The Murder of Michael Nnadi and the Plight of the Nigerian Youth as Motivative of the Needful Repudiation of the Impostor-Nation
1. The Case of the Murder of Michael Nnadi by Ragtag Bandits
The Igbo native truism that: ‘A si nwata kpoo aha onye Ọ ma, ya a kpoo iko nne ya’ (when a lad is asked to name someone he knows, he would name his mother’s friend) holds true for me, as a native-bred, a breed of the age of proverbs. As one who grew up in a traditional Igbo setting — where counsels were encapsuled in proverbs — I know that it is not out of place when one speaks and gives instances with things and persons closer and conversant to him. Here, therefore, as a former seminarian, I would use the unconscionable murder in bandit captivity, of my namesake (Michael) and tribesman, 18-year-old seminarian Michael Ikechukwu Nnadi, as preamble and parameter for my thoughts on the plight of Nigeria’s young people; and to represent the jagged route, the uneven trajectory of persistent and convoluted misfortunes that have been the fate of Nigeria, almost since its very beginning as a made-in-Britain political entity; as it were, which is motivative of repudiating the impostor-nation that Nigeria has become and of reconstituting a true nation.
Michael Ikechukwu Nnadi, born with his twin brother Raphael Nnadi, on the 16th February 2001, in Sokoto; but whose parents hail from Anambra, in Southeast Nigeria, was a seminarian of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto. He was kidnapped and murdered in January 2020, by the marauding bandits — possibly Boko Haram extremists — who have been making a trade out of terrorism and death, across northern Nigeria, at least, since 2011. Michael, with three other fellow seminarians of the Good Shepherd Seminary, Kaduna, was kidnapped on the 8th of January, 2020, and was killed on an unknown date during the captivity — with the Nigerian government, headed by a retired army General, doing nothing considerable, before or after the gruesome murder. Their captivity lasted from the 8th to the 31st January. While his mates were released in batches, on the 18th and 31st of January, Michael’s murder was announced on the 1st of February 2020, by Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto.
2. Michael Nnadi and the Protracted Failure of Government in Nigeria
Just like in so many similar instances, Nigeria’s government did not do much, either to protect or to rescue Michael Nnadi and his colleagues. The leaders of his country failed him. A staff of the Good Shepherd Seminary, Kaduna, who spoke to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) on condition of anonymity, said “Michael was a young and gifted seminarian. He was an orphan who had been brought up by his grandmother. Just a few weeks ago, after a year of spiritual preparation, he had been clothed in the soutane. It seems that his only crime was his desire to serve God. The security forces and the government have failed him.” (ACN Canada, ‘ACN expresses great sadness at the murder of Nigerian seminarian Michael Nnadi’, published on the web February 5, 2020, visit: https://acn-canada.org/acn-news-the-murder-of-nigerian-seminarian-michaeil-nnadi/) Government security failed Michael.
Again, like Michael Nnadi, the lives of many young people and defenceless ordinary Nigerians have continually been wasted in this manner, while their government does next to nothing, either to protect the people or to deter the perpetrators. Shortly after the murder of Michael Nnadi, on the 27th of February, Mr. Sam Brownback, the United States’ Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom, speaking to Catholic News Agency (CNA), said “There’s a lot of people getting killed in Nigeria, and we are afraid it is going to spread a great deal in that region. It is one that’s really popped up on my radar screens — in the last couple of years, but particularly this past year.” “I think we have got to prod the [President Muhammadu] Buhari government more. They can do more,” he said. “They’re not bringing these people to justice that are killing religious adherents. They don’t seem to have the sense of urgency to act.” (CNA, ‘Murdered Nigerian seminarian was killed for announcing gospel’, Saturday, December 03, 2022; visit: https://www.catholicnews
agency.com/news/44401/murdered-nigerian-seminarian-was-killed-for-announcing-gospel-killer-says) It is government failure that killed Michael!
