Time for better strategies to secure Nigeria
The abduction of a large number of students at the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State, is a very unwelcome escalation of the spate of insecurity in the nation, one which I condemn in the strongest possible terms.
I sympathise with the parents of the abducted children and the government and people of Katsina, my adopted home state and home of my late benefactor, Tafida Shehu Musa Yar’adua. I pray for their safe return.
While I urge our nation’s law enforcement agencies to immediately swing to action and rescue the missing students, I am nevertheless conscious of the fact that we cannot continue to be reactionary in our response to the growing insecurity in Nigeria. Something has to give.
I, therefore, call on the Federal Government to immediately declare a state of emergency in states bedeviled by banditry and terrorism, for an offensive and decisive war on terror and insecurity.
For the avoidance of doubt, the emergency I call for should follow the steps prescribed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and case law, by leaving all democratically elected state and local government structures intact.
The rationale is quite simple: We cannot win the war on terror by continuing with the same strategies we have deployed over the last five years. That they have not worked is very glaring, with the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara incidence being the latest in a long line of proofs.
If we must get better results, we must implement better strategies. Strategies that may have to include the temporary stoppage of the boarding school system, in favour of a day students approach until the situation is brought under control.
Strategies that must include 24 hours armed military guard for each school in the affected states.
No sacrifice is too great to make to return law and order to the affected communities, and that must be the singular focus of the Federal Government until this menace is eradicated.
*Atiku is a former vice president of Nigeria (1999-2007).