Richard Templar is a very fascinating writer.
As a Nigerian professional writer myself, operating from one of the most treacherous human habitations in the World known as Nigeria, I am often looking for fresh ideas documented in beautifully written books not just because of my inclination for aesthetics but also because of my undying admiration for the logical reasoning..
You can’t afford to embark on a search for the aesthetics and the most precious gifts that the Uncreated Creator God has endowed the World with if you are a logically minded writer who is born, bred and co-exists in the chaotic space called Nigeria.
And so it was that around this past April, I found myself deeply involved in the intensive search for some great books to pick up during a pre-planned visit to one of the biggest outlets for great books in Central London during one of my necessary holidays to stay away from the functional disorder which Nigeria has become to take breathe of fresh air for some few days before returning to our familiar lawless society to try to make the chaotic space a liveable one.
I came face to face with some beautifully designed books and particularly had a deep communion with a certain copy printed in my best admired color which is blue because of my penchant for Chelsea football club of London.
Incidentally, a night before, I was live at the Stamford bridge stadium somewhere in South West London to witness a competitive match between my beloved team Chelsea football club and another elite premiership club side which ended in favour of my beloved soccer outfit.
It was indeed with a sense of satisfaction that I approached this book titled “The Rules of People” authored by Richard Templar.
I wasted less than two seconds to make up my mind to pick up two copies – one for myself and another for Ugochi my uncommonly beautiful wife and companion, who loves reading books as well. Our marriage is like an author marrying his editor. That is a romantic story for another day. Today is about my odyssey in a London bookshop which berthed the idea behind this reflection on two youngsters from two distinctive nations who disappeared and are been sought.
As I flipped open the book the first thing I saw was a philosophical quotation thus : “The only solution that works is to change the hole, because a square peg will always be a square peg”.
I immediately fell in deep love with this saying because there were two issues I was battling to untangle which are the raging debates on the best deal for Britain regarding the referendum the voters passed to exit the European Union known as Brexit which at this material time that i encountered this majesterial book was about to end the illustrious political career of British second female Premier in history. The first was Margaret Thatcher and the one I’m referring to as regards Brexit is Theresa May.
The second issue was the inability of Nigerian government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari to rescue the teenager Miss. Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl abducted alongside 133 others who were later released by their captors – Islamic boko haram terrorists.
As we were told by one of her freed school mates of Dapchi government school in Yobe state was that she refused to denounce her Christian faith.
Those keeping her reached an agreement with the Nigerian government to keep her whilst releasing others who are Moslems.
The issue of Leah Sharibu to me becomes even more intriguing when I also read in the British media about a little girl by name Madeleine Mc Cann who was kidnapped when she was four whilst holidaying with her parents in Portugal. Ironically, i was also holidaying in London about the same material time that this little girl was stolen from her Parents in Portugal.
The good thing is that Great Britain has for a decade continued to budget huge cash to search for her whereabouts.
When compared with the secrecy surrounding the effort been made to release the young Christian girl kidnapped by boko haram terrorists, one is left to accept the logic and the reason behind the saying in the book aforementioned regarding how best to reach a solution when the book stated thus: “The only solution that works is to change the hole, because a square peg will always be a square peg”.
As you read this, you may be asking the question about whom this little British girl is and why so much public fund has been expended searching for her by the government of her country even when she went missing in another nation in company of her parents.
This is unlike in Nigeria, whereby the failure of government to provide water tight security culminated in the mass abduction of Leah Sharibu and her long released school mates.
Leah Sharibu was kidnapped many years after nearly 250 girls were similarly kidnapped in Chibok in Borno state thereby taking the fault straight back at the government for failing the primary duty of care and protection which the constitution imposed on them as the primary duty of government.
According to The Sun UK News, since disappearing on the evening of May 3 2007, no one has been able to find her or conclusively prove she is either dead or alive.
As of 2016, over 8,000 potential sightings have been recorded in 101 different countries and territories, but nearly all of them have been dropped as leads.
But now a new docu-series about her disappearance claims Madeleine is still alive and her case will be solved.
Jim Gamble , the top child protection cop in the UK’s first Maddie investigation, says: “I absolutely believe that in my lifetime we will find out what has happened to Madeleine McCann .
“There’s huge hope to be had with the advances in technology. Year on year DNA is getting better. Year on year other techniques, including facial recognition, are getting better.
“And as we use that technology to revisit and review that which we captured in the past, there’s every likelihood that something we already know will slip into position.”