Mr. Sam Brownback, like anyone watching events in Nigeria, particularly, under the present regime, could see that, if the government is not complicit, then, to say the least, it is not doing enough either to protect the people or to prosecute the perpetrators of kidnappings and killings, such as that of Michael Nnadi. Again, to say the least, many Nigerians are fed up with such manner of protracted impunity and government failure. This sickening situation has brought so many Nigerians, including the writer, to the point of losing faith in the country, in its leaders and its State-structures; it has also pushed so many into doing anything humanly and spiritually possible to leave the boundaries of the territory of Nigeria and go to anywhere else at all in the world — this is what has become known as the ‘jappa’ syndrome, which involves both young and old, skilled and unskilled, including the leaders of the country, the politicians and their families themselves. After so many years of waiting, working and hoping for Nigeria’s transformance into a true nation, that they can proudly cherish and serve as homeland, many Nigerians, in reality, in many ways, are parting ways with the present Nigeria entity. The murder of Mr. Michael Nnadi is another motivative, for many, for the repudiation of the impostor-nation that Nigeria has become.
3. Michael Nnadi and the Needful Repudiation of the Impostor-Nation
The negligence that warranted Michael’s death in the hands of ragtag bandits represents the unpatriotic disposition of Nigeria’s leadership, which, as it is, condones the terrorising and unjustifiable killing of its defenceless citizens; worst of all, the innocent and virile life of its young people, like Mr. Nnadi. This unpatriotic disposition, so to say, has been lingering and unabating, to the point that it has wearied many patriotic Nigerians, including the writer. Therefore, this very murder — one too many — became for me, a point of rupture. It exhausted my patience with Nigeria’s inacceptable statusquo, its dysfunctional systems, its brood of unpatriotic leaders and its self-seeking brand of politics. The height of its effect is that, it changed my approach towards the awaiting of the emergence of a true nation; towards the search for solutions to Nigeria’s many nationhood challenges. Since nothing seemed to be going right, my perspective was changed from ‘national’ problems to that of ‘nationhood’ problem. The endemic and protracted ineptitude, which warrants wanton murders and outright impunity, now symbolled by Michael Nnadi’s murder in captivity, brought me to begin to think about the very fact of statehood or nationhood, as it pertains to the social entity called Nigeria — that is, perhaps we need to first of all, address the fundamental issues of nationhood, in order to be able to effectively tackle everyday national issues.
Even though I practically became exhausted with the Nigerian State, after the re-election of President Buhari in 2019, for a second term in office, in spite of the obvious failure and calamities that marked his first term in office, from 2015–2019; it was the murder of Michael Nnadi in bandit captivity, earlier this year (2020), that finally brought me to this approach — that is, to refocus on the question of nationhood challenge, over and above national problems. That is to say: maybe the reason for Nigeria’s many pestering and festering national problems is that the fundamentals of nationhood, which necessarily substructure a Nation-State have not yet been firmly established in Nigeria. Even though from 1960 to 2020, sums up to 60 years of Nigeria’s self-rule as an independent nation, this approach is yet not unreasonable, given the many forms of agitation for either Restructuring or Self-determination, that are currently ongoing in Nigeria. Indeed, Nigeria’s problems go beyond the execution of policies or the enforcement of laws; they reach down to the very structures of the State itself; they spring from the nature of its Statehood.
As it turned out, Michael Ikechukwu Nnadi’s murder by unchecked bandits, provided me, so to say, with the final summons to join the already widespread campaign for the renegotiation and reinvention of the Nigerian State — which, in my view, has been hijacked and turned into an impostor of the Nigeria willed by its founding fathers. To restore the ‘original’ Nigeria of the pre-independence nationalists and First republic heroes, would require a repudiation of the prevailing statusquo and a disbanding of the fraudulent structure that the present impostor-nation has now assumed. By impostor-nation, I refer to the Nigeria structure that has not solved a single existential problem for its citizens since its inception and seems yetincapable of doing so in the near future; but which, on the other hand, has afflicted the Nigerian masses with a lengthy history of pain, poverty, death and disorientation. In 2020, Michael Nnadi’s death became the fire on the gunpowder, for my eventual repudiation of this inacceptable insanity which Nigeria has become.
