• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Keep terrorists in Islands not on lands

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An operative went to give food to a suspect this (Sunday) morning. The suspect was not properly chained, so he pushed down the operative and quickly dispossessed him of his rifle and shot him. He quickly released his co-inmates who started escaping with some scaling the fence. The incident led to a gun battle between the suspects and the SSS operatives. It was learnt that in the process, 21 suspects believed to be Boko Haram members were killed while about 20 were re-arrested.” These are excerpts from the report of a recent jailbreak attempt right at the seat of power- Aso Villa. The SSS wants us to be reading this kind of thing, sad, sad.

When a deadly terrorist is not properly held, what do you expect- he’s already enjoying a partial release awaiting the final one; when the operative failed to perfect the expected, he disarmed, shot him, then went ahead to release others. Invariably, within the SSS, all’s not done that should be done: some kind of laxity. A held terrorist is like a bound demon; if it goes lose, it brings with him seven deadlier demons on return. Since from this report, the operatives don’t quite get the picture of the magnitude of danger under their watch, the better option is to bring in natural methods as assists.  Nigeria has many pockets of lands surrounded by sea, such is the right place to hold terrorists in custody. SSS operatives watch over them, the sea surrounds them and the Navy watches the seas. If any escapes from custody, he has to swim through the ocean to freedom. The thought of it alone is enough deterrent. If he happens to swim across, the Navy will be called into account.

Coming again, what’s the thinking behind keeping dangerous terrorists near the seat of power in a clime you fear their supporters may be some of the people giving advise on how things should be made better? Do you know those behind them? What if one day, these covert aids make way for them; won’t they overrun government within hours and what happens to Nigeria?

Again, why do we have to put terrorists in a terrain closer to what they know? Most of them come from dry places and therefore need to be taken to wet places. Abuja is closer to what they know but not so with Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos, Delta or even Anambra. These areas have seclusions within the sea that can provide the needed deterrence against escape. Besides, it won’t be easily accessible to their covert aids. Why must they be in Abuja and what more, close to the seat of power where every other person in the guise of ’paying a courtesy visit’ to the villa, gets quick information on the status of the held and drops something for their up-keep through others serving as ‘officers’?  If the government has declared war against Boko, does it prosecute it by letting her enemy close to her?

About 21 of the felled were suspected Boko-Haram members; fine, what of the information they had that could be helpful in further operations? How do we retrieve that? About 20 were rearrested from the surrounding Aso forest; was it only 20 trying to escape and does this balance up with the total number of the held- dead or alive? Secret. Could they have done this in a wet terrain and how come one terrorist set free 41 inmates in a place surrounded by trained and armed SSS personnel who should be ever vigilant, action-ready and in ‘war’ mood? Is it only the disarming inmate that the operatives fought against or were there more? If more, who armed them? How do you explain this to the public? If they could do this in 2014, what would happen in 2015 as the election draws near? Is it out of place to envisage massive attack on Aso Villa and the entire Abuja coming under siege? I say this because ‘Fear is the best Minister of Defence’. If you have the privilege to foresee evil, you have the leverage to forestall it. Hopefully, the comfort available to those who should know better would permit them to think out of the box. These things are possibilities, to wave them away doesn’t take them away. Take the instance of the operative who lost his life by the action of one terrorist, how many would die if there’s a massive terrorist invasion of Aso Rock? If we mean to win this war, now not later is the time to close up.

What we are seeing are signs, if we do nothing or not enough, the hit will come. It makes sense to fight war like war.

Onyebuchi Onyegbule