The documentary also claims Madeleine is likely to have been kept alive by child traffickers because, as a middle-class British girl, she is more financially valuable.
British Media reports that Madeleine McCann was born May 12, 2003, and went missing a little more than a week before her fourth birthday.
Since her disappearance from the Ocean Club apartment , a former top cop has warned that security at the resort where the little girl went missing is still an issue, so says the media reports.
Today, we read a report that the Home Office has agreed to give £300,000 for the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The search for Maddie, who was three years old when she was vanished while on holiday with her parents, has cost £11,750,000 so far. If you convert that to our Naira and Kobo you would realise that that is a year long budget for 12 police commands put together in Nigeria.
The report says that the funding was previously reported to have run out, but the Home Office has now agreed to fund the hunt until March next year.
Conversely, it was stated that an application was made by the Met Police for another £300,000 to keep the investigation going throughout 2019/20.
“On Wednesday, the Home Office said that while a final decision on figures would not be made until October, it had reassured force chiefs that a ‘similar’ level of funding would be granted for this year as in 2018/19, when £300,000 was given”, says British media.
The Home Office said: ‘We have received a request from the MPS to extend funding for Operation Grange until March 31, 2020. ‘Funding for the investigation is provided by the Home Office through Special Grant funding which is usually available to police forces when they face significant or exceptional costs. ‘All applications for Special Grant funding are considered carefully on their individual merits, however, decisions are made in batches to allow us to better consider the impact on the overall policing budget. ‘Due to this, the next round of Special Grant funding will not be decided until October, however we have written to Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in the meantime with assurance that the Metropolitan Police Service will receive a similar level of funding for Operation Grange for 2019/20 as it did for the previous year.’
This is a Country that places the highest premium on the wellbeing of their citizen and the police is efficient and effectively taking charge. In Nigeria there are contradictions and conflicts of interests amongst rival security outfits and there is no consensus on the strategic engagements of these security agencies on how to jointly coordinate the search for Leah Sharibu and hundreds of other hostages of boko haram terrorists and bandits.
In Yobe state, where Leah comes from, 77.4 per cent of girls are not in secondary school. That figure is the third highest in the Northeast region and the fifth highest among the 10 northern states covered in the report, so reports an analyst who recently authored an article to demand the rescue of the abducted school girl.
“The abductions illustrate that Boko Haram remains a menace to swathes of northeast Nigeria,” the International Crisis Group said in a report published in April.
“The kidnappings cast a pall over education, particularly of girls, and thus the prospects for socio-economic development of the region.”
This is eveb as President Muhammadu Buhari last October spoke on the telephone with Mrs. Rebecca Sharibu, mother of the Dapchi Secondary schoolgirl, Leah, who was kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.
Shehu said the President assured her Mrs. Sharibu that his administration will do everything it would take to bring her daughter back home.
The President consoled the Sharibu family and assured the parents that the Federal Government would do its utmost for the safety and security of their daughter.
“I convey my emotion, the strong commitment of my administration and the solidarity of all Nigerians to you and your family as we will do our best to bring your daughter home in peace and safety,” Buhari reportedly told the distraught mother.
He assured the mother that his heart was with her family, as that of the entire nation which continues to pray for the safe return of “our daughter, Leah.”
Mrs. Sharibu and her husband, Nathan, had recently appealed to Buhari to ensure the release of their daughter before the October dateline given by the Boko Haram sect. Many months after the girl is still in captivity.
The difference between the British and the Nigerian scenarios is that in Britain, government is very transparent, accountable and open regarding the process and mechanisms it has adopted to search for their young citizen that was kidnapped.
In Nigeria, the process and methods are muddled up and treated as state secret. There is no clarity regarding why the government initially left only the young Christian girl when it struck a deal with the terrorists.
Section 14 (2) (b) of the Nigerian constitution states in black and white that: “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
Aristotle, the philosopher says “The basis of a democratic state is liberty”. He Aristotle also states that: “Law is order and good law is good order”.
The Nigerian constitution is the supreme law and so there is no reason to explain the refusal of the government to transparently tell Nigerians what effort it is making and how much it has spent in trying to rescue Leah Sharibu and others in simular circumstances.
Section 22 of the constitution supports media freedoms. Chapter four of the constitution is all about the fundamental human rights including the freedom of expression just as the Freedom of Information Act mandates government to be open, transparent and accountable to the people of Nigeria.
Augustine of Hippo (354-430CE) gave us a quote which is the most appropriate way to end this reflection. He says: “If justice be taken away, what are governments but great bands of robbers?”.
Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emmanuel Onwubiko and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)