The reasoning is, as they say in the military, you do not reinforce failure; the resolution is: while I would love to be part of a big and united Nigeria, I would no longer do so at all cost; I would no longer do so at the expense of the lives and wellbeing of the Nigerian people; I would no longer support a system that function against the collective wellbeing or common welfare of all its people. It is patriotic to reject structures and systems that do not serve the masses, but a privileged few. I would rather work for a better deal for all the peoples of Nigeria, than to continue to support a system that favours only some of the people. I would rather advocate for an inclusive, people-oriented political system or State entity, whether it be within or without the present political entity. In other words, if Nigeria would not work for the Nigerian peoples, then the Nigerian peoples would have to work without Nigeria. The various Nigerian indigenous peoples have the sovereign right to walk away from the Nigerian State, if the Nigerian State is not working for them.
Before and after Michael Nandi’s murder, ordinary Nigerians have continued to die in their thousands, at the hands of the various bands of criminals who roam the country, plying their trade in blood. Countless Nigerians have also died or have been maimed, in the course of repressive actions by various government regimes, using the police and the army or other State forces. Such deaths, in addition to unmarked numbers who die on account of the misfunction of health and economic systems, created by many decades of ineptitude and corruption, cannot continue to go without consequences, on the part of citizens, who can speak up or raise actions, no matter how little, against such incongruous State-structures that has wasted so many lives.
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On a personal level, the death of young and promising Michael Nnadi became the last straw that broke the camel’s back. As they say in law, the sine qua non cause of the repudiation was lingering government ineptitude, but the proximate cause was the murder of Mr. Nnadi. It was resultant upon it that I chose to henceforth refuse the typical serenade of Nigeria’s political hirlings asking Nigerians to be patient (and silent) with the country, with abuse of government, with self-serving politicians, with the compromised systems, and so also with mindless bloodshed; which was usual, whenever another tragedy strikes. Mr. Nnadi’s death was the height of my ‘restlessness’ with the insanity that was common in Nigeria. Its circumstances convinced me that something of a fundamental nature was not right with Nigeria. Nigeria cannot be a true nation it purports to be, if, for the umpteenth time, it fails to provide, as basic as security for its citizens. Therefore, I decided to cast off the yoke of such a false nation from myself; I repudiated the impostor-nation.
Saturday, February 1, 2020 — the fateful and fatal day, when the murder of Michael Nnadi was announced — was the day that I chose to part ways with Nigeria as presently constituted and as presently managed. I chose to reject a country that consistently fails to provide for and to protect its own citizens; and which does not yet seem to be on the path of self-recovery. But, in truth, it was not a repudiation of its citizenship; rather, it was a reproach of its structure. It was not a repudiation of statehood; it was a remonstration of it. It was not a renunciation of nationality; it was a denunciation of the nation. It was a reprimand, a patriotic objection; though severe and highly critical. It was a way of rejecting the fraudulent impostor-system, in order to replace it with the right system. Just as Christians are in the world but are not of the world, it could be expressed in this manner: I come from a geographic place presently called Nigeria, but I have severed myself morally and ideologically from its grossly flawed political State-structures, from its persistent clutter; such as its self-compromise, its massacres, its insanity, its political ‘cabalism’ as well as its brood of leadership-hirlings or the so-called Nigeran factor.
Therefore, what I essentially rejected is the impostor of the Nigeria State. Put otherwise, the State-structure that I repudiated is the fraudulent impostor-State-structure that hijacked the actuality and polity of the Nigerian State, the nation that succeeded British Nigeria. The insidious roots of the hijack of the Nigerian State can be traced to deeper national and international pre-independence intrigues. However, we can pin its debut outing to Decree №34 of 1966, the infamous ‘Unification Decree’; which eventually gave rise to the ambiguity known as ‘Unitary Federalism’ and the myth known as ‘One-Nigeria’. This subtle political hijack reached notable culmination in the 1999 Constitution; which purports to bind the many peoples of Nigeria, but lacks their wilful sovereign consent and fails to embody in its declarations, the essential rudiments of verity and equity, which are the guarantors of the protection of the common interest and common good of all; which, in turn, achieves both unity and nationality, out of ethnic and religious plurality. The 1999 Constitution lacks this essentiality! It is more or less a stratagem of political merchandise; a subterfuge of the hijackers, the profiteers of the impostor-nation. In the place of this impostor-nation, I gave myself two options: a restructured-federated Nigeria or the Sovereign State of Biafra. These two options are also in line with the stance of General Odumegwu Ojukwu, the father of Biafra, who went to Aburi, 4–5th January 1967, to ask for true federalism; and who resorted to the Republic of Biafra, only after the hijackers of Nigeria and their agents reneged on the Aburi Accord. The same conditions that warranted Ojukwu’s option for Biafra, are yet prevalent.
