cult boys were killing people with reckless abandon in Rivers State. I am horribly frightened to think of the manner of men Gbenga Aruleba would be discussing with in his Focus APC studio. Even in times of peace, Aruleba invites murder suspects to lampoon Rivers State. The Lagos Deadly Security Crisis is a wake up call for the media to retrace her steps. This is the time to jettison Pro-APC reportage and embrace the tenets of objective journalism.
As I conclude, I must state categorically that in the strict sense, once a governor has provided logistics, funded security operations and supported the welfare of security agents in his state, he has performed his obligations. The reason is simple: In the flawed federalism practiced today, the police, DSS, Armed Forces, Para Military and quasi-security agencies are strictly under the control of the Federal Government. There is no governor who dishes out orders to the Police Commissioner or Military Commanders in his state.
It is even worse for opposition states like Rivers, where the security agencies are subtly instructed to undermine the state government for political reasons. Governor Wike has bent backwards, employed intelligent strategies and tactics to keep Rivers State safe for investments.
Over the last two years, Governor Wike initiated and signed into law the anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly. The law gave the security agencies the legal instrument to tackle kidnappers and cultists .