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Insecurity, Buhari and his service chiefs

For the past decade, Nigeria has encountered one of the most ruthless domestic terrorism in its history; kidnapping, banditry and proliferation of violent gangs, undermining its sovereign and corporate existence. 

 

 

 

 

During this period of growing insecurity, the country sought the wisdom and expertise of its military and security formations to quash the onslaught against peace and ensure the return of normalcy. But, as it has become apparent, the current service chiefs have given their best and their best is not good enough for the country.

Under their supervision, Nigeria put forward formidable pushbacks against its security challenges, but it has only recorded minimal success, meaning that parts of the country have remained perpetually at the mercy of evil men who attack, loot and kill without fear of counter action. 

Recent reminders of the helplessness of communities, groups and individuals amidst this campaign of destruction are the massacre of over 100 farmers in Borno State and the abduction of at least 333 boys from their dormitories at Government Science Secondary School Kankara, Katsina State.

Only in May 2019, over 310 more Nigerians were killed with about 22 of them identified as military personnel. Regardless of claims by security heads that the military has control over insecurity, several attacks from insurgents, bandits, cultists and herdsmen, among others, occurred, further raising fear.

As stated in a report by a media tracking group, Nigeria Mourns, the deadly attacks which claimed the lives of 310 Nigerians occurred in Zamfara, Taraba, Edo, Plateau, Rivers, Delta, Katsina, Borno, Ebonyi, Kogi and Jigawa states, illustrated the national spread of terror and unease.

Again, in 2018, the specter of anarchy haunting Nigeria’s corporate existence resurfaced when herdsmen gruesomely massacred at least 86 persons in 11 Plateau villages.

The Plateau carnage came barely two weeks after 40 others were killed in Zamfara State, in a manner reminiscent of the January 1, 2018 Benue killings and the infamous Agatu pogrom in February 2016.

Similarly, the recent history of Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, Taraba, Adamawa, and Nasarawa states is dotted with horrific killings, a situation illustrating how inhuman and dangerous the country has become.

As the country frets over its safety, the gory pictures emanating from scenes of pillaged villages and butchery of women and children reveal one worrisome fact- a barbaric culture has made an inroad into the country’s social space and its citizens are losing their humanity.

That Nigeria has failed in its constitutional obligation of ensuring the security and wellbeing of its citizens is visible in the sustained and widespread manner the bloodbath is splattered across its landscape.

Surprisingly, while the killers have not hidden their identities but publicly acknowledged their role in the wanton destruction of lives and property, no perpetrator has been brought to book, except the five Christian farmers in Adamawa state who were sentenced to death by the court after killing a Fulani Herdsman. Despite running a country awash with ethno-religious sentiments, convictions have not been secured whatsoever; thus, casting doubts on the neutrality of the country’s leadership in tackling the crisis.

While it is true that savage and brutal killings in Nigeria are timeworn, the threat to national security posed by Fulani Herdsmen and bandits became more formidable under Buhari’s administration.

Arguments are rife that Nigeria runs a compromised national security system whose personnel are brazenly taking to ethnic, religious and regional alignments. After the killings in Plateau, Amnesty International raised doubts on the neutrality of Nigeria’s security forces when 11 villages were attacked for at least 7 hours without their intervention. The United Nations also added its voice in condemning the killings and calling for an end to the carnage in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

Fed up with the incessant killings, some state governments like Benue and Ekiti enacted Anti Open Grazing laws criminalizing arbitrary grazing. After the Anti Open Grazing law became effective in Benue, several attacks followed and Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, whose members are allegedly orchestrating the violence, blamed the attacks on the new law calling for its suspension. However, Plateau and Zamfara killings negate that position which was also held by the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong.

On March 24, 2018, Nigeria’s former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, urged Nigerians to defend themselves against killers in the country as the armed forces were not ready to defend them.

As security agencies are overwhelmed by the situation or perhaps ill-prepared to tackle it, and service chiefs appear completely out of ideas to lead the campaign for the restoration of normalcy, the government must ensure that it restores effectiveness in military and tactical commands. And doing so implies the engagement of fresh ideas.

Since the appointment of the current security chiefs, the country has only progressed from one form of insecurity to the other. They have supervised over a Nigeria that has become the fourth most terrorised country in the world. and they did so without taking responsibility for any of the atrocities committed against weak communities and individuals under their command.

In the face of severe national security challenges, such as these, it is imperative for government to overhaul its security system. Except the country’s leadership is playing to the gallery over the issue of security, it would appoint only fair-minded Security Chiefs.  

It is also appalling that no Service Chief has resigned over the widespread killings or been called to question for the gruesome massacres in their jurisdiction; and it seems normal that nobody is taking responsibility for anything. The government must hold security officers to account and impose sanctions where they fail in their duties.

While sustaining its campaign against terror, banditry and cross-border crimes, the army must reinvent its will, tactics and strategies to break the resilience of such criminals and flush them out. All citizens must also offer their support and ensure that evil is exposed, avoided and eliminated from the country.

Both traditional and political authorities must consult widely and calm the tensions brewing across the country over marginalisation and socio political exclusion which usually form the basis for eruption of disruptive tendencies that impact on law and order.

Overtime, the proliferation of arms has been identified as one of the factors fuelling violent crimes across the country. It is therefore appropriate to pursue treaties with local communities and armed groups to broker disarmament deals, leading to arms reduction and the return of peace to restive areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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