My resort to the advocacy for true federalism and self-determination is well-informed; it is predicated on the need to jolt the fraudulent State-structures being operated by the hijackers of the impostor-nation, the impersonator of the Nigerian State; and in so doing, to initiate the needful reinvention of the Nigerian State, or, if need be, its successor or replacement. The resort to the obviously controverted options of self-determination or restructuring, is the sanest option, or is apparently so; seeing that the Nigerian State, indeed, suffers deep structural deficiencies; a fact that has been acknowledged quite very widely. Its justification is its popularity among both the high and the low of today’s Nigerian society. Yet, this move — from seeking merely policy reforms to advocating structural reestablishment, from political revolution to sovereignty renegotiation, from merely amending the constitution to a reconstruction and reconstitution of the State itself — may well be chided or maligned, but it is the only reasonable route to lasting peace and progress, with the nation having already lost sixty years to political chaos, created by its faulty foundations. The response to those who malign self-determination agitators or restructuring advocates, is that every day, Nigeria sinks deeper into political perfidy and petrifying poverty. On my part, whenever I hear of another herder-bandit massacre of poor villagers at Kajuru or Nimbo or of another terrorist blast at Owo or Madalla or of another reprisal attack by soldiers on communities in Akwa Ibom or Benue or of another foreign report blacklisting Nigeria, I console myself that, so far, I am not proven wrong or insane, either in repudiating Nigeria or seeking a reconstitution of the State.
4. The Murder of Michael Nnadi as a Figure of a Nation that Undermines Itself
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However, Michael Nnadi is presented here only as a metaphor for Nigeria’s protracted and hydra-headed insanity. The murder of Michael Nnadi is a metaphor for the proclivity of the impostor-nation of wantonly and routinely maiming its own future, marring its own youths, killing its own people; or of tolerating their being killed or maimed or exploited by others, such as ragtag bandits. While it was not the government that ordered the murder of Michael Nnadi — as it obviously did in such sore cases as the EndSars and the Odi massacres or in the brutish clampdown on IPOB members which resulted in the killing of over 150 IPOB members, as reported by Amnesty International on its 24th November 2016 Report — it is, without any doubts, the protracted failure of government in many spheres, that leads to wanton and frequent killings of citizens across the country. It is in this sense that the murder of Michael Nnadi is emblematic of Nigeria’s leadership debacle; it is in this sense that the young seminarian’s death metaphors the nation’s proclivity to marring its own youths and maiming its own future; it is also in this sense that statusquo of the Nigerian State has become an impostor of its true self.
While I connect with the slain seminarian in some ways — since, like me, he is named Michael; like me, he is Igbo; and like me, he prized the vocation to be consecrated to the service of God and people in the priesthood, for which he left home for the Seminary, from where he was kidnapped and killed — he yet essentially represents the existential predicament of the typical Nigerian youth. His death in the hands of bandits, epitomizes the victimhood of the Nigerian people, particularly of the young people, orchestrated by the failure of government. This government-failure-orchestrated victimhood, spans the entire history of Nigeria: from the post-independence First Republic era to the post 1999 democratic regimes. Michael’s death is a signpost of Nigeria’s history of failed leadership and failed hope, which results in the victimhood of its citizens and the undercutting of its future. One glaring illustration of this failure of leadership and of hope bedevilling Nigeria, is the helplessness of the Nigerian peoples in the face of kidnappers and killers, who practically have field day across the country; evidenced, as it were, in the termination of the young life and priestly calling of Seminarian Michael Ikechukwu Nnadi.
Let us think of the many ways Nigeria undermines itself, especially in those actions that undermine the prospects of millions of its young generation.
