The West has immensely de-educated us, and dubiously misinformed us, that freedom – in the forms of freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, to mention a few from the world of freedomism – exists in its whole, and must be nurtured and protected; deluding us from realising that it often infringes on the so many rights of individuals and their beliefs, the doctrines of societies, and the peace and stability of nation states. How can you be free to spread fake news? How can you be free to insult your neighbour? How can you be free to trespass on someone’s land? How can you be free to denigrate one’s culture or tribe? How can you be free to mock one’s religious beliefs? How can you be free to incite violence and killings of innocent humans? How free is freedom and how freely can you wield your ‘freedoms’ over another person’s or another societies’?
When Julian Paul Assange, the Australian Editor, published leaks of American intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning; he had to seek refuge from Ecuador, at their London embassy, because he was facing charges of sexual misconduct, which he said was an excuse to get him extradited to the US from Sweden, over his role in the release of secret information. A similar new development was on the 23rd of May, 2021; when a Ryanair plane from Greece to Lithuania, was diverted to Belarus for several hours to arrest a dissident journalist, Mr. Roman Protasevich. In North Korea, residents have no access to the internet, while in China and Iran, it is actively restricted. There was a spat between former President Donald Trump, and twitter, when it took his tweet down, saying it glorified violence. Trump insisted that the company did nothing about all the propaganda and lies put out by China. In the most advanced part of the world, there has always been a dodgy line between where one freedom – as propagated by various platforms like social media – infringes on another person’s or entities’ own freedom or rights.
In protecting the peace, unity and stability of our nation state, the Nigerian government has had to proscribe and name Boko haram a terrorist group, and has pursued a rigorous war against the group. On the 17th of Aug, 2019, PMB tweeted that, “Before departing Katsina for Abuja, I addressed troops of the anti-banditry operation Hadarin Daji. I charged them to ensure that no bandit is spared. All bandits must be pursued and eliminated. Nigeria deserves peace and security, and we will not relent untill this is achieved.” 4 days ago, the Nigerian army with close air support from two fighter jets of the Airforce, destroyed about 11 guntrucks of ISWAP, along with scores of their fighters. Similarly in Sokoto state, at Sabo Birni border, the army neutralised some gun runners and recovered various types of ammunition from them. It is violence, terrorism, banditry and all forms of criminality, from Sokoto to Abakaliki, from Rivers to Benue, from Katsina to Katsina Ala. The theatres of war are fast growing and spreading across the federation. Still, the government has continued to wage war against all the security challenges it is facing.
Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB; the group also proscribed and labelled as a terrorist group, is almost on a daily basis on twitter, and the Biafra radio, inciting his followers, to wreck havoc across the South east, most notably Imo, Anambra and Enugu. Innocent lives are lost, and properties worth billions, are razed and destroyed or carted away. Does the right to self-determination erode another’s right to live? Right to live in peace? Their freedom to move? To eke out a living? Non of the platforms that gave Mr. Kanu an audience, denounce or caution, or censor his activities, with the exception of Facebook. Mr. President in a statement decried the burning of government properties, with the killing of police officers and other citizens of the country. He said that after numerous warnings to them, while showing restraint; the destruction had not abated. Similar to his orders/ statements to the security agencies previously, like the shoot at sight order over the AK47 prevalence in country; he said enough was enough and that the full might of the FG would be invoked upon them. This caused so much uproar, and I ask: should they be allowed to continue to maim and kill? Shouldn’t they be spoken to, by the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces of The Federal Republic in a language they can understand?
Terror is horror, visited upon a person, a country, or a belief or faith. It embodies violence, carnage, killings, and the desecration of God given life, and hard earned wealth. The US designated the attackers of Capitol Hill as terrorists. Infact they call them domestic terrorists! Why must we hide and harbor ours? Why must we de-face them? These agendas of destruction have the same name, and manifest in the same manner, with the same cause of spitting fire and bloodshed. Those leading it are the most feeble, selfish and worldly ones, who are always not in the line of fire. Their followers are disillusioned, ill-informed, and ignorant, who are radicalised into an eldorado that does not exist in its most abstract forms. While the western world controls and modulates its ‘freedoms’, we are egged on to flex our ever-conflicting freedoms, which would forever breed bad blood amongst us; perpetually igniting violence. That freedom, is one of the tools of instability and insecurity as well as the balkanisation of ‘our world.’ Alas we may be too religious or too tribal to see this.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.