How government’s ‘insecticide, deodorant’ approaches promote insecurity in Nigeria
Those who know it feel it. That is the best way to describe the pain being experienced by families and all those who have been negatively impacted by the degenerating insecurity in Nigeria.
But fingers have continued to point to Abuja as fueling the situation.
For several months now, the two chambers of the nation’s National Assembly have devoted a large chunk of time to debate and condemn the worsening insecurity in Nigeria.
On many occasions, the federal lawmakers have observed some minutes silence in honour of those killed in the raging fire of banditry and herdsmen’s onslaught across the country.
Unfortunately, too, a number of lawmakers representing their constituencies at the National Assembly spend a lot of time lamenting the plight of their people in the hands of bandits and herdsmen.
A lot of slow deaths are been given to innocent Nigerians in various parts of the country.
Hundreds of school children are being carried away from their schools in a single swoop by bandits.
Lamenting the plight of his people on a national television Friday, Yusuf Sununu, a member of the House of Representatives, representing Ngaski, Shanga and Yauri federal constituency of Kebbi State, said it was shocking that bandits successfully invaded a school in Yauri and made away with an unspecified number of students, unchallenged.
Sununu recounted that there had been attacks in the area, but security officers never saw the need to beef up security, until the abduction of hundreds of students Thursday.
He disclosed that the bandits had previously killed some policemen in the area, and that they were seen moving around in long convoy of machines and cars without any challenge.
The lawmaker said that the ease with which they attacked the school and packed the students in seized security agents’ Hilux vehicles, machines and other vehicles they came with indicated that they had studied the porous nature of the area.
“The first time they came, they killed policemen. The second time, they moved about in convoy and paraded the entire area. Their base is about 100 kilometers from where they came to kidnap the students. They are conversant with the place,” he said.
With the Kebbi incident yesterday, over 800 school children are said to have been abducted from Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara and Niger since December 2020.
Sununu said that the pattern of abduction of school children seems to suggest that some elements may have turned it into a lucrative business, with collaborators in town. He also noted that the majority of the bandits are Fulani.
He suggested that instead of each state carrying out an isolated attack on bandits, “there should be a concerted effort by governors of the affected states to massively attack the base of the bandits. If we begin to adopt isolated attack, they will continue to move to other states.”
Since the Kebbi incident, the government, as usual, has vowed to track down the bandits, after serious damage had been done.
In the end, like in most cases, no one is going to be arrested, let alone prosecuted.
The same day, bandits kidnapped four Chinese workers and killed a policeman in Ogun State.
Across the country, bandits and herdsmen are making citizens live in fear. With the stand of the Federal Government and some of the state government against the payment of ransom, it means that anyone being kidnapped should say his or her last prayer.
On this front, a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo admonished the government: “…when you pay ransom, you encourage. But if you are not going to pay the ransom, you must have the means to deal heavily with it. You must have the stick to deal with it.”
For Demola Alalade, “I find it extremely difficult to understand why bandits or hoodlums will be holding government to ransom with all the security apparatuses the government controls. The solution is to engage citizens, most especially, the youth in well-paying jobs and we will see a drastic decline in the abduction and other criminal vices. It’s not rocket science and the government should seriously look into this before it gets out of hand.”
An observer said: “I feel the Nigerian government (at all levels) is not entirely honest about these kidnappings. The level is troubling and even the untrained mind can find patterns in these crimes. If we have problems with intelligence, why haven’t we heard about any shakeup at the DSS? If the is doing its job, then, who is responsible for implementing the actionable intelligence?”
Another said: “I believe the whole bandits and kidnapping is a massive conspiracy. Two weeks ago, bandits struck. What did the security forces do? They came to the college with over 100 bikes? 100 bikes! Where did they come from? In a country! Who supplied the bikes? Who fueled them? Who supplied the arms?”
The Federal Government is believed to hold the answers to the insecurity crisis in the country.
Observers believe that until Abuja begins to be honest with the issues surrounding the menace, Nigeria would not be able to get out of the woods.
They point to the dichotomous method of responding to insecurity in different parts of the country.
A report on AlJazeera said: “A few days ago, militants killed at least 25 and razed houses, shops and a palace in a town in Nigeria’s South West, but they are not yet terrorists because Buhari’s apparent bias for herders, being one himself. “Bandits are terrorising Nigeria’s North, since December they have abducted close to a thousand people and their unofficial spokesman, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi often burnishes their image in the media. Still, to the Nigerian government, killers and kidnappers are no terrorists.”
The report further recalled that “In 2017, the Buhari government had the army declare IPOB a ‘militant terrorist group’ in violation of the country’s Terrorism Act which stipulates that only a judge can make that declaration, before subsequently acting in accordance with the law.”
In what many critics have described as “selective treatment”, they condemned a statement credited to the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), saying that scores of “IPOB/ESN elements have been killed in past 2 weeks.”
The critics wondered why it has taken the military all the time to respond to the spate of kidnapping and killings going on in the North by bandits that are known. They also wondered why they should kill IPOB/ESN members extrajudicially.
“This selective approach will not take Nigeria anywhere. It will not solve the insecurity problem. One thing I am happy about is that the entire world knows the shenanigan going on in Nigeria; no one is deceived now,” a concerned Nigerian said on condition of anonymity.
He also recalled that “The allegation of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State that the Presidency is not innocent of the activities of herdsmen cannot be dismissed. The man is a governor and knows what he is saying. He said it again on Thursday that the President was trying to hide under grazing reserve to grab lands for herdsmen. That, to me, is exactly what is happening, otherwise, I can’t see why the killings by herdsmen and the kidnapping by the so-called bandits have not been busted.”