5. The Murder of Mr. Nnadi as Emblematic of the Plight of Nigeria’s Youths
As it is today, every Nigerian youth has everything in common with Michael Nnadi. Every ordinary Nigerian youth can be likened to Michael Nnadi in every respect. The fate that befell Michael Nnadi can be the fate of any and every other ordinary Nigerian youth. Just like Michael Nnadi, every ordinary Nigerian youth is ‘on his own’; whether it be at school, at work, at home or abroad. Government has not shown in concrete actions that it really cares about ordinary Nigerian youths. The government is not really interested, where you are, what you are doing and even what happens to you. Basically, the Nigerian youth trains himself and creates job for himself. Basically, the Nigerian youth caters for himself and sustains himself, be it in education or in business., Basically, the Nigerian youth makes himself and creates his own future. There is not much that reach him, by way of the dividends of effective governance; not even basic common social infrastructure. Likewise, there is not much that reach him by way of citizens’ incentives or social support programmes; and whenever such incentives come, they are often skewed to favour the clientages and parentages of privileged elites and the political class and not the nameless masses who have no political ‘connections’.
After years and years of failure, it has proven to be folly to expect that government would provide support or succour. Even though it is the task of governments to plan and to manage the affairs and welfare of its people, as it is, in the case of Nigeria, governments, over the years, have demonstrated failure. Regarding young people, who are bearers of the future of any polity, it is doubtful if the government even has a national plan of empowerment and engagement of the teeming young population of the country. This failure of leadership leaves young Nigerians all to themselves, in fashioning a path and/or a profession for themselves and for the nation’s collective posterity.
But even worse, is the tragic reality that, Nigerian youths can be kidnapped and even be killed, anytime, anyhow and anywhere in the world, without the government taking notice of what had happened, least of all, taking drastic measures of rescue or redress, as the case may be. Between March 2019 and March 2020, for instance, several of them were killed, during the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Last week, precisely on the 28th of March 2021, Mr. Leohand Lyeanyi, from Enugu (also referred to as Anabo) was allegedly assaulted and killed in India, by the Tilak Nagar area Police in Delhi, for no offence. There were no strong measures taken by the Nigerian government; rather, it was fellow African youths who protested, seeking redress. In the past two years, the deaths of Joseph Udezo, from Nteje (October 2019) and Sunny Mike, from Orlu, (May 2020), were also reported, in India. As always, government officials would try to blink about the incidents or maybe send out a tweet, and then the matter would be allowed to die by silence. At home and abroad, such cases of the killing of young Nigerians abound. While the plight of young Nigerians is not limited to this lack of assurance of protection or of redress, it remains a fundamental failure on the part of government.
The events and circumstances that culminated in the death of Michael Nnadi are not uncommon. They are more or less commonplace experiences across today’s Nigeria. Therefore, when Michael was killed (I restrain from saying: ‘when his life was wasted’, since indeed, nothing is lost in God), it was not peculiar, for many Nigerians; since such tragedies have become routine! This is the reason, for me, it represents what has become the plight and the fate of Nigerians; particularly, young Nigerians, who are growing up in a country, that claims them as citizens, but offers them neither hope nor protection. Looking at the aggregation of remote and proximate actions and inactions that led to it and others like it, one is left with the impression that Nigeria has become a nation that devours its own. The murder of Mr. Nnadi exposes what Nigeria has become: a nation that devours the downtrodden, but which also empowers, enriches, emboldens the devourers. Surely, this is a hard thing to say. It is a harsh verdict on the state of the nation. But it is true! It is the statusquo! One dare say so because, Nigeria itself has become something of an experience, indeed more than hard and harsh on its inhabitants.
For many, who, in many ways, have been victims of the failure of their own fatherland, Nigeria has been worse than merely a reprehensible homeland; it has been a ‘devourer’; in the sense that, for too long, it has not yet shrinked from draining the bitter tears and anguished blood of its own citizens. The pre-independence pogroms, the civil war, the coups and counter-coups, terrorist bombings, herdsmen banditry, et centre, Nigeria is well-acquainted with bloodshed. Both as a colony and as a country, Nigeria has a long history of bloodletting; such as the Jos bloody riot in 1945, the Kano massacre in 1953, in the years before October 1 1960; as well as the EndSars massacre of 20th October 2020 and the Koshebe massacre of 28th November 2020, which happened just last year. The fatalities of the bloody riots, ethnic pogroms, community sacks and massacres, attacks and reprisal attacks, terrorist bombings, mercantile kidnappings, activist-militancy, savage banditry, and all forms of restiveness that have marked Nigeria’s history, are all victims of the failure of the Nigerian State. The Nigerian State is rightly held accountable, because it has also continued to lay claim to the places and peoples in the east, west, north and south as its possessions and its peoples.
