Sudan is in turmoil and on the verge of collapse as anarchy reigns supreme. From the Horn of Africa, to the Congo, to Central Africa down to the West African sub-region, there is one crisis or the other threatening the stability of our countries. We are so rich but Africa has remained the poorest continent as Europeans, Americans and Asians harvest our rich minerals, flora and fauna, with their advanced technologies while we are bogged down by crises of underdevelopment and poverty.
Just about the time combatants in one crisis have worn themselves out and exhausted, another is brewing. It is either terrorism by ideological zealots, insurgency and banditry, war for control of mineral resources or political brigandage. It has gotten to a point where one begins to wonder if Africa is not indeed bound to violence.
At the root of it all is corruption, disruption or collapse of the rule of law and institutions of State. Why are they fighting in Sudan? It is a struggle amongst the elites for power and control of the wealth and resources of the country; not for the general good to improve the living standard of the people. This is the political malaise plaguing Africa without exception.
Members of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Force (RSF) are running amok in Khartoum. They have turned their guns on the people and national infrastructure. Foreign embassies have since evacuated their staff and nationals except for some African countries still struggling to extricate their stranded nationals; Nigeria is one of them. There is a huge displacement of the population with many running into neighbouring countries as refugees. For those caught in the crossfire who cannot escape, they are in a dire situation lacking basic essentials to survive, food, water and electricity
The hospitals and medical facilities have been overwhelmed and at breaking point without necessary replenishment. This is a country that relies on food aids from donor agencies and countries in the normal course of events now thrown into crisis of full-scale armed struggle between two generals.
Africa has proved incapable of governing itself and has continued to live under the epidemics of inept political leadership and corruption. Our political leaders have an insatiable rapacious appetite, stealing our common patrimony and what they do not need. We want the Europeans to pay reparation for what they stole from our continent as a result of slavery and colonialism. Since independence, our political leaders have stolen far more from the people than the period of slavery and colonialism put together. Yet we are not asking our political elites for reparation. We fight their battles for them to continue to oppress the poor and manipulate every electoral cycle to subvert the will of the people.
The footage of the streets of Sudan show the primitive and barbaric savagery of Africans to themselves, butchering his type without empathy, women, children and the elderly. If the crisis ends today, Sudan certainly will not remain the same again, rebuilding the damaged infrastructure and reconciliation of the tribal groups.
The crisis is made worse due to the availability of light weapons which are as easy to get as vegetables in the local markets. We receive weapons from European merchants and turn them on our brothers and sisters and keep the continent permanently on the ground. In spite of all the miracle workers in the churches and mosques, Africa has remained in endless crises as if we are under a spell. For weeks running, the parties in the conflict in Sudan have turned Khartoum, the capital, to Golgotha. Civilians are the vulnerable population, receiving bullets for the greed of the military elite and their political leaders.
Serious countries and embassies have evacuated their nationals hurriedly, but Nigerian nationals, especially students, are still trapped and stranded and held in border countries of Egypt and Chad who make conditions for their passage difficult. They cannot but treat our citizens the way the world sees our government treat us at home. Nigerian citizens and students are economic refugees fleeing from insecurity and harsh economic conditions; education is just a facade.
Nigerian youths are trooping to study in higher institutions abroad while our graduates, doctors and other professionals look for greener pastures abroad. Our leaders have destroyed our public school system; so those parents that can afford it send their children and wards abroad. With our endowment, Nigerians have no business going to Sudan to study. Today, Nigerian youths form a huge percentage of foreign student population in Cotonou, Ghana, Gambia; indeed, every other country within the sub-region and beyond.
It is a shame that our country has never been able to respond timeously to distressed Nigerians outside our shores during emergencies and crises. Our embassies and high commissions exist only as text book theory, and we have envoys that do not even have records of Nigerians in their countries of assignment.
Events in Sudan are a big lesson to us. Like Sudan, we also have proliferation of firearms in all the geo-political zones of the country in the hands of non-state actors acting with reckless impunity. The government is unable to mop up the arms. To make matters worse, we are arming paramilitary organisations that are supposed to perform simple civil functions amongst the populace without considering the security implications. We have the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in the Northeast. Hisbah Police operate in some states like private armies. The war against insurgency will end someday, and what happens to these elements that have had some form of military training and are battle-tested fighting alongside with soldiers?
The National Assembly is busy making laws arming paramilitary organisations like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps who are not supposed to perform military functions. The next would be the Road Safety Corps and Boys Scout. We do not want to think about the implications of throwing light weapons and small arms all over the country. These are people without proper training and good mental attitude to bear arms. This is in addition to the fact that they do not have secured armouries like the Armed Forces, and, to some extent, the Nigeria Police Force. It is also easy for criminal elements to capture these weapons from these agencies, or their operatives, using it for illegal purposes as reports are showing. The military high command that is in a position to advise on such things shy away from doing so in order to be politically correct and not be seen to be opposing civil authority.
The civilisation of Sudan has been laid waste due to bad leadership. There is even speculation that some faction in the conflict is contemplating engaging mercenaries from Russia. For those who care to know, mercenaries do not win wars, they are merchants of death; we can see that in the Russia-Ukraine war.
If we want to live in peace, we must stop the war drums and inflammatory rhetoric setting one ethnic group against the other just because elections have been lost and won. Let us allow the judiciary to prove that justice and the rule of law are still possible in our country, until they prove the contrary. When the scourge of war comes, everyone will taste from the bitterness of its poisonous vial. Sudan is so far but so near!