• Monday, July 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

Wanton killings, banditry, kidnapping, terrorism are shredding the fabric of security in Nigeria

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In what may yet be their most audacious move so far, bandits in the Northwest struck at the Government Science Secondary School in Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari’s home state. Not only have the rampaging criminals brought their criminality to the President’s doorstep, they also ensured their message was delivered while he was at home, coinciding with what has been described as a private visit to his home state.

The message to the President was rather loud and clear; the criminals hold sway and can do as they please. For how long the Commander-In-Chief of Nigeria’s armed forces will allow the continuous breakdown of law, order, and the country’s security apparatus remains unknown.

To say that nowhere is safe in Nigeria today would be stating the obvious. Even the President, with all his security complements could not visit the scene of a shocking attack right next to him. As usual, supposed security reasons made it impossible for him to visit and show the traumatised parents of those young boys that he truly cared for them and shared in their pains.

The home, the farms and the roads are not safe. Millions of Nigerians live in fear of the known. The person you see today, you may see no more. That is the pathetic story of Nigeria of our time. Terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and armed robbers roam about the streets and bushes freely, unchallenged. Nigerians are tired of excuses by the military authorities after collecting trillions of Naira to fight insurgency in the country. Wanton killing of farmers and destruction of farm products have adverse effects on both our livelihood and food security. Without farmers there would be famine with obvious consequences.

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Only recently were we confronted with the gruesome massacre of innocent rice farmers in Zabarmari, Jere Local Government, of Borno State by terrorists is the height of bloodletting ever committed in recent history. While an initial figure of forty-three (43) was reported by the media to have been slaughtered without any intervention by the security forces in the area, the figure has since increased to 78 according to state sources, even though the United Nations maintained over 100 were brutally murdered. The senseless act stands condemned in the strongest of terms.

Acts of banditry, kidnapping for ransom, high rate of unemployment amongst the youths, rape and all forms of terrorisms have now become the new normal in our communities. Nigerians have become so much terrified, as nowhere is safe; the home, the farms and the roads. Bandits rule in many communities, they set rules that must be obeyed. In Zamfara state for example, farmers are reported to pay levies to bandits before harvesting their farm crops. Unfortunately, the common man is now caught in-between two contending phenomenon; when he goes to the farm, he gets killed and when he stays at home he dies of hunger. It should be known that this singular act by terrorists in Zabarmari community was a calculated attempt to instil fear among farmers and jeopardize the frantic efforts of returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their localities.

For how long, would Nigerians continue to live in fear? For how long, can we as a nation continue to wait in vain? For how long, shall we continue to condemn acts of terrorism without any concerted efforts in ending it? For how long, would we continue to remain indolent? And for how long can we continue to remain hopeless in a precarious situation such as what we are in presently?

Once more, we call on the federal government to rise up to its responsibilities and do beyond the traditional condemnation. Government should stop paying lip service to matters of life and national security. It should take further steps to reprimand and prosecute officials found wanting in the discharge of their duties to serve as deterrent to others. In addition, the government should come up with a timeline to bring an end or at best decapitate all security threats bedevilling the country and also mop up small arms and light weapons (SALWs) in the hands of criminals.

Finally, as has been stated time without number, President Muhammadu Buhari should overhaul the country’s security architecture. Crucial to achieving this would be the dismissal of all the Service Chiefs and bring in new hands with fresh ideas and determination to fight the myriads of security challenges bedevilling Nigeria. The earlier this is done, the more lives would be saved, food security preserved and the national economy, strengthened.