6. Some More Ways Nigeria Undermines its Youths and Mortgages its Future
It is the fact, that Nigeria and her politicians, through various actions and inactions, have mortgaged the future of Nigeria and Nigeria’s youths. Using the impostor-nation they created out of the initial crisis of the First Republic, the induced 1966 coup and the masterminded 1967–1970 civil war, Nigeria’s leaders hijacked both the nation and resources of its peoples, to their own use and the advantage of their local and international cronies; leaving the Nigerian masses impoverished and disoriented. This explains why Nigeria’s politicians and leaders, do not really care about Nigeria, as seen in their actions, and particularly, in their disproportionate pay-packages. For this reason, sixty years as a nation, Nigeria has nothing on ground as foundation for the future; nothing but trillions of debts and ill-repute, for millions of its young generations. Perhaps, therefore, Nigeria’s leaders are notorious for deploying State forces in killing Nigeria’s youths, at any attempt at resisting the monstrous systems that sustains their political brigandage or by letting them be killed by ragtag bandits without repercussions or be dehumanized in their own country or be exploited abroad, without qualms or worries.
Beyond physical harm and brutality often meted out on young Nigerians, using largely unconscientious, underhanded and undermined State forces, Nigeria’s political leaders did even more, by their dysfunctional policies and self-serving political manoeuvres, to maim the country’s prospects, undercut its potentialities and thus, to mortgage the future of Nigeria’s young people. Otherwise, how do we explain that politics became a vocation and the most lucrative career, in Nigeria, to the point that its practitioners have no other jobs but politicking, or in some cases, abandon their original career for a better paying political-profiteering career? If Nigeria’s political leaders are not pointedly complicit in its woes — be it socially, ethically, economically, infrastructurally, ideologically, legislatively, managerially, bureaucratically, and otherwise — how does one explain that, since after independence, things have never gotten better, but keeps getting worse, despite several military and civilian ‘rescue’ interventions, both in the form of new regimes or in the form of new programmes? How do we explain, for example, the apparent sabotage of the naira? How did it happen that, in 1981, for instance, ₦1 was worth more than $1, but in 2021, ₦450 is worth less than $1? When I was born, in 1983, the value of $1 was around ₦0.72 (seventy-two kobo). But by the time Buhari will end his second term as civilian president, in May 2023, one can bet that the value of $1, would worth way above ₦550. Yet, those who have superintended over such abysmal failure, the likes of Muhammadu Buhari, are smiling, and are yet asking to be re-elected, again and again, into office! How do you explain this? Where were Nigeria’s leaders when the naira was losing value? Where were they, when other leaders were building up human and infrastructural foundations for their country and people?
If successive Nigeria’s leaders are not tacitly disposed to mortgaging the future of the country and its young populations, how does one explain the periodic ritual of ASUU Strike, that has tainted Nigeria’s political scenery, regime after regime, at least since 1988, under Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, without yet a final solution? How should one vindicate leadership, of which, barely every other year, a developing country willingly tolerates that its university students be thrown out of school and remain idle for months? How difficult is it to find a final solution to ASUU Strike? Another one like it is this: how does one explain the ‘mystery’ of oil theft, the plundering of the principal revenue source of a country riddled with intergenerational poverty? How is it that a nation with its president as the oil minister, and who has a huge army of security forces at his command, is unable to end oil theft, year after year? How is it? The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics recorded that, in 2021, 63% of Nigerians, about 133 million people, are living in extreme poverty. How do you explain to a sane mind, that the country with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty, in the 21st century, is also the country where government officials approve for themselves, one of the highest pay and pension packages in the world? How can one exonerate such politicians of complicity in sabotaging their own country and impoverishing their people? How do you justify huge overhead cost for the running of government offices and the extravagant lifestyle of politicians, in the face of massive poverty and palpable hardship, in Nigeria? How is it that other countries, that used to be behind or at par with Nigeria, in terms of development — such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, South Africa, etc, — have all left Nigeria behind in the woods of underdevelopment and have all progressed to different stages of advancement; while Nigeria has retrogressed, both in terms of economy and infrastructure? How is it that 63 years after political independence, Nigeria yet has not established the rudimentary structures of both nationhood and development? How do we explain these puzzles outside political complicity?
Puzzles like these inform the conviction that, as at May 2021, that Nigerian State, born on October 1, 1960, has been effectively hijacked by a sinister political cabal; and as such, has become an impostor-nation, in the hands of its political hijackers and impostor-leaders. The impostor-leaders and their accomplices, are the only ones thriving in the impostor-nation! How else do we explain Nigeria’s politicians living large and affluent, amidst widespread poverty among Nigerians? For these reasons, the Nigerian State requires, of necessity, to be re-bargained, re-created and reconstituted, by all Nigerians; deliberately and unanimously; if it hopes to persist; and if this is impossible, then the Nigeria project should be harmlessly jettisoned, for the sake of the lives and wellbeing of the ethnic nationalities and peoples sandwiched by Imperial Britain in British Nigeria in 1914. Seeing that it is no longer rational and realistic, no longer reasonable and feasible, to continue to defend a dysfunctional State-structure that does not truly serve the good of the people it lays claim to, Nigeria’s unity should no longer be touted as non-negotiable.
7. The #EndSARS Massacre and the Mindless Repression of Nigerian Youths
Countless young Nigerians (and of course, others) have died in the hands of the police, especially the Britain-trained special anti-robbery squad, that turned itself into a monstrous ‘police gang’ called SARS. Countless young Nigerians died in uncertain circumstances, in the hands of this nefarious police squad. Many have also died in the hands of barbaric Nigerian soldiers, as the whole world saw in the #EndSARS protests massacre, at the Obigbo massacre (which was more or less an offshoot of #EndSARS protest in Rivers State) as well as in the many ferocious clampdown and crushing of IPOB agitators, to mention just a few. Following numerous reports of unjustifiable brutality and mindless wastage of lives, especially of young people, a global demand for the disbandment of this notorious police squad began in 2017, with the Twitter campaign hashtag #EndSARS. SARS was established in 1992 to fight robbery in Lagos State, but it later got a national scope. However, as early as 2006, the extortions, extrajudicial killings and rights violations of SARS have been noted and reported by human rights groups. In 2009 Amnesty International reported SARS activities as ‘Killing at Will’. In 2013 SARS was blamed for 35 dead bodies found in Ezu river in Anambra. From 2017 to 2020, Amnesty International recorded about 82 extrajudicial killings by SARS. Thus, several groups raised alarm calling for immediate disbandment and prosecution of SARS officials. But the Nigerian government and police force only made deceptive promises and did not really take action to disband the notorious police gang or to investigate its atrocities.
However, it was the killing of one Mr. Ochuko, on the 3rd of October 2020, at Wetland Hotel, Ughelli in Delta State and of Chibuike Daniel (Mr. Sleek), on the 5th of October 2020, that sparked street protests against SARS. Across Nigeria. On the 8th of October 2020, nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and killings began across the country. Unfortunately, the Buhari Presidency, using the army, responded with more brutality and killings across the country, and particularly, at the Lekki Toll Gate, on 20th of October 2020. The government crackdown, led to bloody clashes between security forces and the protesters. At the end, over 50 civilians were killed and about 20 security personnel were also killed. But what were young Nigerians protesting against in the #EndSARS rallies? They were protesting against the corruption and brutality of SARS. The so-called anti-robbery squad was accused of being involved in kidnappings and killings of victims who could not pay them ransom, of murder their victims and coveting their property, they were accused of theft and exploitation, including rape, torture, unlawful arrests, unlawful detention, unwarranted humiliation, extrajudicial killings, and inhuman brutality. These police atrocities were targeted particularly at young Nigerians; whose crime, often, were their druid hairstyle, their tattooed bodies, their shaggy fashion, their rugged jeans, their expensive phones, their flashy cars, their flamboyant lifestyle, their carrying of laptop computer. In fact, the presence of four youngmen in a car is enough to arrest them and begin to torture and exploit them. This is typical of how Nigeria treats its youths, using State forces, such as SARS.!
Beyond the heart-rending tragedy of SARS and military brutality and killings, countless young Nigerians have also died in the desert of the Sahara trying to go over to Libya, others drown in the Atlantic Ocean trying to cross over to Europe. Many are pushed into frustration, fraud, rituals and all manners of criminality. Worst of all, thanks to Nigeria’s brand of politicians, about half of Nigeria’s youths serve as political thugs and as electoral hoodlums. In this way, in general, the Nigerian youth has been robbed of the right to a dignified life, of hope and of a future; which their citizenship of the Nigerian nation should ordinarily give them. They have been robbed of the UN chattered right to decent work and means of livelihood. Nigeria’s toxic system, has also robbed many of its youths of the capacity for visioning and aspiring. With its legacy of institutional corruption, it has nulled their ingenuity and robbed them inventiveness. Robbed of exemplary leadership and national models, the present Nigerian system, not only kills the virile lives of its youths, it, above all, kills creativity and enterprise, it kills industry and inventiveness. The #EndSARS massacre is thus emblematic of the plight of Nigeria’s youths and motivative of the needful repudiation of the present impostor-nation.
8. Summons to the Repudiation of the Impostor-Nation
The foregoing appraisal, objectively summons us to the rational conviction of the irrationality of continuing to reinforce a dysfunctional political system and of upholding a ‘mis-founded’ State-structure, that for 60 years has self-demonstrated its own incongruity. This essay is an effort at explaining a bit, to Nigerians and to all relevant national and international agencies, why it has become simply necessary to repudiate the present impersonator of the Nigerian State; personified by protracted and unpardonable socio-political ineptitude and symbolised by the 2015–2023 regimes of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari; and to urgently work to recover the original; that is, the regionalised, inclusive and functional Nigeria of Azikiwe, Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello; or, if it becomes necessary, to peacefully work to disband the present impostor-nation, for the life and wellbeing of everybody. And I think there is need to do these urgently! The justification is to save Nigerians, the ‘remnants’ of the indigenous peoples and ethnic nationalities trapped in Nigeria, from misery and death brought by insecurity and banditry, poverty and hardship brought by self-serving leadership. as well as the stigma the present impersonator of Nigeria has inflicted upon them. The death of Michael Nnadi — the intractable plights of citizens — is yet another signal summoning us to this reality.
After 60 years of failed nationhood, we have become convinced that Nigeria is radically afflicted and needs a radical remedy; that is, a down-to-the-root remedy. This remedy must get back and down to the roots and foundations, because Nigeria’s problems are so entrenched, so ubiquitous, so far reaching that superficial approaches would be a waste of time; as hitherto, they have been. We have become convinced that Nigeria’s long years of tales of woes are not merely typical national challenges; rather, Nigeria is suffering from grave foundational nationhood deficiencies. The political edifice has kept on shaking since 1914, because the foundations are fundamentally fractured. Things are falling apart, because the centre cannot hold itself together in an organic sovereign cohesion. As though to add salt to injury, a sinister cabal, having spotted this breach in the very being of the nation, hijacked it for its own selfish and sinister ends. This is why the reality of Nigeria, as it is today, is simply an unacceptable ‘insanity’. This is why good policies that work in other places fail in Nigeria. This is why in spite of many blessings in the land, the citizens are like accursed people everywhere in the world. We therefore urge every Nigerian and all relevant international agencies and governments to rise up and take actions, without further delay, to salvage what remains of Nigeria and to save the remnants of the various peoples ‘annexed’ in the present impostor-nation called One-Nigeria from the insanity that has befallen the Nigerian State; even if such actions may seem insane or severe.
Finally, let me urge that no one should doubt that this little effort is inspired by patriotism and nationalism; because, as we know, such venture also come with a heavy price on one’s personal peace and protection; such exercise can have repercussions on personal reputation and rewards. We can all agree that such effort also come-by at great exertion of mind and body. Therefore, it is certainly, inspired by love of country and concern for countrymen; it is without grudges against any individual persons, nationalities or institutions.
Michael Richmond Duru
4th May 2021
 A security quad that randomly finds a young man in a flashy car in the street, shoots him, pushes his dead body out his car and drives away with the car and cell phone of the young man they have just killed, best qualifies as a notorious police gang, a criminal gang in security uniform. Whereas SARS was intended to be a police squad, it actually acts like a criminal gang.